#406 theoldmortuary ponders

It was 2:30 today when I completely realised that today was Wednesday and not Thursday. By then I had achieved most of the things that needed to be achieved by Thursday on Wednesday.

So tomorrow stretches ahead with nothing more taxing than a hair cut. By tomorrow November will be over and December will be on it’s glitzy slightly camp match towards Christmas so today’s miscalculation has inspired me to share some old photos. November is a great time to take photos if the weather is good.

If the weather is not good then November can feel like an endurance. So farewell November see you in 2023.

That’s a weight off my mind.

#386 theoldmortuary ponders

It will come as no surprise to anyone that @theoldmortuary has no experience as marathon runners or other extreme sports. So we have never experienced survival blankets. You would never expect to be introduced to a survival blanket by a five week old grand-daughter. Rather intriguingly in her sensory box there was a whole adult sized survival blanket. Who knew that a collection of sensory toys could exhaust her accompanying adult to the point of exhaustion.

I rattled things and twirled ribbons with caution being really quite unaware when fatigue might overwhelm me. The small person was not remotely interested in having her senses stimulated at any level so there was no chance of me deserving the survival blanket. Deserving or not I donned the survival blanket and was amazed at how quickly I became very warm.

On a practical level I might but some survival blankets for winter swims, just in case we get too chilly. On another practical level the blanket is in a baby sensory box so she can enjoy it’s silvery crinkly surface. And on a last practical level I am writing about a Survival blanket because nobody wants to read about a long rainy journey with many detours. There was no rainbow at the end of my travels but there was blue skies and a small girl with a Sensory box.

#384 theoldmortuary ponders

Evening greige with a touch of pink.

November has properly arrived. My first use of the word ‘greige’. Greige is my own word for a curious greyness that envelopes this part of the west country in the winter months. Definitely rain is a big part of greige, mist is another. The other aspect is mental. October flirts with our senses. Teases us into believing a little more sunshine might be on the agenda. November arrives and the weather wraps around our souls like a damp, mildewed sock. Luckily Guy Fawkes and his failed Gunpowder plot are celebrated on the 5th November. The night air is filled with crashes and bangs and our skies are lit up with bright flashes of happiness.

Nature also gets in on the act, thanks to a warmer than normal October there are a few dandelion heads still hanging about. Pretending to be fireworks with the help of street lights.

Blowing greige out of the water.

#377 the old mortuary ponders

Hard on the heels of yesterday’s blog of favourite photos is the last of my little digital haul. I have no idea if more domestic organising will fill our day so it seems a good idea to get the blog out early. The Peacock lived near Cadiz in Spain he roamed a nursery that was set in a derelict old house and garden that also had a cafe in the old greenhouse area. Seeds from our bread bribed him to pose so beautifully. The wonderful staircase below was also taken somewhere near Cadiz. For some reason, I want to use the word Lacuna to describe the negative space created by the spiral.

I think it is the bone-like quality of stonework.

Taking bone-like as the link this next picture is also from near Cadiz and leads us somewhere.

But in true pondering style not to a particularly related photo. Yesterday I had an existential moment, not of the particularly philosophical sort. More of a David Attenborough moment, even that makes it seem very grand. The reality is much more mundane and happened on the tyre of my car on the way to the charity shop. Like many people I often have mixed emotions when I watch wildlife documentaries. In awe of the camera work and yet slightly concerned for the mental well-being of Camera operators who have to sometimes witness sad events unfold without being able to intervene. Yesterday I was that camera person.

Oh the moral conundrum.

” What would David Attenborough do?”

#307 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility Bay, where we usually swim.

A heatwave is a funny thing in this part of England, we are used to gentle weather with most sorts of weather,apart from rain, served in moderation. The weather of the last few weeks has been the sort of weather we fly around the world for under normal circumstances.

Normal English Summer = Lets go to Greece in September.

And so, we adopt Greekish habits at the weekend, early rising to do dog walks, shopping and chores. Swimming when the tides are right. Somehow that frees up time for book reading in the cool of the house while avoiding midday heat. This luxury of ‘found’ time has enabled me to finish reading a fantastic tale of pirates set on the Kent coast. I can hugely recommend this book.

The illustration by Rafaela Romaya has been my bedtime companion for a couple of weeks.

I’ve been doing a little bit of digital fooling around to create an image of Bobbers enjoying Tranquility Bay in this great weather.

It wasn’t such a great leap to have them swimming in the shadow of Pirate Ships.

Or even enjoying a game of modified water polo. And that is the kind of madness that comes from hotter weather than normal on an English person

#200 theoldmortuary ponders

200 days since Pandemic Ponderings shifted without fanfare into theoldmortuary ponders. In much the same way that the actual pandemic has become without fanfare ‘ endemic’.

