Pandemic Pondering #301

A little bit of Plymouth Street Art. I’m not sure what it means but curiosity aside,it is a lovely thing to look at. I was looking for something blue to illustrate this blog. Then this jaunty seagull took me on an unexpected journey.

Here we are in the second weekend of the third lockdown. Worse than that this is the weekend before Blue Monday . Said to be the worst day of the year. So called, because of dark evenings, poor weather, festive joy draining away,  and bills arriving by post.

I’m not sure any media source will be brave enough to joke about Blue Monday this year. January can be very flat even without a worldwide pandemic but glum is the word that springs to mind when thinking about January 2021.

Searching for something blue to illustrate “blue Monday’ brought me blogging luck.

The Street Art seagull brightens up the street and puzzles with his enigmatic message. He most certainly is not glum, almost the reverse. Then Google steps in.                      

‘None Here’ is the tag of Exeter based artist. Steve McCracken.

©Steve McCraken

Follow the two links above to understand the artist and the enigmatic bird. The seagull does exactly what the artist desires. Perfect Street Art.

Pandemic Pondering #300

Pandemic Pondering #300, again!!! After last weeks recalibration of pondering numbers . I can celebrate reaching 300 for the second time in a month. Dysnumeracy rules! Today we can celebrate with a naturally occuring heart, which I found at the rear of our regular swimming beach.

Regular or repetitive these posts maybe but today was the day for socially distanced swimming at Tranquility Bay. An hour of exercise, of which only twenty minutes was spent in the water. 10 minutes stripping off and probably another 20 trying to get our clothes back on when fingers and feet no longer belong to us.

©Andy Cole

The swim today was fueled by coffee from Cakewhole who were closing as we arrived but understood our need as they sea swim too. 

Cake may also have passed our lips but winter sea swimming has a way of clearing out vexascious thoughts. Cake can be very vexascious.

The peril of a swim later in the day is the timing of the sleepy zone that follows the euphoria and energy boost that cold water swimming brings. By 9pm we thought it was midnight and slunk off to bed. Ostensibly to read books, the truth, of course, was that barely had the cup of tea cooled to drinking temperature before the sleep monster wrestled us into the duvet.

Pandemic Pondering #299

The quiet observance of two resin ruminants. One of our regular and frequent walks on the Stonehouse Peninsular takes in part of the Southwest Coast Path, Hugo and Lola always like a sniff of these two quiet cows.

They ruminate on a green which would have been a historic walk from a tunnel where animals were unloaded to walk across the green to a slaughterhouse that was part of the Royal William Victualling Yard. The place where the Royal Navy loaded up ships with food, drink, and essentials to keep sailors fed and effective.

We did a couple of circuits of our usual walk once in each direction. A friend had told me she had seen a rare daffodil on New Years Eve . I didnt find it first time around so I put on more clothing, the wind was brutal, and walked back in the opposite direction. Success!

A single clump of Grand Primo Citronaire.

Identified by Kathy’s photograph from a Daffodil Identification Day.

©Kathy Lovell

10,000 steps, ruminating ruminants and Grand Primo Citronaire. What more could I possibly want from an hours exercise!

Grand Primo Citronaire

Pandemic Pondering #298

Organising life around just being allowed out for one hour a day takes a bit of planning. Some days I’m really lucky that the whole hour can be spent just walking the dogs somewhere local and beautiful or doing a sea swim. But other days, like today, require rigourously timed visits to achieve everything. Oh goodness it was a mundane hour today. Essential dog food purchases, farm honestly box shopping for eggs and a quick wizz round a supermarket before a scamper round a park. Just as I got home I noticed this feather resting on a geranium.

It was caught in the leaves and then whisked a little further onto a wind damaged bloom.

Such a lucky find on a day mostly filled with domestic chores and a bit of really dull knitting.

The wonderful bonus of dull knitting is that it is perfectly possible to watch television at the same time. You might think that a BBC Politics channel would be as dull as my knitting but we live in strange and dangerous times. With a strange and dangerous government. People used to knit while watching executions or great events. Within the restrictions of a pandemic I am carrying on that underated tradition and not a stitch dropped. Also photographing feathers. Lockdown in January. February is going to have to work hard to keep up with these excitement levels.

Pandemic Pondering #297

Pondering numbers recalibrated and we are looking forward. But for this blog a little bit of retro. Every morning Facebook offers a look back at old posts. It is not something I look at often , but today the images were very varied , I’ve picked four to ponder over. The first is a heavy snow day in Dulwich Village in 2010. 11 years ago.

Memorable because the walk to and from work in Marylebone was a challenge, and a milk float overturned just outside this gate scattering milk bottles everywhere.The milkman was unhurt but he must still have the memory, as do I, of a thousand tinkling bell sounds as the bottles smashed on the icy road.

10 years ago January 13 th was very bright. These lovely sculptures by Mauro Perucchetti were located at the top of Park Lane near Marble Arch. For 3 months between October and January they were smiling observers of my journey to work.

8 years ago a new puppy called Hugo wakes up a friend with early morning snuggles. ( This is the day I had to hide a puppy poo up the sleeve of my jumper in order to give Hugo top good behaviour points, when his toilet training failed him when visiting someone)

2016 Brixton, 5 years ago, a street memorial to David Bowie who had recently died. Another travelling to work landmark.

My idiosyncratic use of a cameraphone might be a little bit, or a lot, irritating to my nearest and dearest but today this little retrospective imagery reminds me that January life is as varied and colourful as any other month and every day is filled with moments, even in a lockdown.

