Thursday, 13 May 2021

A Female Orange Tip

 Warmish day today, in so much as this spring we are conditioned to regard 15C as "warm" and consequently a few butterflies were out an about at work today.

Well, to be strictly accurate, 3 butterflies.

The first I saw was a slightly battered looking peacock that I couldn't get near as I had to cast it in shadow as I moved towards it as it rested on the hawthorn blossom, which is just so lavish at the moment. 

Another was a male orange tip, which I was happy to see as I think they've had a hard time during this rather rotten spring, but it never settled.

What I did manage to capture was a female orange tip, which parked itself on some cranesbill and allowed me to photograph it half decently for a change.

I also think I've found my cricket bowling mojo again after practice tonight.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.05.21

Sunday, 9 May 2021

A Thrilling Game of Cricket

 Today, we entertained Norwell at our home ground, in a game that very nearly didn't go ahead.

After all the rain yesterday, the outfield had dried up, but there had been no opportunity to prepare a proper wicket - the cut strip was saturated and unrolled and some at the club suggested the game should be cancelled because of this.

Luckily our Sunday captain didn't agree, and selflessly went down and sat on the moto-roller like a boss, going up and down until we had something that looked like a wicket. And he painted the lines on and stuff too.

No one would ever let me drive the roller, because they'd have deaths on their hands. 

So we had a game to play, but we knew that the wicket would be a real pudding - you could almost put your finger through it, it was like plasticine. Hence we shortened the game to 30 overs a side from 40, because turgid wickets supposedly make for turgid cricket, and no-one fancied 6 hours of that even though the weather was ok.

So it proved when we batted. The ball scarely got over ankle high and came on so slowly it was impossible to time. The ball was hitting the back of the bat, the toe end, the edge...but hardly ever the middle. It took us 16 overs to hit a boundary, I think we only hit 3 in all, and only two of our bats got more than 20 it was that much of a struggle for them.

I had a good view of a lot of this as I was on waving my arms around umpiring duties, which I do very well. I like signalling 4, even though I only got to do it once. This of course is my only contribution to the batting side of things as I seemingly always have to bat at 11 and never have to go in. Hopefully I'll get a crack at some point. 

We were never able to put pedal to the metal, and finished on 105 for 7.

Naturewise, chaffinches were giving it some hammer singing in the trees, and there were some interesting solitary bees kicking about on the dandelions. I got some good laps of the ground in, got to get to 20000 steps on match days!

We went out into the field with no idea of what the opponents were like as a batting side. However, you could quickly tell by looking who was going to be any good or not, and indeed one of the openers we all instinctively knew would have his stumps splayed by the first straight one he got.

It took him 4 balls, but our opening bowler proved us right. 

Another wicket followed to our youngest player, who bowled extremely well on the day, but the two decent bats - one of them plays for Caunton in Division G on Saturdays where he recently scored 65 - dug in and eventually began to score a few runs.

The scoring of runs was largely aided by the appearance of yours truly coming on to bowl. I started horribly, unable to pitch the ball up, and the pea rolling balls were slapped into the outfield although thankfully the fact that the boundary seemed to be 200 yards away on one side stopped me from going for loads of boundaries. And when I did get the ball up, they were swatting the ball across the line for runs and when I threw one up outside off stump it got blattered for 4 through mid off. 

I'm always a horribly slow starter at bowling, especially when I'm still very underbowled early season. 

However, I did improve over by over, although frustrated at the lack of pace I have these days I was still able to swing the ball a little bit, and the best bat nearly inside-edged onto the stumps 4 times, adding to my frustration. 

They needed 28 off the last ten overs and the game looked dead and buried.

It was my 5th over where it all started to happen. The gun bat out of nowhere, perhaps his own frustration at being unable to hit me out of the park, chipped me to mid on where our opening bowler took a great catch as the ball dipped on him, and then a few balls later I got the other good bat finally LBW as he swung across the line yet again.

He was really pissed off at the decision, but it was taking his middle stump out of the ground. I was pleased with my appeal as well, it was a down on one knee prolonged yell. It had to go on for a long time as it took an age for the umpire to get his finger up even though it was as plumb as a plum.

I thought that was my last over. I was wrong...

While all this was going on, and I was going for a few runs, the other bowlers were keeping it very tight. And as it turned out, I had prised the gate open, for our opening bowler returned and tore through the middle order who really did not look like cricketers at all. Our youngest did the same, and they weren't scoring any runs at all hardly. 

There was much yelling and excitement on the pitch from us; I hadn't been involved in game this close for a long while. 

At 97 for 8, they needed 9 off the last over. And guess who had to bowl it.

I've never bowled a "death over" before, and I wasn't exactly looking forward to bowling this one either. I'm not what you would call a "two spells" bowler, as I tend to stiffen up after bowling. Also, nerves. 

I was bricking it, basically, and rightly so. My first ball was feeble and short and went for two. The batsman, who was their captain, then tried to launch one over the rope but only skied it mightily, but the catch was dropped. Next ball, yorker, just went for a single. 

Then things all went to hell, as I bowled two horrible no ball full tosses in a row. I felt horribly resigned at this point, thinking I was going to cost us the game. Next ball however was just about ok and went for no run.

