Pandemic Pondering #537

Almost overnight in mid-September the days have got short enough to affect the timings of our evening swim. With one year of year-round swimming done, we are a lot braver than this time last September. Last night was our first planned moonlight swim, it suited the tide and work commitments. Tides this week are very low at our optimum evening swimming time so there is far more contact with seaweed than we would normally choose. While we were swimming a sail training ship slipped into port under the moonlight. No cameras were available to capture the moment. (Waterproof bags have been tried, the bags work just fine but camera phones dont respond to our cold fingers) Witnessing the ship in the Sound did give a little shiver of watching history sail past.

Dar Mlodzeizy ©MarineTraffic.com

Dar Mlodzeizy, owned by the Maritime University of Gdynia is from the Polish city that is twinned with Plymouth. Good timing to arrive as a new Polish supermarket has just opened here. By coincidence we had had blueberry and curd pierogis from the new supermarket yesterday. Hannah lived in Chicago, a city with a big Polish community which introduced her to pierogis, years ago and now we have Polish family members to extend our knowledge and love of the little dumplings.

Too many dumplings would not be good before a swim however. They might fuel an over active imagination which is the only slight downside to swimming in the dark…

Pandemic Pondering #536

© theoldmortuary, Pollen II

Mid to late September is habitually the time of year when @theoldmortuary are getting ready to set off for a holiday. Holidays always involve some painting, or sketching in the sun. Usually in Greece because that is the destination of space and relaxation.

Pollen II , above was sketched in Greece and then painted at home. A roadside plant possibly a weed bursting with pollen. The paintings that emerge from holiday sketching follow no real theme or style.

©theoldmortuary, Naturists at Paleochora

Last September our usual holiday time was filled with non holiday activities at the height of the pandemic. There was no random sketching. It seems a shame to have given up my regular September sketching habit just because a pandemic has blighted travel and relaxation plans.

©theoldmortuary, Phospherescence on an unknown Greek beach

Last year was such a muddle of Lockdowns, Eat Outs, Stay ins, that September passed without any thought of what a normal September was like. This year I am a little more mindful of what I am missing. There is no reason not to take some time out to randomly sketch just because the pandemic still has travel and many other aspects of our lives twisted out of all recognition.

©theoldmortuary, Elefonisi

We have some holiday booked this year, no big trips and possibly a good bit of home maintenance but I might just pack my self a little sketching kit and take inspiration from closer to home.

Pandemic Pondering #535

Back to the usual morning dog walk. In the hours we have been back from the weekend sojourn to Wimbledon, dog walks have been slow paced affairs. We have only lived in our current location for a couple of months. The dogs obviously dont feel that their cachet of news filled wee stops is quite extensive enough to keep in the canine loop while away for three days. Yesterdays home return walks were very sniffy, news gathering, affairs with many replies needing to be sprinkled en route. This morning there was canine disdain when their usual early morning routine was disrupted by a closed footpath. I managed some lovely photos but they are unmoved by such things .

The footpath will be closed for two weeks. This will upset the dogs but it is also the footpath that leads to our regular ‘ bobbing’ beach , our regular haunt for the whole of the pandemic!

While the dogs are sniffingly detained on information gathering I am sometimes left standing around a bit. This morning I noticed two lifting rings on an old manhole cover.

One of them had been quite crumpled. It is really hard to imagine what could possibly have caused such harm, but I am very glad not to have been standing in the same place when the damage occured.

Pandemic Pondering #534

The King of Bling

Yesterday was vivid. The exuberant creativity of a passing cyclist embellished the day and boosted our happiness in a way that sweaty lycra never would.

Instagram @bondwimbledon added to a day that was full of texture and sensation. Starting with a purple cabbage.

In truth the day actually started with dusty, filthy feet when I got a little lost on Wimbledon Common, but nobody needs to see those bad boys on a Monday morning. The inevitability of Autumn gave more texture with fallen Oak leaves which have way more charm than my grubby toes.

Fuelled by lunch from Wimbledon Market, Turkish flat breads and salad.

We set off for the Sky Garden in the City for vertiginous views and some much needed, after the last 20 months, or so, family time out and about.

Even there,in a highly controlled environment, Autumn gave us some gorgeous form and texture.

Natures way of mimicking the King of Bling!

The Sky Garden is an extraordinary place to people watch although the style bar for the day had been set to unreachable high standards already. An accidental photographic moment , the red crane that forms a tick, sums up my relationship with London. Some of the best moments of my working life were had in hospitals that are part of the annonymity of this urban landscape. Some wonderful friendships were formed within the boundaries of this image.

A Sunday well spent!

Pandemic Pondering #533

Some more hot, September days, this weekend spent criss crossing Wimbledon Common. The early morning dog walk also took in a fair bit of the common, inadvertantly, when I took a track to avoid a nasty sounding dog altercation and failed even a tenderfoot forest navigation.

I found more Womble summer camps.

Discarded and empty now all good Wombles are back on the job of caring for the Common.

©womblesofficial.com

I managed to get some perspective on post industrial heritage.

And found a memorial rose to a long dead tennis player.

All before breakfast.