Pandemic Pondering #296

Sunset swim and numeracy failure were the high points of the day. The numbering of the blogs has gone wrong and will be corrected very soon. The sunset swim was a choppy affair and not , in truth, quite as pretty as the picture above. I just had to tweak the saturation to make the sunset live up to the last few days. We also tried a swimming shot. Having practiced in the sink beforehand.

The practice may not have made perfect.

The blog numbers failed for a variety of reasons . Some blogs have been removed but replaced . I managed to transpose and not notice some numbers and boosted myself by 45 extra non existant blogs. I just dont ‘feel’ numbers in the same way I do words so I didnt notice. I love numbers for their visual pleasure.

Just a little blog while I sort out my numbers.

Pandemic Pondering #295

#351!!!! #351!!! 14 days or 2 weeks to go to #365 which if Iwas a true daily blogger might mark a year of blogging about a pandemic. The truth of course is giddier than that. #1 was written on the 17th March 2020, somehow I am adrift by 52 days.

If I get time, and with another lockdown ongoing I might, I will try and find where those extra blogs slipped in. I suspect early enthusiasm may have thrown extra blogs in when I thought this was a short term thing. Regular readers will know that daily blogging was never a long term plan. Covid restrictions and complications have extended the end point of daily blogging, I may never stop now, I rather hope the title can change soon.

On with todays blog, based on a very regular walk. We left home in thick fog to do some essential shopping for some friends who have been shielding since March 2020. Our destination was an artisinal bakers and beyond getting our 10,000 steps I had no expectations of the walk but very briefly the fog lifted before the days greige descended and I got two shots with a lovely still tide.

This picure works whichever way you look at it. Which is just as well as there are no pictures of the baked goods from the artisinal bakery. I dont know how that happened ! Instead of a trio of Eccles cakes I can offer a red fishing boat. You cant eat fishing boats!

P.s I’ve checked my numbering . Its going to take a day or so to sort out. I am onto it. It was my old foe dysnumeracy, coupled with my dislike of prompts. The numbering is now going to seem a little idiosyncratic as some blogs relate to their numbers but beyond the slog of changing the numbers no harm is done. These blogs are hardly likely to see the light of day for anyones research beyond my own.

Pandemic Pondering #294

Today turned out to be a red letter day. The letter in question was V for vaccine. Hannah @theoldmortuary was given the Corononvirus Vaccine today. She was texted yesterday afternoon and offered an appointment. By a great coincidence two other British VIPs got their jab today. The Queen and Prince Phillip. Headline stuff .

While Hannah was getting her jab I was doing the dog walk up the lane opppsite us. It has been the access point to a building site for the past 18 months. It can be tedious at times with noise, mess and massive trucks. On my return, to avoid lorries,I had to cut through the oldest part of the cemetery. There are many tiny graves marking the final resting place of children whose small lives were lost many many years ago. It is because of vaccines that there are less small graves in the more modern graveyards near by. I pondered a bit on this and realised that in a curious twist it is vaccines that have got the anti-vaxers to a point where they have the health, vitality, and maturity to become ardent anti- vaxers.

On a brighter note we went out in the campervan to take our hours exercise this afternoon.

Hugo and Lola love a camper van outing. The beach was grey and chilly.

But we found a sea-purse who was pleased to see us.

Pandemic Pondering #293

Some days a pondering is burning to get out but perhaps doesn’t quite have the legs to fulfill enough interest. Today is one of those days. A pondering that has been poddling about in my brain for days runs headlong into another pondering and boof!! They find they have something in common and off they run onto the blog taking some nice images with them to expose themselves on a Saturday. The 10 on the header image is the common link and it is superimposed on Seaton Beach where we harvested some more vitamin D.


This morning Google maps showed me all the locations I visited in 2020. Thank goodness there has been no major crimes on the M4/ M5 corridor last year. I do not have an alibi or a distant location to hide behind. The point of putting this in the blog is that I’ve worked out the last time I had such limited travel was the year I turned 10!

The age of 10 is also the last time I wrote down the word ‘ ornery’ until PP#347

As mentioned in previous blogs my life as an only child was filled with reading. I got ‘ornery’ from Mark Twain and Brer Rabbit. It, the word, lives mainly in my head as a fairly regular descriptive of certain people.

PP#347 was possibly the first time I have written it down since I was 10. I’m not sure if shame, indignation or fury has stopped me using it.

At age 10 I threw it into a composition during an English class at my primary school, soon after I was marched to the headmistresses office. In terms understandable to a child I was told that I must not copy other authors sentences into my essays. Apparently my sentence construction was too good to have come from my own skillset and imagination.

The Headmistress and my form teacher were unmoved by my referencing to the stories of Brer Rabbit and I was warned never to copy again. Ornery has remained a word for private usage until this week. I was seething. So seething that when I read a glowing obituary of that particular Headmistress in Other Lives in the Guardian Newspaper I could not contain my irritation as I remembered that and another misjudgement of my character.

©Claudia Winkleman

Lockdown reading has brought me to this book just this week. In the very first chapter Claudia uses the word ‘ornery’ and boasts that she knows how to use it correctly. No marching off to the headmistress for a published author!

Liberated! The minute I felt slightly dyspeptic, crotchety or even waspish about President Trumps’ shenanigans this week I whipped out ‘ornery’, if Claudia can use it in public without humiliation then so can I!

So there we have it. Pondering around the theme of 10. While taking in Vitamin D on Seaton Beach.

Pandemic Pondering #292

Some winter days start with promise and just keep giving. Today was a day for harvesting vitamin D.

Either end of the day were gloriously golden . The middle bit was filled with a happy Zoom meeting and some packing up and planning for our future fake Christmas. Date currently unknown. The freezer holds all sorts of festive foods and decorations are packed away, not for the usual year but for a shorter period.

As our days begin to stretch slightly at either end the sunshine is a great bonus.