#133 theoldmortuary ponders

Another day of West Country greige so I decided to use lovely colourful pictures from the weekend to brighten up my own morning and tell a small piece of local knowledge. First up though this gorgeous rust and paint combo. Followed by another.

I suppose these are the gifts from all the greige we live with. A damp, moist climate brings out the best for rust lovers. Similarly lichen and moss can be glorious and after the recent storms the ground beneath trees is littered with twigs and branches embellished by these moisture loving plants.

Which brings me to a little piece of local knowledge.

Visitors to Devon and Cornwall often think that daffodils are deliberately planted on the roadside and at the base of stone walls. These daffodils are actually the descendants of bulbs discarded out of flower growing fields during the second world war. The fields were cleared for food crops to be planted to feed the nation during war time. Some really rare daffodils can be found in quiet country lanes. One more picture of a beautiful day while I am in denial about the true state of todays weather.

# 132 theoldmortuary ponders

Sun rising through Allium heads.

The sharp morning sun of late February is a real gift to a woman who loves complicated patterns.

Sun rising on railings

We are staying with some friends in South East Cornwall , I have a cosy nook in which to write the blog.

What I dont have is any wifi currently but a short walk once I have written this will take me to an mast where I can ping this off out to the world.

Our sleep was somewhat disturbed by a South East Cornwall traditional past time. Boy racers charging around village lanes in cars at 4 in the morning at high speeds. Engine noise and headlights on whitewashed walls break up the nights sleeping pattern. The boys wind their windows down to whoop victoriously as they pass the cottage on their loop of dangerous pleasure. I worry for them and my head is filled with the music of T-Rex as concurrently I remember a crumpled mini desolately wrapped around a tree. The beautiful man of glam rock, Marc Bolan, splattered like a trifle onto his windscreen. Memory is a funny thing in the middle of the night. Testosterone funnier, but dangerous. There were no sounds of screeching brakes and crumpling metal. As a long term resident of South East Cornwall I know these manifestations of masculinity echo through the countryside night after night. These boys have skill and courage, just like me they have woken up again to a Cornish morning.

Unlike me they were not worried.

#131 theoldmortuary ponders

Rusty links and shadows on a Saturday. The sun came up, our campervan passed its MOT and the Bobbers got back into the sea after 10 days or more of stormy conditions. Spring must be just around the corner.

This was the bobbers celebrating sun and a succesful bob . On the next beach along other swimmers let the sun go to their heads.

©Plymouth Swim Collective

Beneath the bobbers warm clothes and cups of tea every bobber is a glorious celebration of toned muscles and flexed pecs. We simply didnt get correct instructions for the after swim photo. Next time…

#140 theoldmortuary ponders.

Daily blogging started as an exercise between two parts of a blogging course. Covid 19 stepped in and the exercise stretched from 8 weeks to being indefinite. Doing something daily for just a few minutes for 18 months becomes a habit. If there was a plan it was always to record the mundane in a ‘normal’ persons life. After blogging for 18 months during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic I saw little reason to stop daily blogging once the ‘advanced’ part of the course was completed. The picture above may well have been in todays blog, simply because the ship and its tugs were very close to our swimming area. As usual in a blog about the mundane I would have told you that I missed a really great picture because I was picking up a dog poo, which was true. Yesterday was different though, Russia invaded Ukraine and the story takes a twist. Normally I would check which ship I was seeing on a Marine Tracking App. Yesterday the tracking App told me my eyes deceived me. There was no ship, just a big gap between two tugs.Big world events reflected on a very normal dog walk.

#139 theoldmortuary ponders

Today was my last shift at The Box being a room steward for the Songlines Exhibition. There are still 4 more days to visit, for those of you who live locally, as the exhibition actually finishes on Sunday. Then all these wonderful paintings will be crated up for their journey to Berlin. I’ve pondered a good bit on what to write about this exhibition. Not feeling quite able to live up to the words of many very knowledgeable art critics or indeed the wise words of Dame Mary Beard, I’ve decided just to give my thumbnail response.

Songlines is a cross cultural tale, both ancient and modern, of womens care and responsibility to one another when faced with predatory male behaviour. It is a #metoo story handed down for thousands of years, woman to woman. The villain of these stories is a bad bad man. Songlines as presented here skims on some of the brutality and the accompanying texts are lighter in mood than the true depravity of the situations the women in the stories endured. All of the exhibition can be viewed by adults and children and enjoyed simply for the artwork, with or without,an age appropriate understanding of the story. But viewing all the paintings ,videos, and 3d sculptures leaves no one in any doubt of the way these stories unfold and that there will be no happy ending. For all that this collection of Australian indigenous art is a wonderful blast of colour and form, there is enough to keep most people occupied and interested for a whole day with appropriate rest and nattering stops. Throughout the exhibition the visitor is kept in touch with the artists who created the work and the portion of the exhibition which is held in the University gallery recreates the art hubs where these works were created.

Yesterday, among the hundreds of visitors, I pondered which piece of art I would miss most and came up with two choices that could easily be acommodated in my own home were I to become an International art thief. I don’t actually have the wall space for my favourite paintings.

Shape shifting vases.
Poker work Coolamon

Since I have zero talent for crime, no theft occured.

#138 theoldmortuary ponders

A blustery weekend and some cancelled plans gave me some more time to catch up with my art course homework. This was a colour note for a blustery walk on Sunday. Storm Franklin was an altogether more blustery affair than Eunice. Franklin had blustered into the local Primary school and set off the burglar alarm. Crashing waves and the cries of Oyster catchers with a side serving of persistent electronic noise was not quite the coastal idyll I was planning to record and paint, but it is the combination I was gifted. The mellow dark notes were provided by a deeply, fruity, cup of black coffee. Black coffee is my drink of choice, now, for coastal walks, after two separate incidents of having the frothy top of a flat white splattered onto my face. I’m not a fan of drinking good coffee through a plastic lid. Thus the weekend map of my walking experience has two man made colour memories and four natural ones all combined to suggest the booming of a storm, the sound of Oyster Catchers and the irritating pulse of a triggered alarm system all interacting with a swirling seascape. This image just represents a tiny moment of time, all senses disturbed by powerful gusts of wind.

