Pandemic Pondering #272

Beach day after Storm Aidan. Last night was very stormy @theoldmortuary. It was a blustery walk at Seaton Beach this lunchtime.

As it happens it was good that we got out for a blow through on the beach, soon after we got home there was the promise of an evening briefing from the Prime Minister. This really can mean only one thing. A further Lockdown in Britain.

There was a little stone heart caught up in a pile of tidal detritus as we got onto the beach. Maybe a metaphor for the next few weeks. Some days beach days are also about the people who are not there with us.

This weekend was also the second birthday of our darling VV. This was her first birthday in Crystal Palace Park

This year she is living in more exotic places with different sartorial needs. Beach walks are not the same without her. These little feet are in Hong Kong now.

Meanwhile after the walk it is Saturday evening and time for Strictly Come Dancing. Even the Guinea Pig, Ginny and Hugo are ready.

Here we go headlong into another Lockdown, thank goodness this weekend was about a bit of mingling.

Pandemic Pondering #271

Yesterday was wet and grey. A day for sorting paperwork and avoiding storms. The trouble with sorting paperwork is that it is rarely exciting, on the other hand, magazines that have inadvertantly got caught up in the paperwork become fascinating. This is how I discovered our cheese plant is an interior design cliché.

Even when writing little blogs I like to share some evidence that I’m not talking utter nonsense, but such was the success of the paperwork sorting I can no longer find the magazine that made such a sweeping statement. Googling has not helped one bit. Cheese plant cliché shaming is overwhelming on the Internet. To make matters worse our cheese plant has a name ‘Freddy’.

I am aware this small blog is fairly dull. It could have been way racier. Among the paperwork store was my mother’s collection of ‘Adult’ text books. A fine collection of 1960’s and 70’s sexual health and information books previously on- loan in the Family Planning clinics that she ran in Essex. Weaving a blog around those may take a little time. So today you just get Freddy. Twice.

Pandemic Pondering #270

I apologise for this week’s blogging being a  little ‘Art’ heavy.

Today is another day at The Box. An organisational conundrum gave me the theme for today’s blog. Volunteers have to check into the Breakout Room to collect their passes and sign in for their session. The conundrum is that to gain access to the Breakout room you need a pass. Inevitably this leads to a bit of hanging around until someone with a pass appears or someone inside realises you are waiting to be granted access. Today I had a bit of a wait but while waiting I noticed this mural in the education room opposite.

The mural was painted in 1950 by Wyn George in, what was, the Children’s Department of the Central Library. At the time he was an Art teacher at Devonport High School for Boys. He was also President of Plymouth Society of Artists, a position he held for 20 years 1951-71. The mural was discovered behind boarding during the building of the box. The original sketches and plans were held in the archives, using them, the mural was able to be brought back to its current vibrant appearance.

Wyn George was born in Wales in 1910, but loved the landscape of Cornwall. He exhibited with Newlyn and St Ives Societies of Artists. He trained to be a teacher at Central School of Art London following earlier studies at Cardiff School of Art. During the war he was a Navigational Officer in the Royal Navy. He lived and had a studio in Ivybridge when he was teaching in Plymouth He died in 1985

This mural was one of two that he was commissioned to do in Plymouth. The other is at The Guildhall. Something to investigate for a future blog.

Pandemic Pondering #269

Munificence is one of those words that has fallen out of favour. It is most likely seen on memorial plaques or old graves. On- line dictionaries are divided on its exact meaning, some opting for the more simple, but in my opinion, wrong definition, generous with money. It is more than that. People who have little money can be munificent. Any idiot can be generous with money, it takes a good human to be munificent.

I think it’s a word that could do with being rehabilitated. Munificence is generosity, leniency, magnanimity, largesse and liberality. Surely all wonderfully positive human traits that could ease our way out of the desolate places that Covid-19 has driven us to.

Munificence was the powerful feeling that I felt at the Drawn To The Valley Exhibition yesterday. So much munificence from so many people created an Exhibition against the odds. Because the Vernissage, soft opening day, was calmer, gentler even, than a normal Private View it was much easier to take in not only the body of work but also the effort that it had taken to bring the whole thing to fruition.

