Tuesday 29 September 2020

The Importance of Ivy

Sources of food for pollinators are getting fewer and fewer as the sun makes its journey southwards, over the celestial equator and down into the constellation of  Libra.

That's why Ivy, with its ironically coronavirus like flowers, is so important to end of season insects. Wasps love it, as do hoverflies and more mundane flies. But they are all doing their bit for the environment. 

Of course ivy bees are famous for their attraction to these most pungent smelling of plants, but I've never seen any around here. Ordinary honeybees aren't keen on ivy, but over in the library gardens they are enjoying the sedum with its almost cauliflower like blooms.

What I always think of as being the grim months now lie ahead, October, November and December where no new life emerges in the plants and verges. Of course this year, the pandemic adds to the feeling of lifelessness.

Perhaps the late winter and the spring will see the new life emerge as we emerge from this mess. But I don't know how hopeful to be.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 29.09.20

Monday 28 September 2020

Gilded in Rosey Gold

 Yesterday, I took myself for a walk in the sunset, hoping for some nice "golden hour" photographic opportunities and just needing to be mobile after another weekend of being very tired. 

I ambled around the castle with its sun gilded walls, and along the river that looked like it had been painted, rather than being an actual physical flow of water. 

Geese were honking in flight, the canadas heading for their evening roosts, but they never overflew me. Instead little sing birds rendered into silhouettes by the light flew in and out of the hedgerows and bushes. 

The seasons in isolation move on to autumn. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.09.20

Thursday 24 September 2020

Into the Wind, With the Wind

 We really are in autumn now, cold winds, cold rain, grey cloud and the sugar factory has resumed its annual campaign of belching out thick odours over the town. 

Up in my office, where the rain dot-dashes against the windows, I'm able to see a few things coming and going. A lone house martin, heading south. A beautiful pure white egret struggling against the wind, its long legs floating elegantly behind its motionless body. A little while later, a heron came back the other way, effortless with the wind. 

Birds have started to flock for the cold season. A group of about 15 long tailed tits in the trees by the wild meadow, 30 pied wagtails overflying my flat with their very undulating flight, always emitting a double "cheep" on the downstroke. Linnets are starting to flock too, the males bereft of their breeding red breasts.

I'm starting to feel the need to eat more, which is disappointing. I want to keep the weight off. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.09.20

Monday 21 September 2020

Stopped being Lazy!

 Having had a late night watching the frankly disturbing "Cats" movie, I was surprised to be up nice and early and in a position to get some stuff done - buying hair clippers, doing a proper food shop, and ultimately having a lovely long walk to Farndon to have a look at the second hand bike shop. 

It was closed. Pity. I was prepared to buy a bike if they had a decent one in stock. 

No matter, I was enjoying my nice late summer slash early autumn walk, and even found a few butterflies willing to be photographed on the puzzled people of Farndon's flowers; let me state I did not enter anyone's garden, I did do a lot of leaning over though.

Ivy is now beginning to flower so late season pollinators have something to feed off. Chiefly honey bees today, and lots of more mundane flies but they do their bit too. 

The smell of the ivy is so strong at the moment. 

I came back in along the river; all the house martins and swallows seems to have left this area although they are being reported elsewhere. What hasn't left the river are rowers, plenty of them out training today. I'm not quite fit to run yet and need some new running shoes. 

Fishing is also a popular past time, most of the pegs along the Farndon reach were occupied. Other participants were also taking part; plenty of cormorants flying about, and also my first kingfisher of the year, shimmering neon in the sun. 

And I got a picture of a common darter at last, although a bit of an oddly angled one.

Lockdown looms again, although I don't think it will affect me particularly. I haven't been going to pubs so a 10pm curfew will hardly affect me. 

But it going to be more stress though.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.09.20

Friday 18 September 2020

Domestic Chaos

 So today was the day the boiler in my flat was due to be replaced. 

I spent the day at work, hoping everything would all be sorted out by the time I got home at 6.

Sorted? Was it hell.

I got home to find the old boiler in the garden, an engineer - a nice chap - in my flat, and the cupboard a steampunk tardis mass of cylinders and copper piping. 

