Pandemic Pondering #211

August 2020 slips effortlessly into September 2020. No more Art Group prompts,back to more freestyle pondering. Todays pondering reflects back on the last day of August, a Bank Holiday in Britain, the last before Christmas. We started the day early for a sea swim. The tranquility of these pictures was captured just moments before masses of people descended on the pebble beaches of Devils Point.

Plymouth has had a fabulous Bank holiday weekend. We have been tourists, seeing our city from new perspectives. Enjoying the Mediterranean vibe of the Ocean city.

Love where you live.

Pandemic Pondering #210

Todays prompt word for the art group is ‘paint’ slightly tricksy for an art group that encompasses 3D and Makers for whom paint is not a part of their creative process.

I chose to illustrate how paint brightens our lived environment.

Plymouth was in fine form today, the sun was out and the sea and sky were blue.

There were three stand out paint jobs.

The carousel on the Barbican

The Lighthouse on the Hoe.

The fishing boats in the Harbour.

Pandemic Pondering #209

Layers is the prompt word for the Art Group today. This photo was taken during a Drawing Day at Kelly House, Lifton. A house that has been lived in by the same family for over 900 years has the most exquisite textures. 60% of us live in the same house for 15 years but only 10% for 25 years. 900 years is an astonishing amount of time even though more than one person has had to make that decision to stay. Imagine how interesting the domestic clutter must be at Kelly House, the layers of familial bric-a-brac. Recycle, repurpose and Reuse has a whole new depth when there is 900 years of things that will come in useful, stored away in cupboards.

By comparison our layers @theoldmortuary are miniscule there is nothing here older than three generations. Four generations if you include old photographs.

I’ve recently been digging through a box that holds some of these layers, while looking for a lost spare car key. The digital age and its minimalism side effect will diminish the amount of clutter or stuff that we leave behind. The things I found gave me such pleasure, I’m not sure less layers is a good thing.

Leave some layers.

Braintree Shakespear Players 1947. Keith and Raymond

Pandemic Pondering #88 told a story.

This black and white image is part of it.

Pandemic Pondering#208

The prompt word(s) for today are, Birds Eye View. I know where I’m going with this prompt and it’s not pretty. I’ve just popped a feather photograph in to give me a bit of visual integrity.

For my generation Birds Eye is forever associated with a brand of freezer convenience foods. The most iconic of which is probably the fish finger but the one I have a photograph of is The Arctic Roll.

This would have been a familiar sight in British supermarkets and homes in the Seventies or Eighties. Less so now, this photo was taken in Hong Kong recently where it is clearly very popular. Arctic Roll in Britain has become a bit of a home chef thing . Googling it brings up recipes quicker than it does the Birds Eye version. For those unfamiliar with either the Birds Eye Version or the posher one, Arctic Roll is Vanilla ice cream enrobed with thin sponge and raspberry jam served, unsurprisingly, in a roll shape. It was invented by Dr Ernest Velden in the 1950’s he mass produced it in a factory in Eastbourne from 1968

Birds Eye marketed the product for 30 years until sales slumped in the 1990’s when they stopped production. This coincided with a resurgence in British coooking and increased interest in good quality restaurant food. Beloved by many the Arctic Roll is considered a nostalgia food, which is why the cheap family desert transformed into a desert made by aspiring chefs.

In 2008 during an economic downturn Birds Eye started production up again, firstly because it is still cheap to produce but also because in difficult times people like to return to comfort foods. The world’s Pandemic of 2020 has probably also been very good for sales

I have never been a fan, it’s a texture thing. It seems almost disrespectful to admit this but I am not alone, Nigel Slater, a television cook and food critic ,who I admire, says it tastes like carpet. Perhaps a chef’s version should be my next project.

Better still an informal supper with Nigel Slater where he serves a sublime version would be perfection.

Pandemic Pondering #207

Newspaper is the prompt word for today.

Not just any Newspaper, The Financial Times. The pink, in colour, paper. The two actual Pink Papers, one Lgbtq and one Sport were not the same colour at all. Both are no longer published in print form.

Sometimes I just buy the Financial Times for the joy of its colour combinations. I always loved it in the days of Black and White ( Pink) printing but with the advent of colour the pink just gives everything s little joosh, a brightener, a lift. I am not by nature a pink person but this Financial Times Pink floats a whole flotilla of boats for me.

It is the pink of both my grandmothers’ underwear. One, a sensible woman who wore Directoire Knickers in peach. She would be horrified , if she were alive today and able to Google, to discover that her choice of undergarments were now the underpinnings of a Vintage Fetish.

