Pandemic Pondering #536

© theoldmortuary, Pollen II

Mid to late September is habitually the time of year when @theoldmortuary are getting ready to set off for a holiday. Holidays always involve some painting, or sketching in the sun. Usually in Greece because that is the destination of space and relaxation.

Pollen II , above was sketched in Greece and then painted at home. A roadside plant possibly a weed bursting with pollen. The paintings that emerge from holiday sketching follow no real theme or style.

©theoldmortuary, Naturists at Paleochora

Last September our usual holiday time was filled with non holiday activities at the height of the pandemic. There was no random sketching. It seems a shame to have given up my regular September sketching habit just because a pandemic has blighted travel and relaxation plans.

©theoldmortuary, Phospherescence on an unknown Greek beach

Last year was such a muddle of Lockdowns, Eat Outs, Stay ins, that September passed without any thought of what a normal September was like. This year I am a little more mindful of what I am missing. There is no reason not to take some time out to randomly sketch just because the pandemic still has travel and many other aspects of our lives twisted out of all recognition.

©theoldmortuary, Elefonisi

We have some holiday booked this year, no big trips and possibly a good bit of home maintenance but I might just pack my self a little sketching kit and take inspiration from closer to home.

Pandemic Pondering #451

Recycle, repurpose, reuse

This reused headstone gave me all the excuse I needed to repurpose the same outing into another blog. The gravestone forms part of a beach footpath that is regularly damaged by winter storms and high tides. Another reason for recycling is that bobbing at Wembury is far more gentle than our usual locations and I could take the camera into the sea using my dry bag/float without worry of mishap.

St Werburghs Church from the sea.
The South West Coastal Path heading to Heybrook Bay from the sea.
Wembury Beach from the Sea

We met another Bobber this morning, she lives just round the corner from here but chooses to swim the rougher waters of Plymouth Sound because the company of other bobbers on a regular basis is an experience not to be missed.

Cornish Bobber, Local Bobber

Sea weed and sea water from the sea were also small excitements of the morning.

Back on dry land we found a coastal lily and a pretty piece of driftwood.

Then after a quick peek at the view from the car park…

Looking towards the Mewstone.

… we set off to visit some friends who are in the middle of a big building project. Having lived through the big rebuilding project that was @theoldmortuary a few years ago there is something nostalgic but not necessarily in a good way about seeing people trying to live their best life in an atmosphere of disruption and concrete dust. The thing that is great about visiting people in the middle of a big build is their expertise in making ‘ builders tea’ which is the perfect way to drink tea after a swim.

A quickly recycled blog for a Saturday. The original one will follow this, as these things do in a newest on top way. Have a great 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 #391

Oh! The drama of a Monday morning. The footpath to our usual swimming beach is closed for three days for ‘ Tree Work’. Seems it is not just humans who need a bit of a trim after another long lockdown. This is going to discombobulate the ‘ bobbers’. We have become creatures or indeed Merthings of habit. The pesky and ever changing currents of Firestone Bay are best observed from the high level footpath that runs 12 feet or so above the beach. We ponder them from above, then decide on the route for the day and then return to the footpath afterwards to change and cogitate over the swim and life events while warming up. The raised footpath gives the perfect vantage point to view the whole of Firestone Bay and Plymouth Sound beyond. It can also provide interesting images.

Today we will be swimming and chattering from the beach next to the tidal pool.

Have a good week.

Pandemic Pondering #302

Blue Monday is a strange concept in a World Pandemic where, to use the same colour qualities, the United Kingdom is currently in deepest Navy Blue.

Our hours exercise took us to a quiet beach where I got three pictures of an annonymous surfer. There was a bit of blue to carry on the colour theme . Hopefully, with the arrival of a vaccine, we can all ride a wave of recovery.

As well as he does.

This is not a perfect surfers beach however . The skill shown in these pictures is all the more impressive when some of the harder geographical features of the same beach are revealed.

A fine Blue Monday metaphor for the current situation.

Pandemic Pondering #300

Pandemic Pondering #300, again!!! After last weeks recalibration of pondering numbers . I can celebrate reaching 300 for the second time in a month. Dysnumeracy rules! Today we can celebrate with a naturally occuring heart, which I found at the rear of our regular swimming beach.

Regular or repetitive these posts maybe but today was the day for socially distanced swimming at Tranquility Bay. An hour of exercise, of which only twenty minutes was spent in the water. 10 minutes stripping off and probably another 20 trying to get our clothes back on when fingers and feet no longer belong to us.

©Andy Cole

The swim today was fueled by coffee from Cakewhole who were closing as we arrived but understood our need as they sea swim too.

https://cakewhole.co.uk/ 

Cake may also have passed our lips but winter sea swimming has a way of clearing out vexascious thoughts. Cake can be very vexascious.

