Pandemic Pondering #450

Dog grooming day takes us to this delicious location for breakfast. The forecast storms have not blown into the Southwest peninsular over the last couple of days so a campervan breakfast followed by a swim is the morning schedule.

Wembury is a regular destination for dog pampering. Even in poor weather there is plenty to do here for a few hours while the dogs are turned from rural scruffy mutts to urban sophisticates. We do coastal walks or rockpooling or just catch up with reading.

Today, after breakfast, some bobbers are meeting us here for a morning swim. But for now breakfast is the main event.

Pandemic Pondering #449

Pondering one of the positives of a Pandemic. The past 18 months have been a tough trot for most humans but for the Bobbers and their guest bobbers a somewhat drenched Phoenix is rising from the unlikely ashes that is a small beach in a city.

Plymouth is known as the Atlantic City. The Bobbers were mostly unknown to each other a year ago. A tiny group of old friends swam together once last June and thought no more about it. Then in September as it became obvious that the Pandemic was a more permanent feature in our lives we did it again. The next stage is as random as a new variant emerging. The tiny group of friends were all dog owners and because we were in a pandemic and talking for longer with people we met on our dog walks, we inevitably started chatting about our swimming activity.

This was happening on either side of the River Tamar, the border between Devon and Cornwall. Talking with other dog walkers covers a wide variety of random subjects with strangers. Strangers who also liked the idea of swimming in our local patch of the Atlantic. Bobbing became a thing, a WhatsApp group was formed. Initially we didnt even know each others names. As dog walkers often do we only knew each other as Ralph’s mum, or dad, Stan’s mums or even the lady who borrows a neighbours dog. About 25 people have swum with the Bobbers now, there is a core membership but guest bobbers are a regular occurance. Dog ownership is not essential, talking to people you don’t know is helpful. We have swum several times a week right through the winter, we have shared life events together. Last night was the first Summertime Birthday Bob, a far less clothed or huddled event than the Wintertime Birthday Bobs.

And for once warm enough for people to pose as a group without freezing their bits off.

Happy Birthday Kim Bobber

Pandemic Pondering #448

Foggy/Sea Mist morning is my excuse for late blogging, that and extreme domestic admin.

The sea mist is not the scenic kind. Thankfully blooms and bee bottoms have saved me from an empty space where a blog should be.

Actually as I write this the sun has burnt off most of the non-scenic mist but the bee bottoms have fully engaged me now. I even managed to gather a half decent bee in-flight picture.

Bees in the bright pink flowers are fidgety creatures. Resting only for a second or so it is hard to get a good bee bottom shot.

I’m unsure why this should be the pollen supplies look lush and plentiful.

Hugo and Lola required more dog biscuits today. The pet shop is attatched to a garden centre and more busy bees posed, this time no bottom shots!

There we are a late blog featuring a lot of bees, no non scenic sea mist and just because I can, a lovely baby fern leaf.

Pandemic Pondering #447

Bobbing with guests. Yesterday was the warmest day so far in 2021. Three guest bobbers arrived for the morning dip. Two with the normal two legs but one with four legs and he bought his own body board.

Stan took to the sea very calmly. There was a lot of fussing to get his life jacket on but even though straps went in some curious places he was a confident man when standing on his board.

Not much serious swimming happened with Stan around. He was very eager to lick the salty faces of his fellow bobbers but beyond that he just took in the views and let the light wind ruffle his ears and whiskers.

Swimming with Stan and his board gave a lovely youthful glow to the face of his mum. We may all swim with a yellow float in future. In other bobbing news there was much activity on the bobbing whatsapp group about another potential new member…

Boris Johnson takes a dip at G7 over the weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #446

An unplanned Sunday trip to our favourite beach, Harlyn.

Unplanned, because G7 security on the roads into Cornwall was very high Friday and early Saturday and we didnt really want to get stuck in road closures further down. Things relaxed a bit later on Saturday, once the Queen had left. She also did a Cheap Day Return trip by train because she had  Trooping the Colour to attend and some baking to do before POTUS arrived on Sunday for tea. Too bad really as she had practiced her look for the ‘ Festival vibe bar-b-que’ at G7 on Saturday night’

©Juno Rooms

Inexplicably but just like any other conference the male politicians turned up in the same stale suit they had been wearing for several days.

©Andrew Parsons/ No. 10

With the Queen busy elsewhere we tentatively planned an early Sunday morning trip. The traffic was unusually light and we arrived at our usual field with plenty of space to park the camper van.

Hugo and Lola were excited to be back. Christmas Day was the last time we were here.

The early morning sun lit up the clusters of mussels.

We were almost as excited as the dogs to get the first swim of the day done.

Harlyn is not a ‘ Bobbing’ beach. The waves are a good bit more rufty- tufty than our usual waters, coastguards show the safe places to swim We strode in assertively and did proper swimming in between having masses of water dumped on us by the powerful waves.

Lola also took to the sea, and was very proud of herself.

The mid portion of the day was spent keeping dogs cool and reading books and newspapers. Unusually there was some really good coffee available from the beach cafe.

Although the artwork was a bit counterintuitive, why depict one of the worlds most colourful artists in black and white?