Always anxious to throw numbers about to illustrate the depth of the situation, news channels have been throwing the figure 15 million around this week as a total for worldwide Covid Deaths. Of course nobody actually knows, since around  40 % of the world do not accurately record either births or deaths. I know this because I’ve been doing a good bit of driving around this week. We all love numbers, ( I actually only love numbers if they are not anywhere near the word mathematics) Numbers give us scale to lifes failures, tedium and success. Round numbers are particularly satisfying and easier to cling to for some reason. My little number of 200 is well within everyone’s imagination as is 201 but 200 just feels more comfortable. But what does 15 million actually look like, and yet 15 million sits more easily in a sentence in a way that 15.33 million does not. In the same way #201 theoldmortuary ponders, will shrink into the shadows tomorrow.

When I haven’t been driving around this week I’ve been doing domestic admin and some fun stuff, very little sketching. In fact just one very quick sketch all week but I can relate it to this blog. I have been trying to sum up the discomfort of the Pandemic years with one image. Something I can expand for an exhibition later in the year. Playing with the truism about numbers that statistics are of no value to the individual. The header picture of this blog is a digitally altered version of my sketch, reimagined to be chaotic. The original sketch is the simple version.

Who could not understand two round figures/ numbers hugging.

P.s You can tell a lot about a person by the way they hug.

#58 theoldmortuary ponders

Evening dog walks are getting a lot more twinkly. I love this completely contemporary festive home. Nothing tacky about this house

This festive property takes a more traditional approach, and diligence to lightbulb placement. At home we have gone for something a little less ostentatious.

Our home window is a work in progress, the next stage is baubles in every shade of garish. Lime green and pink anyone?

#28 theoldmortuary ponders

Waking up on a clear November morning prompted me to share three boats from the Tuesday river trip. The acidic yellow of this one almost makes me want to blink against its brightness. A proper wake up and take notice colour.

Not that we needed anything to wake us up this morning, a pocket call from Hong Kong woke us for a brief conversation about trampolines and needing a wee with our granddaughter. Urgency, and necessity, made the call short and sweet and left us awake enough to enjoy a cup of tea and the sound of a winter dawn chorus. The call was a video call and another boat on the river fairly accurately depicts what our side of the call looked like.

Last night was firework night, when most of Britain ‘celebrates’ the attempt in 1605 to blow up the House of Lords as part of a plan by Catholics to overthrow Protestant James the First and replace him with a Catholic head of state. Normally I love fireworks but post supper ennui and a genuine wish to just quietly sit this one out, won over. The first year in a new house made us slightly hesitant to leave the dogs at home while we headed out to watch fireworks, not knowing how much flashing and banging was happening at home. The answer was loads of banging and no flashes, the dogs were untroubled by any of it. Leaving this calm blog untroubled by pictures of flashy pyrotechnics. Just calm boats snoozing in bright autumnal sunshine.

#25 theoldmortuary ponders

Sharp November sun and calm waters were exceedingly kind to our river cruise yesterday. So much so that there are too many pictures for just one blog. Today I’m going to concentrate on the, almost abstract, waterscapes that presented themselves in the liminal time an hour or so before sunset. They will be a little bit repetitive because all they involve are the sky, a river bank and the river itself.

In these images I am looking out of the back of the boat in the direction of Calstock. The land with autumnal colours of tan, gold and orange is in Devon and is enhanced by the setting sun about an hour before sunset.

This picture is looking directly towards the east, the Devon Bank, just a few minutes later. There is, deliberately, barely a trace of human habitation in these pictures. A slightly longer exposure time enhances the effect of light on water.

Not so long later the Cornish and Devon river banks take a turn in the sun together , everything changes as the river winds itself through the valley to the sea.

Cornwall is the thin slice of  bank that meets  the Devon bank on the horizon. Although they look joined in this image, caused by another twist in the river. The Devon bank identifies itself by being indistinct because there is an example of an Atlantic Woodland growing down to the riverbank at this point.

As the light fades further the Cornish bank takes over the star roll, the river is less winding as it opens out into the Hamoaze and eventually Plymouth Sound. This shot looking towards Saltash gives no hint of the thousands of people who live in the first large town on Cornwall’s border.

Not so very far along is the sunset over Torpoint.

More tales of the riverbanks tomorrow.

Pandemic Pondering #255

A funny thing happened overnight on Thursday.

©Karen Mills

The picture above was taken at sunset. My Thursday evening started well, witnessing these amazing skies, but then took a more arduous turn when I joined in with a Zoom AGM. The meeting took serpiginous routes through regular business and decision making and lasted three hours. Not many important decisions were made and, as can happen at these things, some folk got on some high horses and rode the poor things into the ground. Thankfully I am not a chairman , I fear my finger may have inadvertantly grazed the mute button on more than one occasion.

Safe to say three hours prepped me very well for sleep. Not the restful sort though. I woke myself up reciting a poem, almost word perfect, that I had no idea was still stored in my brain.

Who could guess why such a volatile poem hijacked my sleep . Maybe that dramatic sky or maybe an AGM where raging and raving were bobbing just under the surface.

Do not go gentle into the night.

By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After all that nocturnal culture it was good to wake up to a calm morning.

©Clare Law