Pandemic Pondering #423

Today was spent setting up this exhibition with a fabulous team of artists working hard together with the mundane, but essential, tasks of making an exhibition space out of a multi-purpose room. The weather, a wind speed of 45 miles an hour did not help with the delivery of boards.

Later in the afternoon artists were blown into the venue to deliver their work. Canvases turning themselves into sails propelling them to the door at speed. Friday is hanging day so tomorrows blog will be filled with wonderful works of art which were all delivered by the end of the day. It was lovely to work with a large group of people sorting things out and collaborating together, in person, for the first time in a very long while. I pinched the image below from a poetry brochure, but it sums up well the idea of the artists of a valley working well together.

Pandemic Pondering #422

About this time of year @theoldmortuary are sometimes to be found at the Chelsea Flower Show. Picking up gardening inspiration for our own patch of horticulture. Our next project is going to be a courtyard garden and with the Flower Show cancelled for a second year we will have to go it alone using photos we’ve take in previous years. The Islamic garden above is quite beyond our talents but we could get close to something similar to the one below.

You might think that gardening and sea swimming have very little in common, and you would be right, but in our post swim natterings the subjects we cover are wide ranging. Some would make a nun blush, and quite possibly do, as we swim and natter just below the walls of a convent. Gardens though do feature a bit in our conversations because that has been the only place we have been able to meet friends and family. Bobbing has become a bit of a social club and we are looking forward to gathering together, with our clothes on, in each others gardens during the summer. The picture below popped up on our bobbing WhatsApp page, most bobbers thought it was a garden designed to be open to the public. But it is actually a Bobbers Garden!

© Kim and Andy Bobber

Also featured this week, in the the Bobbers Whatsapp group photos, is Flossy, a guinea pig, who has recovered from a recent illness, which kept her mum away from bobbing for a while.

©Helen Bobber

Bringing the subject back closer to actual bobbing, the picture below is a Bobbers portrait of a fellow bobber with her daughter.

©Marianne Bobber

And finally given the unusual location of our beach a warship and an assault vessel.

©Andy Bobber

Have a fabulous Thursday !

Pandemic Pondering #421

Life is starting to stack up. With every slight loosening of government restrictions our lives @theoldmortuary get a little busier. In many ways it feels as odd as the sudden deceleration of our lives over a year ago. We are not even pushing ourselves to the max possible.

Lunch indoors with one set of friends yesterday followed later by a meal inside a pub with different friends was lovely and an enormous pleasure but it felt both exotic strange and exciting to behave almost normally for once . Just as lockdown deeply affected my sleep patterns, last nights sleep was disturbed by recalling the days events. We also have some longstanding domestic admin that keeps us awake and an art exhibition to organise at the end of the week. Just as Covid-19 has the physical nasty that is Long Covid, all our lived experiences will suffer from the after effects of this pandemic for a long while even if we have been lucky enough not to catch the wretched disease.

Another period of sleeplessness will not be welcome in this house.

Some people are, of course, oblivious, although even this doggy naughtiness is Covid related. Thermal socks for outdoor socialising and post swimming are the best for chewing and there are plenty of pairs to be stolen.

In other news, the Advanced Blogging course has been announced for October. Alongside this announcement, the delightful Gentle Author has decided to return to teaching the art of blogging. I will pop a link below, his courses are wonderful.

So in a fine example of art imitating life everything is starting to stack up.

Pandemic Pondering #420

Quite the red letter day in England on Monday 17 th of May.

Hugging was allowed!!!! The Monday morning bob took on quite a different turn when our usual single file entry into the water broke out into serial hugging. Close bodily contact in Neoprene had a scintilla of Punk about it but in broad daylight, by the sea, we probably looked less intimidating than Punks and more like over enthusiastic seals. There are no photographs of this spontaneous eruption of hugging, that is often the problem with sponteneity, no evidence. Instead I can offer an image of recently disguarded swim wear.

Not only was hugging a first for today but getting drenched post swim was a first. Weve been bobbing for about 6 months and have never experienced such a downpour as we did today while we attempted to dry and dress post swim. With the relaxation of indoor regulations we could all make a dash for the concrete shelter that houses a couple of benches for people to enjoy the view, protected from the worst of the weather. An old chap was perched on one of the benches watching the rain cascade all around him. He cannot have imagined that his morning constitutional walk was going to be enlivened by 5 woman invading his space to dress and natter. He stoically focussed on the distant horizon, while we tried to accommodate our damp bits into reluctant, but dry, underwear  followed by outer clothes that wouldn’t go on easily because the rain had soaked them. As a brief break in the clouds allowed a shaft of sunlight to hit the tarmac he was off. The wheels on his zimmer frame sparking and carving trails in the puddles, so wide and frothy that a jet ski driver would have been proud of them. So intense and speedy was his need to escape and and put all that poorly concealed naked flesh behind him.

The brief sunlight made things look quite gorgeous but the lack of swimmers is evidence of how disgusting the weather really was.

Happy Hugging

Pandemic Pondering #419

That really was a weekend of dodging heavy rainfall and sometimes being defeated by the gallons of water falling from the sky. Yesterday the only dog walk that wasn’t done in raincoats and wellies rewarded us with this lovely old window aperture. It overlooks The Elizabethan Garden. Nearby this brave rose had bloomed unseasonably early only to have its outer petals battered by the weather, but the internal folds look just like rippled ice cream.

Increased rainfall changed our plans but we just replaced walking activities with talking activities and eating out with eating in. Normally a weekend spent talking to friends and family might be described as ‘ putting the world to rights’ . But with a world with Labyrinthine problems, not unlike the folds of this rose, we talked ourselves in circles and had a great time doing it. The name of this fishing boat neatly sums up our revised weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #418

A wet day out. Today we went to Fowey, a town we regularly visit but it is almost 2 years since we last were able to come. Many old favourite shops and cafes remain closed, maybe for ever, which is very sad. New kid on the block, North Street Cafe, looked very fine.

