#631 theoldmortuary ponders.

Sunday sunshine and a bit of tennis. Oh the sun is glorious this weekend. We were up early to enjoy as much of the day as possible.

The tennis club gardens were looking gorgeous in the bright morning sunshine.

Hybrid Peony Bartzilla brought an acidic kick to the border near the tennis court.

The tennis also brought a kick of its own as back muscles complained about the early morning work out. June has arrived and so far she really is flaming. Tonight high tide is at 7 pm and the bobbers are planning a plunge. It will be fab.

#630 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday I was stopped in my tracks by a piece of prose written by Dame Judi Dench. Not being able to match this in any way. I will just share without pondering at all.

“Don’t prioritise your looks my friend, as they won’t last the journey.
Your sense of humour though, will only get better with age.
Your intuition will grow and expand like a majestic cloak of wisdom.
Your ability to choose your battles, will be fine-tuned to perfection.
Your capacity for stillness, for living in the moment, will blossom.
Your desire to live each and every moment will transcend all other wants.
Your instinct for knowing what (and who) is worth your time, will grow and flourish like ivy on a castle wall.
Don’t prioritise your looks my friend,
they will change forevermore, that pursuit is one of much sadness and disappointment.
Prioritise the uniqueness that makes you you, and the invisible magnet that draws in other like-minded souls to dance in your orbit.
These are the things which will only get better.”

#629 theoldmortuary ponders


I’ve made two reels this morning for Facebook and Instagram advertising a communal gardening event in my local area. The links to both are above. The photographs in both are largely the same but for ease I chose two different pieces of accompanying music.

The music choices make a tremendous difference to the sensation of the reel but both accurately reflect the feeling of a beautiful secret garden by the sea. Before doing a Social Media course I was not a “reel’ kind of person but I was persuaded that reels increase engagement. For the most part I am a sound-off kind of person when viewing social media but recently I have realised it can introduce me to music I have never heard before. I’m not sure everyone takes their music/reel combos too seriously so the hit rate for liking reels music is quite low but I am willing to make a small sacrifice to find new musical paths to follow. Although I discovered this music at a funeral, I have shared it on some reels. I hope it makes your 2nd of June jog along on some great notes and proves that even 30 seconds of great music can make a difference.

Readers in London could experience this fabulous man at the Union Chapel on the 10th of June.

More than 30 seconds of mellow sounds. Welcome June, you are most welcome.

#628 theoldmortuary ponders

We have lived in this house for nearly two years. In this period of time the studio has been tidied 5 or 6 times. The most recent was yesterday.

Previous tidying was done because.

1- the studio was the packing box storage area.

2- all of the London flat moved into it.

3- we lost our passports in the move.

4 and 5 the studio is used as a dumping area over Christmas.

6. The studio now needs to be a multi function space. A studio, an exercise area and a playroom for small granddaughters.

The studio has never been tidied for art reasons. Although that remains the primary function of the space. Yesterday felt a little bit like an arty clear out but despite the other tidy-up sessions feeling diligent this was the one that located several lost paintings. Paintings that I couldn’t remember selling but also couldn’t find. Some of them have been missing for years.  Finding them was such a treat. One especially, of pumpkins, makes me so satisfied to have him back in the portfolio. But just now trying to find the picture for this blog he is once again not to be found.

I am very vexed. In a similar style to my poor care of the studio my Instagram page has suffered from me paying more attention to other Instagram accounts. These pictures are my Instagram grids. Loads of lovely images, interesting subjects but I really need to get paintbrush to paper very soon and get more art on there. But today I am satisfied with a tidy studio, procrastination at its finest.

#627 theoldmortuary ponders

Drinking out of a blue glass in the back yard.

A grey morning has quickly made me realise how wonderful the recent sunshine has been. The beauty of planning to do holiday type stuff, but from home and then getting great weather is that the pressure is off. There is no need to make the most of every moment because you are ‘away’

A forest of Echium at dusk.

Not being away, we gave ourselves permission to watch a couple of dramas over the long weekend. Great dramas for certain but rather too close to home for us.

Maryland on ITV x and Supernova on BBC. Both recommended by friends and coincidentally both about planned suicide by someone in the mid-stages of Dementia.

