Sunday 10 December 2023

The Arrival of Winter

 Finally, after a nasty cold snap, we have returned to the usual normality of early winter these days; heavy rain and stormy winds blowing my mini greenhouse over. 

But it was a bitter time for a few days, the sort of times I hate because of cycling to work with agonised Raynaud Syndrome hands surrounded by maniac drivers. We had a surprisingly heavy snowfall one evening that was slushified by rain the next day, with really hard frosts sandwiching it. 

The bad weather and painful ankle has made having my walks difficult; I dislike walking in icy conditions after smashing my elbow a few years ago. But I've been out a few times, looking at the new sights that winter brings us round here. I've been treated to delightful flocks of goldfinches twittering noisily as they feed of teasel heads, and pure white little egrets shining in the sun as they fly past my office window.

On the Blue Lake, goosander have returned, seemingly getting earlier every year, and flocks of long tailed tits work the trees lapped by the water. And in my container garden, crocus spears and allium shoots have re-appeared, although other bulbs I've planted haven't yet.

Today, with mild and dry conditions, I set out on a snowdrop hunt in the cemetery - and I found them too! In the same place they always appear first.

With the world as it is, it is re-assuring that wildflowers re-appear every year. The world keeps going, just as I try to.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 10.12.23

Monday 20 November 2023

Meandering Along

 Hello readers.

Been pretty inactive lately, over which I feel very guilty. I've had a cold, sciatica, and other medical unpleasantness going on which has taken my enthusiasm for being outside away. The dark days and early sunsets aren't helping either. 

I did get a good run in last night, about 7km, but today my ankle is making me pay for it. At least I did some gardening, if you can call weeding planters and planting a few bulbs the names of which I've already forgotten gardening. Typically, there was light drizzle while I was doing this. 

The world without pollinators feels a sad one, I haven't seen a bee or a butterfly in a couple of weeks, it feels like. November always feels so bleak to me; At least in December I can start hunting for snowdrops and aconite again; they seem to get earlier every year. 

So yes, I'm suffering from autumn blues I guess. I hope you are all doing well.


Monday 6 November 2023

Wading Time

 Sadly not a post about spotting wading birds, but rather a walk at the weekend in the rain.

I've had a sore back the last couple of weeks, as well as a cold, so I've not been out too much. Determined to go out on Saturday despite the rain, I went out in full waterproofs and wellingtons, wellingtons I've only worn once before, and headed down to the park to see how the flooding was going. 

Well the water has receded somewhat, but the heavy rain that day was making them rise again, and a lot of the path by the River Devon was underwater. However, with wellies on, I was able to power on through! 

I felt ever so slightly adventurous, rather than slow and lazy for a change. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 06.11.23

Wednesday 25 October 2023

The Flooded Town

 Well, Storm Babet hit us much harder than it initially seemed it would. There was a day of strongish wind and a bit of rain, then a calm Thursday, but Friday it suddenly started raining and blowing a hoolie unexpectedly. 

Apparently, some sort of atmospheric block up north skewed the storm back down the east coast, and a month of rain fell in twenty four hours, blocking roads, cutting off villages and creating a lot of misery in places like Lowdham and Retford, that visits from a government minister - Teresa Coffey - did very little to alleviate, to say the least. 

Here, the Trent and Devon burst their banks, and also the vast housing developments on the edge of town caused hitherto non flood plain areas finding themselves underwater as the water ran off the estates. 

The cricket club is underwater, of course, as is the rugby club. Devon Pastures in the park was turned into a lake. A charity duck race has been cancelled, as it was feared the ducks would end up in the North Sea rather than the lock as they were supposed to. 

All that rain gave me a cold too. 


All text and images copyright Cream Crackered Nature 25.10.23

Monday 16 October 2023

Red Admirals and Ivy Bees

 We are deep into autumn now, the last of the hirundids are gone and the winter thrushes are arriving from Scandinavia. Locally the feral geese are arriving at their favourite muddy field down by the river. Cold morning cycling has returned, so its buffs, hats and gloves for me on my commute. 

But there are still bright days and enough verbena and ivy in flower to attract pollinators. The hardy red admirals, always the last butterfly on the wing every year, are still plentiful, and although it took me a while, I found my first ivy mining bee of the season.

I have upped my running, getting in a 10km run at one point, and it certainly seems to be helping with my mental health and burning off excess ADHD energy and reducing tourette tics. 

So let me show you what I've seen while out and about, and I hope you like it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 16.10.23

Thursday 5 October 2023

Autumn is Here

 It's October, one of what I think of as my two "doom" months, where wildlife and flora declines and everything goes green and brown, until December where the first snowdrops appear indicating that spring is on the way. 

I've restarted running now the cricket season is over. It was a painful and slow start, by golly gee I get so stiff now after a run compared to my younger days. But after a few weeks, I'm back under 30 minutes for 5km, so I've still got a bit of fitness left. 

It really helps with my mental health too, burning up some of that Tourette's and ADHD energy that would be otherwise used in highly constructive pursuits like waving my arms around, or hurting my already tic destroyed neck that is waking me up every morning with painful little spasms. 

The odd hirundid makes its way over the workplace, where the kestrel has resumed hunting after breeding season, and buzzards try and find thermals on the brighter days. Hopefully with the warm weekend forecast they will be able to do that.

But as thing stand now, rain is falling on the washing on my line. First world problems eh?


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.10.23

Sunday 24 September 2023

Life on the Sedum

 There's nothing at work but bristly ox tongue, but on Sconce Park there are still plants in bloom that the pollinators love. 

The deep pink sedum that grows in the "Mini Sconce" in front of the cafe is proving particularly attractive to honey bees, and after I have had my cup of tea and old school can of Barr's lemonade, I like to go over and have a look and see who is having dinner there.

This post then, is just an excuse to put up a lovely photo I managed to get of two bees. I hope you like it.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.09.23

Thursday 21 September 2023

Some Butterfly Studies

 I've started properly running again, to burn up some of that excessive Tourette and ADHD energy and for the good of my mental health. It is certainly proving to be more helpful in this regard than cricket has been; my bowling has sort of sine waved from awful to good and back to awful again. 

But cricket is over now, and I'm trying to capture what ever buzzers and flutterers I can before autumn takes a proper grip and everything goes to sleep until spring. 

So enjoy these studies I've taken of a couple of butterflies that were obliging enough to give me a good luck as they warmed themselves up in the sun. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 21.09.23