Pandemic Pondering #144

Woo Hoo. The Art Group Prompt- Word, are we really only on day 9, lands like a gift in Ponderings.

We have already established that I was a nerdy child.

Reasons in no particular order

An ‘Only’ child.

Precocious reader.

Undiagnosed Synesthete.

Young, clever,working- class parents.

Older than normal for the time Grandparents. Much more normal now. Children seen but not heard style of granparenting.

There is my first use of perspective. Giving you an insight into my little nerdishness. The ponder that follows is a different perspective.

When I was 5 or 6 the ‘seen and not heard’ grandparents gave me this little book.

Its in a pretty sorry state now but when I dug it out this morning it made me very very happy.

I swallowed everything this book had to teach me.

Here is my favourite page.

When I looked at it this morning it was like meeting an old friend.

This knowledge tucked, into a head too young for it, did not do me any favours. The undiagnosed Synesthete was a tricksy old thing to deal with during my formative years. I never quite fitted into the herd requirements of education and although I could adapt and thrive there is always the feeling of being on the peripheral edges of any group activity. Like everyone that enters higher education I encountered reading lists which I diligently read, but I’ve found the books just peripheral to the reading lists were the ones that have formed my personal perspective of stuff that is important to me.

While searching for the delicious book on Drawing Houses by Sydney R. Jones I chanced upon some other fabulous reads.

Art History and Theory.

Life the Universe and managing awkward buggers and situations.

I’m not sure if Edward Dr Bono is fashionable or current right now. I once worked with his nephew who thought I was mad to love this book. Mad or not it has got me though some awkward moments with my integrity intact.

Understanding minds that are wired up just a little differently.

Finally story telling.

My blog is informed by all these books and many more. What I love about blogging is that it is so simple.

Think about something.

Write about it.

Enjoy and do the research in which ever way you can.

Reference, credit and share without ever having to worry about the Harvard System.

Even writing ‘ Harvard System’ brings me out in a little sweat.

Freedom is my perspective on the merits of blogging.

Pandemic Pondering #143

The prompt for the Art Group today is Walk.

Today @theoldmortuary has walked 16, 000 steps which is something to celebrate. We have also eaten a similar amount of calories. We are not feeling as wrecked as we could have done.

Possibly because the cafe where we stopped had this useful sign.

Surely an encouragement to go beyond the 10,000 daily steps reccomended.

10,000 steps is significant in the Pandemic particularly but also in life in general, because it is considered to be the right amount of walking exercise to maintain a good fitness level.

10, 000 steps,5 and a half miles, 9k or there about, is significant in another hugely important human endeavour.

Spatial Homogamy

Not a word group that springs to mind when thinking of matters of the 💓 or further down.

Spatial Homogamy- The Geography of Love

Pre 1931 most couples mate-selected from within a 10km geographical location. Between 1931 and 1988 despite the advent of motorised transport the distance didn’t change significantly and even with internet dating a distance of less than 5 miles from home or work is the most popular option.

This is represented in the naming of geographical locations. Dogger Bank should not be considered in this pondering.

Lovers Lane.

Lovers Walk

and the obvious name of a piece of street furniture.

The Kissing Gate.

10,000 steps not just a fitness goal.

Pandemic Pondering #142

Friday Feeling is the prompt word from the art group today. The Friday Feeling has always been more mythological in my mind than an actual sensation. I’ve certainly seen it and wistfully thought about it but it’s never been a massive feature in my life. I’m not sure that I am unusual either. Historically in Britain, Friday afternoon working was regularly slightly, or greatly abbreviated, compared to other afternoons. Friday being the gateway to the weekend there was a sense of anticipation that could be celebrated by either a scheduled or casual attitude to attending work on a Friday afternoon. Obviously Muslim or Jewish colleagues had their own reasons for Friday to be special. Class has also played it’s part. In the seventies, my summer jobs were manual or menial. Life on the factory floor was the same relentless, repetitive experience, on a Friday afternoon as it was any other day. Marked differently only by watching the office staff slip away to the pubs or cafes for Friday afternoon socialising/team building.Working in a 24/7 NHS environment made Fridays very much business as usual although Friday leaving parties or de-stressing sessions could mark Fridays out as special after working hours. In the 1990’s, Military hospitals closed and were merged into local NHS hospitals. During the early years the military staff were not available to be rota’d on Friday afternoons any time after noon. Administration apparently occured on Friday afternoons. 🍷🥃🍺☕. Pandemically speaking a Friday Feeling was lost in the blurr of either lockdown for most and overwork for essential workers. This particular Friday for me is a bit of a moment. A different sort of Friday Feeling.

