#161 theoldmortuary ponders

Blogwise it is going to be a quiet patch for the next few days.

Lola has had a hysterectomy and is advised to take life gently for the next two weeks. No walks longer than ten to fifteen minutes. No giddy excitements. This was a planned procedure so I had stored up quite a few non exciting projects to be completed at home.

This morning I bought some mackerel, mackerel models if you like, for a longstanding commission and a portrait exhibition later in the year.

Plymouth Market has an excellent fishmonger with gorgeous fish straight from the fish market.

I had no qualms asking for three of the prettiest mackerel for posing reasons. The mackerel pose, not me.

I also asked for fish heads to paint actual fish face portraits but I need to go back later in the day for that.

Obviously for continuity of dog care it was a very quick nip into the market but even a quick nip created a ponder, one created entirely from my own ignorance.

I love a market, but snobbishly or for whatever reason, foreign or London markets really float my boat. Meanwhile my local market gets barely a thought. Well more fool me. I do know that Plymouth Market is an architectural gem and I do go there reasonably often but I have never noticed these two pieces of wall art before.

The bottom one even features by name one of my favourite London Markets. Spitalfields.

Now of course I need to return to the market and research the artist!

So for my next visit, fish heads and Art History, who knew caring for a post surgery dog could be quite so stimulating!

#160 theoldmortuary ponders.

Three solid days of Spring sunshine and it was time to raise the level of our yardening. The last six months or so have been about moving plants in containers into their most comfortable positions in the new yard. A chance event, the delivery of some free seeds from the local Primary School pushed us into greater action.

Most of our container plants have survived well, despite doing well some of them are not so suited to a blisteringly hot, coastal yard and need rehoming. The free seeds spurred us into action as the plants needing rehoming were in a container that was perfect for a bee corridor.

So far so sensible but somehow things got out of hand when we popped into a garden centre for some anting compost. The tiny project inspired by some free seeds suddenly involved reinstating a 2 metre long raised bed that had been lawned over with artificial grass by the previous owners.

Many plants and hours later we have a beautiful new border and some cute plants.

Which was not the plan at all!

The neighbours, meanwhile, look on in disgust, nothing worth eating at all

#159 theoldmortuary ponders

Mothers day weekend passed in glorious sunshine. There was an arrival of flowers and the promise of some books but no actual face to face mothering to be done. Our own mothers are long dead and beloved human children were busy elsewhere. So with a bit of magical realism in mind, we took ourselves and them off to a place we have all loved, and did some reminiscing.

We love Fowey so much we held our short notice wedding there.

When I first moved to Cornwall my parents were both unknowingly pretty poorly with terminal illnesses. It would have been easier to fall in love with any number of the beautiful locations surrounding us, especially ones with sensible Victorian promenades, so much easier to push a wheelchair and manage two small children. But as we all know no-one chooses who they fall in love with, the same is true of choosing favourite towns to visit.

Briefly empty, the streets of Fowey demonstrate the challenges I faced.

Building muscle and precious memories over the five years of their illnesses Fowey was always the go-to destination even when it took very precise planning to make a visit happen.

Despite being born in Hong Kong, Hannah has lived a big chunk of her life living near to Fowey and regularly rowed in the annual regatta. Her mum loved an excuse to visit the shops of Fowey, there was never a visit that didn’t produce an essential purchase.

So we have individual memories and blended memories, all of which make for a good day out. Never let it be said that you can’t join in with Mothers Day just because there is no actual mothering to be done.

We were up and out early which gave us the advantage of empty streets. The weather was beautiful and gave us sharply contrasting stolen views.

We hadn’t made a lunchtime reservation and were disappointed that our favourite cafe, Pinky Murphys was closed.


But that turned out to be an absolute bonus as we eventually got a perfect balcony table at a cafe bar that is one we have been to with all of our family over the many years of loving Fowey. Over 30+ years the bar has had many names and styles of food. But physically it remains pretty much the same


The views are always amazing, the sunshine was out and we did not miss the current offering of “unmissable’ Tiramisu. Every family member got a good share of the conversation between mouthfulls of pizza and good red wine.

How do you finish such a perfectly unplanned and serendipitous day?

A trip to the car wash. It turns out that the seagulls of Fowey recognised us as regular visitors and dropped off their loyalty cards without us even asking!

#158 theoldmortuary ponders

Mothers Day 2022.

A day to be grateful for mothers and nurturers. Thankfully almost anyone can nurture so even those of us without actual mothers can celebrate being cared for and nurtured. Nurturing has come in all shapes and forms during this last two years of a world Pandemic

Science and Nurture have pulled most of us through some very dark times. Nurturing one another will make our recovery far more comfortable.

Happy Nurturers Day 2022.

#157 theoldmortuary ponders.

Feeling like a fish out of water is a common feeling when considering Social Media. Like most people I was lured and then fell headlong into Facebook and Instagram when they first launched. Then by complete accident I became responsible for the ‘ public’ Social Media face of a large art group in London. In that curious way that humans do I became known as an amateur expert, long before Social Media management became an actual job that people learned. I’ve always thought that in group situations you either chose someone for a job because they put themselves forward for it, their ego emblazoned on their foreheads like an accurate pigeon strike.

Others, like me, get chosen, almost by accident because we have a tiny nugget of experience and no one else really wants to do it. Social Media was never part of my actual day job. In 14 years I’ve done some SM learning but in reality I remain a dabbler while Social Media has marched on  gathering glossy Social Media managers, influencers and all sorts of other job titles that baffle anyone in the real world.

