A funny thing happened between Lockdown I and Lockdown II. @theoldmortuary took to the water.
As spring turned to summer and swimming pools stayed resolutely closed we took to the sea for swimming and bobbing about while talking as soon as it was permitted in mid May.The habit stuck and by November we were part of a ‘thing’ a massive increase of people wild swimming. Not only that but by persisting with it we were able to do it in skin, until mid November.
This weekend wetsuits were purchased, and that is the result of the funny thing that happened between Lockdown I and II. Why did we not just stop swimming in the sea in September just like any normal year?
We’ve cut down on the post swim reward. Black coffee without the embellishments of doughnuts, Eccles cakes or cinnamon buns. Wet suits are not as forgiving as bathing suits. 2020 is notorious enough without being the year two wetsuits were purchased. Whatever next!
Oh my goodness, I’ve completely missed my year anniversary of daily blogging. As regular readers know , daily blogging was never a plan but the Pandemic has stepped in and daily blogging is where I have ended up. It would be tempting to leave a missed anniversary as just that but admitting my error allows me to share some photographs of an area I’ve loved since long ago when it was shabby and even more since the rest of the world has discovered it.
1 year and 12 days after my blogging course I bring you Spitalfields. A year and 10 days ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to write a random blog. On the 9th and 10th November 2019 none of us had any idea what was coming; a Pandemic that has given me the time to ponder.
What thrills me is that the amazing Palimpsest that is all over Spitalfields inspired a friend of mine, Anne Crozier, to create Palimpsest for an Art Exhibition in Tavistock.
Great images just happen in this special corner of East London.
My relationship with the building the course was held in goes back many years . The Townhouse , Spitalfields is an antique shop with beautiful contemporary pieces sprinkled among older items. It is an art gallery and cafe and holds some resources to demonstrate the importance of the area to families linked with Hugenot migrants. Accomodation is also offered in unexpectedly comfy rooms.
On a previous visit, before he knew how to behave, Hugo hid in a corner pretending to be stock.
Here is the back door of The Town House.
And some more street art that was just around the corner.
And a link to the website of the Gentle Author who ran the course I attended.
It’s been a dull day so I thought I would #lightupnovember2020 with some light photos from Novembers past while nattering on about ruminating. I’ve pondered a bit about what comes after Pandemic Pondering. I’ve already accepted that my extended Advent will not occur this year as I’m already committed to pondering . Christmas 2020 dusted off the decorations and TV adverts early without warning me. I have already missed that particular boat.
Looking beyond Christmas and into 2021 the news on many potential vaccines suggests that a post pandemic life may be a little closer, the end to Ponderings needs to be considered. Recently I stumbled on Random Ruminations as the eventual successor to Pandemic Ponderings.
Initial research has taken me down an unusual path involving a cows four stomachs and the fascinating information that cows belch silently. If there is technique for learning this?
To me the deep thinking and the chewing of the cud are interchangable. How can we possibly know if cows are,or are not, thinking deeply whilst they chew the cud. Are they the even the same word in many other languages?
Beyond this early research I don’t believe I need to worry overmuch about rumination. Pondering looks set to carry on for a little while yet. Perhaps I should start collecting photographs of ruminants though!
Just as I come up with a great # for Instagram, #lightupnovember2020. It, November that is, decided to light itself up.
Sunshine, infinity pools and islands in Firestone Bay. Basking on a sunshine flooded seat and a three hour dog walk just to enjoy the weather are not normal behaviours in the third week of November.
Added to that a, somewhat tenuous pair of naturally occuring hearts washed up in the detritus of this weeks unusually high tides.
Three hours jiggling about in my pocket, unlocked, gave my phone ideas of independence. It called random people, my apologies if you were one of them, and took many photographs. The photographs were mostly black but some of them may turn out to be useful.
In contrast my afternoon was spent in a Zoom meeting with creative types which gave me a funny thought inspired by my morning in the sun.
In Victorian times it was not unusual to dress up a recently deceased person , often children, and call a professional photographer for one last family photo. The propping and support to make this look even vaguely normal might just have a use in our Pandemic times, allowing participants to take a little nap during a zoom meeting.
Obviously I am not thinking about the meeting that I was involved with. That was as scintillating and fizzy as these things get.
However when I arrived yesterday at the car park, overlooking Plymouth Sound, I parked next to a man who was fast asleep in his car.I doubt very much that he had anticipated sitting in a car that was delightfully hot from bright sunlight. Dressed in a shirt and tie with jeans, he was slumped at an awkward angle which made me suspicious and slightly concerned. When I got close I could see his laptop open on his lap with an active , corporate looking Zoom meeting going on while he dozed. I left him to it. What he needed at that moment was the kind of props the Victorians had used. Something to make a dead, or asleep person, very much look like they are part of the action.
I did not take a crafty photo to illustrate this blog, that would just have been wrong, where as photographing dead children was entirely normal. Changing times… Different Pandemics.
Two weeks into a four week lockdown and this sign is a reminder of when it was perfectly possible to visit coffee shops, which is where I found this sign.
