Pandemic Pondering #42

I’m not normally a lover of alliterative phrases linked to days of the week or names of the month, although I do quite like cleverer, less trite, alliteration. Today though #ThrowbackThursday, works for me, as the glasses featured are very retro.

Today the weather in Cornwall is strange. It’s been windy and stormy overnight and the heavy rain of the early morning, interspersed with bright glorious sunshine, was at one point replaced by icy hail. I realise that this scenario is just local to us and it set me thinking.

It is said about Covid- 19, Coronovirus that we are all in the same boat in the storm.

But we are not all in the same boat , we are not even all in the same storm.

We all share a storm in common, but we also all have our own storms and boats that determine how we cope with the shared storm.

In common with many, we are cooking a lot more, remembering dreams more vividly and are craving coffee and curiously bright colours.

Which brings me to the point of this pondering. I got caught in the Hail storm this morning whilst walking the dogs, it’s not what I expected in late April, but I also didn’t expect a sharp bright shaft of sunlight to give me such pleasure this morning.

We’ve been using some 1960’s or 70’s glasses to brighten up our water drinking during the lock-down. They were a gift from our friend Steph who gave them to us as a keepsake from her parents house.

They go in the dishwasher just like any other glasses. When I got in from the hailstone walk, sunlight was pouring through the window and then onto these freshly clean glasses. The Abstract patterns that illustrate this blog were created on the work surface for about five minutes between showers and absolutely illustrate why a slightly quixotic decision was a good one.

We are not all in the same boat

Or even the exact same storm

Surprising things will happen

Sometimes fresh out of the dishwasher.

Pandemic Pondering #41

A dandelion clock caught in a street lamp.

Wednesday finds us with 5 dumpy bags of green waste and a super tidy Cornish Hedge.

Last dumpy bag and Cornish Hedge picture.

In other news we rescued another neighbour who had taken a tumble, sprinting when we heard her fall. The sprinting obviously enhanced by our late arrival at the daily exercise videos produced by Joe Wicks

We opted to do the classes later in lock down because we knew we were coming to the end of the physical tasks @theoldmortuary.

Enhanced sprinting and improved early morning fitness is the aim. Hugo and Lola love the half hour exercise regime,particularly the floor exercises when additional cuddles are apparently needed. A brief blog today , there is only so much excitement to be had in a day of pruning.

Pandemic Pondering #40

40 goodness me that’s a significant number. And it’s Tuesday, Tuesday!!!

Last Tuesday I was pondering life settling into a new routine and that Tuesdays tend to be when we run out of food. Not so this week. It could be Friday before we need to shop.

Tuesday finds us halfway down the hill or halfway up the hill depending on your perspective.

The Cornish hedge that forms one of the borders of the garden is as out of control as our hair. At some points it is 12 feet high and normally we pay someone with hard core tools to get the job done. That’s not an option this year and unlike our hair we can’t just leave it. The local or county council, whose responsibility both the hedge and the rough ground were before the age of fiscal austerity, are quick to point out any overgrowth. Despite never having asked us if we would take over the responsibility for these two areas once they arbitrarily decided not to bother.

We warmed up on Monday doing the easiest half.

Rain is the new weather pattern, after weeks of sunshine,not particularly conducive to hedge trimming. We also have a problem storing all the prunings, the easy end of the hedge yesterday filled a whole builders dumpy bag. This morning’s dog walk saw us visiting a very close building site and being gifted two more bags by builders who were more than happy to give them away.

Before I thrill you all with a photo of dumpy bags. Here are two roses we also met on the dog walk.

Full dumpy bag.

Empty dumpy bags.

Half done Cornish Hedge.

Maybe this is the time to thank everyone who gives me feedback on this blog. I love knowing that people enjoy the blog even though it’s subject matter is pretty mundane. Apparently lots of people are really picky about brownies. Hix Fix cocktail was very popular and that is a little sad as the Hix Restaurant Group is a business that has succumbed to Coronovirus Covid- 19, something I discovered whilst trying to correctly credit them and share a link. So for all of us the derivative version is the best we can get.

Hix Oyster and Chophouse, Cowcross Street, Farringdon, was close to Bart’s Hospital where I worked for a while. Eating there was a huge and rare pleasure. Too bad I never ventured to the Cocktail menu. I think I went there for breakfast so it’s an entirely understandable oversight but still lamentable.

Once again I digress, onward to hedge trimming day 2.

Well, thank goodness I digressed, there will be no denouement on the taming of the Cornish Hedge today. We’ve filled the two new dumpy bags gifted by the builders this morning and still have about 6 metres of it to chop, trim and tidy.

For today’s blog this is the end of the road.

Pandemic Pondering #39

Sunday was cooking day for us. I made Brownies from a foolproof recipe which I had to adapt because we couldn’t get all the ingredients. That then makes it not foolproof of course.

