Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Let there be More Light

So, no more entertaining children. and back to the remarkable sights that the sunsets this winter.

I'm always looking for photo opps, but at this time of year a photographer who likes going close upon wildflowers and insects, and dreams of one day being a good bird photographer despite the struggles with his camera.

Bird photography has never worked out for me. My bridge camera - not a very expensive one - is very sensitive to my shaky hands and the results have always been disappointing. I intend to practice in the garden this winter, with birds on feeders, and see how I do.

I'm also looking at how I can get walking and running again with these plantar-fascitised trotters of mine. Because I'm getting a bit fed up.

Si

All text and images copyright 11.12.18






Monday, 10 December 2018

A Weekend in Wonderland

So, by my standards I've had rather an odd weekend, helping at our  annual Children's party for work.

I haven't been in close proximity to that many children in my life - 200 of them all under 10, and the associated adults. It was very very noisy indeed, but I did my best to be as nice as possible to the kids as they came in.

So well, I was told several times how good with children I was, which came as a surprise. I just wanted to help put a good event on, and with some very good entertainers doing an Alice in Wonderland show, we had plenty to keep them occupied.

Our Father Christmas, who works on our campus, was superb and worked for several hours having his picture taken on his sleigh, or in his armchair, or handing out selection boxes. Deserved a medal.

Before doing the raffle, I found myself holding the giant teddy bear that was the first prize, and had flocks of children following me everywhere. I decided to make him talk and wave and hold hands, resulting in being followed by even more little ones.

They were all so desperate to win him. In the end a little Romanian girl got to take him home. The bear was bigger than she was.

It was fun, but I wouldn't want to do it more than once a year!

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.12.18






Saturday, 8 December 2018

A Day of Soakings

Well, we have clearly angered the weather gods because last night we had howling gales and rain.

This morning we had a beautiful morning, which I  took advantage of by going to the park and having a cup of tea, and a quiet read of the news, and a walk around looking at the sun shining over the civil war fort, while listening to angry parents shouting at their kids playing football at the other end of the park.

Living through their kids, lol.

Then on the way into town, I got rained on, cycling with my shopping like something out of a Syd Barrett song. That wasn't too bad but when I cycled out to work to check on something briefly, I was rewarded with a drenching I haven't had the likes of for a long while.

Of course, on both occasions I was already in mid ride and didn't have a chance to get my waterproof trousers on. Worse still I was wearing jeans, which along with my not as waterproof as I thought jacket, both of which weighed 76 tons when I got back to my flat and got the water on for a bath and put on the Nordic slipper socks I wear only as a last resort.

Tomorrow a children's Christmas party for work colleagues's kids. Which I am dreading helping to organise.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 08.12.18





Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Wagtail Roost

I noticed that last evening that the wagtails are indeed back in their roosting trees at work, and that the big lorry yard lights on a rainy night created an incredible light through the trees.

So tonight  on my way home, I cycled over to the trees to see what was around tonight.

The light through the trees did indeed look incredible - it made it look like a galaxy, or even a quasar, surrounded by orbiting star trails and emitting a relativistic jet.

Or for the less imaginative, a wet tree.

I went for a closer look and at first I could see no birds in the tree whatsoever and was rather disappointed. Then I walked further under the tree, and suddenly more that 30 pied wagtails were flushed in a panic.

I thought it odd that they were bothered by me but not the large number of lorries that go rumbling past lights ablaze.

I did manage to get a mobile shot that you can just about make out 3 or 4 birds in. The ones that weren't scared of me.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.12.18




Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Moon and Venus on a Bicycle

It was a freezing morning today, which meant I got to wear the neck warmer I bought yesterday and thus set off for work feeling like a Poundland lady ice skating coach from Omsk. It did help though.

I drew the line at the balaclava until it gets colder. It is too gimp like.

My hand thermometer told me about zero degrees and that indeed was what it was. Having read lots of  reports on twitter I wondered why I wasn't seeing Venus. The answer was that I was looking in the wrong direction - Venus in the morning is in the Eastern sky, idiot!

Dawn wasn't far off but it was still a very bright object, with the added bonus of there being a beautiful thin sliver of moon nearby.

Obviously my phone doesn't take great pictures of astronomical objects, but I  hope I've picked up the flavour of my cold, crisp morning.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 04.12.18



Monday, 3 December 2018

Weather Fronts

Well, after yesterday's mild conditions, we've had a real change with heavy rain this morning giving way to Northlerly  winds and much colder conditions. With weather unsuitable for cycling, and my foot still giving me a lot of bother, I only had a couple of small walks  into town in order to buy a balaclava and neck warmer for my increasingly cold cycling commutes.

I look forward to looking like a murderer.

The skies looked rather murderous at  times today as well.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature






Sunday, 2 December 2018

Around the Villages by Bike

After a wet, miserable day yesterday where there was barely any light to take a photograph all day, today was rather better and despite quite a fresh wind I was determined to get out on the bike and have a bit of a ride around.

I say determined, this wasn't quite the reality. I like riding my old mountain bike, but some days I'm a bit nervous about it - Will I puncture? Will any of the roads be dangerous? Will I get rained on and end up like a drowned rat with an annoyingly wet backside?

