#83 theoldmortuary ponders

As the Turkey leaves the building for 2021 we celebrated with a traditional curry. There is enough for a pie in the freezer but the curry is always the big send off.

Henry VIII was the first English king to serve Turkey at Christmas feasts.I feel a lot like Henry VIII right now. Rotund and somewhat over feasted.

Over feasted yet I wake up hungry in the morning. Deep December is a funny place to live. Mince Pie for breakfast anyone?

#82 theoldmortuary ponders

Raindrops keep falling on my blog/dog/seal.

Betwixt and between, hovering, damply between Christmas and the New Year. Hovering also in some marshy uncertainty of the Pandemic and the worlds route forward.

Traditionally this is a time of walking and enjoying fresh air and inspiring views. As spectacle wearers there has to be some expectation of reasonable weather. Today is not that day.

Todays walk was a blurry meander with the sole purpose of doggy elimination. Not the sort that has clearly annoyed a neighbour. We are very responsible dog owners.

Lovely use of a festive gift label, top marks for recycling. The specificity of this message is gorgeous, were I to have a large brown bear would his defaecation really be as welcome as this sign implies?

The high and turning point of todays walk is when both dogs have done a poo, texture and quality are discussed before it is cleared away swiftly and hygienically. ( Should you be interested we have passed through the days of over indulgence of turkey to the normalcy of regular eating and bran flakes)

Even Miss Spearmint feels a little disappointed in the weather. What is the point of hauling out on a dark background if there are not many photographers about.

#81 theoldmortuary ponders

We took ourselves off for a coffee date this morning with friends and then took a walk around the old Elizabethan Port of Plymouth. An area that still roughly conforms to the pink area on this map of 1620. We walk it so often we quite take it for granted and I took very few photographs today.

Just as the Pandemic took hold of the world, Plymouth was gearing up to celebrate its part in the founding of the New World with the Mayflower 400 celebrations. Plymouth was being primped for many visitors and events. All that preparation and anticipation came to nothing as the world shut down. One of our favourite, tiny corners of Plymouth has been shut ever since. To our surprise the Elizabethan gardens were open today on our walk and we popped in.

December is not a great time to admire a garden but it was really nice just to be back in a favourite space.

I think I was so surprised to be in there at all I only took a couple of pictures, but all around there were signs of the refurbishment of historic buildings which would have been so central to the 400 year anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower to what we now know as the United States of America.

I am disappointed in myself photographically but sometimes ot is just good to lose yourself in the moment which is exactly what I did. A perfect reason to go back, very soon when Spring starts to make an appearance.

In other news, we had a sporting day yesterday with golf and Ten Pin Bowling.

Both venues were totally artificial but we had a great time being competitive indoors away from the somewhat murky weather .

We have been lucky in our new home, and totally grateful,that none of our Christmas visitors have involved grumpy old farts like this chap on the golf course.

My commiserations to any of you who have suffered a friend or family member who has cast shade on your festivities, there is nothing worse. If this Pandemic has taught me anything it is that life is too short to share extended moments with people whose habitual attitude to life tends towards the negative.

We have been extraordinarily lucky this festive season. Smiles and happiness overload.

#80 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility Bay

Three years ago I took this picture of a beach on 27/12/2018. Not in my wildest imagination did I think that I would become a year round swimmer from this beach, or that I would ever live just a short walk from here. It feels like yesterday. Not so very far over that blue horizon was an almost two year long, life altering and time warping Pandemic. It all feels quite unbelievable.

#79 theoldmortuary ponders

Christmas in a new home is always a voyage of discovery. Past Christmases have sometimes involved up to 24 family members and friends joining us in previous homes. Our last Christmas 2020 drew our lowest numbers ever with just the two of us @theoldmortuary , due to Covid restrictions. This first year in our new home has hardly ramped the numbers up. We are 3.5 rising to 5.5 people this year. Curiously our new house is just a tiny bit older than Christmas reinvented. Reinvented meaning the Victorian mass introduction of imported or invented Festive Tradition . The new house has made a welcome and comfortable refuge for us all from the norma, not normal life of 2021. Time to just hang out together after a highly unusual couple of years. We are very comfortable here.

The award for the most useful room, at Christmas, in the new house goes to the utility room pictured above. This picture has been published in a blog before and inspired the most unusual and unexpected Christmas gift of 2021.

3 boxes of Thompsons Tea arrived from a blog reader who noticed we favoured Yorkshire Tea. She reccomended Thompsons as a good alternative to our favourite brew. We had never heard of Thompsons and thought no more about it until Christmas morning when we unwrapped a parcel from her. Suddenly the uncertain future of 2021 has a purpose! 3 new flavours of tea to try while we wait for Covid to pass. Contemplating boxes of tea on Boxing Day.


#78 theoldmortuary ponders

Christmas morning sunrise. The breakfast of Bobbers.

©Andy Cole

Christmas morning found us all at sea. Miss Spearmint also hauled up on the beach after a heavy Christmas Eve in Plymouth Sound. She will be sleeping off her over- eating until the next high tide.

Happy Holidays Blog readers, you rock.

#77 theoldmortuary ponders

Here we are. Christmas Eve. Time to reflect perhaps, or time to hit domestic admin with gusto and efficacy. Gusto and efficiency for the last 36 hours was going to be rewarded with some cheesy chips from a local seaside cafe. Imagine my disappointment when they were closed. A disappointment compounded by Miss Lola delivering her lunchtime poo into the heart of a teenage thistle. Teenage thistles are a lot like regular teenagers. They look quite cute, a mix of the child you loved and the adult you will come to love. But whoa! Looks can be deceiving those cute slightly downy leaves carry quite a spiky message. How Lola delivered a whole poo quite so deeply into this moody spikey plant is beyond my imagination. She appeared to deliver it with ease. I did not retrieve it with anything like ease, to be frank, I yelped, as she certainly deserved to. For my troubles I have a nasty and unusual Christmas scar, not the traditional forearm one from retrieving baked goods from the oven. A thistle scratch, slight but jagged and ridiculously sore.

To get over my trauma I devised a new reward for my Gusto and Efficiency. An hour or two of dabbling with watercolour, typing and paper. I had success and hit on a happy accident of a paper that responds really well to typing and water colour. Have a Happy Christmas.

#75 theoldmortuary ponders

And so. As the Northern hemisphere awakes it has gone through the longest night. My shortest day was spent at the speed of a 90 year old visitor. There is much to reccomend about such a speed. Less expectation to achieve everything and just plenty of time just to natter and almost meditatively wrap the small gifts that end up in stockings. Stocking-gift wrapping also gave me the wonderful aroma of beautifully fresh Navel Oranges , which must always be in every stocking. Surely a good reason to just breath deeply and relax.

There are still many dark days to fill with introspection but as the world turns we are looking towards the light now.

There are many more stocking gifts to wrap up but just crossing the winter solstice gives me a lightness of thought.

Time to enjoy the lengthening days and the anticipation of gathering in modified ways for Christmas and the New Year with family and friends. Time to look forward.

P.S This is the sunrise at 8:10