Many of the images on Google could not grace Ponderings. Some of the wearers had male looking bulges, others cavorted and posed, plump rounded buttocks presented like over ripe peaches with a short shelf life . My other, more lively, Grandma wore the same colour underwear , her knickers also had a French sounding name, French Knickers, and were trimmed with the most amazing lace. She would not have been shocked by anything she discovered on Google and would certainly have embraced Vintage Fetish. In fact she was known for embracing anything.

In a strange twist of Google Image fate, my sensible Grans, sensible knickers have become the things of Vintage Fetish.

The racy Grans fancier pants are just that, Fancy Pants . No images of women or men posing erotically in her peachy knickers.

Peach is the next bone of contention. What colour is the Financial Times or indeed my Grandma’s knickers?

I’m not certain the actual colour can truly be described as Peach but Salmon does not strike the right tone for underwear or sage financial journalism in my opinion . Salmon is the descriptive word the Financial Times chooses to use. It has to be said it is certainly slightly fishier now than it used to be

Luckily for Pandemic ponderings the Pantone Colour Institute and Hex have come up with four descriptive names that are a close fit to Financial Times Pink, and Grandmas knickers.

Bisque

Blanched Almond

Old Lace

Papaya Whip

Whatever the name, this pink is the one I search for, but rarely find in shops. It is not often in vogue, but was quite recently. Almost too popular particularly on Instagram. I have a very striking pair of newly purchased daytime Pyjamas.( Is that not in itself a delicious idea, DAYTIME pyjamas)

A Financial Times Pink Chaise longue would be the perfect place to lounge while reading the FT in my daytime pyjamas.The overall effect might be a little eccentric, but not, I think over the top.

Newspapers to Knickers, a classic pink ponder.

Pandemic Pondering #206

Print is the prompt word for the Art Group.Printing is Dirty work and I absolutely love to do it. There has not been enough printing in my life.My fish are a popular print.But on the whole I do not do anywhere near enough printing.I should do more , it was a printed piece of work that was exhibited at Tate Modern.Note to self, spend more time printing.Fine Art printing is one thing but written word printing is a whole other world. Bringing Pandemic Pondering to the written word brings me to The Mayflower and the postponed anniversary celebrationsLocally in Plymouth , England 2020 was set to be a hugely significant year. 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower and the founding of America. Events were planned all over the place. The Pandemic has delayed celebrations.Printing is the key to this date,not the arrival of settlers.The Mayflower was not the first ship to deliver Europeans to America in search of a different life. What made the date of the arrival of the Mayflower significant was the signing of a printed document. The Mayflower Compact. 2020 is the 400th anniversary of the signing of that document. The actual date of arrival of the first European migrants to The New World is unknown. The 400th anniversary had, in reality, already been missed so postponing the party for a year is regrettable financially but not historically a problem of accuracy.https://www.mayflower400uk.org/education/the-mayflower-story/Printing can also make us laugh.

Pandemic Pondering #205

Using the prompts for the Art Group as my jumping off point for the blog is wearing a little thin. But day 26 of 31 is so close to the end that 5 more days should be doable.

Todays prompt is somewhat clunky. ‘ Books / Write a letter. I chose colour theory books to illustrate the prompt.

These two are favourites. The larger one accompanied me through many nights of on-call , the vibrancy of colour a beautiful distraction from the greyscale of Medical Imaging.

The smaller one travels in my back pack, a regular favourite to dip into when there is half an hour of time to be filled.

Colour and it’s reactions to its neighbours is always at the centre of my creative process. This month I’ve been working on some hidden figures .

I’m aiming for the serenity of figure reproductions of 60’s and 70’s popular art. I think the pictures I’m thinking of were sold by Woolworths worldwide.

Vladimir Tretchikoff is not an artist ever studied at an Art School except as an illustration for Kitch.

©Vladimir Tretchikoff

My hidden figures are nothing like these paintings but the bold colours and the serenity is what I’m aiming for.

These paintings were everywhere. They were almost never seen to their best advantage as interiors in the 60’s and early 70′ s were not quietly understated. A Tretchikoff was mostly to be seen set against gaudy wallpaper, in a room overburdened with souvenirs or ornaments.

The young me knew none of this snobbery and just loved them for their colour.

The ‘write a letter’ bit of the prompt would be to my younger self.

Dear Young Ju,

if you get the chance in the mid seventies grab every one of these reproductions that you find discarded by dustbins. Skips/ tips/ Charity shops do not yet exist. They will each be worth a fortune in the 2000’s. The Pre- Pandemic era as it will come to be known. Fill warehouses with them and if you have any space left then facemasks would be pretty valuable too.

Love Older Ju

Pandemic Pondering #204

The Art Group word, or words in this case, is Tuesday Treats. Hmmmm, not so sure that these are Tuesday specific treats and one of them is distinctly guilty of oversharing but here we go . These treats are mostly blog inspired. This is a bit of a classic meandering ponder.

