Monday 31 December 2018

2018 Cricket Season in Review

Sorry nature lovers, this is a piece aimed at my cricketing colleagues, who all love reading about themselves when my cricket blogs come out on Saturday and Sunday evenings, hoping I've said something nice about them.

This year I've played 9 times for the 3rd Team, 7 times for the 2nds, once for the 1sts, and then 10 times for the Sunday 1sts. I took 27 wickets at 19.26, including 16 at 13.00 for the 3rd Team which got me an award which I've very proud of.

The less said about my bowling for the 2nd Team the better...

Nicest Ground

Both the Manor Ground at Thurgarton, and Norwood Park are beautiful and incredibly photogenic. We had stunning weather as well when I played at those grounds. Newstead Abby has stunning surroundings, but the cricket ground itself is bobbins and surrounded by holly so fetching a ball hit for 4 or 6 resulted in laceration on a major scale

Worst Ground

The City Hospital ground where we played Basford Mill was a sunburnt horror with a terror wicket and "smoking" opponents. The tea could have walked out of there on its own, with a special mention to the whole melons we were provided with no means of cutting.

Best Away Tea

Toss up between Keyworth 3rds and Calverton 2nds. One does not expect to find pulled pork at a cricket tea.

Best Innings

I was privileged to play with 3 century makers, but the best innings was Sean G. scoring 82 against Basford Mill against fast bowling on a wicket where the ball could have taken your head off at any moment. He smacked it everywhere, and when they brought on the fast bowlers to bowl at 13 year old Jacob P., he smashed them as well.

Best Catch

George took a deflected blinder off my bowling at Keyworth 2nds. Leapt like a salmon. A salmon with hands.

Best Bowling

Modesty Si, modesty... but probably Jack E's second spell against Bingham 2. We let him down losing that game.

Biggest choke

Me batting against Bingham 2 in a tight game. I lost my head completely, I just didn't know what to do. I felt utterly rubbish

Best Meat Raffle

Against Walesby at their ground, after the Country and Western Singer...

Here's to the 2019 season!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.12.2018

So that's 2018

I've been going through my "press archive" of published articles I've written today, trying to sort it all out.

None of these are actually from 2018, but I've not been outside much today as I've been doing a massive purge of stuff. My shredder has been much used today, although I'm always worried about getting my fingers caught in it. Which should be impossible, but I could easily manage.

So I'll be out tomorrow to see what I might see, and start bringing more and hopefully more wide ranging content for 2019.

Have a good one people.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.12.2018

Sunday 30 December 2018

A Manic Feeding Time

So, I've had a much lazier day today and only did 10km on the bike, via the park for a cup of tea, and then a loaf about at no great pace to see what was about on the ground.

I was looking primarily for any aconite in bloom in their usual spots. There wasn't, but I did see a stupidly early white crocus out in  the cemetery. The snowdrops are becoming more numerous, lots of little spears about as well as the flowering plants.

Around the lake, children were feeding the birds, leading to a frenzy of all the yarking wannabe Keehars amongst the local gull community. No doubt the giant carp would be enjoying the leftovers.

No exotics - I say exotics but they are only that by town standards - goosander today, and no little egrets, a feature of last winter, yet.

I wonder if they will grace us with their snow  white presence this winter?


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.12.18

Saturday 29 December 2018

Two Hours on the Bicycle

I really need more outside exercise, and with my plantaric irritation still ongoing, cycling seems to be the only way to  do it. Unless I suddenly make the Cambridge 8 or something equally unlikely.

So I have resolved to get out on the bike the next few days I have off. Today was the first of these, and in good conditions apart from a wind that seemed to be head on for my entire ride, I headed south along the N64, wondering if I'd surprise a long eared owl that roost by day in the hedgerows alongside.

Of course I didn't, and suppose I only would have done so if I'd ridden my bike directly into the hedge. There weren't any winter thrushes either, but constant flashes of white wing edges and tail bars indicated that a lot of chaffinch were about today.

Off the cycle track, I rode through Shelton village (posh), Sibthorpe village (posh), Elston (posh), East Stoke (site of famous Roses War battle, also posh) and Farndon (not posh). In East Stoke I had fantastic close views of a pair of kestrels, so close I could see every marking on their chestnut backs as they flew away from the lumpy two wheeled threat.

Rumbles was open too, so got to have a really nice cup of tea afterwards, listen to 6 music and  just feel good about the 30km ride I'd had, despite the lead legs.

More tomorrow.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.12.18

Friday 28 December 2018

The Echelon

I annoy a few people at work I think.

I annoy with with my ability to notice what is happening outside the window, and never not be distracted when I see something interesting through the glass and its endless rows of reflected LCD lighting. Often its our workplace kestrel in full hover, or one of the buzzards trying to get aloft on non-existent thermals from the trees.

Today it was a fast moving echelon of large, dark coloured geese heading south. Probably canadas, you always hope it would be something exotic but its always going to be canadas.

The other certainty in life is that can never get a good picture with a mobile phone...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.12.18

Wednesday 26 December 2018

Christmas Still Ongoing

The family are all still here, and of  course the two bengals, who last night spent literally two hours going completely mad and fighting each other for domination of the mini fishing rod. Dusty, the smaller and shyer of the pair constantly tried to get control of the sofa where the rod was wedged from Ziggy, the rather more bengally of the two brothers.

He had his backside kicked every time.

Now the two of them are sleeping next to each other on that sofa, where they are allowed to rest and strop as it is already falling to pieces.

