Pandemic Pondering #561

©Marianne Bobber

As luck would have it we have a dog whose ears act as a windsock. Thus allowing me to share other pictures that feature wind and you will have an understanding of sense and direction. Lola is staring out to sea looking northward towards Wales.

Yesterdays swim was extraordinary. Exhilarating and epic, the thrill and managed risk of an unknown beach made our morning swim just delicious. The previous day we had met some fellow coast path amblers. The woman expressed an urge to swim in the sea, her male partner was somewhat dismissive of her diligence or ability to do such a thing. We told her we would be at the beach at 11:30 and at 11:30 she strode into the sea to join us with no sign of her doubting man.

© Marianne Bobber

There were furry lifeguards on duty at all times.

The rest of the day was spent ambling and exploring the coastal path.

Somewhat disappointingly the stretch of coastal path did not live up to its designation of scenic. We knew the sea and cliffs were to our left but what we mostly saw were brambles. I observed that the walk was “About as scenic as my arse’ which pretty much describes everyone’s view. A rotating display of four human bums and three dog bums depending on which order we were walking.

Book reading conversations were the high point of our rest stops. Raynor Winn and Simon Armitage have both written books about walking the South West Coast path. Both books were given rigorous reviews in the bramble caves where we found benches to stop. Blackberries were available for refreshment which was a reasonable compensation for not seeing the Bristol Channel.

A View!

Thankfully walking the coastal path had not been the plan so there was no huge disappointment with the lack of views. The reward for doing a challenging and unexpectedly long amble was pints of Doom Bar shandy and smaller measures of Gin and Tonic served with tasty fish and chips at a beachside pub.

Just a final, uphill mile to our beds.

Pandemic Pondering #560

Yesterday was a proper English holiday day. It rained all day but we still managed a ‘bob’ on a grey beach. After a hot shower and breakfast we set off on foot to explore the cold wet beauty of the North Devon coast.

I will spare you the monotony of grey seascapes but we did manage to find some local and not so local colour.

Rock formations and tidal pools

Sometimes holidays in England definately need the right clothes because the right weather does not always blow our way. We have the right clothes!

We brought colour and interest to people walking the coastal path by bobbing in the sea when no-one else bothered. I also thoughtfully used my fluorescent bouy so they didnt incorrectly assume I was a seal at play. My natural grace in the water is easily confused with the movements of a marine mammal and it would be cruel to trick people,on the 630 mile hike of the South West Coastal Path, into believing that they had seen Martine the Coombe Martin Seal frolicking with a mackerel.

Although I do sometimes tinker with them.

We located rain forest plants. Although locating a good coffee after 4pm takes an intrepidness we do not possess.

Dicksonia Antarctica

Perhaps most significantly in these Covid times of restricted travel we found a cute Japanese Tea Set in a charity shop. Which helps me to spice up this blog with quite a lot of foreign influence.

And at least an illustration of foreign travel.

Pandemic Pondering#549

Some late September’s bring us Kataifi and other sweet treats. This one brings us plums from a friends allotment.

We are having a few days in the van trying to extract the last preciousness of nectar from the scrag end of summer. New swimming/bobbing destinations are the ultimate goal although the tides were not on our side for an afternoon swim after our arrival. Instead the dogs went mad on a craggy beach and we talked with other swimmers also waiting for higher tides.

