Monday 31 July 2023

Losing in the Drizzle

 Sunday saw us heading off to the beautiful village green surroundings of Cropwell, a ground that is part of a nature reserve, seems to be much beloved of the local swallows, and is surrounded by areas of wildflowers. We were also due to have an actual tea, which had caused a lot of pre-match anticipation as we don't get them very often in the post covid world.

A terrible pity, in the view of most of us. 

The wicket was immaculate, and try, but turned out to be rather slow. As was my fielding having already played on Saturday of which more anon. 

Cropwell are a mixed ability side, with a couple of decent players, and a lot of social players, which is absolutely fine for a Sunday side. We too were mixed, with a couple of very good players, with the standard dropping down to myself, and a couple of guys who came with one of our better players, one of whom was French and had never played the game before. But they were nice chaps, and unlike myself had the ability to move. 

We batted first in a thirty over game, and made an excellent start with our first team opener - as ever watched by his dog - and the player who had brought his friends with him, getting us to about 90 before drinks, and the enforced retirement of our opener on 50, a fine knock indeed.  

Our batting after that was a bit less fluent, but we still got to 148, helped by my hopeless flailing 2 before I deliberately got out to let one of the new players have a bat. And to get off the ground as I had lost my white trousers somehow and was thus reduced to playing in orange shorts. 

After descending on the tea like a pack of polite hyenas, we took to the field to bowl, and the same guy who had flayed us for 50 last year did exactly the same thing as the drizzle set in for the afternoon and the swooping swallows took themselves out of the rain. 

At halfway drinks they were on about 90 as well, and we knew we had a game on our hands, complicated by the fact that being a mixed ability side we kept having to "turn the bowling up and down", a commonplace event in friendly games. I came on and bowled like a drain for two overs, probably fatally for our prospects, before sorting myself out and bowling two ok-ish overs. Even unleashed my new quicker arm ball. Which I don't spin, not that it makes a difference. 

A tense finish ensued in the rain. Wickets fell, a soapy wet ball caused full tosses. Last over came up with Cropwell 7 down and four runs needed, which they did indeed get. 

Sad to lose, but it was a fun game, and we got free chips afterwards, so bad moods were soothed somewhat.

Apart from mine about by bowling. 


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 31.07.23

Monday 24 July 2023

Moar Butterflies

 About the only day the sun managed to show its big yellow face last week, two things that had changed in the world of butterflies locally were revealed.

1) A big migration of red admirals had arrived.

2) There was a mass emergence of second flight peacocks.

(There's also a third, I suppose - I'm wondering if some of the small skippers I'm seeing are actually essex skippers)

They are particularly fond of flowering teasel and clearly don't mind the prickles!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 24.07.23

Monday 17 July 2023

Burnet Moths and Bumbles

 Some years at work, we have had scores of five spot burnet moths colonising the larger thistles and teasel flowers at work. Sometimes you would see twenty of these delightful faerieland creatures on an individual flower, a wonderful sight to behold.

Sadly this hasn't been the case in the last couple of years. As you may have seen on this blog, I have found individual moths, but not the thriving, writhing masses weighing down a single plant. 

So the sighting of a single rather tired looking specimen was pleasant, yet also rather sad. 

But we still have plenty of butterflies, with second flights of small tortoiseshell around, migrant red admirals, and tiny brown argus sneaking amongst the long grass. We have a beautiful linnet flock, and chiff chaffs are still calling. Lots of bumblebees on ragwort and thistle. Lots to see. 

I'm just keeping my eyes, and my mind, open.


All text and images copyright CreamCRackeredNature 17.06.23

Tuesday 11 July 2023

Sconce Park Butterflies

 No cricket for me, as yet again the match I'd spent days preparing a team for an organising was cancelled by the opposition, officially due to overnight rain - the ground was bone dry at 10am - but more likely due to a severe case of couldn't be arsed-ness. 

Much disappointment for my team-mates and myself. We've only been able to play 5 games out of 11...

Si, in bright warm sunshine, I took myself to the park, to take in the open air, have a cup of tea, and photograph the plentiful butterflies that were around. 

A beautiful newly emerged comma would not co-operate, chased away from its perfectly posed spot by a marauding specked wood, but I managed to get some decent shots of other species - small tortoiseshell, holly blue and a rather tatty green veined white. 

I got a cup of tea, and settled down on my usual bench at the cafe to read. I've suddenly regained my love for reading which I seemed to lose during the pandemic, and take joy and peace in reading outside, be it at the park or in my garden in the early evening. 

So I was still able to make something positive out of a disappointing day.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 11.07.23

Wednesday 5 July 2023

The Butterflies of High Summer

 As you may have noticed, or not, during this rather dull spell of weather we've been having, it is now high summer, and the butterflies we are now seeing at work are those typical of that season. 

No longer are the orange tips and brimstones on the wing, and the early season butterflies like commas and holly blues are in between flights at the moment. Instead we have the grassland butterflies like the meadow brown and the ringlet, just recently joined now by the gatekeeper and other species. 

Our workplace meadow is now over for the year; instead our camous is now bedecked in thistles, ragwort and flowering teasel. These are rather less attractive plants to look at, but still, they have an important function to play as food plants for pollinators. 

So let me present to you some photographs of these species, with the bonus of a beautiful brown argus. The good thing about the cooler weather, is that the butterflies are rather slower moving!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 05.07.23

Monday 3 July 2023

Pints and Run Outs

 I wasn't captain, for our home Sunday game against West Bridgford Legion, but as I arrived at the ground an hour before the match and spent time giving myself rope burns sorting out the entire boundary, I sure felt like I was. 

As I did when finding the scorebook, rooting around for a match ball, and wondering anxiously if eleven players would actually show up after a major club drinking session the night before. 

But, they did, albeit very hungover, and rather more interested in watching Ben Stokes bat in the test match than our own lads as we batted first against a very friendly opposition side, one of whom was enjoying the bar facilities liberally while he fielded at deep square leg with pints hidden behind the scoreboard. 

We had a strange sort of innings, with fast scoring but regular wickets falling as the pitch proved be a bit two paced. A deluge of extras courtesy of a pace bowler with a distinctly suspect action helped move things along, but every so often a ball would keep low and castle the stumps. Thankfully one of our bats stuck it out brilliantly and helped us to a competitive total of 161.

I got a rare go with the bat at number 10, and failed to score by trying out a ridiculous slog sweep third ball to a dead straight one that knocked my middle stump out of the ground, while the third team captain stood there essentially telling me how rubbish I was. Well, it was, and I was. 

Not batting for long did give me a chance to explore the thistles growing at one end of the ground, finding another bee mimic hoverfly while a small tortoiseshell mooched around in the long grass. The local buzzards were aloft too. 

With the test match now over, and hangovers eased, our team seemed a bit more interested in fielding. When our young and rather too fast for the occasion fast bowler ripped the stumps apart of a couple of their batters, before we decided to rest him and let other bowlers have a go. One of those being myself.

After a horrendously awful net session on Thursday, I thought I was going to be blasted all around the park, but it went ok, with me snaring their opening bat with a ball that turned and bounced on him, before the skipper caught it nonchalantly one handed. So, one wicket in my first spell with this sort of flightly style of not very off spin I've developed.

Wickets fell regularly, apart from one of the Legion's lads who scored a very decent 50, his first ever. I did get him caught out right at the end though as we done by 25 runs. 

Probably the most noteworthy thing that happened was that I registered my first ever credited run out, the fact that it was a terrible throw that the keeper was only just able to gather didn't matter to me, I felt rather pleased with myself. 

Another Sunday victory in the bag, five from five!


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 03.07.23