This week I popped my amateur and now Plymouth based Social Media head out into the real world of Social Media and attended courses provided by Cosmic.


My amateur head feels less amateur now. My digital hand has been held, first in a group and second in a one2one session by a lovely man called Adrian. I know what I’m doing OK at, I also know where I am falling a little short. Adrian has placed his digital hand on my virtual back and pushed me well and truly out of my comfort zone. Personalities need to be revealed, videos need to be created. Tutorials need to be created….

What I learn for an art group might bleed into my blog life. You have been warned! Two tiny videos follow that definately show that I am a dabbler by nature. The unboxing videos of a new set of paints all perfect and glossy and a three month old tin with very clear signs of dabbling.

Have a fabulous dabbling Saturday.

#156 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning on the Stonehouse Peninsular. I’m freshly out of a hot shower and on an early morning dog walk, knowing full well that the next time I am standing here, in about an hour, my warm clothes will be off and,along with other bobbers, I will be submerging myself in the Atlantic. Nearly three weeks of a nasty virus has kept me out of the water. My lingering symptoms are no longer significant enough to keep me on the shore clutching a hot drink and nattering with Coach. Three weeks out of the cold water is a significant mountain to climb. She said mixing her metaphors like a pro. I’ve even added arty filters to the image to make it feel more enticing. Today we have a first time bobber joining us and a visiting bobber as well as several Covid recoverers. Definately a day for pulling on our big girl pants and getting on with it!

Yesterday this huge boat was tugged past our bobbing spot. I could feel the thrum of the three tugs long before I saw the vessel.

Yesterday, I wished I had been in the water as this boat passed our swimming zone. There is something rather thrilling about being in the water when the tugs are working really hard, guiding big ships through the safety channel. The rumble of hard working engines in water turns into something that is so much more than a tingle as it is transmitted through our submerged bodies. Its a tingle but fatter, not quite a throb. Whatever it is I could do with one today to encourage me in…

Happy Friday x

P.S. It was wonderful.

#155 theoldmortuary ponders

I’ve just managed to finish another visual/aural/real world and sensation mind map. This one created at dawn on the Vernal equinox on the Thames at Pangbourne. Since learning this technique on a recent course with Tansy Hargan I am beginning to find this colour mixing, meditative shape creating style really useful for making notes of the 3d experience of outdoor painting.

These were my quick notes.

And here they are together.

Far from being a completely perfect landscape this painting expresses the highlights and my irritation at sharing the early morning peace with a man still drinking from the night before. Almost the highest high point was the dawn chorus, something that accompanied me from the camper van down to the flood meadows on the banks of the Thames. The pinky gold colours are a representation of that sublime early morning sound of birds waking up and singing. Bird song filled the air and enveloped everything I painted. Really the inebriated man takes rather too much of the image, but in truth he really pissed me off.

Not because he was drunk, he was just a bit too much in my face, perching on ‘my’ bench when there were ten others available, asking stupid questions and scuffing his over white trainers in the dust beneath the bench. I’m sure he had no malign intent. The same cannot be said for the swan who approached for snacks, but the inebriated man skipped off on uncertain feet as the hungry chap approached, so a hungry swan became a good thing.

Water colours do not appear on a swans ideal diet so he, just like the drunk, waddled off. Leaving me at last to the pastoral scene that I had got up so early for.

Spring is finally here, it was good to be up early to see it arrive.

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning wanderings, naked toes for the first time this year and a proper ponder. Dorothea Ltd is a very unusual name for a historic piece of cast iron street furniture. I had a lot of time to ponder some odd things on my walk today. The dogs took the business of sniffing out other dogs peemail messages very seriously, so there was lots of time for pondering the small stuff. Dorothea Ltd turn out to be pondering golddust. Please follow link.


Have dogs, will stand still a lot, is the motto of my day. Fortunately I had pre planned some supplies to keep me fortified on the walk.

Sunrise reflected as a Pain au Chocolat

The walk was one I have shared many times on the blog but these highlights are purely generated by prolonged sniffing locations.

Fabulous reflections on The Barbican, Plymouth.
A cafe sign has been removed showing a more nautically focussed business from the past.

What more strange things have my dogs given me to share with you?

A doorway into the sky.
A very complicated image that curiously mimics the random Union Jack on the next building.
Bold Primary Colours in morning sunlight.

So there we are, my visual notes from early morning, prolonged dog stops. I have no idea what information they gathered this morning. Information gathering exhausted them. Both fast asleep for hours on our return.

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Eccles Cake in brown paper bag. Jacka Bakery

Texture is everything when taste and smell are as wonky as mine are currently. This Eccles cake is the perfect food for now. So many textures that boredom does not set in and  with the added bonus of pastry so beautifully flaky that I ended up wearing it. Our trip to London did not bring me the fire- water ginger beer that I sought, nothing tasted anything more than mildly gingery. Our mustard jars are empty and a quick spoonful of horse radish is just the thing on toast. I am very lucky to not have the foul and dreadful phantosmia flavours that many anosmia sufferers get. Burning timbers treated with tar and mildew is as bad as it gets.

Jacka Bakery

But I know I am not thinking entirely normally when these gorgeous baked goods inspired the idea of slumbering in them rather than giving them the true respect of being gobbled up.

Ginger cordial has become the star of my life, mixed at an eye watering concentration. My supermarket trip this morning will be driven by a search for flavour stimulation. Tuesday Tasting!