#91 theoldmortuary ponders

Not every ‘bob’ renders a blogworthy photo. Todays sea temperature was 10 degrees and despite it looking like a murky, bumpy ride, it was a pretty good swim. The currents though were something else. A moments inattention and one current swept us off towards the rocks. The swim back then took us into another current which pulled us quickly in the opposite direction. This area is not called Devils Point for nothing. Fortunately we are all more than one year experienced at swimming from Tranquility Bay and know well enough the tricksy currents and the need to carefully look out for one another.

My pre swimming energy came from a festive breakfast cereal.

We didn’t manage to eat any of them during the festive season. I’m not sure I particularly need to buy them again except that they provide the most glorious whiff of nostalgia if you plunge your nose into the packet before pouring them into a cereal bowl. I am hugely nose orientated. For inexplicable festive reasons we also have a mulled wine spice air freshener for the loo. No sane person on the planet needs their bathroom to smell like a bar in December, it just needs not to smell of poo. I am a festive smell marketing directors favourite shopper…

In other news I remember that pre-Christmas I wittered on about a sewing project but couldnt reveal too much as the item created was a gift. May I introduce you to Madame Cholet. A Womble of Wimbledon Common who gathers the left over embellishments from a man who brings huge joy to some of the streets of London.

https://wombles.fandom.com/wiki/Madame_Cholet

Should you be wildy interested in Wombles the link above gives you the Madame Cholet official biography.

My Madame Cholet was created from completely recycled fabrics. Her eyes are the only new thing about her. I bought an original and second hand sewing pattern from EBay.

The fabrics came from my own stash. The stash of a friend and fellow artist, Tess.

Home

And the wonderful organisation, Plymouth Scrap Store

https://www.facebook.com/plymouthscrapstore/

The whole project was inspired by a man who brings so much joy to the London streets that he cycles on. Wombles are keen recyclers and as this amazing man, who has turned tragedy into joy, cycled past me I wondered what the wombles would make of any bits that might blow off his bike or costumes. ( I suspect he is a master craftsman and bits do not really drop off) You can find him on Instagram.

Is there a point to this blog I hear myself and many other people thinking. I’m writing it as I warm up, it could end up as complete nonsense, which is exactly what we talk as we thaw out.

There is. This meandering blog comes from a very dull January day from an entirely average person who has never excelled at anything.

Writing a daily blog is about stitching any old stuff together to tell a story.

Making a womble out of mine and other peoples cast offs is more or less the same.

Swimming in cold water really is no big deal.

Most of us are ordinary,there really is no need to be special to achieve things.

Anyone can turn nothing into something. We all just need a tiny scrap of inspiration.

#72 theoldmortuary ponders

This Christmas Decoration represents blog perfection. Just after midnight there should be a blog ready to be automatically dropped into inboxes around the world. I”m not saying it never happens but it is mostly an aspiration rather than an actuality.

72 days ago when the blog changed its title, while I was on a blogging course. The course leader suggested being a little kinder to myself and give myself more freedom to deliver blogs less often. While not, as yet, feeling the need to abandon whole days I do, on occasion cut myself a bit of slack and a later blog goes out.

Yesterday I thought laying about would give me time to be on time with the blog, in fact all I did really is be a bit unfocused.

Yesterday not much happened following a bout of food poisoning. Me and the Christmas tree were together a bit as I dozed between bouts of activity which is when I noticed the time on the Christmas decoration. In truth I was just a bit less of myself, low energy and a bit achy after my digestive tsunami.

24 hours of abstinence, apart from two bowls of rice crispies with oat milk, has created a fine dining monster in me but at low cost. The first cups of real tea were revelatory.

All the flavours of the Asia, blended in Yorkshire, dancing around my mouth like there was a post pandemic party going on. Who knew tea could taste quite so good!

The afore mentioned rice crispies embellished by oat milk were a comfort food, tweaked by my newly over sensitive taste buds they have become fine dining. Their vanilla notes enrobed in oaty richness.

Goodness knows what gustatory delights await me this morning. Toast perhaps masquerading as something far more significant. Today I will be more focussed.

#3 theoldmortuary ponders

Long before I started a blog, I had a normal job in London. One of the places I would seek refuge, after a nights work, was The Townhouse, Spitalfields. Home made cake and coffee embellished by the Townhouse itself always slowed the busy pace of London down to something more manageable. The link below describes the Townhouse far more comprehensively than I ever could.

Town House Spitalfields

There was serendipity at work when one of my favourite blog writers, The Gentle Author offered blog writing courses based at The Townhouse.

Returning this weekend for a second writing course with The Gentle Author was a treat, both visual and experiential. In between learning and enjoying wonderful food I hopped around like an overactive magpie gathering photographic trinkets for future blog use. It helped that bright autumnal sunshine barged its way into the corners and recesses of the early Georgian building, making everything a little more magical.

Taking magic to a different place was the bathroom we used this weekend.

And the kitchen where refreshments were served.

https://www.townhousespitalfields.com/

The link above takes you to the Townhouse website. I”m sure this will not be the last blog I write about this gorgeous building.

#2 theoldmortuary ponders

I could be in complete denial that autumn is in full glory this morning. The trees outside my room are uniformly green. Yesterday was bright and sunny and the street markets I explored were still selling whisps of dresses in bright sunshine. It is all a bit of trickery, the trees rustle with squirrels busy stockpiling seeds and acorns and market traders need to sell summer stock to empty their warehouses for heavier winter clothes.