Earlier this week I heard about pickled grapes, served with Pasta Carbonara. Pickled grapes is something way beyond my personal experience. Carbonara on the other hand is a favourite pasta dish.A recipe on the internet showed me that I had everything to hand.

7th 2020My Friday Feeling.

So after all that pondering how is my Friday Feeling. This Friday I’m feeling like a woman obsessed by Pickled Grapes.

Pandemic Pondering #141

Cityscapes, a word ripe with possibilities.

I describe myself as an abstract landscape artist but in truth many of them are urban inspired, Cityscapes might be the word.

The pandemic has slightly changed the way I work but in essence I consider a landscape/cityscape to include close observations of just a tiny fragment of the viewed surroundings as well as massive milewide vistas. I love the juxtaposition of manmade materials and nature. The way plants find a crack and grow in it with tenaciousness and vitality, nature will always win.

It’s not just my work that has been altered by the Pandemic. This delightful view of London owes its clarity to the lowering of pollution during Lockdown. A Massive Cityscape in every sense of the word.

A Cityscape is more accessible by foot than the equivalent rural landscape and in many ways more interesting and unique.

This butterfly has settled on Church Road , Crystal Palace. Just outside 66a.

66a was once the home of a stand-up comedian, Daniel Kitson, who has painted a whole comedy cityscape based on this address.,_made_of_memories_and_kept_in_suitcases,_by_daniel_kitson

My cityscape of this small portion of South London is informed by my own observations of Crystal Palace and the observations of a comedian who loves it, regardless of its imperfect, slightly grimy urbanity. Close by there is some spectacular street art.

Street art and street furniture is integral to Cityscapes.

This watercolour is a formal landscape representing my working life in the City.

But in truth it was the little details on my walks to and from work that created my personal Cityscape. This one beautiful sign is a fine way to live life.

Street furniture and graffiti on daily walks.

One more cityscape for this blog.

The walk to De Bouvoir Town, Cityscapes not always what you might expect.

Pandemic Pondering #140

Borders are the subject of today’s art group prompt.Borders have always fascinated me. I am a blurred borders sort of person, grey scale rather than black and white. Curiously a border is the underpinning geographic feature that defines the art group that these prompts are set for this month.The Tamar Valley divides and is the border between Devon and Cornwall. Conversely it divides Cornwall from the rest of the World.What creative things will the Artists of the Tamar Valley be inspired to create or share when the word Borders drops into their Instagram or Facebook feed today.It’s very difficult to predict. August is traditionally both quiet and busy for local artists. Quiet because the creative work is mostly done and busy because it’s open Studios time. Open Studios is a big deal in any art group , a time for artists to throw open their studio/workshop spaces to welcome in the public. Or to arrange a public space for groups of artists to show their work.Open Studios has been going on for years.But not this year.August will pass in the Tamar Valley without its usual artistic flurry.Time to sit in the sun and consider the word ‘ border’ or indeed any of the 31 words on the prompt list.PSI’m aware this is not the most scintillating blog but this little post script might make you smile. I’ve just finished reading this month’s book club choice. Post shower there was a visual joke.

Pandemic Pondering #139

Crosshatch throws up quite a story. Considering I chose a career, radiography, that was, somewhat, Physics-based my love of Physics has never been passionate, best described as a loyalty and even that seems too warm.

Beyond 14 my school, in common with many in Britain at the time, did not make it easy to study a mix of arts and sciences. I was streamed towards the sciences. When I say streamed, a word that suggests gentle flowing, I actually mean I was weird.

The flow characteristics of my entire life were altered.

Obviously I’ve used a little artistic licence with words to show the impact of the educational choices imposed on me. I did eventually get my Artistic Licence.

