Tuesday 30 April 2019

The Rat Heap of Life

So, a very  long time ago at work, we dug out various garden spaces for our wildflower mini-meadows and herb garden.

Rather unattractively, the spoil was piled up and never collected by anyone. Two years later, and the spoil heap from the herb garden is now a thriving little mini-environment, a sort of Galapagos covered in borage, red dead nettle and a small pink flower I can't identify.

Today, various little worker bumblebees were at work on it, feeding mainly from the borage.

Of course, every silver lining has a cloud - cliche alert!!! - and this particularly grey and scurrying one is that rats seem to use it as a home slash thoroughfare and so it will almost certainly be removed.

Interesting to see how it has developed though!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.04.19

Monday 29 April 2019

A Failed Sand Martin Hunt

All a bit sore after cricket yesterday, so had a fairly easy day and only had a couple of trots round town with a 25 minute exercise bike session.

My second walk was to see if I could come across any sand martins. I know they are around in town down by the river as I've seen reports. But they weren't there today, neither near the barge pub, or further down at the lock-keepers cottage.

Could be they are sitting on their nests already - they often use little outflow pipes in the river walls.

New flower found growing in the increasingly decrepit Corn Exchange backgarden - lady's smock with their lovely faint violet tinged white petals. Apparently the building will be re-developed, although whoever does it, it will cost a fortune.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.04.19

Sunday 28 April 2019

Cricket is Back!

Compared to last week, when I missed our first club games of the 2019 season due to doing rock and roll things in Bristol under blazing skies, you never would have thought that a grey and slightly chilly day like today would be a good day for cricket.

But as it turned out, it was.

Wishing to be punctual for a change I got my wires crossed and got the start time wrong; I ended up being two hours early and found myself helping out with a junior coaching session, acutely aware that the 11 year olds had far more natural talent than I'll ever have.

It was the first fielding practice of any kind I've had in 8 months.

So to the match, our annual friendly with Upton which has moved to pre-season rather than post season and to Newark's ground rather than Upton's. Mindful of a lengthy conversation with our skipper the other night when he said I shouldn't open the bowling, I was rather baffled to find myself...er...opening the bowling only I didn't know and the match was held up for a few minutes until I realised that was what I was supposed to be doing.

And then of course, I bowled the usual no-ball.

Bowling outside for the first time is just so different from nets, the ground feels different, the wind is there, there's so much more space. I found myself bowling rather quicker than I'm used to, and rather than swinging in as my bowling normally does, it was swinging out and also moving miles off the seam when it pitched. A rather harsh umpire called a few of these wides, but I also had their opening bat caught at short cover and blew the ball endlessly past the outside edge of the number 3 without getting him to nick the darn thing.

The 11 year old then castled the other opener while bowling rather straighter than me, but fair play, I bowled 6 overs 1 for 22 and didn't get hit for any boundaries.

Our other youngsters were equally if not more capable, and after an enjoyable 40 overs they closed at 169 for 8. It was yay! then time for tea, and a chance to take some photographs as our opening bats scored runs at a high rate. Not much nature about though, as it was dratted cool. Chiff chaffs are singing at the ground though, and buzzard keening could be heard.

I ended up umpiring for a while as well, having spent the previous evening learning all my signals, and even got to give my captain out, although as he hit it to midd off it was hardly a contentious decision and I only raised my finger because I'd always wanted to do that.

The main signal I did was "WIDE" and then I was too encumbered with bowler's sweaters to do it properly.

Anyway, despite a late tumble of wickets we won by 4 wickets fairly easily and I wasn't needed to bat. Well I was, but I only had a chance to put one pad on before my colleague with modern velcro fastenings got out there before me to face one ball before the match was over.

So a strong start for us, against a good side, and one that augurs well for our younger players although I felt very creaky in the field and have somehow given myself rope burns while putting the boundary out.

League stuff starts next week!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.04.19

Saturday 27 April 2019

Windy Politics

Storm Hannah has arrived and brought us...nothing like the promised amounts of rain and gales here although it was still very blowy.