Pandemic Pondering #532

Saturday 11th September 2021. I woke up this morning with a surprise realisation. It is 20 years since 9/11. Obviously there have been documentaries and news articles swirling around this week. The simple difference between how the U.S and the U.K write dates down in short form gives the annual anniversary a lack of specificity. Here the anniversary of 9/11 occurs on 11/9. This simple difference spins my head around. I have mild disnumerancy and have to work hard with numbers. Because of this 9/11 represents not just a day but a whole season of memories. 20 years ago I had just started University as a mature student studying Fine Art, something I should have done long before I became mature. I was creating digital art for established musicians and I was a busy working mother. I had no personal involvement with the events of 9/11. The consequences of it changed my life.

Pandemic Pondering #531

Morning Shimmer

Shimmering and spiders.

Morning and evening dog walks have been very shimmery this week. There was a monumental midweek storm that has affected the light at either end of the day. The storm also blew the recently constructed cobwebs away. All week spiders have been moving into the house for winter. Yesterday an industrious one had built a web over the dog leads between walks. Any thoughts, that we may have had, of there being less spiders in a city house than a country one are being replaced by reality. The one job that remains post house move is to sort out art stuff into the studio. Much of it has been done but there are still some big Ikea bags full of essential odds and ends being stored in the garage. I had always planned to get it done in September but had not considered that by leaving the job until now I will inevitably shift spiders from their winter quarters in the garage into the house.

Fishy Shimmer ©theoldmortuary

I have no water colours of spiders, so a shimmery fish from the shimmery sea will have to do as a midblog illustration.

Neither of the humans in this house are arachnophobes and one furry person is indifferent, hso all this talk of spiders might be inconsequential. Lola, however, is not indifferent to spiders.

This small brown nose spends hours every autumn sniffing out spiders, not the most useful of tracking talents. Unlike most tracking dogs she doesn’t tell her humans that she has found something, she just gobbles them up if they dont wake up in time to move. Once they have properly hibernated she doesnt seem to be able to sniff them out, so by November our days and evenings will not be punctuated by Lola crossing the floors in an obsessive hunt for sleepy spiders, despite our best efforts the outcome is rarely positive.

Evening Shimmer

Pandemic Pondering #530

©Beth Munro Continuum

Our trip to the theatre earlier this week was a double treat. Plymouths Theatre Royal holds art exhibitions in the the bar areas in the building. Freshly installed was Journey, a transatlantic collaboration celebrating 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower. Featuring Printmakers from the Tamar Valley and Cape Cod. Originally planned to be part of the Covid disrupted Mayflower 400 celebrations, this exhibition is a rare survivor of the planned events.

Tamar Valley Printmakers are the British group participating in this exhibition. Several members of this group are also members of Drawn to the Valley, one of the art groups I belong to. I tried to get good photographs of the prints of people I knew, even if only a name recognised from a membership list. It wasn’t always possible as the lighting in the theatre can reflect quite distractingly on the exhibited works. Sometimes I could only capture part of the image without getting unwanted reflections. My apologies if I missed anyone.

© Ley Roberts Migrants

The Theatre Royal in Plymouth is currently not serving refreshments during intervals. The printmakers will have everyone’s undivided attention as they sip on their complimentary cup of water.

©Oonagh Glancy Looking Forward, Thinking Back.

The all too familiar face of Donald Trump beamed from one of the prints.

©Fi Smart, Donald’s Journey to Enlightenment through Printmaking

If only enlightenment was that easy. If it were, printmakers would be the most popular and sought after artists in the world.

Just to clean your mind of Mr Trump I’ve included one print not created by a Drawn to the Valley artist. Boricua by U.S Printmaker, Adrian Tió. Not representing the European migration story, his work brings Puerto Rican flamboyance to the exhibition and reminds us that Mayflower is just a tiny part of the story of the modern United States.

©Adrian Tió, Boricua

Pandemic Pondering #529

Yesterday was designated as a tech sorting out day. I haven’t hooked up my printer in the new studio. Just a case of finding a lead and signing in to the new wifi. In the process my camera battery was reunited with its charger. It has been a long time since they have been together Maybe 2 years since they were both in the same place at the same time. The Pandemic and the numerous lockdowns meant that I have not particularly needed a camera better than my phone in those two years. In the scrabble for leads I managed to not sort out the printer but to find the camera battery charger. The printer stubbornly resisted linking to the new wifi and needs a different lead to any in our large collection! The only tech victory of the day was the unplanned one of the camera The last picture on the camera was taken in Greece 23 months ago, the last time we travelled abroad. Yesterday the battery was charged in time to do the last dog walk of the day.

A proper camera did a good job of sorting out the clouds at dusk, and a very fine job of catching a dark sunset.

The conundrum of the printer remains. I suspect thick walls and the wrong type of lead are the problem. For now I will take the minor victory of a fully charged camera. Todays quest will be to find the camera instruction leaflet …

Pandemic Pondering #528

Our first night out in a Theatre for over two years. What a blast! The Rocky Horror Show, where the audience are as flamboyant as the cast. But with masks!

Not quite the great Cuban ballet dancer Carlos Acosta that my original tickets were for but absolutely a show and an audience with all the right moves to make this a memorable first night

Vouchers for my 2019 birthday finally bought us a night out…