Thursday 30 May 2019

A Spot of Bee Rescue

I'm busy moving flat at the moment so don't have a lot of time for much today, and sadly didn't have anything sweet to drink to hand. So this tired tree bumble I came across today, I could only move to a flower out of harms way to see if it could feed from there.

Day from hell tomorrow, after a night from hell tonight.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.05.19

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Finally the Workplace Wildflower Meadow Blooms

Three years ago, I got permission at work to both have a large section of uncut verge, and also to create two small wildflower meadows, so called pictorial meadows.

Myself and several colleagues dug out the grass, seeded the meadows, watered them over, and then waited for three years while nothing happened. Zero. Rien. Nada.

Finally, this year, there have been stirrings. First up, a few birds foot trefoil, which gradually thickened into a carpet. Then a few ox-eye daisies, then a few more.

Today, I noticed knapweed for the first time, and the red tailed bumblebees had noticed it too. A lovely common blue was the first butterfly I'd seen feeding there.

It's not amazing, but it is something. And the bees are loving it.

I did a good thing.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.05.19

Sunday 26 May 2019

Shellacked by a Premier Batsman

So, today found us playing at home against Caythorpe, a very strong club with links to Nottinghamshire county cricket club, and a history of spanking runs for fun in this Sunday league.

Ergo, when 11 suspiciously athletic and powerful looking young lads turned up at 130pm, and won the toss to bat first, I felt a rather ominous sensation. Especially when I found out their captain was a premier league batsman, one level below county cricket and 14 divisions above the level I normally play at.

As opening bowler, I'd have to have a bowl at him as well. Oh great.

Things went well, but only for one over. Unlike our Sunday skipper I'm not quick enough against good bats, and soon as he got his eye in he just started launching me all over the place. Ramp shots. Reverse sweeps. Meaty slogs.

To not concede a run was a moral victory for me. It's not as if the other bat wasn't really good as well, and equally capable of hitting me into the nettles. He just didn't do it as much.

It's called taking one for the team. My job in the side often means getting walloped by the big bats, so the younger lads don't. Doesn't bother me, I just love bowling.

But, despite fast scoring, we kept at it, and it did get better. Good bowling took wickets, good catching helped. I even took a catch myself, leading to ironic cheers from the home fans and demands as to where the real Simon was.

Though it could have been worse, 260 all out was still not a total we were likely to reach.

Still our experienced opener, and our much younger but highly motivated and determined wicket keeper actually batted for 20 overs against some very hostile bowling of a standard way above ours. After these two got out, it was a bit more of a struggle, but we did manage to bat forty overs for 171-9.

Odd incident where a bowler kicked over the stops and conceded 5 penalty runs. God, as if they weren't going to beat us!

I was out in the 40th over for 5, trying to slog so I could get to double figures. Just went straight up in the air. Got to stop trying to hit over the top.

Because frankly, I'm too shit to do it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.05.19

Saturday 25 May 2019

From no Cricket to Victory!

As of 1215pm I had no game of cricket today and I was feeling pretty grotty about it - I hate missing out while the rest of the players are having fun, and getting to talk about it in the pub afterwards.

However at 1220pm I got a phone call from the second team captain while I stuffed myself with scotch eggs outside Asda in town, asking me if I could play. I had to hurtle home, get changed, get my cricket stuff and ride to our ground, where the third team captain very kindly gave me a lift across to Southwell cricket club, situated atop the hill next to Brackenhurst College but out of sight of the Minster so no nice scenic shots alas.

The game had already started when I got there, and I had to get changed in a tearing hurry, swallow the Ibuprofen that I require to keep my knackered body going on cricket days, and get the hell out there without a warm-up so I was stiff as a board.

Hell I was just glad to be out there, amongst twittering house martins on a warm day, and chasing after the ball with my usual slowness.

Not that there was much chasing to be done as the opposition barely hit a boundary as we bowled them out for 60. Pitch was blameless, but the ball swung in the air from me and another senior swing bowler after the young bowlers had done really well early on.

We both took 3 wickets although I never felt like I was bowling that well on an awkward run-up. Indeed I castled one of their batsmen with an accidentally bemusing slower ball as I stumbled slightly in delivery.

As ever, chasing a low total we struggled a bit early on, we are renowned as strong bowlers throughout the club, but occasionally flaky in batting. We lost 5 wickets until our captain took charge with some mighty blows and saw us home. The first team also won, so a good day for the club was celebrated with an uncharacteristically early beer for yours truly!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.05.19

Friday 24 May 2019

A Very Tiny Bee

So, I'm keeping an eye out constantly on the dog roses to see who is having a feed today; Friday's visitor was a very very tiny bee, no idea what species, that was literally rolling around in the pollen.

Of course there were many other bees around, lots of tree bumbles in particular, a few white / buff tails. All have very heavy pollen baskets, these flowers really must be a rich source.

So my little wildflower meadow has, after three years, sort of finally produced results. We have a decent carpet of birds foot trefoil with some vetch and buttercups thrown in. A few ox eye daisies have appeared.

It's not amazing, but red tailed bumbles in particular are feeding in numbers, so it is doing the job I intended.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.05.19

Thursday 23 May 2019

From "Common" to "Drab"

So, the other day I showed you a female "common" blue, now today I have something even less flattering.

My first damselfly shot of the year, a female common (again) blue damselfly, drab variant. Sometimes the females are green, sometimes they are drab, and this was the drab form.

Lots of bees about today on the dog roses, including a thumping great queen tree bumble. Butterfly wise we seem to be in that intermediate time, not many seen today apart from common and holly blue, and a brimstone. Orange tips are over it would appear, sadly. They are such a favourite species of mine, despite being pains in the behind to photograph.

Been warm today, swifts and swallows in the air. Lots of baby bunnies too, which is why I've seen Mr Fox twice in the last couple of days on campus.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.05.19

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Dog Roses are out...

...and the bees love them.

As do I, they smell glorious.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 22.05.19

Tuesday 21 May 2019

A not so Common Blue

Nobody wants to be common do they?

It's not a compliment, is it, to be told that you are common or to be taxonomised as common?

I suppose the female common blue might occasionally seem a bit drown and drab on top, although the blue sheen amongst the earthy hues on the upper wing belies that a bit, but down below they look like they've been decorated by the world's most delicate miniatures artist.

Nothing common about that at all, certainly compared to me in my work uniform!

My little wildflower meadow has had a few ox-eye daisies appear to go with the pretty yellow semi-carpet of birds foot trefoil. The bees, especially the red tailed bumbles, love the trefoil, so the meadow is far from a total failure but it hasn't worked as it should.

Also seen  - tiny baby bunnies!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.05.19