Both of our mothers died traumatic deaths. My mother had early onset dementia that started in her early 40’s and had her well and truly gripped by 50. Hannah’s mother was killed by a car in her early seventies as she walked her dog. Neither of them planned suicide. But Dramas always use leitmotif to punctuate the air with acid sharp poignancy. They are a stab in our hearts and souls and are seemingly unavoidable but two consecutive dramas using them exhausted us over the long weekend. Hence the blue illustrations, by the end of the second one we were tearful and sad, incapable of cooking or eating supper.

How do these things affect people with no experience of such moments? Do they set the scene and give depth and umami to the drama. A patina of feeling or experiencing something that most people are lucky enough not to experience.

Our list.

The first time your mum does not recognise you.

Identifying a body in a mortuary with a Police Officer.

Being allocated a Social Worker or a family liaison officer.

The sound effects of a car on human collision.

Police officer at the door.

Air ambulance flying over head.

Having to rescue a dementing parent from a difficult or dangerous situation that they have placed themselves in.

I realise this might seem a bit glum, and we were pretty glum having daftly watched two sad dramas with no light intermission. But my point, now I have got to it, is that writers could construct drama that is entertaining and informative without using this ‘bingo-card’of set scenarios. A clear indication that they are simply writing fiction with no depth of empathy or experience. Just ticking off boxes for dramatic and entertaining effect.

All that moaning, I would still recommend them as a good watch. But not back to back.

#626 theoldmortuary ponders

And that, my friends, was quite the Bank Holiday Weekend. So much went on and all close to home. Most importantly new bean bags arrived for me to lounge on in the garden. Lola found a jacuzzi at Buckfast Abbey in the early morning sun.

A small person came to visit.

The mums still insisted on taking us for walks in the early morning and evening when things were cooler. There is no way I can share the wonderful sniffs on here,or the great places we chose to eliminate but I can say that Lola drinking the jacuzzi water was not a smart idea. Some arty sunset shots were taken.

And apparently some bobbing occurred, although we are never invited.

Boule was attempted.

A good weekend, had by all.

#625 theoldmortuary ponders

Using a prompt today, not because I was lost for a subject to ponder, but more because there is always something to ponder.

Early morning pondering in the van, waiting for coffee. Two dogs on my lap.

What are you good at?

I’ve always been a ponderer and on the whole pondering is a private occupation, unless a daily blog is written. So with some self judgement I would say that I am a particularly avid and accomplished ponderer. Being good at something carries responsibilities, I have been accused of having too vivid an imagination or being lost in my own world. Well I adore vivid, that’s why some of my images are over-saturated and trust me,I have never been lost in my own world. I know exactly where I am.

So after all that self-justification here is todays ponder which is a little late and ludicrously vivid.

A chance encounter with a patient took us to Buckfast Abbey early this morning.

It was the most peaceful spot for an early morning dog walk with friends.

So peaceful that, beyond the vivid stained glass,I forgot to take photos.

The whole place is rather overwhelming and the Stained Glass is certainly a show stopper.

But coupled with an organ recital of some contemporary music the whole experience was quite other worldly.

Which I suppose is the point of an Abbey.

#624 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday we started a day of dull chores with a free gift of coffee. Just enough for four double espresso. Our gift came from Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market.

And before that it came from Bolivia.

We needed something pretty perky to make a day of chores magical.

As it turns out Finca Floribondio did not do a bad job at all. Our first Industrial Estate of the day, yes, it was ‘that’ kind of a day, turned out to be not what you might expect at all. Commercial Road in Plymouth was an Industrial Estate long before such things were invented. We go there to get our car and van tyres fixed or replaced. That was job number one of the day. Me and the dogs walked while Hannah took the van. The magic or dreamlike powers of Floripondio gave me a great view and water for the dogs to play in.

View of the Citadel from Teats Hill slipway.

Some time had passed since the first dose of coffee so we made a plan to rendezvous at a coffee shop in a Motorbike Dealers. Once again the magic of Floripondo made things a little dreamlike.

A motorbike showroom where bikes are allowed on carpet!

Window view to prove we were in an Industrial Estate.

Now with full disclosure I must say I know nothing about motorbikes beyond an artistic love of sprockets.

©theoldmortuary.design I painted this some years ago as a Memento Mori for a biker whose ashes were scattered on the Thames at Bankside not so very far from Borough Market.

But this motorbike must be quite special.

