Monday, August 15, 2011

Spiders, cricket and BMX fun

Steatoda Nobilis

Seems that where we live is the rare spider capital of the UK or is it that I'm just interested in this kind of stuff? Got up this morning and we had an odd looking spider in the washing up bowl unable to get out and having had several incidences of Steatoda Grossa's in the house and garage and having done some research into false black widows I recognised that this one looked like a Steatoda Nobilis. So I took it outside and shot some pic's of it on my Canon G9 and let it go in the plam tree thing outside the front door which is full of spiders including a Steatoda Grossa a couple of months ago. This is the shots of the Steatoda Nobilis below.

The Cricket bit

So today was the last day of my holiday and having been at Marks studio all week I was able to get out in the paddock with Joe and Ben and have a knock about bowling with my new bowling action which features dip and spin and the occasional bit of drift. But we played with the plastic balls without a seam and it wasn't quite happening for me except for the dip as this was then producing exceptional bounce out of the dip. Ben dealt with much of it in his stride and does appear to be improving quite a bit and this was using the skinny training bat.

The BMX bit
Towards the end of the day another idea I'd had a few days ago off the back of Joe going on one of those paid play schemes which are bit like a one day PGL thing, was to make a BMX time trial track in the woods. The initial idea was that it was going to be in the wooded area directly behind where the stumps are set in the paddock, but having gone in there and had a look around I realised that it was too compact. We all went in and had a look around at the existing tracks and decided that the existing loop in the woods indicated by the extended yellow lines in the ariel shot below was too long and we cut a new path through the brambles and under-growth to create a smaller track. Fortunately, very little work was required to clear it and within half an hour we had a pathway on which you could force the bikes through whilst getting scratched all over the arms.

Initial time trials were set with with times of in excess of 1:45 seconds, but by the end of the evening the record was set by me at 45 seconds all round, with Ben following up at 52 seconds, so as they get used to it I reckon my time of 45 seconds should be beaten. Click here for a video of the course ridden by Joe, taking it easy, he does it here in about 1:15 -

The image above is where Joe didn't get round the corner from coming out of the woods and into the paddock successfully and end up almost ripping his goolies off!

Ben races across the paddock into the final straight.

Ben taking the tight corner out of the woods into the paddock with more success than Joe above,

Ben racing through the woods.

How long this will keep them entertained is anyones guess, there is the potential to get hurt and that may put a stop to it, but they're looking at the longer track now as another option and that's potentially more exciting as it's got a good ditch with a dip in it and being longer more potential for the time margins not to be so tight and unachievable if someone sets a good initial time. Added to that, there's the option of doing both courses the opposite way and endless variations if you're going to go further into the woods! Fun times ahead I reckon, with loads of brambles and branch scratches.