The weather was not kind to us but the occasional bursts of sunshine encouraged us to walk much further than usual and we found a secret garden on the site of an old Grammar School.

And watched sail boat racing. The day took on a dark turn , not only with the weather.A new sculpture has arrived in Fowey.

The sculpture celebrates the work of local author Daphne Du Maurier and in particular her book The Birds.

On a personal level the Alfred Hitchcock film of the same name scared me silly when I was a young Human. I’ve  never really felt an affinity with birds since , particularly when they accidentally get trapped indoors. I’m not so daft that the sculpture bothered me but at the end of our walk we sat by the Boddinick Ferry slip way to eat ice-cream and enjoy a rare moment of vivid sunshine. We were opposite Daphne Du Mauriers house. As the sun burnt through the rain clouds a huge cacophany of Crows calling and squarking filled the air behind us in the Rookery near by. The valley was filled with the sound that Hitchcock so effectively used in his screenplay. Right opposite the authors house, it must have informed her original writing.  Anyway it unnerved me so much I failed to take a picture of her old home. It is easy enough to find it on the internet.

Instead I took a picture of the cottages she would have seen from her home and made them look a little nostalgic.

Despite the weather and ‘The Birds’ a good day out.

Pandemic Pondering # 417

The May weather is so shocking in Cornwall this year that my poppies are ravaged. I can show their purple loveliness inside but their outsides are not photo worthy. The insides though are a velvety pleasure zone, too bad the weather that is battering them is also keeping the pollinators away.

In contrast the dreadful weather is not keeping us out of the sea and miraculously the storms have not stirred the sea bed too much so the minute the sun comes out everything looks pristine.

©Debs Bobber

The sea temperature has started to edge up a little so the rush to dry off and dress quickly after a swim is getting less desperate.We can even feel some warmth from the sun as we stand around enjoying our flasks of hot drinks.

©Debs Bobber

After some thought the Bobbers have decided to take their relationship to the next level. With temperatures rising slightly the need to dress like arctic explorers, post swim, is less essential. Water bottles have mostly been discarded already, along with wooly bobble hats and one layer of thermal underwear. Some time soon there will be a post swim photo of Bobbers posing in their new team hoodies, a ‘ Next Level’ sign, I’m sure, that ‘ bobbing’ is set to continue as the Pandemic restriction ease off and we could all be off doing different things. Two years ago this location was just somewhere to walk the dogs, a year ago, at the height of restrictions we dreamed of being able to get here to walk the dogs. Now after restrictions eased and exercise was a valid reason to travel short distances we swim here at least 3 times a week and mark special occasions with a dip. Something none of us would have considered until Covid-19 recalibrated our lives and mindsets.

Pandemic Pondering #416

A late email changed the shape of Thursday. The Box in Plymouth was ready to re- orientate Gallery Guides. I signed up for the Thursday morning training session. It is 6 months since the museum closed to visitors. Opening next week in a ticketed controlled way there is also some optimism that the museum can open fully, very soon and function in the way it was designed and planned for.

Yesterday was about Health and Safety and continued Covid precautions but along the way some new exhibits were glimpsed. The new Wompanoag Gallery will be one to spend some time in.

© The Box

In the nearby Mayflower exhibition there have been some tweaks. I especially liked the new position of these words on the hull of the Mayflower.

©The Box

On a different level it did feel strange to be in a room with a group of mostly unknown people. This last period of Lockdown has really messed with my head, I’ve grown accustomed to the strange, reserved, way we have all been living as isolationists. Switching back up to relatively normal sociability is the next adventure in these unprecedented moments.

Have a fine and fabulous Friday.

Pandemic Pondering #415

This popped into my in box this morning. At the time I was thinking of one of the small things I appreciate and have been denied again because of Covid restictions. Eid sweets, tiny morsels of sweet tastiness.

Eid al-Fitr was called last night and with Covid restrictions still in place the special foods of celebration will not be shared as widely as they should. There will still be the wonderful smells of home cooking wafting from the kitchens for the restricted gatherings to celebrate the ending of Ramadan. Eid sweets are one of the small things I have learned to appreciate over the years, colleagues bringing them into work or finding them on the counter or reception of Muslim run businesses.

Will Eid sweets shared to the public ever reappear in normal life , in just the same way that bar snacks are unlikely to make their way back anytime soon.

I’ve just put a link to some recipes, although they really are for sharing so maybe not such a good idea to make a batch for lone snacking!

Pandemic Pondering #414

Yesterday was a drawing day. A chance to sit out at a beautiful location and sketch. May in Cornwall has been a bit lack lustre. Cold and wet. By now I should be boring you all with pictures of vibrant poppies growing wild and wilful at the side of @theoldmortuary, it has not yet happened. Similarly the Wisteria at Pentillie Castle yesterday was pretty much still in bed when I sat at the arch, pencil in hand.

I managed to sketch in the bare bones of the arch before two, or three forces of nature sent me scuttling indoors for shelter. Two beautiful dogs took a huge liking to my fat Posca Pens and joyfully stole them, only to return them , directly onto my sketchpad with the addition of copious amounts of dog slobber.

A fine sketch of weaving, mostly bare, Wisteria branches and metal supports was never going to happen on a sketch pad pre soaked with dog juices. Then the rain arrived! Time to retreat to shelter and deploy a vivid imagination.

Time also to consider an alternative strapline for Posca Pens.

Posca Pens.

Work well with dog dribble.

Link to Pentillie Castle website-