It was our club's first 1st XI game of the season today, and like every other game it got rained off before it started. The forecast for my first game with a mixed 2s and 3s side looks rather better, as I get ready for my first score of zero for the season as well as my bowling being hit into faraway fields.

Wasn't much nature about today in the breeze, although a father and son combo was making an attempt to fly a huge 3 metre kite without having their arms ripped out.

Likewise the wind was having an effect on the local Labour party folk who were struggling with signs being blown off their stall in the market place today.

Not really a day for being outside nature spotting, although I did walk for 90 minutes, and did 50 minutes on my exercise bike.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.04.19

Friday 26 April 2019

The Circus has come to Town

Not a massive fan of old style circuses, either animal-featuring or not, largely due to the presence of clowns which I find neither creepy or scary but totally unfunny and un-entertaining. One has arrived in town, a sort of Anglo-Brazilian affair judging by the flags, which has resulted in the appearance of a big top and a large number of rather second hand looking caravans.

Folk are mad for tickets though, apparently.

Soooo, not done much today after the madness of yesterday other than have a walk and watched the area around my wasp sting go hot, red and cover about half my arm. My ankle and knees ache after cricket practice.

First match on Sunday, the excitement mounts.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.04.19

Thursday 25 April 2019

A Spot of Baby Squirrel Rescue

Well, it's been a bizarre sort of day, begun at 530am when the wasp I had left sleeping in my window sill last night decided during the night to make its way onto my duvet cover for a warm up and stung me on the arm before disappearing.

Bugger will end up stinging me again.

Anyway fast forward to 3pm, and I went off for a walk through the cemetery, where saxifrage and buttercups have now appeared, the last wave of spring flowers before everything will get cropped back at the beginning of June. I was hesitant as to how far out to walk, as we have had rumbles of thunder and squally showers all day.

I was just hesitating and faffing about by the sword cross, when I looked down and caught a glimpse of something furry in the grass. I quickly realised it was too small for a rat, went for a close up examination and saw it was a baby squirrel, still with eyes unopened and utterly helpless.

I had no idea what to do, as the heavy rain was just started to come down again and the youngster was in full view of any passing dog, cat or person. It was also rather cold.

So, I picked it up - its feet were comically huge - and put it in my fleece pocket to warm up while I headed out of the rain with my new friend, who gradually warmed up and got more active in their little zipped up cave.

I contacted a vet nurse that I knew, who advised to put it back out of sight near where I had found it. So, now nice and warm and active, and with the rain stopped, that's what I did so, looking for a tree with a drey in it as the most likely place it had fallen from.

So I hope my little furry friend will get found and looked after. I probably did the wrong thing, but I just didn't want to leave the little character out in torrential rain.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.04.19

Wednesday 24 April 2019

Obvious Bristol Tourist Shots are Obvious

It wasn't all rock and roll and uncooperative gorillas when I was in Bristol.

I did take the opportunity to head up to Clifton Downs to take in views of the suspension bridge on the Saturday pre-gig, to enjoy the views, take the obvious photographs and enjoy all the people using the public open spaces.

It is a wonderful city filled with interesting sights and people; alas like all such cities it isn't exactly cheap to live there. However, by coach it is cheap enough to get there for visits!

BTW I got fed up with my old Chromebook and today bought this new one for £99 thanks to an offer through work!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.04.19

Tuesday 23 April 2019

Rock and Roll in Bristol!

So, as well as taking in a trip to the zoo, my main reason for visiting Bristol was to see Bexatron, my sister's very loud rock band that have gigged extensively in London and up and down the country.

For many reasons, mainly relating to me being a rubbish brother, I was yet to see them until Saturday, and unlike my sister, was absolutely quaking with nerves about seeing the band and also meeting a lot of new people - hello Tourettes and Aspie anxiety issues - but I was fine and as usual had done a lot of worrying for nothing.

The band were great, my sister a fantastic front woman who had the audience eating  out of her hand, and all the people were really nice and bright and I had a great time.

There's no nature in this pic, I hope my sister makes up for it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.04.19