Monday 30 December 2019

Aconites and Running in the Sunset

Horrified at some Christmas pictures I've seen of myself, and with the idea of doing the 100km Race to the Stones in my mind, I'm already looking toincrease my exercise and hence fitness, helped by my new little fitness band that chides me onwards with its little vibrations.

This morning saw me out walking to take photos of the aconites in better light, and not even are they out, some of them are fully open before the year has even ended.

It's remarkable, really.

So, after a bit of lunch and relaxing, I took to the roads like a pro in my new running gloves and old running tights, and did a gentle 7km around the town to take in the sunset over the Trent, which was as beautiful as it always is. The added bonus was the crescent moon and Venus shining down upon me too, out of a golden sky that made the effort worthwhile.

Although I could have just walked a hundred yards down to the river.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.12.19

Saturday 28 December 2019

And now the Aconites are Crazy Early

Thought I'd take a nice long walk out to the Two Lakes today to check on the snowdrops and see if the goosander were still around.

Indeed the goosander were there, unheard of before the New Year, and in good numbers too. About 12 of them on the water, ducks and the magnificently elegant drakes, diving about and staying well out of mobile camera range, as ever. There was even another pair on London Road pond.

It's been an active looking day for the town, lots of families out walking, playing football on the park, trying to bed in their new bicycles and scooters. I enjoy seeing it, I enjoy seeing open space used.

On an inkling, I extended my walk out to Friary Gardens, just on the off chance that there was any aconite in bloom. I wasn't expecting any given that its still December, but lo and behold, there was a fair few in flower under their favourite trees. Couldn't believe it!

I do wonder what is going on, because we seem to be about two weeks ahead of normal seasonality. This hasn't been a cold winter so far, but its not been an unusual one, although I'd have expected a bit more frost. Last year the snowdrops were out on 27th December - which is early enough as it is - but this year it was the 16th!

Maybe I need to call Greta Thunderg.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.12.19

Friday 27 December 2019

Walking Long and Getting Fat

I spent Christmas away with my Stepfather at my sister's nice little house in Bristol, where I had a lovely time and ate a lot. Far too much in fact, despite trying to keep an eye on things and not go to the pub.

We just wanted to be happy together after the crappy few months we've had as family. And it worked.

In my defence, I did stay active, taking in long walks around Horsfield Common and right out to Westbury on Trim to climb the mud up to Blaise Castle while sweletering in a boil in the bag set of waterproofs as the rain hammered down.

I would have been drier if I'd walked around naked, until I got arrested at any rate.

Blaise Castle isn't a proper castle at all, but rather a mini french style chateau folly that was very popular back in the day for folk with more money than sense to plonk on their estates to say they were the big "I am". It does have an imposing setting however, and I'd quite like to live in it. There's a pub not too far away.

There was also Badock's Wood with its Bronze Age burial mound I've shown you before. Saw a lovely grey wagtail on the Trym in this little reserve. I also saw a jay, a bird I've not seen in a very long time, on the golf course.

The most stunning of our crows, but a very retiring bird.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.12.19

Saturday 21 December 2019

Christmas with the Animals

It was the annual Christmas party today, the one we organise for our staff's kids.

This year, on my suggestion, we decided to hold it at White Post Farm, the little sort of petting zoo long standing readers may recall me visiting a few years ago on a bright day in October. I thought it might be nice for the kids at Christmas, and so it proved, with 200 or so of them meeting the reindeer and baby goats, and going to Santa's grotto and attending Elf Academy.

Obviously, this being an event organised by me, the weather was cold and wet, with me and my manager having to stand outside for 90 minutes collecting tickets while freezing our asses off while the little ones had a good time.

However, they were the important ones and seemed to enjoy themselves a lot, so I was happy. And it is a cute place.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.12.19

Sunday 15 December 2019

Unseasonal Appearances

Today I had a very long walk, as it is now I've moved, around Balderton Blue Lake.

To say I saw unexpected things was an understatement.

Walking through the cemetery, I could see lots of snowdrop shoots poking through the damp ground, but to find one in flower was mental - December 16th is easily the earliest date I've found one of those droopy little white fellows.

But it wasn't just that. I found primrose and white dead nettle flowering as well. It just seems crazy early to me.

Out on the water, I was also amazed to see a record number of goosander, 6 drakes and 6 ducks, which I've never seen before January before on the Blue Lake. The resident mandarin was also looking resplendent, and there was a kingfisher here too as there had been on the Devon yesterday.

There's a lot of life around for December, that's for sure.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.12.19