Pandemic Pondering #446

An unplanned Sunday trip to our favourite beach, Harlyn.

Unplanned, because G7 security on the roads into Cornwall was very high Friday and early Saturday and we didnt really want to get stuck in road closures further down. Things relaxed a bit later on Saturday, once the Queen had left. She also did a Cheap Day Return trip by train because she had  Trooping the Colour to attend and some baking to do before POTUS arrived on Sunday for tea. Too bad really as she had practiced her look for the ‘ Festival vibe bar-b-que’ at G7 on Saturday night’

©Juno Rooms

Inexplicably but just like any other conference the male politicians turned up in the same suit they had been wearing for several days.

©Andrew Parsons/ No. 10

With the Queen busy elsewhere we tentatively planned an early Sunday morning trip. The traffic was unusually light and we arrived at our usual field with plenty of space to park the camper van.

Hugo and Lola were excited to be back. Christmas Day was the last time we were here.

The early morning sun lit up the clusters of mussels.

We were almost as excited as the dogs to get the first swim of the day done.

Harlyn is not a ‘ Bobbing’ beach. The waves are a good bit more rufty- tufty than our usual waters, coastguards show the safe places to swim We strode in assertively and did proper swimming in between having masses of water dumped on us by the powerful waves.

Lola also took to the sea, and was very proud of herself.

The mid portion of the day was spent keeping dogs cool and reading books and newspapers. Unusually there was some really good coffee available from the beach cafe.

Although the artwork was a bit counterintuitive, why depict one of the worlds most colourful artists in black and white?

A quiet, peaceful afternoon was temporarily disturbed by large helicopters circling the sky above nearby Newquay airport. Then AirForce 1 flew over the camper van taking POTUS off to Windsor Castle for afternoon tea, away from G7. We made do with camping tea which was lovely.

The afternoon swim was lively, we all got well dumped on by the powerful waves. I tried, and mostly failed to use my silky water filter on the phone camera.

An unexpectedly successful day at the beach. Sleepy dogs on the way home.

Pandemic Pondering #445

A funny thing has happened as we ease out of lockdown. The sight of ferries in and out of Plymouth is a normal every day event, but of course nothing has been normal for a while.

So when a ferry emerged out of the mist all the bobbers went a little bit silly and took loads of photos of the ferry . Which I thought I would share this morning. Even Coach took time out to capture the entirely normal event of a ferry docking.

I suppose it is a sign of some normality returning, and something else to share our water with.

While it might seem odd to swim near such big boats,the warmer seas have bought us another more colourful neighbour.

The Purple Stinger. © The Wildlife Trust

The ferry is the better option. Happy Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #444

Where to begin on Thursdays big day out! The beginning seems like a plan.

Dense sea mist as I left Cornwall, on the scenic railway.

I love the feeling of arriving at a London train terminus , the hubbub of people and anticipation is always a little intoxicating. Paddington, the station which serves the west of Britain, has all that and a much loved bear.

Farringdon was my tube station of choice, perfect timing as my friend Marc was just at the entrance as I arrived. Station to the first bar of the day about 30 seconds!

Next stop the Catheter Labs of St Bartholomews Hospital to hug my friends and colleagues. We really needed hugs!

Hugs and stories of the last 18 months, loads of emotion. The reason for the visit was that my lovely colleague Helen was working her last day in the NHS. Time for a limited numbers leaving party.

In the shadow of St Pauls.

We gathered for more hugs, stories, speeches and general happiness.

All the huggers in these pictures are tested regularly, physical health ✓ Hugging is amazing for mental health✓

When the night was over we did a circumnavigation of St Pauls because we love it.

Before heading once again for Farringdon Station via St Bartholomews for a photo or two.

This swanky bar is a holder of memories. The cardiac on call rooms overlook it and it used to be the location of classrooms where St Bartholomews students did their academic training.

A quick walk through Smithfield meat market, soon to be the new Museum of London.

and we were back at Farringdon. Time for a parting of the ways. Helen to the East and me to the West.

Time for me to jump on the GWR Night Riviera and head back to Cornwall. A Cheap Day Return train ticket very well used!

Pandemic Pondering#442

Quite a red letter day @theoldmortuary . Nearly time to get on a train and take a trip to my old workplace. St Bartholomews Hospital in the City of London.

I’ve always loved the contrast of City and Country/Coastal life. Today is a fine day to leave Cornwall. A huge blanket of fog has settled on the peninsular over the last 24 hours. Somewhat perverse as the Worlds press has descended on the area to cover the G7 meeting. The famed beauty of Cornwall is wearing a murky mask just like rest of us. The slow trickle of VIP helicopters on Tuesday never got going yesterday and film crews search for scenic backdrops is going to be fruitless for a day or two. Yesterday was Ocean Day, our tiny corner of the Atlantic didn’t really make an appearance.

Luckily the ‘ bobbers’ brought some colour to the coast.

Picture not taken yesterday!

Last nights swim was really pleasant at 14 degrees and a high tide that we could just step straight into. Not a single photo opportunity that would lift anyone’s spirits though!

Luckily for tomorrows blog I’m briefly off to the bright lights.

A sign of a good night out in London has always been how late a return to home is. With the certainty of a train timetable I know I will be getting home at 5:30 am. Great night out guaranteed even under Pandemic restrictions and by 10:30 I will be back in the sea.

This is how dense the fog is, there is a house 10 yards from this wall.

