#284 theoldmortuary ponders

As grandstand views go we got the best table this morning for breakfast with Sail GP. Four women, three dogs and a lot of water action.

We especially got to see the start and finish of the races.

One of our bobber friends, Helen, has hair to encourage team GB to do their best.

The dogs were more interested in bacon butties and chocolate brioche than super elegant sailing boats, which missed the point a bit.

This wonderful viewpoint is a long term favourite spot of ours. It is a complex landscape of rocks and WW2 defensive concrete just below The Long Room, Plymouths civilian and military maritime Port Control.


We call it the area ‘Greek Beach’ because on a good day it feels like a million miles from Plymouth. Greek beach is moments away from our usual swimming beach . You can see how close everything is in the picture below. The yellow buoy is the one that we swim to when we bob.

Today we discovered our Greek Beach has new graffiti to embellish the whole experience.

So much joy on concrete!

#283 theoldmortuary ponders

© theoldmortuary

Another day stewarding at the Drawn to Print Exhibition. The two artists who were the primary curators and managers of this exhibition are not printers. I managed to dig out some old work from my long ago Fine Art Degree and,by complete luck, the act of applying typewritten text to watercolour pulls the work loosely into the Print family.


What a family we have joined! The Printers of Drawn to the Valley have been an amazing bunch of people to work with. Trusting us with their beautiful prints with our invented hanging system.

But they have also nurtured us. Debs my fellow non-prntmaking curator, managed this fabulous trio of prints. Her first in this medium. Printmakers talked her through the process on the phone.

©Debra Parkinson

Debs has been commissioned to create several runs of ‘ Smeatons Thief’

This morning I was excited to dive into the world of Tetrapak printing.

Not my finest artistic hour because I had more excitement than talent, but I did create a half decent Tetrapak image and while printing it effectively eluded me, another lovely printer shared her wisdom for future success.

For now I have just applied some digital magic to make me feel better.


The video below is the wall mounted Print hanging.

Drawn to Print at Ocean Studios, Royal William Yard, Plymouth

#282 theoldmortuary ponders

This is how a good morning starts and then the day progresses. Today has not progressed as planned. Covid has struck at the heart of our Printers group and we cannot open our exhibition today. So straight after the cup of tea came some reorganisation of our exhibition space. The cafe staff will reserve any sold artworks today and we will contact the buyers tomorrow.

After a swift reorganisation I was off to meet the bobbers for a swim. Overlooked by the majestic Sail GP boats moored on the Camber moorings.

On my way I was charmed by the sound of amplified ukulele playing and singing from a small yellow car.

What a gloriously unusual and unplanned way to start our day.


The link above takes you to the Sail GP website. I am so very very far from being a boat person, anything I write about this would just be gobbledygook, but when these thing move close to our swimming zone they are awe inspiring.

#281 theoldmortuary ponders

My almost daily commute for three weeks is a ten minute walk from home. It covers the same paths that my normal daily dog walks take. Without the dogs, who are disinterested, for the most part, in a print exhibition, the familiar walk can be enhanced by taking a slightly different route. These stairs are just off my normally beaten path, but of no interest to the noses of my dogs.

Today was bin day and the big communal bins live in an old military building that has not yet been ‘improved’. The dogs would have loved to be with me as refuse bins and a hot summer day is a heady mix of flavours but I just nipped in to take this lovely old window in a grubby and unbuffed state.

Another love of mine is to see scarring on paintwork from regular use. Although that regular use stopped nearly 30 years ago.

And then there is the redundant heavy duty equipment with warnings , of limitations to men of my grandfathers generation.

Men for whom these numbers on doors had some significance.

I just love them as reminders of slightly archaic fonts.

I will leave you with two of my favourite doors.

One is an old storeroom and the other leads to a suite of artists studios. They are both at the end of the, currently empty, gallery space.

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The exhibition today is in safe paws. Ralph is Stewarding this morning. Flushed with my experimentation on Yupo paper yesterday I whipped off a quick play on words this morning before I did the morning dog walk.

The morning dog walk was quite the sartorial revelation this morning. How many people really dress in the morning to match their local pavements/sidewalks!

Further on we sniffed out a fairy tale moment. A swimming Cinderella had dropped her golden slipper.

Its a been a busy morning so far.

#279 theoldmortuary ponders

These are the feet of a woman stewarding in a Grade 1 listed building. The floors and the walls are spectacular.

Celia Over, and her amazing prints.

We are in the second week of our three week run at Ocean Studios and the public response is very positive. Holding an art exhibition in a Grade 1 listed building is not without its challenges. We have had to design a whole new style of hanging system. We also needed to persuade the artists to allow us to hang their work unframed, just simply mounted. So many artists trusted us to treat their work with care and respect.

The artists were also hugely supportive of our £10 ‘ Off the peg’ feature.

Stewarding at exhibitions like this is the perfect opportunity to really take the time to enjoy other artists work. Today I had the pleasure of stewarding with Gilly Spottiswood and Celia Over, we were able to have a good old natter and share hugely interesting and informative tips and tricks associated with printing.

I was trying a new style of plastic coated paper, called Yupo. I painted mussels from memory. A painting that surely has named itself, Mussel Memory.

