Wednesday 28 October 2020

Tier 3 it is then

 Today, we found ourselves hauled into Tier 3 along with the rest of Nottinghamshire. Our infection rate is much lower than the city and Mansfield areas, but so many folk travel to those areas to work it was then decided to bring us in with the rest of the county.

I also think that rising hospital rates from Nottingham are starting to overspill into our  hospitals, meaning there are less places for local patients. Strangely, infection rates all over the county are dropping after the University outbreaks, but it is rising amongst the elderly.

Hence, no more pub or visits to the tattoo parlour for me.

Joking aside, the effects are pretty devastating to a lot of people - my sister was planning to visit to commemorate the first anniversary of my mother's passing next week, but that has been cancelled. I'm no longer able to even go to the family home to sit in the garden to mark it. 

Still, as my stepfather said, we complain about other people who don't follow the rules, so we must do the same. 

At least I can still get outside, and get very wet indeed and very nervous when I cycle!

See if you can spot the kestrel.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 28.10.20

Monday 26 October 2020

Low Sun Glows

 I've not had a massively exciting weekend, with just some gentle walks and runs, and my bicycle having its chain shortened by my stepfather, who has done a bloody good job as usual. 

Today, we narrowly avoided being shunted into Tier 3 restrictions, unlike a large chunk of Nottingham and its suburbs where student outbreaks have now spread into the general population, causing much resentment by the locals against students who apart from a few idiots have found themselves hated for no reason because of University mismanagement. 

I remember the hatred against students when I was one, and it hasn't gone away. 

Today, I bring you pictures of the sunset I walked through after I collected my bike. There was some lovely light around the castle, gold and purple reflections in the river as I looked down from a lofty vantage point in the Castle gardens as the pigeons circled overhead. 

I've been pottering about in the garden tonight; every so often a bird of some sort flies over head, lit of a ghostly pale yellow in the streetlights. I always wonder what they are. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.10.20

Thursday 22 October 2020

Scarlet Waxcap and other Fungi of Campus

 There's still the odd bee flying around, and the wasp factory in the spoil heap is keeping busy before the frosts, but insect life has declined with the passing of October so I thought I'd try and find other things to photograph.

As is clear when walking along the cycle path, the one thing we aren't lacking on campus at the moment are fungi. There are shaggy inkcaps in varying states of inky, melted decay everywhere, but I found something even more striking today.

These are scarlet waxcaps, a beautifully coloured fungus that seems to like the mowed area outside one of the car parks. Apparently they are widespread but not massively common, and are edible but essentially tasteless. 

They certainly provide some firey colour amongst the grass.

I also came across a very unpleasant looking fungus which I think is some sort of tremella species like witches butter, although I could be wrong and it is something squeezed out of a rather sick dog. 

The other fungi are more common and humdrum species. Although don't ask me to name them.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.10.20

Tuesday 20 October 2020

The Mandarin has Returned

 The weather has taken a slightly more pleasant turn, and I've been able to get some nice autumn walks in, and the odd run too. 

Slow runs, with my newly returned and frustrating stomach wobbling. 

As well as revisiting the cafe on the park, I've been round the two lakes and was delighted to discover that the beautiful mandarin drake has returned from his summer holidays, and is back on the Blue Lake again looking super beautiful.

I have no idea if he has a mate anywhere, but I hope so.

Speaking of mates, the mallard drakes are now in their winter plumage again and looking very smart with their bottle green heads. They are getting feisty over the ladies already too, with some hissy fits down on the water. 

I'm counting down until snowdrop time already.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 20.10.20

Saturday 17 October 2020

Return to Rumbles

 It's taken me a long way to go back to my favourite little cafe in town, as I am just so wary of hospitality establishments, even more so now we are a Tier 2 concern in this town.

All the new directives about not meeting anyone outside your own household indoors are seemingly being completely ignored by the public and not enforced by establishments. We are so going to be stuck with this for a long time.

Rumbles is of course now an outside only operation - my cup of tea came through a hatch in a screen, but it was good to see the same staff in place, and people sat outside enjoying what was a fairly pleasant day by this October's admittedly low standards. I could just sit at a dinky little table and drink my tea and take in information and look at the plants.

It was healthy. It was helpful.

I trotted round the park for a walk afterwards, during this transitional time of the year, listening to Ruby League of all things. The intellectual stuff was when I went running tonight, listening to a dystopian play of Radio 4.

I love my sci fi!



All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 17.10.20

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Another Year Older

 It was my birthday last Friday, a very odd one where I stayed in and did any socialising I did in the virtual world, this new place where many of us have found ourselves visiting alongside all the folk who have been there for years. 

We may be Tier 2 here and so the pubs will still be open, but I have no intention of going. Working would be a worry, but I'm lucky enough to be in a large office that only has me in it for now - the return of my potential co-workers from home-working has been delayed for now.

I had my flu jab today, so no doubt I will feel a bit foggy for a couple of days, I did last year. 

I have a few random pictures from the last few days, of the grey world in which we have been literally and metaphorically living in. Today has just been mizzling most of the day. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.10.20

Wednesday 7 October 2020

The Disappaearing Inkcap

 I'd never realised until now how quickly shaggy inckcaps dissolve themselves as part of their sporing process.

They are a common sight on our campus at this time of year, a magnificent sight - for a fungus - when they are at their peak with their white scalloped fruiting bodies. It's easy to see why they are known as "lawyers wigs".

But they begin to dissolve almost immediately, the cap curling up and turning black at the bottom as it drips spores into the air. But I hadn't realised how fast it happens.

The first two photographs were taken 5 hours apart yesterday, the third today. Dramatic, I'm sure you'll agree.

Charms of goldfinches up to 20 strong are flitting about noisily around the various clumps of teasel - they love the seeds. Random wildflowers are emerging in the meadow - an ox-eye daisy, and another flora incognita find, a pink flower called a musk mallow.

But the autumn rains are falling and now we have the damp greens of October setting in, and in Nottinghamshire, a new lockdown setting in. 

Plough on, is all I can do.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 07.10.20

Monday 5 October 2020

New Fitness Tracker

 Sorry for the lack of recent content, but the weather has been rancid and I've not been getting out walking as I'd like.

I'm also suffering from a bit of a lack of motivation. Crazy though it sounds, when my old Fitbit tracker bit the dust a few weeks ago, I found it harder to get out there and get racking the step count up. 

So today, I went out and bought a new Huawei Band 4 tracker, with HR and GPS capability (through my phone). I'm hoping it will motivate me to work out more again and shed some of the chub I've put on since returning to work, as well as improving my mental health which has also been a bit up and down lately. 

I've been out running with it - I got drenched - and I also used it during my virtual spin class earlier. To say it was only £29.99 it has far more features than the more expensive Fitbit as well as a pretty colour display. It also charges directly via USB rather than any weird magnetic cradle.

I'll let you know more as I keep using it.

In the nature world, we are well and truly in autumn now, hence the birds at work are flocking up. There are flocks of goldfinch working through the teazel, feeding off the seeds while making spacey sounding calls.

Rabbits are being hit by cars, providing food for the local buzzard family, while the kestrel has resumed hunting, its slim form mastering the breezes and hovering above the long grass. 

I remember coming across partridge at work, but not for a long time now. I wonder where they went.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 06.10.20