The first one was a travel treat.

Teignmouth was completely unknown to us. What a gorgeous treat it was, amazing architecture, red sands and only a little tarnished with the usual seaside tat that Britain specialises in. We are going to go back with more time to explore so no more on the town but here we go with the oversharing.

The public loos were of a good standard . We were camping on a simple camp site with no facilities. Our van has toilet facilities but we observe strict rules which is why occasionally we visit a public loo. We popped in to perform the morning rituals not permitted in the van. Teignmouth Public Loos have a quite surprising soundtrack.

How staggeringly appropriate to hear at such a high volume Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple.

Smoke on the water,

Fire in the Sky

Smoke on the water.

I suppose the lyrics resonated at some level with the action to be performed.

The volume certainly resonated through the Municipal porcelain setting up a micro reverberation. Quite Unusual.

Thank you Teignmouth, unforgettable!

No more oversharing but another warning. Pandemic Pondering # 201 shared the spoken word One Hit Wonder Desiderata. A regular blog reader shared Baz Luhrmans spoken word song Sunscreen in response. Written by Mary Smith it also became a One Hit Wonder. Like Teignmouth it was unknown to me until Saturday , it is quite a treat. Some of you may wish never to hear it again, call it the Desiderata effect.

Link to the Lyrics
https://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/baz+luhrmann/sunscreen_20563151.html

Link to Youtube
https://youtu.be/MQlJ3vOp6nI

This portion of the Lyrics feeds nicely into my final treat. Another Saturday gift, a quote from Tim Rice’s biography from my fabulously wordy friend Dai, who wrote Pandemic Pondering #100.

Unlike Dai, who was a good sportsman and team person, as well as being a word nerd. I was not a good sportsperson, just a word nerd and never picked for sports teams. I always dreaded that ghastly experience when team captains were nominated and then allowed to choose from the gathered throng their teams, taking it in turn to pick the brightest and the best. I knew all too well that I would be left until the end, self- consciously checking the integrity of my plimsolls in a diligent way to prove how disinterested in the whole thing I was.

I’m sure Dai has shoe boxes full of team photos where his youthful face beams out. I however have the Primary School photo to share.

I have no idea why my face composed itself in such a toothless gurn, from memory these things took a little while to set up.

I’m with Tim Rice though on this, my life story from this measurable point has been about getting older. How lucky am I that life continues to take me on a journey of discoveries, not all of them welcome, but all of them leading me on to become that little bit older every day. Some of the children in this picture have already stopped their journey and I’ve forgotten the names of most of them but every one is a precious vessel of their own story.

Tuesday Treats, a sharing of Saturdays Surprises.

Pandemic Pondering #203

Todays word for the Art Group is Skyscraper. I’m going to be perverse today and talk about the absence of Skyscrapers.

I was 17 when I first became intimately acquainted with St Pauls Cathedral. I calmed my nerves before a career interview at St Bartholomew’s Hospital by wandering the Crypt and Whispering in the eponymous Gallery.

Training in the City with its associated highs and lows gave me ample chance to explore the nooks and crannies of this amazing Cathedral and to develop a humanistic love of the Evensong Service. There is something lovely about doing something that humans have been doing in the same location since 604. Not all history in this area bears repetitions quite so comfortably.

The lack of Skyscrapers around St Pauls is no accident. This is the view from Nunhead Cemetery in South London.

It has a protected view.

You can read more about protected views in this link. https://www.citymetric.com/fabric/protecting-view-how-st-pauls-cathedral-has-been-shaping-rest-london-centuries-2577

This is a painting a little way from St Bartholomew’s Hospital , showing the scale of permitted development closely around St Paul’s. The picture below shows a more distant view from Tate Modern.

Skyscrapers define modern cities but the absence of them near St Paul’s opens up the sky and gives the City a different visual experience.

Pandemic Pondering #202

#202 a strange number to write in this Pandemic year of 2020, #202 feels strangely unfinished. Just like the year , four and a bit more months to wonder what will happen next in this seminal year.

Yesterday was a bit of a down day @theoldmortuary and then last night was a down night. Different reasons, one more significant than the other.

The down night was caused by not quite parking our camper van horizontally. Which is lucky because today the Art Group Prompt word is Horizontal.

The van was parked with aesthetic and tea drinking in mind but we failed to notice the tiny slope. Both dogs and humans have awoken with hair pulled skyward by our bodies responding to gravity in our sleep as our feet slither slowly off the end of the bed. No photographs are available

I hadn’t expected to have two reasons to ponder ‘Horizontal’ having already been lucky enough to take a photograph that defied me to find a horizontal line when I came to edit it.

Happy Horizontal Sunday.