The peril of a swim later in the day is the timing of the sleepy zone that follows the euphoria and energy boost that cold water swimming brings. By 9pm we thought it was midnight and slunk off to bed. Ostensibly to read books, the truth, of course, was that barely had the cup of tea cooled to drinking temperature before the sleep monster wrestled us into the duvet.

Pandemic Pondering #289

Yesterday started with a despondent dog walk. I was pondering the Pandemic and trying to consider if there had ever been a world event which has directly or indirectly affected every living human in the world before. I couldnt really come up with one. Despondency soon gave way to joy when we saw dolphins breaching in Firestone Bay. Today could also have been despondent because we are clearly heading into another lockdown. Despondent @theoldmortuary not because we are heading into the lockdown but because it has taken the UK so long to make that decision and take appropriate action.

Expecting a Prime Ministerial Address we busied ourselves about this morning getting some new tech to better keep up contact with our nearest and dearest. The reward for taking on a click and collect journey was a trip to the dogs favourite winter beach. Portwrinkle has everything a dog could possibly want all in close proximity.

There is a small problem though. Hugo likes to play alone in the rock pools. Lola is utterly shocked that every time she joins him at a rockpool he switches to a different one. He likes to rescue seaweed from the pools and create a pile on the sand. The task is taken very seriously and cannot be interrupted by Lola or any other passing dog.

He will relent and chase her across the sand to the point of exhaustion but seaweed and rockpools are a solitary pleasure for Mr Hugo.

Rockpools are also a fine thing to contemplate when the future is once again uncertain.

Pandemic Pondering #274

Another day, another afternoon dog walk and another sunset. Portwrinkle was a very fine reward for a day’s work that failed to live up to expectations. It was nowhere near as dull or difficult as I had imagined.

Clearing a shed sometime this week was a plan that required reasonable weather and some sort of reward. As it turned out clearing the shed was not so bad. Two big bags of miscellaneous ‘stuff’ was whittled down to one small bag in a surprisingly interesting afternoon. Quite how the content of those two big bags had ended up together is a big mystery but ultimately the sort out was not so onerous that it required a beach trip afterwards. The dogs, however, insisted. Not that they helped in any way with the shed clearance.

We had the beach and harbour to ourselves which is always an extra pleasure. the dogs exhausted themselves on the black sand and I watched the sun set.

An afternoon well spent.

Pandemic Pondering#241

A Post- Pandemic Birthday Pondering.

I’m late to the party, or not, of having something to celebrate during a Pandemic. There were two things we should have done yesterday and didn’t. One was a ‘Dining Experience’ which sounded fabulous .A banquet held in The National Marine Aquarium, a Night at the Museum event that would have been mostly wonderful . I worried a little about ordering Skate Wings or Calamari but beyond that it was a great idea. The other thing we didnt do was meet other people. Two women , two dogs and a campervan was the order of the day. You would think a beach in Cornwall would be a peaceful place in mid- November , our regular beach, Harlyn was heaving with Humans mostly wearing the semi- effective PPE of full body wetsuits anxious to immerse themselves in saline. Despite having plans to swim we could see it was not the place for us to find calm contemplative peace. We set off for another beach, Trevone, and it was empty.

The dogs particularly like Trevone for scampering . We managed more than an hour’s scampering before the tide chased us back into the van. No birthday haute cuisine in 2020 or awkward decisions about Skate Wings . Chicken Noodle soup and the last two portions of Connie the Caterpillar were consumed before we flipped open the back of the van and watched the tide come in.

The dogs took the watching part very seriously. Another hour or so was lost watching the bay fill up with water, it was the perfect way to spend a birthday. Coupled with copious cups of tea and a newspaper.

Our plan was to walk along the coastal path back to Harlyn to enable the dogs to ‘ make themselves comfortable’ before we drove home . It was a great decision but we didn’t get to Harlyn.

Nature decided to throw a foam party just around the corner.

The day was pretty much perfect with the added bonus of finding another naturally occuring 💓

Thanks to everyone for the birthday love in whatever form it took. Many, many hugs are owed.

Pandemic Pondering #240

It’s a significant birthday today. Not one with a 0 in but important in a different way. My parents were both the age I am now when they died. There is no genetic or familial map for me to follow from here. Overnight a schoolfriend offered me the sage advice to take each day as it comes and enjoy every single one. I plan to do that with every day, every year and every decade that I can inhabit.The pandemic will ensure that each of those date milestones is different to how we imagined.

Connie the Caterpillar came with us on a coastal walk yesterday . We celebrated early with cake and a flask of tea using the millstones as a table at an ancient coastal mill on the South West Coastal path.

The size of our flask led other walkers to assume we had set up an impromptu and in these times , illegal cafe. Unfortunately the size of the flask also encouraged too much tea drinking and we had to scamper back to the loo which ended a breezy coastal walk.

© theoldmortuary.design
©theoldmortuary.design

The setting sun caught the birthday confetti, just before we gathered it up to use again on future birthdays.