Motorbike cafes have a dress code which we only just fitted by accidentally wearing dark colours. Leather is de rigour. Fabulously engineered leather to keep its wearers safe in case of incidental or accidental damage. Human skin and tarmac or gravel at high speed is not a good combination, neither is collision good for bones or internal organs. Motorbike leathers are phenomenal. However they can make their wearers look like a cross between a storm trooper and a lizard/insect. As we enjoyed our coffee and a bacon sarnie every one of these beautiful lizard insects stopped to pay homage to this beautiful object.

Now the coffee at this cafe was also wonderful but without the hallucinogenic properties of Finca Floripondio we were returned to normal humans who had chores to do in utterly banal and dull industrial estates. The magic of a freeby wiped out by normal life.

The magic only returned when we started researching actually buying some Finca Floripondio beans.

The first hit on Google was a surprise and took us straight back to one of our favourite Hong Kong coffee shops. Internet cookies are powerful things, no calories though!

However nothing could tempt us to pay HKD 468 for 200g of beans even as a holiday treat.

Our coffee treat will come from London, when we deserve it.

Buy Coffee



And that, my Sunday friends is a ponderous ponder inspired by a day of really dull jobs.

#623 theoldmortuary ponders


Every now and again Facebook memories jogs me into a realisation that there was a time in my life without daily blogging. Pondering before blogging was an entirely personal and private dialogue. Often occuring in the commuting time between work and home.


I had completely forgotten the quote from 2014 or even the work based incident that made me find it and post it on Facebook.

The quote is quite brutal in its takedown of the value of an apology. I don’t think the world of an apology is quite as black and white. Post-Covid in Britain the value of apologies has been utterly besmirched by the governing Conservative Party, who managed to be quite possibly the worst users of the hollow apology in history.

The broken plate analogy is perfect for this ponder. Because I believe the Japanese have a way of mending plates that demonstrates how a good apology can build back a beautiful broken plate into something different, maybe stronger, definitely a valuable transition.

While a bad apology, a missed apology or a failure to change just creates fragments of plates. Fragments that can echo down through history .

So, somewhat late to considering my 2014 quote, Facebook has prompted a good old ponder which I can share.

The gold standard of apologies is Kintsugi while Roman Pottery is of no value in the world of good apologies.

I always aim for Kintsugi but fear that at times I have taken the Roman Pottery road.

On the receiving end I have wonderful Kintsugi apologies that have strengthened and enhanced my life. Life has also dealt some Roman Pottery style apologies or non apologies. Things to step over and move on.

How good would it be to fix all of lifes broken pots with Kintsugi.

Ponder over, thank you Facebook 2014. I’ve managed to programme in a bit more wisdom since that post.

#622 theoldmortuary ponders


Yesterday was a mix of plans coming together and plans falling apart. Up to 3pm things pretty much went to plan, two art projects were finished in enough time to get me to Wembury for dog grooming. I even managed to get the best parking spot above the beach .

After top grade parking the plan was to swim and read while the dogs were being pampered. Tide and weather slightly changed that plan. I hadn’t checked the tide and the clouds occluded the bright sunshine.I found myself a warm rock and basked on radiated heat while reading my book. Other beach goers provided unexpected entertainment if I allowed myself to drift away from my novel. The beach was full of teenagers away from school for the exam season. There was also a group of mothers planning an after school party. I was in awe of the amount of stuff they transported onto the beach, sadly most of it,very environmentally unsound. The tide was going out and making the beach huge. They relocated three times, each time having to move enough stuff for a mini festival. Time ticked away while I listened to teenage drama, George, Lauren and an anonymous girl were particularly good value. Eventually though, and after an unplanned snooze it was time to collect the dogs. The beach had reached peak business and the smell of barbeque was overwhelming.

Our evening plan had been to swim after collecting the dogs but we had failed to remember the seasonal ban. However a coastal path walk took us to a rocky bay not too far away.

We were the only people there and the water was warm. My swim was essential. During the unplanned snooze, or it may have been a deep sleep. I had managed to squirm off the warm rock and onto fine sand. The sand was everywhere, absolutely everywhere. Driving home to sort things out would have been an exercise in whole body exfoliation. Not an experimental beauty treatment I was prepared to trial.

While I sorted myself out, Hannah basked on non invasive rocks and the dogs had a whole new beach to explore, without sand ruining their newly primped good looks.

A day that survived planning errors rather well.