I've been out for a walk for an hour to look at rubbish sales. Nothing good out there.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.12.18

Monday 24 December 2018

Christmas Eve - And Snowdrops Already

So, I finished all my shopping for the family yesterday, and today was a day to get myself a large, bottle shaped treat.

Afterwards, I went on a bike ride around the lakes to save my plantar-ish heels, and to check a part of the cemetery which is the first place that snowdrops appear every year. And you know what, they were were! We haven't even started 2019 yet and snowdrops were out, in the little corner opposite the Polish war graves. Right where I was expecting them.

Moving round to the lake itself, I caught sight of something else unexpectedly early - a drake goosander, piebald and handsome. We don't normally see these on the Blue Lake until January.

I thought it was strange a drake was alone, but as it happened there were other goosander on other parts of the lake, a couple of them in a furious battle with some black headed gulls that the drake had caught.

Further round, there were a  pair of females, red headed rather than black, sailing past a couple of fishermen telling each other about how rubbish one of their fellow anglers was at using the pole.

A slightly unpleasant moment followed as three well known local rough lads tried to knock me off my bike on the cycle path; 15 year old pretend hard kids who have been doing this for a while while police take no action. Ugh.

Still it hasn't spolied my day nor shall I let it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.12.18

Sunday 23 December 2018

Home Invasion

So my sister and fiancee have arrived at my parent's house for Christmas, which is exciting enough, but they've also brought their two bengal kittens with them.

I say kittens, but at 6 months old they are great long cats, heavy with solid muscle and tails like snakes. I can hear them thundering up and down the stairs while I type this. A lampshade has already been broken; these kitties are expert climbers. Bans are in place in certain rooms with nick-nacks on shelves.

It's been a few years since there was last a cat in the house, we've all missed kitties. It's wonderful to have these furry menaces here.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.12.18

Saturday 22 December 2018

Owls and Raptors at Christmas

My Christmas shopping has been delayed this year, as I was waiting  for some vouchers I'd earned at work to get posted to my house. I also wanted to get my hair cut, so I've been wandering all over the place today, buying stuff and being scalped so I look less like wreckage from an explosion in a poodle factory.

It took a lot of walking about (Hello Doctor Scholl insoles, little difference though you are making yet) to get myself sorted, but apart from a couple of things to get tomorrow, sorted I am. Then there is  the trauma of wrapping, which I am staggeringly bad at.

In the market today, the raptors of Kilton were about; always nice to see these birds. The bird being  handled is a ferruginous hawk, a very impressive bird indeed.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.12.18

Wednesday 19 December 2018

Sketching Industry

I found myself with five minutes spare before a two hour seminar today, and with nothing else to do to kill the time other than stare out of the window, I decided to stare out of  the window anyway, and draw what I saw.

I like sketching, despite being no bloody good at it. I find doing it very quickly, and just using very bare curves and basic shapes, gives the least terrible results.

So here, in all its glory, is the sugar factory vista.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 19.12.18

Tuesday 18 December 2018

A Christmas Gadget

Today has been a filthy day, and thanks to a day of pushing a trolley around playing a sort of lollipop lottery with our staff, my foot has been very very sore today and my recovery set back. Grrrr, feeling very flabby at the moment as not exercising well.

So, with nothing to see outside other than distant black dots flocking about outside the window - probably goldfinches feeding amongst the teasels as they got blown along in gale force winds - I reflected upon the very kind gift my manager gave me, a little bicycle multi-tool, the first I have ever owned.

It is a "Iron and Glory" tool by Luckies, and comes in a very smart tin. It's a handy set of 5 allen keys and a couple of screwdrivers, handy for basic adjustments on the road. Very pleased to have it.



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.12.18

Sunday 16 December 2018

Venus before Dawn

I've noticed Venus high in the sky in the pre-dawn twilight while riding my bike to work in the last couple of  weeks, but I haven't seen it in a truly dark sky setting until this morning at 5am, where it was blazing low down along the road as I pottered about, unable to sleep.

It really is a stunning object at its maximum magnitude.

Earlier on, I'd had a good evening's observing with my binoculars, again spotting Comet Wirtanen which I think is now on the fringes of naked eye visibility, despite what I said a couple of days ago. Too bad moonlight will obliterate it from here on in.

I also observed all manner of star clusters, some like the Mirfak cluster in Perseus which are larger than my binocular field of view, and others that are far less prominent like the three Messier clusters in Auriga - 36,37 and 38.

Comet Wirtanen itself was just about in the same binocular field of view as the most famous star clusters, the Seven Sisters, or Pleiades, in Taurus.

I enjoyed taking in the sights, on what was a much milder evening than a couple of nights ago.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.12.18

Saturday 15 December 2018

Newark Christmas Market

Today has been bitterly cold, and after about 2pm thoroughly miserable with added freezing rain, although the forecast snow stayed away.

So it hasn't really been a day for doing much, rather a day lazing around under a duvet watching Jason and the Argonoauts and falling asleep after an exhausting week doing Christmas stuff at work.

But I did manage to get into town at lunchtime, where the Christmas market was taking place. Now I don't really shop at Christmas markets, feeling there is a lot of overpriced tat and food masquerading as "artisanal" at these sort of events. I don't really need a lamp made out of a giant salt crystal either.

However, I do like to see town space being used constructively and purposefully, with people enjoying themselves. So, I took a few pictures of  the scenes, wondering when I'm going to get my own shopping done.


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 15.12.18