#254 theoldmortuary ponders

Two new exhibitions at The Box yesterday had me pondering. The exhibitions themselves couldn’t be more different and yet they are both about a sense of place and our place in places

Because the Night Belongs to Us, is an exhibition about Plymouths changing nightlife. George Shaws, George Shaw is about one mans relationship with his home.

Goodness me they made me think and for anyone local to Plymouth I would recommend a visit over the summer.

George Shaw paints landscapes in Humbrol Enamel Paint. The smell in the galleries is soft and curiously nostalgic. The paintings are intimate and sometimes painfully similar to my own life experience.  Because the Night is similarly evocative, dark  and warm coloured, neon lit with snatches of music both familiar and unknown. The only thing missing in this exhibition of the underbelly of a city is sticky carpet and the smells.

Because The Night Belongs To Us. The Box

I am not from Plymouth or Coventry, the two cities that are the subject of these exhibitions but I am a wandering citizen of the worlds they represent.

George Shaw paints a council estate and the council house in which he grew up. I’ve never lived on a council estate but like many people I am deeply familiar with their architecture and the proportions and landscaping of Social housing. His painting could easily be of the corner of North East Essex, where I grew up.

©George Shaw. The Box

George Shaws painting of a tree ‘New Romantic’ could be the tree in my home village of Gosfield, which was also a serial victim of vandalism or in a different mindset, embellishments.

©George Shaw. The Box

In my village, during the seventies, and quite possibly in George’s tree zone it was relatively common to find old porn mags and beer cans in the undergrowth, curious treasure for children to find, we were amused more than harmed by it. Such things were, of course, the night life of these little patches of woodland.

Again finding a common experience in someone elses life. George depicts, in a series of drawings his childhood home emptied following the death of his last parent. The heartbreaking emptiness after the forensic clearing that most of us will have to go through. The last time you will ever see that, oh so familiar, back door of your childhood and or adulthood. The door that launched you into the world.

The back door indeed that you crept through after venturing into your version of Nightife.

A fab day working at The Box, thinking my own thoughts and sharing other peoples experiences. What better way to spend a Wednesday.

#253 theoldmortuary ponders

Last nights sunset was a warning, away from the actual sunset the skies were sulphurous. If it had been wintertime the skies would have been warning that snow was imminent. Overnight there was a lot of rainfall, the yard this morning was bejewelled by raindrops.

Apologies for using the same poppy as yesterday but nobody else has bloomed yet.

The Agapanthus is really holding off from blooming fully but the raindrop jewels are very pretty.

Not so great, from the overnight deluge are the slugs and snails, a mini city of slime and activity is happening in the yard, all at a very slow pace. It amazes me how much destruction such slow creatures can manage without any sense of rush or hurry. I never catch them rushing to destruction, they just travel to their destinations of gluttony with a casual slide. If only they were cuddlier or prettier they would be quite relaxing to watch but that is not something I have ever seen advocated for lowering of stress or tension. Quite the reverse really, somehow these slow moving creatures make me slightly uncomfortable without any logical reason. I don’t photograph them either, not even for the benefit of this blog. So here is a slug free sunrise.

#252 theoldmortuary ponders

This lovely shaded orange was a pocket shot after our evening bob/swim. It really was a rough one and nobody stayed in long. The strange thing is that waves can be lovely to swim in, but near to high tide it can all be a little bit too much of a good thing. Yesterday morning the perfect wave machine made its way close to our swimming zone. A very expensive wave machine to be sure, and very unusual.

The waves created were beautiful. Just big regular ripples really, I was sad to be on dry land, as this powerful submarine slipped by, it might have been rather interesting to feel all that power reverberating through the water. Our poppies are also presenting as rather powerful beasts this week. Just like the submarine, all the action is happening under the surface.

These two have not yet opened but someone else did overnight.

Is it just me or does the centre of this poppy look just like the most delicious cake?

Nuclear submarines to Fondant Fancies all in the space of about 500 yards and fewer words. Happy Monday.

#251 theoldmortuary ponders

3 years since the last Glastonbury Festival and,coincidentally, 3 years since we have seen two sets of friends, who we met up with this weekend. The TV coverage of Glasto has been the soundtrack of our weekend and on Sunday Glastonbury defined where we could meet our friends without either set of people getting caught up in festival traffic.

West Bay became our destination of choice and the sun came out with a side serving of cold blustery wind.

The day started with marmalade for breakfast. Traditional enough you might think but for us the day started with marmalade ice cream. A very fine toilet on our route can be found at an Ice Cream Farm. Despite the earliness of our arrival it seemed rude not to partake in their titular product.

Gooseberry and Marmalade Ice cream at Otter Valley Farm. https://g.co/kgs/Bmh7fB

The next stop was Bridport, it seemed fitting on this occasion to have cake as this comfort break was at a bakery.

Glorious Baked Goods at Rise Bakery Bridport https://g.co/kgs/t1nLJC

These were way to fancy for our tastes and we decided to buy something a little simpler, and save it for the return journey.

And so the three year reunion occured. We hugged and laughed and walked a lot and drank coffee.

West Bay did not disappoint it even gave me two of my favourite things. A glitterball and an old weathered door.

Three years has been a long time, the gentle trickle to normality is gathering pace . I’ve loved seeing great crowds of people enjoying themselves at Glastonbury and at a different level it is just so good to give friends a good old hug and a squeeze when we meet. Ice cream for breakfast; not an everyday occurrence for sure but definately an opportunity to be taken occasionally. Random opportunities are assets waiting to be realised. It may have taken a world pandemic for me to fully realise their value.


Link above to happy news article.

#250 theoldmortuary ponders

Just a little blog today as we have to be further along the coast quite soon.

Our homestyle Glastonbury continues with domestic life enlivenened by Glasto on the TV.

