#462 theoldmortuary ponders

8:15 am on a January morning in Firestone Bay. I know I share this sort of image often but yesterday I did a little research on the area as it was in 1895. Because the tide is high the tidal pool is invisible apart from the three swimmers walking out on the slipway that forms one of the pool walls. In 1895 the pool did not exist. Next week’s research will be to find out the pools history.

I was able to spend a few minutes looking at old planning maps while I was working at The Box yesterday.

The orange arrow points out the place the Bobbers nearly always swim. We know our bay as Tranquility Bay but on this map it is marked as Ladies Bathing Place.

Here it is this morning. 5 minutes with an old map makes more questions than answers. When were the steps and walkways built that make this such a gorgeous and practical swimming location. Sadly the map also shows the more than thirty houses and a school that were lost in my own area during German bombing raids during World War II. Just looking out on my street I can roughly outline how many homes were lost. How many people and their beloved pets lost their lives?

5 minutes with an old map, so thought provoking, where will this Pondering end? Sunshine+ An old map= gratitude and the need to know more.

#461 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility creeps up on me in surprising places. Our evening dog walk coincided with the exact point when the sea was still. High tide before the tide started to ebb away. There have been a few tranquil moments in recent days. These steps, leading to a soft sandy beach, showed signs of immense human and dog traffic but they were from the day before, preserved by neap tides and calm weather. Looking out at the beach there was no-one to be seen.

Similarly in this very complex photo from the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Tate St Ives there was not another person in my eyeline.

Tranquility, even the word makes me want to relax. I looked up an on- line Thesaurus to check other similar words and reciting this list would have me nodding off in moments.

Should you feel the same I have one last picture to fit the mood. Glass bricks at Tate St Ives.

#460 theoldmortuary ponders

What are early mornings about?

1- Cold walks towards a sunrise.

2- Early morning chattering to swimmers, some known some not.

3- Waiting for paint to dry.

4- Going to the Gym.

5- Reward for all of the above.

6- Write the blog.

Which is exactly where we are now. The paint is still drying. Ready, I hope, for the Winter sun to make an appearance in the studio in an hour or so. I suppose the gym is the unusual topic for a blog. My last foray into the world of a gym was in late February 2020. COVID lockdown made the experience very brief. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. Three years later the cold weather has driven me into a different gym. Neither the dogs or my knees love walking distances in this very cold weather. The gym is in an old military building, I’ve been going for a week. I may never mention it again in a blog but I just wanted to share this lovely old notice, which I look at while abducting and adducting.

Rust, old printing and human notes. My favourite kind of stuff.

‘Keep your head and use it’ What a fabulous instruction.

#459 theoldmortuary ponders

Stepping softly into another week. January is a funny month. Not one that I ever feel particularly warm towards, but a weekend of crisp bright days has made me feel quite perky. Our trip to St Ives was 100% sunshine so we walked and basked as much as possible, turning our winter faces to the sun, like Sunflowers in August. We were staying on a tiny lane called The Didgy but our kitchen overlooked Virgin Lane and this beautiful door.

Both evocative of a different age. The beauty of being in Cornish fishing towns in January is the closeness, that it is possible to feel, to the history of these places. There are not so many people about and the sounds and smells of the town are just as they would have been centuries ago, minus perhaps body odour and poor sanitation. The first building on Virgin Lane was a bakery, it swung into action at about 7am in the morning. Bread, pasties and baked goods delivered from an out of town industrial unit. The romantic smell of baking created by modern warming ovens pressed against its 16th Century walls. However the smells are created, the effect was the same. 21st century people, wearing fishermen’s sweaters flocked to the bakery drawn out of their cottages by the smell wafted into every home in the vicinity. After shopping many of them then took a turn to the harbour where eager Seagulls hover in the hope of stealing a beakful of baked goods.

Coffee in hand, bread under one arm. 21st Century people, in fishermen’s sweaters, look out at resting fishing boats. Sunshine and peace makes romantics of us all.

#458 theoldmortuary ponders

Some blogs are slow burning, ripening slowly over many days, weeks or months. Others present themselves in a moment. This one is a hybrid, the Pondering has been bubbling away for a couple of months, the moment today, was perhaps 60 seconds of decision making. That moment is the top picture. After a small amount of walking, the coastal path at St Ives, we came upon this idyllic beach. After a moments paddling the decision was made to throw caution to the wind and strip off completely for a swim. Confident that my weekly sea swims, or bobs, as they are known, have equipped me with the ability to quickly submerge in any chilly sea temperature.

It would not do to fanny about, frightening fellow walkers, with my nakedness. The long, slow, ponderous part of this blog has its inspiration from a comment made by a fellow course member at a blogging course.