Despite me saying that the word munificence needs to be rehabilitated. I’m fairly certain it won’t be any time soon. Is it a little too dated? Has Boris Johnson ruined good words for us all? I hunted around in Google Translate and a Thesaurus for something that might have the same quality of meaning and also suited our contemporary way of speaking and thinking. Hindi was the language that gave me what I was looking for.

Udaarata is the word I discovered. Udaarata is what I felt in that hall yesterday. People collaborating, being generous of their time and skills to bring together something that was enriching to a community of artists and also the wider community that supports and inspires those artists.

Udaarata is the best of humanity.

Pandemic Pondering #268

Today was Vernissage Day at Butchers Hall in Tavistock. It was a triumph of creativity over Covid – 19. The excited buzz of a well attended Private View with vividly dressed artists and guests it was not. No canapés, no music, no performance poetry, however in its own quiet, socially distanced way it was a celebration of hard work and achievement. What impressed me was the texture of the experience.

The Mayor of Tavistock opened the exhibition with words that by now, in 2020, we are all too familiar with, unusual, difficult, unpredictable. She noted that many of the 70+artists were experimenting with different styles because of the experiences and challenges of 2020. For this blog I thought I might just choose a few uncredited images to illustrate some of the textures and colours that I experienced today. A more formal blog of the exhibition can happen after it has opened to the public.

In sharp October sunshine even the building got into the texture category.

Butchers Hall – It’s Complicated.

Exhibition of Drawn to the Valley Artists. Wednesday 28th October – Sunday 2nd November 9-30-5-00 except Sunday when it closes at 2, Butchers Hall, Tavistock.

Pandemic Pondering #267

In Pandemic Pondering #265 I mentioned that dog walks often inspire blogs.

China Fleet Club

The afternoon walk at the China Fleet Club was planned just for dogs, no real blogging interest. Great for sniffing out squirrels and getting very muddy but beyond good company and nattering it was just an hour or so of soaking up nature. The morning walk was different, there is always something to think about . It was our regular walk around Sutton Harbour but today we discovered it is a Heritage Trail. The link below takes you to the official website.

https://www.southwestcoastpath.org.uk/print-walk/624/

We always start and finish the Sutton Heritage Trail at a different location to the one suggested on this website.

Despite walking this route numerous times we have never discovered the descriptively named Marrowbone Slip. That is a pretty specific piece of architecture. The point of mentioning this walk again in a blog is the lovely pictures we got of old chopped off wooden piles this morning.

Not perhaps everyone’s cup of tea but they were looking very fine this morning. It also gives me the chance to share my favourite picture of piles.

Piles at Statton Island NY

Just be grateful I am no longer creating medical imaging, that could have been a whole different picture!

Pandemic Pondering #266

Emballage à Bulles Day

Bubblewrap re-imagined

Galleries and Exhibitions have had to rethink the traditional Private View Party that usually heralds the start of a new exhibition. Many, like my own group have returned to an older tradition of Vernissage, or Varnishing Day when a much smaller group of people can be invited to see a preview of the Exhibition within controlled time periods. Traditionally the day when final touches or indeed varnishing can take place.

Slightly tongue- in-cheek I’ve found a French term for handing-in day , the day when work is handed in prior to the exhibition being curated.

Emballage à Bulles Day

Or less exotically Bubblewrap Day. Anyone who has ever worked on the Take In desk of a mass participation exhibition will know the nightmare of an ever increasing quantity of bubble wrap being wrestled by arty types as they deliver their precious creations to the hand-in desk.

Yesterday was a catalogue and framing day at home , ready for my attendance at Emballage à Bulles Day in Tavistock, later today.

Against the odds my art group have arranged an Autumn Exhibition that has not been cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions. All contributing artists are probably having a frantic last minute organise of their work before hand in tomorrow.

Framing

I’ve got a total of 12 pieces going to the exhibition 10 of which are easily affordable.