© Gill Bobber

Although I worked in this part of North Devon long ago the fine detail of the coast is unknown to me. Having worked in health screening at the time the same cannot be said for the North Devonians, some of their intimate spaces are seared onto my brain. The one that sticks ( or stinks) in this approximate location is a woman who appeared at my clinic in fairly normal clothes for an evening at a nightclub. She had arrived in a van driven by a younger man soon after we opened at 10 a.m. There was a feint whiff of something rural as she settled into the chair for the interview part of the procedure. She was garrulous and witty. The getting nearly naked part of the examination was a surprise to us both. Every layer of her clothing was dotted with the excrement from the overnight production of multiple chicken bottoms.The poo had gently warmed as she was driven to her appointment. Although it is imprudent to ask why patients arrive unclean she was anxious to explain her situation. She had been enjoying a drink with friends in a pub with a dancefloor, a friendly young man had asked her to dance and had lavished attention on her all evening and then offered her the opportunity to explore his body more effectively. He explained that he lived in shared accomodation but that he had the key to a warm and comfortable barn. She was anxious to explore the European Union Common Agricultural Policy in action and accompanied him to the barn. Unknown to her he was a poultry farm worker. Her precious going-out clothes were discarded in the dark under the watchful gaze of roosting hens who spent the night voiding there cloacas on her best underwear and dress. Getting to grips and being gripped by an advocate of the European Common Agricultural Policy had quite exhausted her and she had only woken up an hour before her appointment and had scrabbled back into her clothes under the continued watchful gaze of the hens and begged a lift into Ilfracombe for her appointment. She had been aware of a certain musty or earthy smell as the van warmed her up but the true horror of the situation only revealed itself to us both as she took her clothes off. Examination completed she returned to her European lover in two NHS gowns and her 3 inch heels.

And that my friends was North Devon 25 years ago. When we had the benefit of a European Common Agricultural Policy.

Pandemic Pondering #548

Despite all the talk of too much talking over the weekend, the back yard is looking more stylish with Hannahs diligence with a paintbrush and a pot of black paint. The outside toilet has also been rehabilitated as a usable space instead of somewhere where stuff was dumped.

Of course my previous two blogs didn’t lie, there was a lot of nattering. Yesterdays nattering was with a woman we had never met before, although during the 18 months we have exchanged baking and crochet with her. Ruth is a friend of a friend. Our friend in common became a vital go between delivering bakes from us to Ruth. Ruth in turn made vital crochet for us. I can already feel you thinking what is ‘ vital’ about crochet. @theoldmortuary crochet became a conduit of love. During lockdown our toddler granddaughter moved to Hong Kong with her parents. I’m not sure such an occurrence is ever easy to bare but with the complextities of a pandemic and other worries it caused hard to manage grief. Ruth crocheted super hero clothes for our grandchild’s plush pig and the pig also flew off to Hong Kong with a crocheted and enchanted cape for safe travel and a happy return. In sad situations it is sometimes the little things that give comfort.

Recently, after our house move, we were in need of crochet again. Hannah’s mum had made beautiful crochet when she was alive and we have a few pieces of her work. An old house really needs some little touches to link the everyday contemporary world to the past. Once again Ruths nimble brain and fingers created two beautiful runners for us in a similar style to the one Hannahs mum had made. Another meaningful link to love and loss in a way that something mass produced could never be.

And out of all of this we have gained another friend.

Pandemic Pondering #547

Saturday night

Yesterday and today have been days of nattering around the table. In the evolution story of @theoldmortuary , chattering around the table was the original source of the daily blogging three months before the pandemic gripped and nattering around a table with friends or family was banned as an unacceptable infection risk.The daily blogging became lone pondering and almost 18 months later we have only just returned to the habit of nattering with friends around the table over a cup of tea or coffee and baked goods.

We seem to have nattered all weekend with very little actual work occuring!

The top picture represents the main topic of conversation this September and actually most Septembers. The sudden realisation that evenings are getting darker. It happens every September and yet every September it is a surprise. Baked goods from a bakery fuelled this weekends natterings, this mornings trip for baking perfection took me past Smeatons Tower, I managed to grab this shot while the streets were still quiet.

Sunday morning

Pandemic Pondering #546

A late blog, apologies. Yesterday I went to a real world meeting. It required me to catch a real world train on what turned out to be a not so scenic, Scenic Railway. The Tamar Valley, however, had other ideas about the scenic part and filled itself with a mist so impenetrable that the journey almost past without seeing any landmarks

This is a bridge. Fortunately for the sanity of this blog I have painted it. Not the actual bridge but a painting.

Fortunately a cow loomed out of the mist which brings some level of interest.

Beyond that there was hedgerows, the first one with mist the second a little higher with actual sunshine.