Physics with Mr Jolly did not ignite pyrogenic interest but developed the skills , so useful in life, of dull diligence and sketching.

During Physics lessons I diligently learnt physics but filled the borders of my notes and sometimes the text books with crosshatched sketches of Mr Jolly. He had a magnificent 70’s style moustache and wrists and ankles that seemed determined to escape his clothes.

You might wonder why I was drawing in a physics class. Everybody was. My class was made up of 31 boys and me.

14 year old boys are avid artists, nothing is safe from their sketches of penises and breasts, especially when their minds are not engaged fully with the official subject.

I quickly discovered that I could avoid their bullying and ridicule,and be accepted into the drawing gang by being able to sketch Mr Jolly in a series of cartoons. Crosshatching gave him shape and form as, unsurprisingly, only a pen was necessary for physics lessons.

This story could end here, but in honesty it doesn’t.

Radiography took me to many life experiences that did not require too much artistic talent. The medical world has its public face and in a Pandemic the world owes everything to Science and Medicine. However there are some who work in that world who are ego-driven nasty people, they mostly go unchallenged.

On bad days working with egotists those early sketching skills came in useful. The gift of a quickly drawn cartoon sketch of a colleague who was behaving like an utter dick, depicted as an actual dick, could turn the tears of a sad colleague, the victim of unkindness, into smiles.

My 14 year old self would never have drawn a penis but I observed how to do it in Physics. Some talents take a while to find their useful place.

Crosshatching, my story.

Pandemic Pondering #138

Motivation is a funny word to think about. It’s August so pondering is roughly following my art groups prompt system.

It might well be August but as I write this, it is also a Sunday and we are all living in the grips of World Wide Pandemic. Not the most fertile of scenarios to feel motivated in the truest sense of the word. I took to the dictionary for inspiration , not my smartest move.

Maybe Google and Wikipedia were feeling all a bit August/Sunday/Pandemic-like, but quite frankly the explanation of Motivate was not motivating.

Obviously I pondered the word motivation before starting this.

The word is not on my scale of liked words and probably appears on the disliked list but not so close to the bottom that it affects me.

I dislike, with a passion motivational shite, on Social Media. New Age, Bible ( other books are available) Flower Fairy, quotes. Motivational Speakers!!! What’s their motivation?£E

I am motivated by People, Words and Serendipity and, like every living thing, Survival.

My second statement often cancels out the first.

I love an appropriate quote from whatever source, thoughtfully sourced and reused by a person. I just don’t think you can throw them around like wet confetti hoping they will stick.

I am regularly motivated by people speaking or writing . Normal people, family and friends speaking from a place of love or loving anger. Strangers with a wisdom or experience I don’t have. People whose interesting conversations I overhear. Not one of them wearing the preposterous title of ‘ Motivational Speaker’

Serendipity is my most delicious motivation.

I actively court serendipity, it is my ‘ thrill-ride’ of choice. Allowing the time and space for the unexpected to occur is one of my favourite things to do.

Serendipity is my favourite motivation.

Pandemic Pondering #136

August 2nd. Prompt word for Drawn to the Valley is Seascape. I loaded up a series of random images that represent seascapes in my image file.

None of them are aspirational. Some, like the one above, are fictional. Some are painted. Humdrum would be the word. Seascapes captured in daily life, none involving exotic locations. All within an hour of home or work. All give me the space to think.

An explanation of August Pandemic Ponderings.

Drake’s Island, Plymouth Sound.

This stretch of water is known as Firestone Bay. In this picture, it is masquerading as a Mediterranean Port. As an artist it eludes me. There are more versions of this on my painter/artist ‘Wall of Shame’ than any other single subject.

The next three are my drone-9 fantasy seascapes. In truth they are the drivers-eye view in a car wash.

The Mewstone,Wembury, a cup of tea.

One of the best places I know to contemplate my life. Many of life’s treasures and tribulations get thinking time here.

A recent painting. Still unsold.

Portwrinkle Beach, Cornwall. I have a friend who creates the most beautiful textile art inspired by this beach. Her amazing talent at harvesting the beauty of this little known beach is inspirational.