The reason I needed a foolproof recipe is fussiness. I only like a brownie that is dry or crisp on the outside and very moist on the inside. I was browsing the internet on a completely different quest when another blogger claimed the same fussiness and presented the ‘perfect’ recipe. Normally I would have waited until I could get the correct ingredients but yesterday I had all the pandemic time in the world and a yearning for a perfect Brownie.

My necessary adaptations caused no problems and the resulting brownie was so lovely I’m going to have to adapt and rewrite the recipe to use forevermore.

The things I couldn’t get were , unsalted butter and milk or dark chocolate nibs.

Here is the brownie served with ice cream and cream. A serving suggestion first brought to my notice by the wonderful Jessie and Lennie Ware on the Podcast , Table Manners.

Try it, you might never go back.

The brownie is versatile and is equally happy with a cup of tea.

We also stepped into the world of Nigella Lawson and made a tray bake chicken supper that involved frozen peas and Cinzano Bianco.

We employed social distancing and distributed chocolate brownies to a few friends.

The dogs didn’t have to social distance and enjoyed Mel’s hard work rejuvenating her water feature during one delivery.

The Poppies are putting up quite a show on the tidied up rough ground.

People are stopping to take their portraits. At a Social Distance naturally.

Pandemic Pondering #38

Saturday night @theoldmortuary.

A curious mix of old and new. We finally managed to get our hands on some Cherry Liqueur and were able to make a derivative of the ‘Hix Fix’ cocktail, a reward for diligent moss raking in the garden and exterior painting of the actual old mortuary.

I’m not sure where Cherry Liqueur fits into ‘ essential’ shopping but it was bought at the same time as an adequate but not extravagant quantity of toilet roll. In the interests of total honesty it was also bought alongside a bottle of Cinzano Bianco for cooking purposes.

The ‘ old’ of our Saturday night was watching Brassed Off. A British film set in Yorkshire at the time of the closure of Coal Mines by the Conservative Government during the time of Margaret Thatcher.


Cocktails and a comedy/drama. Exploring the harm caused to a community by the loss of jobs and the accompanying damage to a way of life; driven by a government devoid of compassion, whilst drinking cocktails, would have felt a shocking pairing in 1996 when the film was made. The film is ‘grand’, as they would say in Yorkshire

The passing of time has made the drinking of cocktails more acceptable and less elitist than they were in 1996. Elitist governments that lack intelligent compassion have not become any more acceptable.

Let’s return to the Cocktail , a thing of simple beauty.

Invented by Mark Hix and first exposed to me by a fabulous work colleague, Nic Delahunty in Pandemic Pondering#25 .

We had to slightly change the recipe because of Pandemic restrictions.

We used in each glass.

Two Morrello cherries.

Two teaspoons of Cherry Brandy, we could have used Kirsch perhaps.

Top up the glass , you can see the style we used, with Prosseco, any sparkling wine will do.

Pandemic Pondering #37

Saturday Confidential. Lockdown is a great time to make confessions. Within the four walls of home with a very limited audience, two of them dogs, my ignorance will remain virtually a secret.There is some shame, I must admit, I’ve always been a wordnerd and I’ve always been an ambivert.There you are it’s out. I’ve learnt a new word, ambivert, and I should have known it years ago because I’ve been living that psychological profile since I was a foetus.©Google

I learnt this word quite by accident. I chanced upon another bloggers blog.

Hannes van Eeden writes Wandering Ambivert. A blog that I enjoy because I love his writing style. stuff out of the way back to the word.I’m really not sure how I’ve missed the word . I love a personality test and the NHS where I worked for years was an early adopter of Psychometric Testing . To be honest I’m still not sure that Psychometric testing really helps to make the best decisions if you follow it slavishly, without using instinct, yes I do know about unconscious and indeed conscious bias. This is not the point of this blog. Personality tests, for me, have always been a bit of fun.Personality tests have certainly pointed me the way of being an ambivert but have used way more words and explanations than the simple explanation at the top of this blog. A week or so after learning the word I’m luxuriating in and snuggling right into it. It feels like the warmest cuddly jumper and just like a cosy jumper I can pop my extravert head out anytime I need to, to leave my introvert self. Perfection.

Pandemic Pondering #36

Free Friday Feeling… In a Pandemic what is a Friday Feeling? I’m not entirely sure, I’ve researched pictures from Fridays past that were freer than our current Fridays. I took orange as a bit of a theme.

This Friday is the first of Ramadan, although gathering is not permitted the fabulous call to Prayer coming from a Mosque is one of the loveliest sounds.

Ramadan Mubarak


Iftar, the breaking of the fast, will be be less sociable than normal years.

Breaking a fast brings me to food, orange is the link.