Last ball. 4 runs needed to win. The fielders scattered. I ran in, the batsman walked down the wicket, swung mightily...and missed the ball completely. 

I had got away with it. I don't recall ever being congratulated so much on a cricket field. 

So there you go. I'll never be consistently good, or indeed any good at all. But I have my moments on the cricket field here and there...


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 09.05.21

Saturday, 8 May 2021

More Workplace Insects

 Friday was slightly better weatherwise, in marked contrast to today where it rained pretty much continually until about 7pm, although not so badly I didn't get out for a two hour walk. 

I wasn't due to play cricket today, which is just as well because every match in Nottinghamshire was rained off, but am in action tomorrow, hopefully not being too rubbish. 

With the weather being rubbish, my photos are from sunnier times yesterday, where a blossoming hawthorn has been attracting a lot of buzzy customers.


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 08.05.21

Thursday, 6 May 2021

Just Some More Insects

 We've gone from it being dry and cold, to wet and cold as this most un-springlike spring continues, so consequently there's not been a lot of insect life about - I haven't seen a butterfly for what feels like two weeks. 

At work, I can watch the carrion crows that have nested next to the lorry park. And take my lunchtime walks past the gorse and hawthorn bushes by a traffic island, where we have had a few buzzers kicking around.

Take today, for instance, where I was lucky enough to accidentally get my best honeybee photos in a little while, as well as a ladybird. 

Tonight I took my fat self to cricket practice, where it got wet and windy very quickly and left me rather bedraggled when I went off to vote. 

Rain stops me not from exercising my democratic right, even in a council election.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 06.05.21

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Just Taking in the Flowers

 Been a cold old weekend, with not a lot to see, but today was a little less cold, so I took myself through the cemetery, and around the two lakes, just to see what was out. 

Meadow saxifrage in the cemetery is the latest new addition, these pretty white blooms adding to those of the wild garlic - my sister has foraged some of the stuff to make pesto down in Bristol apparently. Plenty of bluebells too, but in general a hybridised mess of native and non-native. 

The nicest sight I've had today was in my own garden. The tiny pipistrelle bat who lives in the roof somewhere has woken up for spring, and was fluttering about at twilight. 

It's an incredible flyer!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.05.21

Monday, 26 April 2021

Bimbling to Farndon

 This afternoon I decided to head out to Farndon, specifically to take a look at Cottage Lane nature reserve to see what I might see. 

As it turned out, there wasn't actually a lot going on, it seems to be a place that explodes into colour later in the summer. The chief plant growing was I think lady's smock, and not a whole lot else. 

However, as is often the case, the journey is better than the objective, and today the dandelions were a fruitful source of photo opps, with honey bees, solitary bees and a stunning peacock butterfly all nectaring off the mini yellow suns.

The fields next to the river will soon go yellow too, with buttercups, but not quite yet. 

Swallows are around over the river, but not seeing any house martins yet. Soon there will be swifts, although signs indicate they will be late this year.

I don't blame them, given the cool weather.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 26.04.21

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Freezing to Victory

 Another friendly game today, this time against our old friends from Upton, who we have a long association with and indeed have several players who have turned out for our club - the vice versa also applies. 

The normal captain was away on baseball duties, although he did turn up to watch us later on while eating pizza, so we played under a new captain who is the committee member who has done a fantastic job of getting a full programme of Sunday fixtures for us this season since we dropped out of the Sunday league. Luckily he wasn't mad at me for being a few minutes late as I had some personal stuff to attend to in a hurry. 

He even let me have my choice of bowling ends, which meant yay! No more wind in my face!

It was a high scoring fixture, played on a very slow wicket with an outfield the size of Botswana and in temperatures the exact opposite. It was freezing out there in the wind, especially later on when the sun was setting. My hands were purple. 

I actually bowled a bit better than yesterday, if a little too short at times, and proved to be hard to hit on the low wicket, which I was pleased about as I was mainly bowling to a guy who went on to make a fine century and I'm sure was expecting to be able to hit me into the middle of next week. I didn't take any wickets, but our new players for the fixture bowled very well and did indeed take a few wickets. It helped we got their other dangerous batsman out for not very many.

That being said, they still racked up 219 for 5 at over 5 an over, which as I said to the captain was odd as no-one had bowled badly. Shows how good the century was I suppose. 

Normally this would be far too many for us, but we had a rather stronger team than we normally do for this fixture, including our returning Division A batsman who we all felt was the key to winning the match. 

Rightly, as it turned out.

We made a solid, steady start but found oursevles in a spot of a pickle at 50 or so for 2. Mr Div A, and another player returning to play regularly and was also in fine for, started slowly, but soon began to take the bowling apart although to score a 6 on that ground you'd need to load the ball into a howitzer. I had the pleasure of umpiring for a large chunk of their partnership of around 150, although the pleasure was slightly offset by the feeling that I was umpiring in a chest freezer. 

The star bat retired after he made his way to the century, and with about 20 to go the match was won. A very fine victory to chase down 219.

Augurs well for our new Sunday incarnation.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 25.04.21