The next picture is one that illustrates another friends wisdom. He is a wise and talented photographer. I asked him once which was the camera he would recommend?.

“The one in your hand when the perfect shot appears”

Hannah caught this with her phone, at Widemouth Bay.

Finally another painting. Dungeness.

Seascapes just another excuse to ponder…

Pandemic Pondering #135

August 1st 2020.

For a month Pandemic Ponderings will be slightly controlled by the prompt list that my art group, Drawn to the Valley is using to inspire a response from members on Instagram and Facebook during August.

As you know from PP#133, I am slightly churlish about prompts but am choosing to see this as a creative challenge not only for art but my creative writing/social history Ponderings.

#1 Gardens

About two and a bit years ago garden design @theoldmortuary took on a new angle when we had to make it safe for an anticipated grandchild.

At the time that little family were living in Hong Kong so we had time on our side for alterations to the structure of the garden.

Then with great excitement they returned to Cornwall to live and our garden plans were properly tested and found to be pretty exciting for someone under two.

Then the Pandemic hit and she couldn’t visit. Then the Pandemic hit in a different way and they have had to return to Hong Kong.

Here she is inspecting the garden for herself, from above.

Then she required a meeting with the Head Gardener to discuss changes and improvements required for when she is able to visit again.

By embracing prompts I have been able to explain in a gentle way why we’ve been a little sad for a few months.

In the future the little person will know that she was loved and we were sad to see her go in 2020.

I’m looking at prompts in a new way let’s hope I am not a recidivist and return to my grumpy prompt hating ways.

For completeness sake here is the picture I’m going to pop into Instagram for the Garden prompt.

Dead heading into a turquoise bucket.

Pandemic Pondering #134

Making Hay while the sun shines, part 2.

My apologies for the late arrival of today’s blog. After months of insomnia I was able to sleep last night. The usual time for tweaking and posting the next days blog was used for sleeping.

This morning was always going to be busy with good things. An early morning dog walk followed by a swim in the sea. The dog walk gave me this revised blog title.

Our local nature reserve is having a second hay harvest only a couple of weeks since the last.Today was always about making the best of things. We’ve had a sad old week which I’m sure I will touch on in various future blogs. So our is a metaphorical ‘ Making Hay While The Sun Shines’ kind of day. It turns out that is is also an actual Hay Making day.

The early dog walk was planned to facilitate an early swim with some old friends, pre 9am at Cawsand Beach. We found a quiet, almost Mediterranean corner of the beach to swim from.

The access to the sea was easy but very definitely more Cornish than Mediterranean, as was the sea temperature.

We had a fabulous swim, completely life enhancing and happiness creating. Followed by coffee and breakfast in our little cove. Emerging from our quiet spot there was very quickly signs of things to come!

The beach ahead of us was crowded even at 10 am.

Trying to get home involved an almost 10 mile traffic jam or a half hour drive to a ferry with a half hour wait.

Obviously from the picture you can see we chose the ferry.

This was a difficult decision for all @theold mortuary. A much loved family member was killed on the road to Torpoint and we’ve not ever travelled that road since. Some tears were shed.

South East Cornwall is full to the brim with people and traffic. Time to get back to part of today’s original blog.

The only link I can find is friendship.

Apparently government guidelines suggest that gatherings of 30 people are acceptable, with appropriate social distancing. Even with new additions I’m not sure I could gather 30 friends together and certainly not 30 family members. So once again I am unable to comply with new government guidelines. Meeting with a lower number of people suits us just fine. 30 seems giddyingly too many.

Just before lockdown I met two women. One at an art gallery and the other at a gym. Lockdown created a unique time and space to grow new friendships at a distance, we have also rekindled our old friendship with our swimming friends and nurtured existing friendships with the gift of more time. I’m not sure quite why the pandemic promoted the ability to speed up the cementing of really solid and valuable friendships both old and new, it’s a lovely positive in puzzling times.

I suppose that is something to ponder on!

The pictures below are lovely gifts that arrived this week from the Art Gallery friend and the Gym friend.

Lovely bursts of colour from flowers and crocheted bunting.

The pandemic has taught us to value friends and family and everything closer to home. It is a lovely feeling.