If only we had some of the Glasto magic dust to keep us up and awake. An 80 year old man headlines the Pyramid Stage,Sir Paul McCartney, but after a fabulous meal out with friends. We don’t even make it through half of his set, appalling behaviour!

Time to turn off the TV and the lights in the TeePee. See you all again tomorrow.

#249 theoldmortuary ponders

It is Glastonbury weekend and, without tickets to the real thing, we are into the Festival Spirit by having a Tee Pee in the Studio. It makes viewing the festival on TV a little awkward but maybe that adds to the authenticity of our experience.

This is a really rare weekend, in our house, when the TV is on in the background, just in case we catch an ear glimpse of a band or performer that we like but have never heard of. ( What is the word for a fleeting aural experience?) I’m not certain that we will get to a festival this year so we are going to need to keep our ears to the ground to experience fresh music from other sources. Hugo of course has no idea what a festival is and got quite giddy at the thought of our little bit of fakery.

Meanwhile I have completely spooked myself with the idea of an ear glimpse. Whatever is the hearing equivalent of a glimpse? Answers appreciated. I had no plans to tease your minds to search for a word for me but what else is the weekend for if not a little gentle pondering?

#248 theoldmortuary ponders

Look at these vivid flowers, they just revealed themselves near a local roundabout. Another revelation yesterday was Kate Bush doing an interview on Radio 4. She was discussing her surprise elevation to the top of the music charts in Britain and America with the single Running up that Hill ( A deal with God).44 years after it was first released. The single is part of the soundtrack for Stranger Things. A TV drama featuring teenagers and supernatural events and curious government behaviour in a mundane Indiana location.

What struck me as unusual in the interview by Emma Barnett and the preview piece by Caitlin Moran was that at no point did anyone discuss Kate’s looks or her fabled allure to men. How refreshing to just talk about music, life and gardening.


I realise that BBC sounds does not play everywhere so I have included a newspaper report of the interview.


The fact that this interview struck me as both unusual and refreshing is a symptom of how women are still judged differently to men. This may seem like an odd kind of theme for a blog but it struck a chord.

Earlier this week while I was swimming up and down the wide part of the Lido I had to regularly pass 5 young men playing with a ball, something I would probably not have done in my entire life for fear of the ribald or sexist comments. Confident that age has made me almost invisible I pressed on. But no, my crime as a woman, this time, was to be ‘ too old’ to be a threat to them.

#247 theoldmortuary ponders

A blue letter day, with bells on. Blue was the colour of the day. After 6 months my passport arrived! 6 months of waiting. 6 months of sitting on phone lines listening to shocking music and on the rare occasions I made contact with a human call centre person several months of listening to a variety of lies about the location of my missing passport. Just one month of getting my local MP involved and the passport is snuggly in my possession. How I wish my passport was still a cheery red European one but after 6 months the blue British one will have to do. This unacceptable delay was apparently caused by the loss of my original documents, something that would have been of concern to me had all the documents not been posted back to me four months ago. Quite how a passport could be sanctioned last week with no documents is a mystery that I can’t quite get my head around. Maybe I just sounded really British to the nice young man who phoned me last week from Westminster …

In other blue related events, the scaffolding came down from the front of our house and we can see the new colour scheme. We are very happy with our choices.

The ‘bells on’ comment comes from the evening dog walk. Morris Men and clog dancers were performing at a local pub.

The local streets were alive with the sounds of leg bells. While the dancers  twirled and stamped and entertained, the dogs were curious and happy to watch, but jangling legs close up were too much for them in the confines of the pub and we left, no doubt,missing a jolly evening of music making.

#246 theoldmortuary ponders

It is an unusual day that sees me up at 4am and straight into my swimming costume, but then Summer Solstice is an unusual day. One where as many Bobbers, who are able, swim at Dawn and Dusk, in the rising and setting sun. The morning bob became quite a dog bobbing session.

Two dogs bobbing and one surfboarding.

The dawn was soft and the water fairly warm, for the time of year.

The evening bob was another lovely experience. Bubbles in both senses of the world were free flowing.

The water appeared to be a little cooler but the prosecco bubbles perked us up a bit. And so, at the opposite end of the day, I was ready for bed straight after my swim.

This is the second year we have marked the Solstice with double dipping sessions, a lovely way to mark time passing and the fellowship of swimming year round.

#245 theoldmortuary ponders

This was a day with an unexpected ending. Today was a yardening day. Almost a year since we exchanged an exposed but fertile country garden for a coastal, white painted, stone yard.  Yardening has been a huge surprise. Today the plan was to weed and tame the jungle that the yard has become, unexpectedly fertile too.

All went to plan, but with the temperature at 23 degrees it was quite the labour of love. A sea swim was suggested but the tide was not our friend. Then we planned a swim in a local outdoor pool. The website was decidedly wonky and ultimately we couldn’t book a session.  The alternative, an ice cream and some sunbathing was a good enough plan. Until we got too hot. Retreat into the house was timely in two ways. We really were too hot, but the curious twist was an email from the cranky website that said we had managed to book a swimming session.

We were very certain we hadn’t , but a cooling swim was exactly what we needed. Arrival at the pool confirmed the crankiness of the website. Apparently everyone who visited the webpage had been given swim sessions without payment. The pool was far from full so we did that old fashioned thing of buying two tickets and prepared for a dip.

Tinside Lido

This pool is probably very familiar to anyone in Britain who watches the BBC. This image is one of the regular infills between TV programmes. As you can see it was not very busy at all and we had a wonderful swim in the historic pool.

There was another lovely bonus, bright sunshine and recently cleaned 1930’s glass bricks in the shower area gave the most wonderful distorted, abstracted views of the pool.

A fine end to a busy day.