Thursday 30 April 2020

In Quest of Alpacas

Today I finally girded my loins and set off in quest of alpacas.

Not wild ones of course, that truly would be an adventure especially in the current world climate, but I'd heard that was a little alpaca farm right on the other side of town and with the weather wet again I figured there wouldn't be many folk around for me to stress about walking past.

This was a long old trot to get to; I walked through the cemetery and along the cycle path past the new builds and the old works site before reaching a quiet lane lined with hawthorn blossom.

It was in a field off here that I found a family of four alpacas, well wrapped up against the cool, feeding quietly. There's been tales that they have been chased by local children, but they were not bothered by me and happily munched away.

Their coats look like they'll make a nice few jumpers when they get shorn. Incredibly thick wool.

There was another group of four in another field, a long way off, much paler in colour.

This lane seems to be the home for all manner of mini farms and liveries, with goats and horses also being kept down there, although I doubt they enjoyed the weather today. I don't mind it.

I'm just glad to be still out there.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.04.20

Wednesday 29 April 2020

A Wet Worker Bee

Running out of places I haven't yet been to - apart from the mythical alpaca farm somewhere on the other side of town - so today I set off in the rain to my workplace just to see how my mini wildflower meadow is getting along.

And the news is that the birds foot trefoil is just starting to come into flower, and there are a few buttercups too. Now much else as yet, but it is still very early. I hope to see a really nice yellow carpet in a few weeks.

Many fingers crossed.

It's not the prettiest walk alas, but a long one, and a needed one. It's been one of those down days today, one of those overwhelming days. I love information, news and knowledge, but too much of it has been awful.

Luckily, bees are not concerned by such matters although they face deadly struggles of their own. The little buff tailed worker bee I saw today was the only insect I came across in the rain; happily filling its saddlebags with hawthorn pollen from the blossoming hedgerows.

It's not on furlough!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.04.20

Tuesday 28 April 2020

A Very Wet Boris Walk

The endless merging of the hours and the days continue, like something JG Ballard talked about in his novel "The Drowned World" it sometimes feels like I've entered what he referred to as "Deep Time."

Today however I did know what day it was so that was an advance on the weekend. This was helped by the rain arriving for the first time in a while, and staying the whole day.

The Boris Walk today took me to the cemetery and around the two lakes; the cemetery absolutely full of flowers with the carpet of wild garlic in the ditch particularly striking. But the best thing was the surface of the lake was being patrolled by about 20 swallows and martins of some kind, skimming the water at high speed before slamming the brakes on in sharp turns in order to make another run.

So good to see, but I still haven't seen a swift yet!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.04.20

Monday 27 April 2020

Just Buzzing Around

Feeling in a slightly better mood today, ended up taking in a long walk around town once I had motivated myself to move. A much cooler and greyer day today, although I still bared my pale legs, and as a consequence didn't see butterflies like I did yesterday when orange tips patrolled everywhere.

No, today was a bee and hoverfly day, although not many of these either compared to recent days. Friary Gardens is full of cow parsley, which hoverflies like, while bees like the dandelions that haven't turned to clocks.

I'm still waiting to see my first swift. They are teasing Newark residents by being seen everywhere else but here at the moment!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 27.04.20

Sunday 26 April 2020

Un-Lockdowned my Bicycle

Today I felt fed up of walking, fed up of running and generally fed up seeing the same things when I go outside.

To try and sort out this de-motivation I thought I'd unlock my bicycle, pump up its tires - in the course of which I found what I thought might be a mason bee feeding on ivy leaved toadflax by the back wheel - and took it out for a spin before the weather closed in.

Oh gosh, did my legs feel it. An exercise bike is no substitute; after barely a kilometre my thighs were aching! But I got used to it, and headed out through Hawton and Cotham, before swinging across to Shelton and Sibthorpe where I took a break by the church and the peculiar round storehouse next to the River Smite.

A flock of guinea fowl, of all things, surprised me at Farndon!

Didn't want to loiter too much anywhere, I know cyclists have got a fair bit of stick from villagers thinking we are disease vectors in some places.

I ended up doing 28km in the end, although none of that was too far from home. It took so much out of me I ended up sleeping for three hours when I got back in, when I woke I thought it was Monday already.

Such are the timelss times in which we live.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.04.20

Saturday 25 April 2020

Up on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve

Do you know, I've not been to this reserve in such a long time, and I can't really think why. It's a beautiful place on a lovely spring day like this, filled with orange tip males patrolling the hedgerows, while the females occasionally settled on garlic mustard.

I managed to get a shot of such a lady, but as ever, not a great one. They are rather skittish, as I've said about a million times.

The bee fly I came across was also a difficult target as it fed off speedwell with its huge schnozzle. So it's a bit disappointing on the photographic front today.

I won't lie; it's been a difficult day. Well, they are all difficult for everyone at the moment, but today I listened to the news and thought that this is just never going to end. I felt that I couldn't see how it would ever end.

It got a bit much, but hey, I'm still here writing away tonight. Another day scratched off on the wall.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.04.20