Gilly was giving Drypoint a try for the first time.

#278 theoldmortuary ponders

Covid and the effect on everyones lives continues. After 2 years of not visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall we have now been twice in a week. Once for a standard visit, to gather family together.

Although nothing at Eden is ever too ‘standard’

Our second visit was for a, three times, cancelled zip wire ride over the whole of the Eden site.

The experience was worth the wait and started just by the orange arrow.

And ended by the post marked with 1.

Long time readers of this daily blog will know it started out as Pandemic Ponderings. All that time of Pandemic Ponderings and now theoldmortuary ponders we looked on without this household actually getting Covid. Just like everyone we suffered some terrible losses caused by Covid but the experience taught us so much and forced many decisions that we will live with forever. Some of those decisions have brought positive outcomes. Our recent close acquaintance with Covid changed all our plans over the last few weeks, but even those changes, which we thought were disastrous have brought positives. The point of this closing ramble is, I suppose, that this week we were both, in Eden, and able to view it from an unusual perspective. The last few years have seen us all, in Covid, but soon enough we will be able to view it from a different perspective. Some of the changes forced on us may well turn out to be life enhancing.

#277 theoldmortuary ponders

©Fi Smart

Goodness me, spending time with art and artists is so rewarding. I have belonged to an art group for 4 years, most of that time I have been on the committee and most of that time has been in the time of Covid or post Covid restrictions. Zoom meetings, cancelled exhibitions and the over thinking of all things to comply with the latest restrictions and procedures has been the way all organisations have survived the last few years. For me this has given me a massive disconnect. Drawn to the Valley has roughly 160 members. For the most part their names are familiar to me, their faces and characters less so and often I am unfamiliar with their artwork too.

For the next couple of weeks I have the absolute pleasure of putting a name to a face and attatching a mental note of their style of artwork. I am overseeing the stewarding of Drawn to Print at Ocean Studios in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

COVID ruined my early involvement in setting up the exhibition but a deliciously negative test allowed me to attend the Private View on Thursday evening.

Two hours of mingling with artists and our guests on a beautiful summer evening with Champagne and the mellifluous sound of Seachanges. Two wonderfully talented musicians who came along to give the evening some glamour and sparkle.

At last an event like this is beginning to feel normal and comfortable again. People being comfortable in the company of one another. Which is why I chose the top image by Fi Smart, I know her name and we have exchanged emails, now I know some of her work and at some point in the next two weeks I am certain we will meet in person.

©Celia Over

I met Celia for the first time when she came to a Drawn to the Valley monthly meeting at Ocean Studios. Until this week I was completely unaware of her style of work. Her work is just a fantastic extension of her, she exuded calm and beauty when I met her and here that exact quality is, in a beautiful print.

Here is my last , for now, image with some mystery.

I met Charlotte Sainsbury for the first time whilst I was serving Champagne at the Private View. I have loved her work for ages but never would have known who she was. She introduced herself to me and my mouth immediately gushed ” Oh, I love your work”

Nothing cool or reserved about that comment but , in truth I always love whatever she exhibits.

© Charlotte Sainsbury.

More lovely prints to share on here over the next two weeks. You are all in for some lovely prints and stories from the exhibition.

#276 theoldmortuary ponders

You may remember that whilst we were bobbing during the winter months there was often an additional bobber who joined our chilly dippings. Her arrival at a bobbing session was cute but not good for her and we always cut short our swim and got out to not encourage her need for human company. Spearmint the seal was not on the bobbing Whatsapp group but she has an uncanny way of finding us.

By April things had very much got to an impasse. While most people respected her space, some did not and got far too close to her. Something she enjoyed and sought out, for the most part. Humans however are not as benign as a seal and often behaved stupidly and dangerously around her. In turn she got bolder and wandered casually into coastal villages seeking human company. In April the RSPCA decided on an intervention and removed her from Plymouth Sound and took her to a wildlife sanctuary. Since then things did not always go so well for her and at times her future seemed uncertain. Today though there was great news.


The above link takes you to a news article about her release, yesterday, at an unknown location, away from humans. A story that has, thankfully, ended well for her.

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And just like that, life returns to normal. Maybe in the three months leading up to July I would have thought that there would be a bit of a pinch point, late in July, when I would have a full commitment to family plans and a full commitment to running an exhibition, that had been in the pipe line for a long while. What I had not factored in was catching Covid. Two and a half years of avoiding the dreaded virus had given me a false sense of security. Exactly at my identified, life plan, pinch point, Mr Covid came calling, taking out three family members on the same day and one family member a week earlier. The two episodes cannot have been linked. But they reshaped our summer plans and added to the pinch point.

A Venn Diagram of my life.

The trouble with pinch points in life is that they look more dramatic when they are just abstract plans. Sometimes they look like a near impossible juggle. Juggling two balls certainly seems doable but throwing in the third ball seems foolhardy. As it happened life just flowed past the hurdle of Covid, our family replanned its plans. The Print Exhibition went beautifully to plan.

And here we are on the other side, bobbing in the sea and wondering what all the overthinking was about.

©Andy Bobber