#45 theoldmortuary ponders

Todays blog was knocked off the front page by another story of bobbing. This is how tranquil the area was when we went for a dip last night. But what lies underneath?

A playful seal! Spearmint the seal joined the two distance swimmers at the furthest buoy and swam back with them to one of the other swimmers. They calmly warned her that they were not alone. Not trusting them at all she disbelieved them. Calm, was not, in truth, how any of them were feeling . An onlooker who was alerted by their excited chatter said she had never seen anyone swim back to the shore so fast. On arrival back in Tranquility bay Spearmint played around with two other bobbers before noticing that the others were getting out, she joined them in a rush for the beach and the video that follows was her being calm with a background soundtrack of excited chatter.

©Teresa

Teresa, the quick thinking onlooker who filmed this also had a video of Spearmint having her supper.

©Teresa
©Teresa

I think it is safe to say that the whole encounter was a lot more exciting for the humans, Miss Spearmint just takes the whole thing very much in her stride.

©Teresa

Soon after she returned to the sea the water if not the ‘ bobbers’ was entirely tranquil.

#39 theoldmortuary ponders

This past weekend was the culmination of two and a half months of Covid Cultural Catch Up. From September through to mid November we’ve done a curious mix of things that have been postponed and rebooked during the periods of lockdown and other sociatal restrictions. We should have been in Studland Bay in November 2020. Things have been rescheduled quite randomly but serendipity made our rebooked visit to Studland more interesting because on this occasion we could hook up with family members not seen for years. An unexpected treat.

I am always a sucker for a row of beach huts. The ones above at Knoll Beach were not really very photogenic, neither so pristine that they were perfect or so decrepit that they were wistfully vintage. Awkwardly they were just a bit shambolic, Fixed up with a variety of measures to help them withstand the storms of winter. Not being a proper photographer is wonderfully freeing. To get this image I have shamelessly ramped up the saturations and then selectively desaturated anything that wasn’t a warm yellow/orange. Giving this row of beachside huts a uniformity they dont really have.

All this is really a preamble before I admit that I didn’t research the area of Studland Bay or Swanage at all before we arrived there on Saturday. Not my normal behaviour at all. So we arrived with no plans beyond having some good beach walks and to eat fish wherever possible. I know that in an area of such outstanding natural beauty and fascinating history my lack of pre-visit research is a heinous crime, but sometimes a beach( and some fish) is all you need!

Oh the beach is so seductive, sand like soft brown sugar and so many shells and rocks to look at.

In reality we never strayed far from the beach. Driftwood here is bleached and white, not something we normally see on our local Devon or Cornwall coast.

White leaves also stand out on the autumn leaf-fall on the edges of the beach.

A global direction board on the beach reminded us of how far away some of our loved ones are.

Thankfully there was always coffee and baked goods to raise the spirits and recharge our beach walking legs…

#37 theoldmortuary ponders.

Yesterday the Queen missed the Remembrance Day event at the Cenotaph in London, because she had a sprained back. By coincidence Hugo also has a sprained back and has also had to call off important public duties. Giving him plenty of time to muck about in brackish water set to run into the sea at Knoll Beach near the chain ferry to Sandbanks.

Old chains from the ferries are used to mark the sides of the road, a sure sign that this ferry rarely carries innebriated foot passengers. Unlike the chain ferry nearer to home where some passengers are so topped up with alcohol they often cross the river several times as they sleep off their potion of choice.

These chains could do some serious damage to people suffering from alcohol induced tangle foot. It’s a shame Plymouth and Torpoint can’t use their old chains as a landscape feature.

Rusty brown has inadvertantly become the colour theme of this blog. Yesterday I mostly took photos on my proper camera but the wi-fi where we are staying is so flaky I can’t transfer the images to my phone. This means blogs of Dorset can continue into next week and I can end this blog with some rusty bracken which was captured with a phone.

#14 theoldmortuary ponders

©Debs Bobber

Sparkly new concrete and hand rails turned out not to be the main event this morning.

©Debs Bobber

When we arrived on the beach early Friday morning we were not the only occupants, and certainly not the most important beach dwellers. Spearmint, a young female seal had hauled herself onto the beach to digest a big meal.

Here she is happily sleeping off a huge meal and dreaming of infinite fish and,somewhat unusually for a seal, swimming with humans. Here she is this morning at Devils Point..

https://instagram.com/stories/outdoorswimclub/2690010965309668490?utm_source=ig_story_item_share&utm_medium=share_sheet

She stayed most of the day and the beach was soon cordoned off to keep her safe, with the constant watchful eyes of a Marine Animal Medic who were all happy to engage with the public and talk about seal behaviour.

Here she is just waking up after many hours of snoozing with a full tummy.

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.