Friday 31 August 2018

The Futility of Growing Grapes

My parents have had a vine growing over the pergola in their back garden for years, maybe even as  long as 20 years. It twirls around the ivy in which foolish blackbirds try to nest as the cats try to eat them, and sends tendrils all over the wood, pointing  all manner of places.

Every year, it grows grapes, the jewels of Bacchus. And  every year, the frost  comes and kills them before they get to ripen properly and lose themselves of tongue folding face screwing bitterness.

They've come again this year, not so many bunches but grapes none the  less. They are beginning to darken.

When will the first frost take them from us?

At least the apples will be ok.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.08.18

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Night Creatures

I've had these photographs for a little while but haven't had a chance to put them up, with all the other stuff I had going on blog wise in the last  couple  of weeks.

So after a busy day nailed  to my seat at work and the evenings drawing in and so no chance to observe anything on the way home, I thought I'd dig them out for you...mating moths and a late night spider.

Me I've got a bit of a funny sinus feeling headache with the occasional dizzy moment - I often get this when I have colds coming on. Weekend forecast  looks good and only  one game of cricket for a change, so the chance for a spot of doing something is upon me. Providing I am well, I might yet sleep outside.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.08.18

Monday 27 August 2018

The Taylor-Forbes Memorial Game

No cricket yesterday, but today I played in a club match to honour a couple of gents who were very influential at Newark and Wellow cricket clubs, and from whom a number of players take part in the game, as well as players from other local clubs who knew them.

It is always a popular fixture, one I've never been selected to play in before and so considered it quite an honour to take part in this one. Especially as I was probably the worst player on either side.

The last couple of years the weather has been great  for this fixture, but today it was cold and grey, with a biting wind cutting across the ground. I was playing for the Forbes team, and as we batted first I was able to walk around the ground photographing the cricket and also the bees making the most of the flowering dandelions around the margins. I knew I wouldn't have to bat as we had so many good players.

Alas, not true. The wicket was tricky, and slow bowlers were just rolling along the ground. Our resident Division A bat got a 50, but most others struggled. I know I did. I needed a spade rather  than a bat, and only managed 1 not out.

153 should have been enough, but my first over went for three boundaries and although I got better and removed our first team captain, no-one could quite keep the runs down and we lost with about 5 overs to spare. I fielded well though and winning wasn't the point.

Lunch by the way was excellent, this is why I hate fielding second. Not enough time to digest my food.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.08.18

Sunday 26 August 2018

In the Wet Garden

Cricket today cancelled and not much to do other than watch the rain comedown pretty much all afternoon. My exhaustion after the short but intense  match yesterday is total, my mother says because I am getting old.

I just feel a bit spent after this hot summer and need some kind of renewal.

My little flower garden has come around after the rain, tap water is just never the same I think. I'm glad to see the colour.

How shall I be outdoors this  autumn now my weekends shall be free.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.08.18

Saturday 25 August 2018

First Team Gun for Hire

By some strange inter-dimensional quirk of circumstance and selection, I found myself playing for our first team today, in the nose bleeding heights of Division D where, you know, proper cricketers play rather than clumsy cretins like me who could get knocked over by a passing butterfly.

We were away playing Beeston and Toton Sycamore 1s, the well known BaTS against whose third team I have usually played in the last couple of years. The venue was described as "The Manor Ground" which sounded very grandiose to me, but as it turned out it is a public park and Toton Manor itself was destroyed a couple of hundred years ago.

You can see where it was, and information boards describe the excavation that took place a fair few years ago before Toton Manor was returned to its rest under a football pitch.

We batted first on what we thought was a soft, damp slow wicket. It turned out to be really difficult to bat on and no-one  could really get going - the ball occasionally bounced trampoline like and it was difficult for anyone to time the ball, hence a number of us got caught out, including me out for a duck popping up a catch to a ball from a spinner that seemed to go backwards when it pitched.

We only managed 95 all out. One of  us got 38 and without that we'd have been home  by 4pm.

Tea was the standard fair with the hens of Britain no doubt glad to see yet another plate of sandwiches made from their eggs. However, there were some nice Asian nibbles thrown in as well for a bit more spice.

Batting I was never worried about at this level; no-one thinks I can bat so a zero wasn't unexpected. As long as I didn't get hurt. The fielding however, I was much more worried about, and didn't want to let the skipper or the team down, especially in a tight game like this.

As it turned out, I was fine, having found recent success with my highly energetic if not necessarily being any good approach to fielding. We had them in early trouble too, 3 wickets down for less than 20. But with the wicket drying out with the sun and wind, it got easier to bat on.

Major difference between 1st team and other sides - it's a bit "chirpier" out there. There was a bit of sledging and chat going on from our senior first teamers, which is usual at this level I would think. I would just sound stupid if I did it, as I am too rubbish to back it up.

I did bowl however, a few overs and managed to have the odd experience of having two catches dropped off one ball. At this level, a ball fractionally short or wide gets hit for 4 though, and that happened a couple of times, but hey I didn't embarass myself out there.

And  now, I can return to the depths of lower teams, a deep sea sleeper shark that occasionally rises to the surface...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.08.19

Thursday 23 August 2018

First Ever Visit to Creswell Crags

With a spot of time off work my plans to do something interesting and adventurous haven't really come to anything  before now due to exhaustion, and this has been frustrating.

I was going to sleep out  under the stars the last couple of nights to test some of my camping gear, but it has rained. Pity, I would love to have done a little micro adventure like that this week. Might yet still do so, cold temps or not.

The powers that be behind micro adventuring are always saying "oh just head up the nearest hill and do it" - easy enough if you are in commuter belt Surrey but not in a town like this. I don't know if I'd feel safe sleeping out alone anywhere near here.

So, today, I woke up early and headed out to Cresswell Crags, a gorge on the Notts / Derbyshire border and a ballache to get to by train despite the fact it is only 20 miles away as the crow flies; it is more like 40 by rail.

It is essentially a gorge that contains caves that contain signs of prehistoric human occupation going back to Neanderthals 60,000 years ago through various other human cultures going back to about 15,000 years ago. There are axe heads, animal skulls such as hyena and lynx (!!!) and most importantly the only cave art to be ever found in the UK, and the so called Ochre Horse, an etching of a horse on bone and the only pre-historic so called "portable" drawing of an animal ever found in Britain.

I certainly enjoyed being outside in the fresh air today, maybe there is something to the suggestion I read that being near oxygen producing trees creates a feeling of wellbeing. Although they don't when I'm trying to draw the bloody things- my sketch of the crags I did today is unpublishably bad.

It is a dramatic setting and free to visit, but to actually go in one of the caves is pretty expensive. I contented myself with making a couple of circuits of the crags, and having a cup of tea in the cafe, watched by a great tit who came to sit on the balcony edge, attracted by the rustle of free posh biscuit wrapper.

Plenty of wildflowers here, comfrey was very abundant and much enjoyed by the common carder bees present in numbers - they are always the commonest bumble on the wing late in the season.

Enjoy the dramatic rockscapes!