Pandemic Pondering #441

Domestic admin was the unplanned event of yesterday. There are times when unplanned events can make a days outlook not dissimilar to this beautiful sheep. Thankfully the whole day was not so complex. The day was not particularly photogenic so the illustrations to the text come from the Cornwall County show held on this day a few years ago. The big event in Cornwall this week is the G7 conference. Our garden bookclub meeting, where we discussed a novel that was somewhat sympathetic to fascists was slightly disturbed by some very heavy duty helicopters flying overhead. The cows in the surrounding fields did not bat an eyelid.

There is something incongruous about nattering in an English country garden while the hardware of defence passes overhead. But it is good to be in the company of people who are happy to talk, a lot, about a book with a difficult subject at its heart.

Our evening was also spent deep in conversation as our friends Sophie and Stephanie came over for supper. We haven’t seen Sophie for a long while.

Not such heavy topics as the afternoon . Among other things we discussed the drinking habits of the first Professor Dumbledore and Darth Vaders codpiece, and of course with G7 in mind the navigational aids used by miliary helicopters. Do they still follow the railway line into Cornwall or are there more sophisticated options available?

Steph and I have been friends forever and our families are intertwined. I think that is why we can talk nonsense for a whole evening.

Pandemic Pondering #440

Memory is a funny old thing. Over the weekend we have been travelling the roads of North Devon in search of beauty, coffee and cake. We found it all.

What I hadn’t expected to find was loads of memories. For many years I was part of a team that provided medical services to remote parts of North Devon. A very different part of the world to bustling, cosmopolitan Brighton where I had moved from. At the time my patients would have all been born between 1925 and 1940.

I realise now what interesting conversations I had with those people. Geographically isolated in communities that had changed very little since the end of the first world war. I heard first hand the sort of reminiscences and experiences that were almost unimaginable 30 years ago and impossible currently. Not all the memories shared by these people were positive, bad things can and did happen in beautiful places. I realise now how lucky I was to have spent working in such an interesting place. Returning as a tourist was a fantastic memory jogger.

Pandemic Pondering #439

Yesterdays ‘bob’ was a little different. A nearly 10 mile walk, enlivened by lemon cake and tea in the clifftop village of Mortehoe before we descended to Barricane beach for a dip.

Fresh Foxgloves and lots of mud was the reward of walking after a day of heavy rain.

After serious refreshment in the village of Mortehoe, made prosperous by farming, smuggling/wrecking and tourism we descended down to the coast. Farming and smuggling created beautiful architecture, tourism less so. But what humans can make ugly nature can improve, and the views on the way down were spectacular.

Nature and cultivation pulled out the stops too.

Barricane Beach, a small rocky cove was hugely enhanced by sunshine and the fragrance of curry being prepared. Sri Lankan Curries are the evening speciality of this amazing location, prepared by the Barricane Beach Cafe. Please go to their website below for photographs of the actual beach . I managed not to take a single picture!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Beach/Barricane-Beach-Woolacombe-163881457003060/

An hour or so of resting in the sun, was followed by some wonderful swimming/ bobbing as the tide came in and a first time ever experience of freshly served curry to warm us up as soon as we emerged from the waves.

Not a bad day at all!

Pandemic Pondering #438

On reflection. True to many British holidays, we’ve taken the van away for a couple of days and the weather has turned to persistent precipitation. So small tasks in the van have filled some of the time. Fitting a usable mirror has long been a project. Today we achieved with Superglue something that we are both happy with.

We are on a campsite with shared WiFi so connection to the internet is sketchy due to the number of people stuck in tents, caravans and campervans. So research for this blog is not so easy. But I vowed to use the first photos that came out of my cloud using the search, reflection.

I’m sure I could have waffled on about anything that appeared but the two pictures of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong give me huge pleasure. Victoria Harbour has been in my life all my life. My nightlight as a small person showed the twinkling lights of Victoria Harbour, now it is the home of treasured but distant family members.

These pictures were taken in June 2019 long before we had ever considered a life with such unimaginable restrictions and deprivations as those we live with now. 2019 a year when we thought humans had control! Little did we know.

Maybe it is best to reflect on the little things in life. The small achievements , the things we do still have control over. Hanging a mirror perhaps.

Pandemic Pondering #437

Goodness it has been a busy couple of weeks. In reality what I’m probably saying, in the context of 16 months of living through a World Pandemic. Is that I’ve had a couple of almost normal weeks. It is not my body that has noticed, particularly, but my mind. I constantly worry that I have forgotten something but actually haven’t, so far.

Yesterday I introduced a Tamar Valley friend to Tranquility bay. Tranquility Bay is just to the east of the perilously swirling waters of Devils Point where the River Tamar enters Plymouth Sound. She lives with her family,near the river, in the Historically Industrial and Horticultural areas about 10 miles upstream. It is surprising how little known these beautiful and unspoilt beaches are, even to people who live fairly close by. Seeing somewhere familiar through new eyes is always enlightening . Also because I was not swimming the dogs got to walk there too so it was a double bonus visit.

Visits for bobbing at Tranquility Bay have been quite social events this week. Family members coming along to bask in the sun and see the location of our year round swimming ( bobbing) adventures. Today was a red letter day, visitors and a full turnout of the new hoodies.

Tranquility Bay and Devils Point did not allow us to be the only vibrant attractions.

Even a flower was out being vivid  while clinging to the wall.

All this activity fueled by a Hutong Bagel!

The same bagel is attempting camouflage on the header image.