Eventually we got high enough up the valley to be above the mist.

And at long last some countryside.

Before we dropped down again to the river and the village of Calstock viewed from the viaduct.

Before arriving at my destination of Gunnislake.

There are days, like yesterday when I feel pretty confident on the way a blog is going to work. How wrong could I have been! I had bright sunshine as I boarded the train , a gorgeous blog with amazing photos was just going to drop into my lap, I thought. The weather of course had other ideas. For those of you with half an hour to spend, I’ve included a youtube of the journey in good weather.

For everyone else here is some lovely rust at journeys end.

Pandemic Pondering #545

New home for neon

The weather today was not glorious, it was perfectly fine but we decided to hit the to-do list. Hannah picked up a paint brush and the exterior paint pot and took on walls and the outside toilet. I rearranged the work room and found a new home for @theoldmortuary neon sign. The reason for this flurry of activity is that while we were renting this house we promised the previous owner that we would do nothing structural. So when we moved in many of our unpackings and placements were temporary and we had to store quite a bit of stuff in the work room. Now we have actually owned it for a week it’s time to crack the whip on our to- do list. The paintwork is just on a first coat so that will feature on another blog. Oh the anticipation of a freshly painted outside loo !

A tidy work room also benefits from some neon placement.

The yard is proper twinkly now the neon has been unpacked and turned on.

Which makes for some interesting shapes and shadows.

Pandemic Pondering #544

Autumn Equinox was marked by some foraging in friends gardens, with permission, of course. We made an autumn wreath for the yard. This time next year it would be lovely to think we could be collecting our own figs from the new tree, but that seems unlikely. The fabulous weather of this week is scuppering all plans of getting on with jobs in the new house and yard. Apart from foraging in gardens there was just too much lovely sun to be enjoyed yesterday to get many jobs ticked off the to-do list.

Autumn really is a lovely time but the slow slide into short days and long dark nights is a definite mood drooper. Our evening swims now require torches in our tow floats and easy clothes to change into. Hot drinks in flasks can’t be to far behind.

Last night we welcomed back Kim to the bobbing group. She perforated an ear drum while perfecting an elegant swallow dive from the platform, anchored out in Plymouth Sound, six weeks ago. Those of us that just bobbed and flopped managed not to injure ourselves but did not bring quite the same style to the event. Style and sea swimming are starting to be reflected in local art exhibitions, we bought this print a few weeks ago.

©Black Pug Press

Like many jobs it awaits time and bad weather before it will be framed and put on the wall.

Pandemic Pondering #543

Devon pretended to be Greece again today. Even mythical creatures were looking gorgeous in the sun.

Leviathan in the sun

Chocolate croissants were also looking tasty near the harbour.

And a lonely swan was looking arty among squiggling reflections.

All this loveliness doesnt get the jobs done though so after a longish walk in the sunshine we returned home to perform domestic diligence. Domestic diligence does not a fascinating blog make, but with full disclosure we have lovely clean windows, energy efficient light bulbs in every chandelier ( I know!) And non slip foam applied to 20 slats on a bed. Meanwhile in Hong Kong half of our family was celebrating the Autumn Moon festival, which makes better pictures than domestic diligence.

We had planned a moonlight swim for the last full moon of the summer but the moon didn’t put in an appearance. The sunset was pretty though and the sea was kind to us

Fingers crossed for more Grecian weather tomorrow.

Pandemic Pondering #542

©Debs Bobber

Devon threw out all the Greek vibes this Monday morning. Bobbers were a split pack today with two sessions, one at 10am and one at 7pm. This glorious blue tidal pool welcomed the morning bobbers. Meanwhile post the Burgh Island swim we were at Beesands. The lobster boats were also feeling a bit greek too

Hugo and Lola have no idea what Greek is but they struck a heroic pose regardless.

Meanwhile back with the early bobbers the summer clouds just kept drifting across the sky.

© Debs Bobber

The 7 pm bobbers didn’t quite get the Greek treatment from the weather. But a high tide and warm water is all we need and that is pretty much what we got.