The Pandemic completely devalues the sentiment expressed. Normal actually gets you somewhere most of the time. It’s just that currently a lot of ‘ Normals’ and “Somewheres’ are denied us. The ‘ Somewheres’ that abnormal gets you, if the reverse of this statement were a neon quote, have proved themselves to be not quite so interesting in reality.
Flipping words should not be as interesting as I find it. It is safe to say that I’ve given the neon sign way too much attention in the last few hours when I decided to use it in a blog. The blog itself has been edited and redacted to the point of being digitally screwed up and thrown in the virtual bin.
I would say pondering has given way to rumination. Which brings me nicely to a conclusion with the promise of something for the future.
Random Ruminations in a post Pandemic Pondering world!
I’m doing a bit of time managing Drawn to the Valley art groups Instagram page. In these ever changing pandemic times it is a quick way, combined with Facebook and Twitter to communicate with both the artist members and people who like to buy original art. November in any year can be a little slow artwise before December explodes into Christmas Fairs and Markets. 2020 takes slow November to a whole new level of slow. This morning I came up with a # inspired by an early morning walk in typically November West Country greyness.
@theoldmortuary November life was certainly brightened up today by two things. Firstly the most gorgeous Orchid arrived clutched by a lovely friend. Definitely something that cuts through Cornish grey #lightupnovember2020
The other thing that twinkled into @theoldmortuary was a tutu . Just a little one for a little person but it certainly fits the brief for #lightupnovember2020
#lightupnovember2020 spreading a little bright in the grey.
Some days we commit to a dog walk regardless of the weather. Yesterday’s was a case in point. Our regular circular walk around Sutton Harbour in Plymouth was tied into the day by some chores that also needed to be achieved. Once the chores were done the weather had taken quite a turn for the worse, our walk from Commercial Street to the Barbican was definitely the sort of walk where you spend more time looking at your feet with your head lowered against the ice cold needles of rain. Pondering my feet as a distraction against rain gave me the topic of this particular walk. The Barbican area of Plymouth has more cobbles than any other area of Britain.
I am no expert on cobbles. I do know they can be lethal when wearing high heels or when out on work Christmas parties. Both things that the world has given up in 2020.
Cobbles fascinate me . I’ve even painted an abstract , still unsold unsurprisingly, that was inspired by the bright lights, happiness and occasional vomit on the streets of the Nightlife area of the Barbican. I called it Excressences. Even with a gorgeous title it didn’t sell.
In the time before Lockdown we would sometimes do Historic guided tours of Plymouth for pleasure. One of them taught us how to identify shrapnel damage to streets and buildings. I wonder if this is an example on the disused Railtrack on the cobbles of Tin Wharf.
As you can see, the weather did dry up and after a coffee we looked skyward only to discover Christmas had sneaked in early.
I’m late to the party, or not, of having something to celebrate during a Pandemic. There were two things we should have done yesterday and didn’t. One was a ‘Dining Experience’ which sounded fabulous .A banquet held in The National Marine Aquarium, a Night at the Museum event that would have been mostly wonderful . I worried a little about ordering Skate Wings or Calamari but beyond that it was a great idea. The other thing we didnt do was meet other people. Two women , two dogs and a campervan was the order of the day. You would think a beach in Cornwall would be a peaceful place in mid- November , our regular beach, Harlyn was heaving with Humans mostly wearing the semi- effective PPE of full body wetsuits anxious to immerse themselves in saline. Despite having plans to swim we could see it was not the place for us to find calm contemplative peace. We set off for another beach, Trevone, and it was empty.
The dogs particularly like Trevone for scampering . We managed more than an hour’s scampering before the tide chased us back into the van. No birthday haute cuisine in 2020 or awkward decisions about Skate Wings . Chicken Noodle soup and the last two portions of Connie the Caterpillar were consumed before we flipped open the back of the van and watched the tide come in.
The dogs took the watching part very seriously. Another hour or so was lost watching the bay fill up with water, it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Coupled with copious cups of tea and a newspaper.
Our plan was to walk along the coastal path back to Harlyn to enable the dogs to ‘ make themselves comfortable’ before we drove home . It was a great decision but we didn’t get to Harlyn.
Nature decided to throw a foam party just around the corner.
The day was pretty much perfect with the added bonus of finding another naturally occuring 💓
Thanks to everyone for the birthday love in whatever form it took. Many, many hugs are owed.
It’s a significant birthday today. Not one with a 0 in but important in a different way. My parents were both the age I am now when they died. There is no genetic or familial map for me to follow from here. Overnight a schoolfriend offered me the sage advice to take each day as it comes and enjoy every single one. I plan to do that with every day, every year and every decade that I can inhabit.The pandemic will ensure that each of those date milestones is different to how we imagined.
Connie the Caterpillar came with us on a coastal walk yesterday . We celebrated early with cake and a flask of tea using the millstones as a table at an ancient coastal mill on the South West Coastal path.
The size of our flask led other walkers to assume we had set up an impromptu and in these times , illegal cafe. Unfortunately the size of the flask also encouraged too much tea drinking and we had to scamper back to the loo which ended a breezy coastal walk.
The setting sun caught the birthday confetti, just before we gathered it up to use again on future birthdays.