Likewise, in denial, this beautiful assemblage of coloured- glass, domestic objects and a tea strainer, twinkle in bright sunlight against a robustly healthy Banana tree.

More trickery of course. The banana tree lives in a micro climate. Surrounded on all sides by tall, Georgian town houses that protect it from harsh easterly winds that whip the east of England and blow up the Thames estuary, burning delicate foliage at first touch.

Attending a writing course is a lot like trickery and microclimates. The conclave ( secret meeting) format relaxes absolute strangers into shared and deeper mental intimacy; providing a fertile literary microclimate to explore and evolve writing styles and to sort out the dry areas in our creativity.

The beauty of attending face to face meetings again is that we can be experimental and risky away from our domestic environment. The sights, sounds and smells around Spitalfields are so stimulating, the architecture spans centuries and the people are from every corner of the world. Every course member walks into the writing room with some new common layers of sensation sprinkled on to their existing diverse life experiences. Advanced blog writing was a blast this weekend, thanks to everyone who shared it. You know who you are.

#1 theoldmortuary ponders.

A weekend away on a blogging course and a little rebranding. Moving on from Pandemic Pondering as the world moves from Pandemic to Endemic @theoldmortuary will be pondering at large. My walk from Spitalfields to  Islington yesterday evening gave me the gift of this totally apporopriate sign.

There is an agreement within our blogging group that the course and its goings on are in the form of a conclave. While sticking very happily to those restictions I’m almost certain to natter on about the course in the future but not about the attendees or the contents. The venue is one of my favourite spaces in London and is always inspirational so talking about the course while not being explicit is easy.

There are 12 bottoms.

©Pádraig Macmiadháchain @Spitalfields Townhouse

Occupying 12 seats.

We talk about our blogs and how we would like to allow them to evolve and improve. Refreshment and blogging nattering occur over beautiful food.

Right now I’m on my way back for Day 2. Have a fabulous Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #569

The weather, very kindly gave me a fine illustration for this weekends blogging journey. An open road with just enough fog to make the near future unclear. I’m heading off to the Advanced Blogging course run by The Gentle Author. Last night my dog walk on Wimbledon Common was damp and boggy underfoot but the evening sky also provided some blog embellishments.

Daily blogging into infinite was never my original plan but a Global Pandemic has blown a hole in lots of original plans.

Have a fabulous weekend. I’m off to Brick Lane for a brain enriching bagel before the course starts.

Pandemic Pondering #440

Memory is a funny old thing. Over the weekend we have been travelling the roads of North Devon in search of beauty, coffee and cake. We found it all.

What I hadn’t expected to find was loads of memories. For many years I was part of a team that provided medical services to remote parts of North Devon. A very different part of the world to bustling, cosmopolitan Brighton where I had moved from. At the time my patients would have all been born between 1925 and 1940.

I realise now what interesting conversations I had with those people. Geographically isolated in communities that had changed very little since the end of the first world war. I heard first hand the sort of reminiscences and experiences that were almost unimaginable 30 years ago and impossible currently. Not all the memories shared by these people were positive, bad things can and did happen in beautiful places. I realise now how lucky I was to have spent working in such an interesting place. Returning as a tourist was a fantastic memory jogger.

Pandemic Pondering #287

Its been a funny old festive season @theoldmortuary . We have a smallish family circle and a larger circle of friends. We are very lucky. One Christmas lost to being decent citizens, who stuck to the rules, is not actually a ‘ lost’ Christmas just a diminished one without all our treasured people around us.

Pyjamas @theoldmortuary

Today it is 360 days until Christmas 2021. Our strange distorted world will look very different.

Anish Kapoor at Pitzhanger Museum and Art Gallery

And while it can never turn the full 360 degrees to return us to our pre-pandemic normal. ( We can’t ever turn back the clocks.) Things will look and feel very different 360 days from now.

Less

A feature of a cleaning cupboard at The Box

And more.

The tunnel at Royal William Yard during Illuminate 2019

Pandemic Pondering #248

©thegentleauthor

Oh my goodness, I’ve completely missed my year anniversary of daily blogging. As regular readers know , daily blogging was never a plan but the Pandemic has stepped in and daily blogging is where I have ended up. It would be tempting to leave a missed anniversary as just that but admitting my error allows me to share some photographs of an area I’ve loved since long ago when it was shabby and even more since the rest of the world has discovered it.

1 year and 12 days after my blogging course I bring you Spitalfields. A year and 10 days ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to write a random blog. On the 9th and 10th November 2019 none of us had any idea what was coming; a Pandemic that has given me the time to ponder.

What thrills me is that the amazing Palimpsest that is all over Spitalfields inspired a friend of mine, Anne Crozier, to create Palimpsest for an Art Exhibition in Tavistock.

Pukka Palimpsest © Anne Crozier
Spitalfields Palimpsest

Great images just happen in this special corner of East London.

My relationship with the building the course was held in goes back many years . The Townhouse , Spitalfields is an antique shop with beautiful contemporary pieces sprinkled among older items. It is an art gallery and cafe and holds some resources to demonstrate the importance of the area to families linked with Hugenot migrants. Accomodation is also offered in unexpectedly comfy rooms.

On a previous visit, before he knew how to behave, Hugo hid in a corner pretending to be stock.

Here is the back door of The Town House.

And some more street art that was just around the corner.

And a link to the website of the Gentle Author who ran the course I attended.

https://spitalfieldslife.com/

And another to the townhouse, I don’t know how it has fared during the pandemic.

https://www.townhousespitalfields.com/

Both links show beautifully why I am inspired by them.