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

Saturday 24 April 2021

Back with a Bang

 So, it was time to don the whites again and get out there for a game of cricket, a sort of second team level friendly against West Bridgeford Legion 2s, a team I've played a couple of times in the past  but one that has since been promoted a couple of times into different divisions from the lowly ones I lurk in. 

I got up feeling very very nervous about playing again, even though it was a friendly and no league points were at stake. I always dread being utterly rubbish, usually correctly, and I was very tight in a few of my leg muscles as well as having stomach dwelling fluttering butterflies. So when we ended up fielding first I wasn't feeling terribly good about it.

I was initially banished down to boundary, rather oddly as my shoulders are so buggered at the moment I just can't throw. At all. I had no idea that this meant I was going to be opening the bowling.

My fears looked justified when my first ball turned into a loopy full toss, but somehow their opening bat managed to just spoon the ball gently to square leg where it was gratefully caught. I've taken wickets with my first ball in a match 6 or 7 times now, but never with my first ball of the season! 

I was too embarrassed to even look at the batsman, poor fellow. 

The rest of the over was rather better, a catch was dropped at cover a couple of balls later, and then I was able to bowl the other opener for 0. Two in my first over of the season!

"Don't get the out too quickly, this is a friendly after all" pointed out my captain at mid-off. No fear of that, as things turned out, although when my young opening partner at the other end bowled another batsman, we had them at 15 for 3. This turned out to be the last wicket we took for about 30 overs. 

I bowled ok for a few more overs, then lost my line and length and bowled a few more full tosses and wides as my arm started to drop. I just wasn't bowling with anything like the snap I had in nets, which was incredibly frustrating. I felt a bit deflated and angry, even though 2-23 in 5 overs was hardly disastrous.

I hate bowling when there is a wind that gusts up when you are running in, really puts me off, although the captain thinks that's all in my head a bit. I wish it were that simple. Although I have to realise too that at 48 I'm not going to suddenly turn into Jofra Archer and I'm just going to have to settle for having the odd moment and leave the high energy stuff to the younger kids. 

We were then treated to fine batting instead of crap bowling by me, and the score got away from us, gently at first and then with increasing rapidity, although our new player was extremely good with the ball. We came back strong at the end, keeping them to 196-6 in the end. I fielded mainly on the boundary, which is odd because 1) I'm not very good there, although the same could be said of anywhere and 2) my throwing arm is completely shot.

Being an idiot, I had forgotten a vital piece of my kit and had to nip home to fetch it, by the time I got back we were already a couple of wickets down for about 25. I decided to concentrate and lapping the outfield looking for nature based photo opps. It was a lovely day, although the wind got very cold as the afternoon wore on. The ground looked gorgeous in the sun, buzzards soared overhead and chiff chaffs sang in the trees. Not many bees and butterflies though; the dandelions seem to be less appealing at the moment and they prefer the ground ivy which makes them harder to photograph.

While I did this, to the usual bafflement of other people at the ground, the score moved on through a good partnership between a couple of our younger players. The outfield seemed to have strangely grown and slowed, so we weren't able to score enough boundaries to win, although some late bashings by a couple of our more experienced players got us to 165. My batting wasn't required. 

So match 1 down, no major disasters, I'm still mediocre, life spins onward!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.04.20

Friday 23 April 2021

Wandering to Winthorpe

 A glorious spring day today, well worthy of a decent walk I felt. So, having been to the park for a cup of tea earlier on, I took myself out along the river to Winthorpe village, a walk where even in the less nice parts of the route - such as past the sewage farm - butterflies flitted off the path as I approached, and brimstones and orange tips worked along the hedgerows.

Several large herons were also working too, fishing at the edge of the Trent and like the butterflies, taking  off at my presence and making their way across the water with great, slow wingbeats. 

I was hoping to find photo opps with the yellow fields of oildseed-rape, but although I could smell its cloying scent on the breeze, I never got to see any. 

Winthorpe seems to be a village where they don't mow their verges; they are full of forget me not and dandelion. I hope the pollinators are loving it, I didn't see any there.

Perhaps they didn't like the fact the plants were in the shade.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 23.04.21

Sunday 18 April 2021

And a Few More Buzzers

 Looking down at dandelon is such a profitable thing to do at the moment.

Check out the tiny solitary bee! Barely bigger than a mosquito!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 18.04.21

Tuesday 13 April 2021

Got some Buzzers for you

 We've had a couple of bright days so far this week, and I'm pleased to be able to present to you some really nice bee shots - some interesting species too.

I've got a super capture of a buff tailed bumblebee queen from by Balderton Blue Lake, a slightly lower quality set of what I think is a vestal cuckoo bumblebee judging by the yellow edging of the white tail, some shots of a solitary bee on dandelion which I can't ID, and finally from our cricket ground a hairy footed flower bee working quickly around the ground ivy. 

Too cold for flutterers though, I really haven't seen that many yet this rather chilly spring. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 13.04.21

Saturday 10 April 2021

A Few More First Sightings

 Not really up to a long walk, as my knee is a little sore and I feel very tired - az shot reaction? - but I took myself down the park for an hour to see what I might see. 

It ended up being a very worthwhile enterprise despite the fact it was a cool day that went rather grey while I was out. I spotted a skulking chiff chaff in the old oak wood, and a female orange tip butterfly on the flutter, but of course being female she didn't actually have any orange tips.

Didn't manage to get a photograph of them, however. 

What was more amenable to photography, just about, was a chilly tree bumblebee queen trying to regain her strength, a busy common carder bumblebee feeding off flowering currant, and I finally managed to get a snap of a stunning female tawny mining bee, the most beautiful of our bees in my view, as she fed off hawthorn blossom and filled her weighty saddlebags. 

I was supposed to go and have a spot of solitary cricket practice, but today my body is telling me no.


All text and images copyright CrackeredNatureNature 10.04.21