I decided I would be OK, and headed out in the opposite direction from normal, out to Kelham and the villages to the north of Newark. There are some narrow roads and some nasty blind corners, but I took it easy, taking in the views of the lowering sun and the  power station, the hills around Kelham and the various churches on my route.

I only did 20km, but you take in the villages of Kelham, Little Carlton, Bathley, and North and South Muskham on this route, and there's stuff to see all the way along; folk like to have cute summer houses in their gardens in these villages, and there are birds to see; fieldfare in the hawthorns, crows in the fields, and an echelon of big waterfowl overhead; no idea what these were and my photo will not help identification!

I had a look at North Muskham Lake, where a cormorant was doing its pterodactyl wing drying thing out on a raft in the middle of the water, and compared those waters to the sterile building site that are the waters of the former sailing club.

I hate what the fishing club done to that place.

Si

All text and images copyright 02.12.18








Friday, 30 November 2018

Lights, Moon and Lights

We've had some very wild days the last few days, my to and fro bicycle commutes have been rather interesting. I have been incredibly busy at work  preparing our Christmas events.

We now have Christmas lights on in town and I have been photographing them  in relation to the moon and things.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.11.18





Sunday, 25 November 2018

Winter Thrushes on the Bicycle

I'm writing this while listening to "Starless"  by King Crimson which is an awesome piece of music...

So after an exhausted day of nothing yesterday - My Black Friday duties totally wiped me out - I decided I needed to make a good go at today, cold or not.

So in the morning I made my way to  the park for a cup of tea on my trusty Rockrider, and then in the afternoon managed to get out for a sunset 25km ride, with a gentle breeze it seemed like a bloody nice thing  to  do.

And I worry I'll get very fat indeed if I don't do it.

So out I went along the cycle path with the low sun lighting up the turbines of the wind farm and reflecting off the solar panel plant. It even made the rubbish tip glow in gold. Rather oddly I thought, the gulls and crows feasting  off the rubbish were flushed by my presence from about 100 metres away, silly feathery things!

It was on this cycle path that I saw my first winter thrushes of the year, flushed from the berry laden hawthorns alongside. Trouble is, with the sun behind them they just looked like black shapes, until they flew past me and I caught a glimpse of pale bellies and grey rumps; fieldfares.

Odd that I should see fieldfare before redwing. Normally the latter are easier to come across just outside of  town in early winter.

So I kept on riding as the sun set, and re-murmarised a flock of about 50 starling who thought they were going to have a peaceful roost in a tree next to the road to Thorpe village.

It was a good ride, and I took a bit of pride in myself for  doing it.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.11.18








Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Shaggy Ink Caps

It is the time of year when the shaggy ink cap grows on our campus wastelands on either side of the cycle path.

I believe also known as "Lawyer's wigs" for the appearance of the fruiting body, a sort of wavy haired effect that drips black at the end as the fungus begins to spore, these fellows are regarded as being quite  a delicacy as long as you get them before that aforementioned sporing.

Indeed, one of the reasons I've not seen so many of them in the last couple of years is that we evidently have some foragers at work who have recognised the goodies under their noses; I remember seeing a girl wandering  off in the dusk gathering armfuls of them last year.

Fair play to her. If she doesn't mind the light dusting of myxamotosis rabbit corpse that probably covers them.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.11.18






Monday, 19 November 2018

Geese and Ducks in a Low Sun

I've been for a walk again today, round the lake on a crisp, cold day with an easterly wind to boot. I know I shouldn't be walking, but it is too cold to cycle, or rather too windy.

I hate being inactive, I just have visions of turning into a huge fat lump.

Anyway, it was a nice walk, a route that many others take on a daily basis. With easterly winds I'm wondering if any winter ducks might show up on town waters; velvet scoters have been reported in Collingham!

Anyway, to add to my exercise regime now I can't run, I dug out an old and very dusty eliiptical stepping machine I haven't used in years.

I did 20 minutes on it it, and now my other heel hurts too.

I feel like I'm falling apart, and the  long walks I have lined up in my mind, the running, is all going to have to stop. Yes, I worry too much!

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.11.18









Sunday, 18 November 2018

There are Still Flashes of Colour

The weather this weekend has  been superb, although yesterday I was too tired to enjoy it much. Today I was still tired, but was able to enjoy a  two and a half hour walkabout around the river and the park, where it got so warm in the sun I had to take my jacket off.

Colder weather, we are assured, is on the way. So that's some frosty cycling commutes for me then.

I've noticed the last few days that there are still wildflowers blooming quietly in my little garden; red dead  nettle, feverfew and some small yellow flowers I can't identify.

Life persists.

Of the garden flowers still in flower, various types of fuschia seem to be the hardiest. Ewalina next door still has lots hanging from her shed, and the council ones across the park.

Tomorrow what shall I do? My heel feels a bit better with the inserts, but I still want to be more active.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.11.18







Thursday, 15 November 2018

Yet More Stunning Skies

WE have been really spoiled this autumn, skywise.

My right foot hasn't been spoiled however; with my heel still sore, the slight alteration of my walking seems to have given me a set of mighty blood blisters on the ball of self same foot. Irritating and now causing other mischief too.

I'm using cycling  and exercise bikes to stay fit but  feel very podgy.

Si

All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.11.18