Tate Modern
Boston Tea Party
Rosemary and Chilli nuts @theoldmortuary
Afternoon Tea
Oranges and Lemons
Crumpets @theoldmortuary
Vegetarian Platter

The last two images are not exactly food related. First one of my favourite glamour models for Watercolour paintings.

Mr Lobster

And finally not food for humans, Herons maybe.

Goldfish in a spin.

Pandemic Pondering #35

This morning this beauty appeared in the rough ground that runs along the side @theoldmortuary.We planted a mix of Oriental Poppies and Field Poppies on the rough ground to mark 100 years since the end of WW1. The land is opposite the village War Memorial.The rough ground is not officially ours but it is the entrance to our back garden. For many years it was the responsibility of the local council to look after it. It is a sad little triangle of land planted with actual road signs. It also bears the posts of old Street furniture and the droppings and scrapings of many years of road surfacing contractors left over cement and tarmac. With Austerity the council has abandoned it. As a growing space it has a mixed aptitude, in the spring it does beautifully with miniature daffodils . In summer weeds do particularly well but so do the poppies. At a high point, it slopes quite steeply up a hill, we have created a little garden between abandoned curb stones and an old but hugely fecund ash tree. The garden like the rest of the triangle is somewhat picky on what it will grow. Currently it supports a very old climbing rose from Hannah’s parents garden. A Christmas tree from a broken home who needed somewhere to rest his roots, some vivid geraniums, a glorious helibore and a few bright Heucheras.Attempts at introducing other things have failed , not exactly expensively, but disapointingly.This week’s Lockdown outdoor project is our annual chore of taming the wild space for the summer. We’ve not quite finished but it was a great reward to have this beautiful poppy this morning.And then there were two.and then the job was done.

Pandemic Ponderings #34

Pandemic Ponderings started on 17 th March sometime before the Government Lockdown restrictions and a little before my own self isolation due to a common virus. That’s about 36 days of life being significantly different from anything any of us have experienced before. Have we @theoldmortuary developed a new set routine? The answer would have to be no although we do seem to run out of food/ provisions on Tuesdays. Our world has shrunk and the weekly trip to two supermarkets, one each, is an event in life rather than something squeezed into life. Communication is everything and we’ve not quite got that right. Yesterday was National Tea Drinking Day, unconsciously we took the cue and bought 500 teabags, both bagging a bargain. Stockpiling at its most shameful, the T bags join the six tins of sweetcorn.Gardening has become a routine but we are fast running out of places to store lawn cuttings, bush trimmings and weeds. It is weather related rather than supply and demand which governs shopping. Storage of garden waste is soon going to be the factor that controls us. The weather flip opposite of the gardening routine is interior DIY. It’s amazing how much we can achieve just by using stuff we already have in our shed.Curiously Mondays have become our laundry and house cleaning day. This is exactly the routine my grandparents had and it’s one that has crept up on us. In non pandemic times we washed whenever there was a load but with no life beyond home we are producing less washing. House cleaning is not so bad when you are not exhausted from working elsewhere, I can only think of two pre-pandemic routines that we’ve not modified. One is the bedtime walk for the dogs, we never meet anyone even in normal times and that’s not changed, people don’t whizz past us in their cars anymore . No cars means no pollution and what is noticibly more lovely about our evening walks, this spring, is the intensity of fragrance from people’s gardens and the hedgerows.The other unchanged routine is having flowers in the house. The weeks of daffodils have passed and currently we have tulips.One slightly odd juxtaposition is our fireplace. An interiors psychologist suggested keeping Christmas lights up until Spring as it helps to make darker evenings less dire. Weve stuck with that because a Pamdemic needs light shining on it. Fear not, that is not a Trumpian solution , we just love a bit of twinkle, any excuse. Now we have tulips and Christmas lights,if this goes on it could be sunflowers. In this shot the pandemic gets a mention too. It does not improve with twinkle.

Not to be outdone the garden has some new solar lights to brighten up the evening of whoever walks past the house. Something we do at Christmas time but it seems important to do it now too.Lola reminds me that there is one other routine that must be adhered to, dog hugs. This is the face of someone who wants me to stop pondering.

Pandemic Ponderings #33

I’m an abstract painter with a love of colour and texture. I’ve painted abstracts predominantly for the last ten or so years. Two years ago I took some watercolour classes and since then I’ve dabbled with watercolour painting for a quick painting fix, one of the things I love to paint with watercolour are dead fish. They’ve always fascinated me as a photographer. I was lucky for a long while to live near Brixton Market was but it was long before I rediscovered watercolour. Cool box next time I visit though to bring some exotic models back to Cornwall.

The reason this is a pandemic pondering is that I have plenty of time for some fishy watercolours but no fishmongers. I’m going to have to find something to fill the gap. Tinned fish is the obvious answer when I do the weekly shop.

For now I give you my fishy friends from before the pandemic.