” Your blog would be better with more of you in it”

Since November I have tried putting a little more of me into the blog. In truth I have always been there, peeping from behind words or hiding in pictures. Trying to find my voice, or style, while nattering on about not very much. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone has noticed the slight changes since November.

Ten or so minutes of swimming in a cold sea, off the North Cornwall coast was just fabulous this morning. I could be evangelical about the benefits of cold water immersion, likewise the buzz of not giving a moments thought to just taking my clothes off in a public space. Put the two together and the skills of fully clothed camera- wielding friends and the blog gets all of me for one time only.

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I got a life boosting, energy creating, moment. Fizzy as a firework, giddy as the giddiest goat, happy as a human hippo. Naked, cold and loving life. All time stood still, the sun was out and I was feeling elemental.

#457 theoldmortuary ponders

A January weekend in St Ives, the streets and the beaches are empty. Plenty of space for dogs to think that they own the world and humans to be the only people in the pub, apart from the faces looking down from the walls.

Hugo tried being masterful with the waves and the waves won.

We, the humans, knew the waves would always win and were not tempted in for a swim, as yet. But for now just staring at the sea and pondering the massive changes the last 100 years have seen in this beautiful coastal town while the sea remains unchanged. History of St Ives below.

P.s we may have found the perfect art studio, overlooking the beach.

#456 theoldmortuary ponders

Haberdashery Shop

Last weekend I collected some lovely textures from Marylebone High Street. Possibly my favourite High Street in England. I know it like the back of my hand and after a three year absence it felt as familiar as ever. It is decidedly upmarket and glam but holds all the shops you should expect from a normal English High Street. Supermarkets, charity shops, butchers, bakers, cafes and chemists.

Hardware Store

I’ve walked Marylebone High Street with so many friends,family and colleagues. Attended summer fetes and Christmas Markets, all with a little more twinkle and pizzazz than normal. I have left a little part of my heart in Marylebone.

Charity Shop

It is always good to step back into a place that has so many happy memories. A place to give thanks, to absent friends and fabulous moments.

Greengrocer

#455 theoldmortuary ponders

Three Forms- 1970- Dame Barbara Hepworth

The sunlight has high jacked another days blog. Imagine walking upstairs at your place of work and seeing this. Just spellbinding in every sense of the word. Then the evening dog walk, for five beautiful minutes gives this clear and crisp sunset. Not all guns blazing just quietly contemplative and comforting. The Northern Hemisphere is slowly grabbing the light back.

#454 theoldmortuary ponders

I’m not sure if I often consider temperature as a texture but yesterday my lunchtime walk was filled with unexpected sensations. A high tide had brought up a huge bank of seaweed, which was both crunchy underfoot and softly yielding like a marshmallow. The temperature was hovering at 0 and the sun was starting it’s sharp descent towards the horizon. Both dogs were thrilled. Hugo loves nothing more than scavenging seaweed. Adding his small efforts to a massive pile kept him busy for an hour while Lola and I basked in the sunshine. I was wrapped up very snugly and Lola was as close to me as a barnacle on a boats bottom. Soon enough the ratio of sunshine and temperature made sitting still a bad idea. We had been in a golden triangle,moving took us into the territory of icy blasts whipping fluffy ears back and making me hugely grateful for a felted wool hat

The dogs took the best possible position on returning home.

Just filling in time until the next outdoor adventure.

#453 theoldmortuary ponders

Time to consider the fuel it takes to drive our city walk. There are some guidelines that need to be adhered to and a good breakfast is the foundation on which a good days walking is built on. We have scaled the delights of high-end and high-up, The Shard, breakfasts. After extensive research we have narrowed the key ingredient down to bubble and squeak. A working- class use of left-over ingredients, cabbage and potato. Just the stuff to get our legs going and our jaws constantly scattering. Our next stop to take in fluids was a Korean tea shop. We got there around lunchtime but our aim was only to have some unusual infusions and that was exactly what we found.

Our final destination took us across Central North London to Marylebone and the home of a simple no menu restaurant that serves only one dish. Steak frites with a famous green sauce. Queuing is the only way to get a table the perfect combination of French and British culture.

And that concludes the fuel blog from our city walking. East to West in 20,000 steps, many conversations and three delicious stops. The 3 websites follow-

P.S I wrote this just after I did my first gym induction since the pandemic. Turns out those machines have got cleverer. Not only do they count the amount of calories you have burned off. Now your walks or runs on a treadmill take you on lifelike augmented reality tour. This morning I walked 10,000 steps through Paris streets without so much of a sniff of a croissant or a glorious cup of hot black coffee. Where is the pleasure in that!