#115 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning on The Goat Walk Topsham.

We were out early this morning and did some walking in Topsham near Exeter. It has been quite a long while since we were last here. That, I suppose is the point of todays blog. The shapeshifting of time, now we are nearly entering our third year of global pandemic restrictions. With continued alterations to our normal ways of being.

I was surprised yesterday to realise that this old image from a previous exhibition was only 3 years ago. I would have guessed it was more like 4 or 5 years. Then the reverse can be true and I can think I’ve seen someone very recently and they tell me it was two years ago. So my internal time calibration is completely useless at the moment. So who can possibly guess when I was last in Topsham enjoying an early morning Goat Walk.

These precautionary warnings on a pub wall may have a practical purpose but for a return to normal life the same cautions might be advisable.

I find I can no longer with confidence say what happened in any specific lockdown or time period over the last two years. I am an unreliable witness, a poor historian and in truth if anything requires reminiscent recall for the years 2020 and 2021 there is a good chance of inaccuracy. I may make stuff up.

You have been warned.

#114 theoldmortuary ponders

©Gill Bobber

There was a time in deep Covid when our little group of Bobbers stayed pretty much in the same geographical area. The photographs that appeared on the Bobbers Whatsapp pretty much depicted scenes from a small area of the Tamar Valley. But now photographs appear from places further away. These Sunday Llamas are hanging out with Bobbers further West in Cornwall . The one below is called Grumpy Brian.

© Gill Bobber

Grumpy Brian lives near Playing Place, near Truro. Surely a location that should spark joy in anyone?

In other Sunday news, the sticks to provide texture in a flower arrangement have gone rogue and started to sprout new leaves. Looks like we will be growing contorted willow in the yard this year.

#113 theoldmortuary ponders.

Not exactly another blog about bobbing but possibly a blog about plans, chance and expensive serendipity. Everything came together for this blog. The tide was perfect for bobbing at midday. The sun was scheduled to come out between 12 noon and 1pm and Spearmint the seal was hauled up a mile away . There is reason this picture is a little bit unusual, and the reason I have allowed myself to bore you all with another blog about bobbing. You might notice that there are gentle undulating waves for two of the bobbers to swim on. This is far from normal in our little bay. Friday was serendipitously not a normal day nautically. Out to sea, beyond our field of view there were many Nato warships taking part in an exercise. In the hour or so that we were bobbing or drying off, there were many tugs going in and out of the dockyard to help the larger ships navigate the complexities of Plymouth Sound. Almost certainly a very expensive way to provide us with gentle rolling waves for the duration of our bob. Serendipity at its serendipitous best.

#112 theoldmortuary ponders

Not a lot going on here. Some days or weeks are a bit becalmed. Not a huge amount going on or achieved. Those of you who actually know me would, quite rightly, never use the words elite athlete in the same sentence, paragraph or, quite frankly in the same room as me. But when I’m feeling a little bit becalmed I try to apply the sports or business philosophy of marginal gains.

The marginal gains philosophy approaches specific weaknesses as opportunities for growth, not points of criticism, improving the emotional wellbeing of athletes and employees alike. With marginal gains, a team can grow and develop in a way that best suits their needs.

Really there were no specifics for my becalmedness, just a list of not exactly thrilling tasks for a couple of days. I realise that I could also use the word doldrums but that word always suggests a slight dispiritedness which is not the case at all. My marginal gains of the week feel very marginal but a gain is a gain, regardless of its scale.

The cure for this state of mind would normally be a quick dip in the sea, and that is precisely my plan for today.

#110 theoldmortuary ponders.

In the creamy early morning light of St Ives it would be easy to miss the stone balancing on Lambeth Walk Beach.

Just like tourists there are less of them in January and they are not so tall or flamboyant. In this instance less is definitely more. These modest but skillfully created piles gently look out to sea, barely changing the appearance of the beach, they contemplatively slow everything down just that little bit. Encouraging the viewer to be still longer and breath deeper.

#109 theoldmortuary ponders

Here is another gorgeous doorway from St Ives. Once again I am using a door as a way of introducing a topic that would only provide very poor visual content. The gate is open which is a fine excuse to open up about my latest addiction. Like many addictions someone introduced me to this new pleasure. It was almost a throw away comment as he left the house.

“Have you tried Wordle?”


I doubt he had even got to the end of the street before I had found Wordle, done a Wordle and needed more Wordles!

I texted frantically asking how I could get the next one.

He replied that I would have to wait until tomorrow.

Who in their right mind introduces anyone to something they can only access once a day for pleasure?

Well , me actually. You won’t regret it.


#108 theoldmortuary ponders

There is nothing more exciting for our dogs than a beach that is slightly damp and yielding to the paws. A beach where they can build up speed and go a little crazy without human intervention. January is the perfect month for such adventures. This picture was taken at the very end of a long walk, the dog footprints are there just for the joy. The human footprints have determination and purpose. The human footprints are heading towards coffee and cake in a favourite cafe.

The cafe was closed for refurbishments. The dogs continued with joy and the humans made compromises. Ultimately everyone was happy.

Which is more than can be said for any lobster who casually wanders into a lobster pot looking for a snack.

#107 theoldmortuary ponders

A late ponder and a strange one too. I’m not yet done with St Ives but this ponder witnessed the great divide in our country yesterday. The door was on a street in St Ives and for the purposes of this ponder represents home, somewhere safe to live. Yesterday we witnessed a street cleaner very gently clearing the debris around a homeless woman, there was a lot of stuff and the whole time he was brushing and picking up litter he carried on an entirely upbeat conversation, as if they had just met. He exuded kindness and I felt awkward for just walking past, but in awe of the way he was handling a difficult situation. The interaction stuck with me. Just a couple of hours later we were walking near our home, there was a boat show in our local harbour.

These two moments are at either end of the financial scale of this countries wealth, its all a little mind blowing. The kindly street cleaner is the high point of the day, however pretty these boats look.

#106 theoldmortuary ponders

Morning has broken in St Ives with the gorgeous colour of Cadbury Chocolate wrappers.

In truth not the most thrilling of sunrises but the clear sky was a sign that the day was going to be a bit of a colour sensation. Early morning duties were the pleasure of sharing the start of our day with Miss VV, our granddaughter in Hong Kong. Our early morning adventures with her via video call involved stories involving sand horses and naughty seagulls. For the rest of our day we had strict instructions on the photographs that needed to be taken to be sent to her for when she wakes up. Seagulls were top of her list.

This one is a bit of a visual joke as he had managed to poo on the reflection of his own head.

Another request was dogs on their holidays.

Miss VV did not request a piece of Barbara Hepworth sculpture but we took our own initiative and took one anyway.

Gifted in 1965 to the town she had adopted as her home.

We did a three hour coastal path walk and found some small and deeply personal sculptures. Love locks attached to a small metal fence on the sea side of the path. Stuck together and corroded by the salt spray of the Atlantic.

The thing we didn’t manage to capture was a dolphin feeding frenzy which we witnessed but luckily for the blog a more proficient photographer was about earlier in the week.


That’s enough St Ives for one day, more tomorrow.