Devon Great Consul

The picture above is the biggest piece 92 cms square and £400. It is an abstract image taken from a series of photographs I took at an Industrial Heritage site near Gunnislake in Cornwall. Puddles of water coloured with minerals settled into man made imprints left by mineral mining in the early 20th Century

All 12 pieces ready to go

The exhibition runs from Wednesday 28th October until Sunday 1st November 9:30- 5:00 except Sunday when it closes at 2:00. It is being held at The Butchers Hall, Tavistock and social distancing and all Covid-19 precautions are being observed.

Blue Pollen

Blue Pollen 40cms square £90 Acrylic and Resin.

Emballage à Bulles, it could become a regular ‘thing’

Pandemic Pondering #265

There is a significance to the number of this blog. Come inside and I will explain.

In 100 blogs time I will have been pondering the pandemic for roughly a year. I say roughly because some days there was more than one blog and sometimes a subject took a few days to complete so the same number was used until I was done.

At the time of Pandemic Pondering #1, I had no idea of what was ahead of me, or indeed the rest of the world. #1 was ahead of the government imposed Lockdown in Britain because I was displaying symptoms of a virus and decided to self isolate. I had been unwell for much of March but believed it just to be a regular virus gifted by a toddler. As we have learned more about Covid 19 I do wonder if @theoldmortuary had actually grabbed ourselves an early version.

At the time I was practicing daily blogging, ready for a course with The Gentle Author.

https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Here I am just over 2/3 of the way through a year still waiting to attend the course and the Pandemic still giving me plenty to ponder about.

Some days write themselves and others need a little more effort to extrude. Dog walks are a great source of blogging material, beyond that the subjects or topics usually just reveal themselves during normal daily life, sometimes we seek things out because they might make a good blog. Meanwhile normal daily life goes on @theoldmortuary, 90% of it too humdrum for blogging.

I was always the sort of child that dreamed about keeping a daily diary. I never achieved it because I had always bored myself within a week. The same thing happened at various times in my life both with diaries and scrapbooks. I started blogging nearly three years ago because I wanted to regain my story telling skills; a career in the NHS prizes factual writing over whimsy. I also like to take photographs, sometimes they are quite random but most can be made useful in some way. In truth, blogging actually started when someone made a cutting and thoughtless remark to me about both writing and photography. Seething, I began blogging and the title could easily have been ‘ F**k You’

It has become a daily habit or ritual, blogging forces me to find something interesting in every day. Some days it has enabled me to concentrate on the positive when sadness and dismay were the actual truth of our lived experience. I am constantly learning and I should probably delete much of the last three years blogs on the grounds of badly written nonsense. Ponderings seem protected and will be excused any future cull because in my mind their mission statement to continue through the experience of this Pandemic makes them many pieces of a whole project.

I strongly suspect I will still be at this pondering malarkey in another 100 days, when @theoldmortuary hits 1 year of pondering. Thankyou for reading. Please close the doors on your way out.

Pandemic Pondering #264

This is the eye of a woman with a lot of responsibility on  her Woolly head .  Currently providing the Wow factor in the Mammoth Gallery at the Box. She is also a big part of the branding of merchandise for the museum.

Yesterday I spent my working time in the Mammoth Gallery . Mammoth certainly brings great happiness to the visitors of The Box. She is also the figurehead of the Natural History Gallery. The gallery has an abundance of specimens and information that is related to Plymouth and the surrounding area. There is so much to read, engage with and wonder at, that I’m sure one visit will not be enough for most people. It is not the purpose of these Box related blogs to describe in detail everything in the galleries but I can’t not tell you about the specimen jars which are displayed in something I think of as ‘Apothecary Chic’

Here they are reflected in some of the Audio Visual  presentations.

Back to Mammoth. She has a strong presence in the gift shop.

Like many toys of this sort, these mammoths were made in China. Much as it grieves me to say this we bought one for our granddaughter and now it is further increasing its, already mammoth, air miles by flying to her in Hong Kong in time for her birthday later in the month.

The gift shop is always a vital part of any museum or art gallery. The Box shop has a range of products not available elsewhere in the city. It is a shame that Pandemic restrictions limit the footfall currently, I would shop there regularly for unusual gifts

And Finally.