No, it isn't finished and won't be until some point tomorrow. The good news is that there is an immersion heater and I can get some hot water for a shower tonight. 

My flat feels rather violated, to have had strangers inside all day, touching my stuff. I've wiped a few surfaces down with the good old wipes, but I'm still very nervous. I'm so tired too, and he's going to back at 930am, which is going to be just amazing. 

On the less stressy side of things, got some nice photos today for you.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.09.20

Thursday 17 September 2020

Just a Few Workplace Ppics

 There has been much subtle colour and beauty on campus lately, the last few raggedy butterflies making the most of the Indian Summer, bees feeding where they can, flashes of floral colour from among the uncut grass. 

Soon we lose it all until January, when it all begins again...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.09.20

Tuesday 15 September 2020

Just Bees at the Library

Very warm yesterday, and the opportunity to get out for a walk in the later afternoon, having spent the early part of the day reading and sunbathing in my (so called) garden.

The library, having assured me that they didn't need their books back during lockdown, have finally decided that they would like them returned thank you very much, and so I trotted down to the gardens, Asda bag full of books in tow, and dropped them off with the lady on patrol at the front entrance.

I then went off to explore the flowerbeds, and found a plant that was absolutely alive with honeybees. The flowers were presumably a plentiful source rather than a rich one, as the bees moved very rapidly from flowerhead to flowerhead.

As always I love seeing bees and butterflies on the wing into the autumn, sad though I am for their upcoming fate. Insect life is beautiful yet ephemeral.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 15.09.20

Sunday 13 September 2020

My Best Didn't Cut It

Yes, another game of cricket after "the last game of the season" or indeed "last game of my life" or whatever I've been saying.

We played a friendly against Bingham today, a side who we've played a fair bit over the years in the Saturday leagues, but never before on a Sunday. With it being a friendly, the assumption was that they'd pick a fairly low key side to take on our young (apart from me) and inexperienced Sunday eleven.

Suspicions were roused when our one first teamer, our usual Sunday opening bowler, was hit into a adjoining field early on. Other end our fastest bowler, who took a wicket in his first over, was being driven to the boundary off perfectly pitched deliveries.

"These aren't third team bats" I remarked to a team mate, and no, they weren't. They'd bought a slew of their first team Division C bats, and aside from our youngest player, they hammered us to the back of beyond.

You know, today was the best I've bowled all season. No no balls. No wides. No pies chucked. I caused problems, beat the edge of the bat, bowled a ball that almost seemed to go through the stumps. But the Bingham first teamer I was bowling at just shrugged off being beaten before blasting perfectly good deliveries down to the straight boundary.

I couldn't have bowled much better, it just wasn't enough against bats of this quality. I fielded bloody well today too, unusual for me.

Anyway, after nearly dragging me on he got to 50 and retired, and the new left handed bat struggled against a maiden over from me. Unfortunately another of the bats decided to kick off on me, again off good bowling, and I was taken off having bowled 6 overs for 35.

After my being removed from the attack, the Bingham scoring rate, already high, accelerated further, with sixes being hit with gay abandon, although one of our bowlers suddenly took 3 wickets in the very last over we were faced with chasing a total of 227 in only 35 overs.

There were a lot of glum faces, and the chair brought us together for an inspirational team talk. Having shouted at me for making a very mild joke not at his expense when he was bowling, he must have calmed down a bit.

Note to self - don't make jokes when he's not long been hit for 6.

Anyway, the gist of it was not to let our heads drop, and to bat well on an easy paced pitch, and see how many we got. Sensible advice.

As it happened, I wasn't needed to bat and it would have been at number 11 anyway, and so I ended up umpiring for most of our innings, so got to wave my arms around a bit. Their bowlers were thankfully not as good as their batting, but not so bad as to let us get anywhere near their run rate. Our opener got 53, our captain got 37, I got sunburnt on what was the finest day for cricket we've had all year.

It wasn't massively exciting stuff, but we let our two young kids get a bat, we weren't bowled out and we could leave with our heads held high.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.09.20