#137 theoldmortuary ponders

Bad weather has stopped bobbing for a week or so. We’ve all missed our regular dunking in the Atlantic edges. Over the 18 months or so we have been bobbing some not inconsiderable skills have been gained, talents that should not be allowed to go to waste simply because the weather is having some bad days. A Dry Bob was called. Cake and conversation without the bother of getting cold and wet. Really the only things we could safely do while Firestone Bay is quite so unwelcoming.

Our cake and conversation is fully primed and up to speed for when the sun comes out again.

#136 theoldmortuary ponders

Storm Franklin

Another day, another storm and a revelation. Living on a small peninsular is a unique experience and one that I am not always able to express with words or pictures. Painting the Screaming Eunice experience made me realise that there is a third way.

Screaming Eunice was the big ticket event of the extended weekend.

Screaming Eunice

Franklin arrived on Sunday. No show stopping headlines and ‘just’ an amber warning. He kicked the already dispossessed dustbins further down the street in the same way that a tin can might be kicked by revellers leaving the Royal William Yard. He dumped loads of rain on us and blew it up inside waterproof clothing by wickedly changing direction.

Eunice was here for a day and gone a trail of celebrity damage left overnight . Franklin is hanging around, booming down chimneys just to let us know he is still here, wailing over the rooftops looking for mischief. Making solid mature trees jig around like children. He sets off car alarms and leaves them pulsing into every aspect of a quiet afternoon. Franklin is not a nice storm.

#135 theoldmortuary ponders

Screaming Eunice

Accidentally, while creating a colour memory, colour wheel, I created an image of an imaginary beast which very much conformed to my imaginings of Storm Eunice as she hit land in Plymouth. She didn’t stay in Plymouth long and did less physical harm locally, than she did further in land. I call her Screaming Eunice because of the high pitched wailing and booming that accompanied her arrival from the Atlantic, alongside the record breaking gusts of wind and physical damage.

Screaming Eunice

Unknown to us Screaming Eunice brought something else with her. We saw the the effect but didn’t know the reason until later. The dogs were mostly unpeterbed by their initial walk in Eunice. After the walk I settled down to paint my visual record of the morning walk. Hugo and Lola were snuggled in the studio dozing their way through Eunice at her worst. Without warning Lola woke up and was inconsolable, nothing would settle her. Forty minutes later she could only be calm when snuggled on a human. Unknown to us Eunice brought a huge amount of strange and wonderful smells. Scent is Lolas absolute favourite thing in the world. Eunice however brought so much unusual perfume, poor little Lola was overwhelmed . We only realised when her Stylist put up a message on Facebook.

©Natalies Dog Grooming

So, stranger things have happened than me naming a storm, Screaming Eunice and then painting her. It turns out that Screaming Eunice also has body odour issues. Who knew?

#134 theoldmortuary ponders

Well Eunice was quite the storm yesterday. Living on a historically fortified peninsular of rock that juts into Plymouth Sound during the worst storm for more than thirty years was always going to be interesting. Made even more so by needing to create a colour mind map of my daily walk using all my senses. Eunice hit land further down the coast at Sennen and barrelled her way across the country via the Bristol Channel. So we were not exactly in the eye of the storm, that said it was a weather event when not doing anything too adventuresome was advisable.A morning dog walk introduced me to Eunice and she was not happy

Eunice screamed between the elegant Georgian houses, screams of distress and melancholy. She boomed against fortifications built by Henry VIII and dumped water on concrete defences built for the many wars and skirmishes that Britain has been involved in. Eunice was not a happy woman. By the time we reached our favourite coffee shop she had taken to flinging dustbins into the air and overwhelming the small boats resting in protected harbours.

All this on a day that I was being ‘aware’ of my walk with all my senses so I could create a colour map of the experience. Certainly not in any sense topographically accurate but definitely synesthesically so.There are also two actual cultural references. I didnt hear bright red on the walk yesterday but I knew we were under a red warning with a strict advisory not to venture too far. It would have suited me far better artistically and synesthesically if the warning had stayed at amber.The synesthesia of a warm coffee shop was altogether a huge deliciously cacophonic callaloo of colours and sensations, as was the whole day, but I chose to depict it with the logo and tranquil white. A place of sanctuary in a world of sliding, feral, dustbins.

So welcome to my sketch of Screaming Eunice. Done quickly while she screamed in my ears. Topographically inaccurately drawn, it is a distillation of a moment in time and location. Sound, sensations, colours, geography and great coffee all in one picture.

The big P.S to all this storm chat.

I am very aware of the cultural appropriation in this blog. I work at a museum, The Box, and have spent months in the company of the Songlines Exhibition. A masterpiece ( mostly mistresspieces) of Indigenous, Australian peoples art. The image I created looks like a rip off, it isn’t deliberately so.

The word Callaloo- a word gleaned from a Trinidadian work friend, she used it to describe the mixed up chaos of our work environment ( operating theatres) after a heavy night at the office. It is a word I use often in my head when synesthesia and real life collide.

A Callaloo is a Trinidadian vegetable stew. It is also used by Trinidadians to describe the rich cultural life of their island created by the historic blending of people of many different heritages. The word is also used, by Trinidadians to describe a muddle or mixture. Something my head is all too familiar with.