A quiet, peaceful afternoon was temporarily disturbed by large helicopters circling the sky above nearby Newquay airport. Then AirForce 1 flew over the camper van taking POTUS off to Windsor Castle for afternoon tea, away from G7. We made do with camping tea which was lovely.

The afternoon swim was lively, we all got well dumped on by the powerful waves. I tried, and mostly failed to use my silky water filter on the phone camera.

An unexpectedly successful day at the beach. Sleepy dogs on the way home.

Pandemic Pondering #445

A funny thing has happened as we ease out of lockdown. The sight of ferries in and out of Plymouth is a normal every day event, but of course nothing has been normal for a while.

So when a ferry emerged out of the mist all the bobbers went a little bit silly and took loads of photos of the ferry . Which I thought I would share this morning. Even Coach took time out to capture the entirely normal event of a ferry docking.

I suppose it is a sign of some normality returning, and something else to share our water with.

While it might seem odd to swim near such big boats,the warmer seas have bought us another more colourful neighbour.

Purple Stinger

The ferry is the better option. Happy Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #444

Where to begin on Thursdays big day out! The beginning seems like a plan.

Dense sea mist as I left Cornwall, on the scenic railway.

I love the feeling of arriving at a London train terminus , the hubbub of people and anticipation is always a little intoxicating. Paddington, the station which serves the west of Britain, has all that and a much loved bear.

Farringdon was my tube station of choice, perfect timing as my friend Marc was just at the entrance as I arrived. Station to the first bar of the day about 30 seconds!

Next stop the Catheter Labs of St Bartholomews Hospital to hug my friends and colleagues. We really needed hugs!

Hugs and stories of the last 18 months, loads of emotion. The reason for the visit was that my lovely colleague Helen was working her last day in the NHS. Time for a limited numbers leaving party.

In the shadow of St Pauls.

We gathered for more hugs, stories, speeches and general happiness.

All the huggers in these pictures are tested regularly, physical health ✓ Hugging is amazing for mental health✓

When the night was over we did a circumnavigation of St Pauls because we love it.

Before heading once again for Farringdon Station via St Bartholomews for a photo or two.

This swanky bar is a holder of memories. The cardiac on call rooms overlook it and it used to be the location of classrooms where St Bartholomews students did their academic training.

A quick walk through Smithfield meat market, soon to be the new Museum of London.

and we were back at Farringdon. Time for a parting of the ways. Helen to the East and me to the West.

Time for me to jump on the GWR Night Riviera and head back to Cornwall. A Cheap Day Return train ticket very well used!

Pandemic Pondering#442

Quite a red letter day @theoldmortuary . Nearly time to get on a train and take a trip to my old workplace. St Bartholomews Hospital in the City of London.

I’ve always loved the contrast of City and Country/Coastal life. Today is a fine day to leave Cornwall. A huge blanket of fog has settled on the peninsular over the last 24 hours. Somewhat perverse as the Worlds press has descended on the area to cover the G7 meeting. The famed beauty of Cornwall is wearing a murky mask just like rest of us. The slow trickle of VIP helicopters on Tuesday never got going yesterday and film crews search for scenic backdrops is going to be fruitless for a day or two. Yesterday was Ocean Day, our tiny corner of the Atlantic didn’t really make an appearance.

Luckily the ‘ bobbers’ brought some colour to the coast.

Picture not taken yesterday!

Last nights swim was really pleasant at 14 degrees and a high tide that we could just step straight into. Not a single photo opportunity that would lift anyone’s spirits though!

Luckily for tomorrows blog I’m briefly off to the bright lights.

A sign of a good night out in London has always been how late a return to home is. With the certainty of a train timetable I know I will be getting home at 5:30 am. Great night out guaranteed even under Pandemic restrictions and by 10:30 I will be back in the sea.

This is how dense the fog is, there is a house 10 yards from this wall.

Pandemic Pondering #441

Domestic admin was the unplanned event of yesterday. There are times when unplanned events can make a days outlook not dissimilar to this beautiful sheep. Thankfully the whole day was not so complex. The day was not particularly photogenic so the illustrations to the text come from the Cornwall County show held on this day a few years ago. The big event in Cornwall this week is the G7 conference. Our garden bookclub meeting, where we discussed a novel that was somewhat sympathetic to fascists was slightly disturbed by some very heavy duty helicopters flying overhead. The cows in the surrounding fields did not bat an eyelid.

There is something incongruous about nattering in an English country garden while the hardware of defence passes overhead. But it is good to be in the company of people who are happy to talk, a lot, about a book with a difficult subject at its heart.

Our evening was also spent deep in conversation as our friends Sophie and Stephanie came over for supper. We haven’t seen Sophie for a long while.

Not such heavy topics as the afternoon . Among other things we discussed the drinking habits of the first Professor Dumbledore and Darth Vaders codpiece, and of course with G7 in mind the navigational aids used by miliary helicopters. Do they still follow the railway line into Cornwall or are there more sophisticated options available?

Steph and I have been friends forever and our families are intertwined. I think that is why we can talk nonsense for a whole evening.