#286 theoldmortuary ponders.

Facebook reminds me that it is five years since I was in North America. That is a timely reminder as yesterday we had planned a North American experience.

Lets be honest a coffee in an independent Coffee Shop, Hot Black Coffee, in Toronto is a very different experience from a Tim Horton coffee, but needs must and we are in Plymouth not Canada. Tim Horton opened in Plymouth yesterday.

Now that was the plan. But domestic life got in the way and inadvertantly solved a year old problem.

When we moved house a year ago we had made a grab bag of important documents and items that must not be lost. The plan was that one of us would grab the, highly visible, leopard print clutch bag, and move it safely from one house to the other. That didn’t happen and neither of us know how. The bag has been missing for over a year. The contents were so important that every room in the new house has been turned upside down and inside out several times. The loss of some of these items has been crucial and the 6 month wait for new passports is probably the most painful result of our loss.

We were up early yesterday to visit Tim Horton’s for breakfast. In the quiet of the morning there was the sound of a drip in our utility room.

Our utility room is know as the ‘Futility Room’ as it is too small for its true purpose and yet somehow is a perfect store room, and loo!

We had to move a lot of stuff to get at the drip. Having located and fixed the fault we decided to reconfigure some of the shelving installed by our diligent removal men. Unbelievably behind the shelving the Leopard print clutch bag was resting, safely holding all of our important things. One of the removal men must have picked it up, tucked it under his arm and moved it with the shelving and then just put it to one side at the new house. That is the end of a year of puzzlement. It was also the end of breakfast at Tim Horton’s. We did drive over at 2pm having mentally swapped breakfast for doughnuts but the rest of Plymouth had got there before us. Huge queues for drive-thru and eat in. Maybe we will go back, maybe not. In less than a month we are Toronto bound, the queues will be shorter there and we can also go independent. After 5 years we may well do both.

#165 theoldmortuary ponders.

Quite the command on my early morning walk. Our usual, quiet, morning walk was enlivened by the arrival of many vendors for the monthly food and craft market. This coffee shop got our business later in the day. The sun was super bright, but the temperature was only just above zero. Beyond a dog walk I was also up early to catch some mussels in the sharply angled sunshine.

Mission accomplished.

#138 theoldmortuary ponders

A blustery weekend and some cancelled plans gave me some more time to catch up with my art course homework. This was a colour note for a blustery walk on Sunday. Storm Franklin was an altogether more blustery affair than Eunice. Franklin had blustered into the local Primary school and set off the burglar alarm. Crashing waves and the cries of Oyster catchers with a side serving of persistent electronic noise was not quite the coastal idyll I was planning to record and paint, but it is the combination I was gifted. The mellow dark notes were provided by a deeply, fruity, cup of black coffee. Black coffee is my drink of choice, now, for coastal walks, after two separate incidents of having the frothy top of a flat white splattered onto my face. I’m not a fan of drinking good coffee through a plastic lid. Thus the weekend map of my walking experience has two man made colour memories and four natural ones all combined to suggest the booming of a storm, the sound of Oyster Catchers and the irritating pulse of a triggered alarm system all interacting with a swirling seascape. This image just represents a tiny moment of time, all senses disturbed by powerful gusts of wind.

#134 theoldmortuary ponders

Well Eunice was quite the storm yesterday. Living on a historically fortified peninsular of rock that juts into Plymouth Sound during the worst storm for more than thirty years was always going to be interesting. Made even more so by needing to create a colour mind map of my daily walk using all my senses. Eunice hit land further down the coast at Sennen and barrelled her way across the country via the Bristol Channel. So we were not exactly in the eye of the storm, that said it was a weather event when not doing anything too adventuresome was advisable.A morning dog walk introduced me to Eunice and she was not happy

Eunice screamed between the elegant Georgian houses, screams of distress and melancholy. She boomed against fortifications built by Henry VIII and dumped water on concrete defences built for the many wars and skirmishes that Britain has been involved in. Eunice was not a happy woman. By the time we reached our favourite coffee shop she had taken to flinging dustbins into the air and overwhelming the small boats resting in protected harbours.

All this on a day that I was being ‘aware’ of my walk with all my senses so I could create a colour map of the experience. Certainly not in any sense topographically accurate but definitely synesthesically so.There are also two actual cultural references. I didnt hear bright red on the walk yesterday but I knew we were under a red warning with a strict advisory not to venture too far. It would have suited me far better artistically and synesthesically if the warning had stayed at amber.The synesthesia of a warm coffee shop was altogether a huge deliciously cacophonic callaloo of colours and sensations, as was the whole day, but I chose to depict it with the logo and tranquil white. A place of sanctuary in a world of sliding, feral, dustbins.

So welcome to my sketch of Screaming Eunice. Done quickly while she screamed in my ears. Topographically inaccurately drawn, it is a distillation of a moment in time and location. Sound, sensations, colours, geography and great coffee all in one picture.

The big P.S to all this storm chat.

I am very aware of the cultural appropriation in this blog. I work at a museum, The Box, and have spent months in the company of the Songlines Exhibition. A masterpiece ( mostly mistresspieces) of Indigenous, Australian peoples art. The image I created looks like a rip off, it isn’t deliberately so.

The word Callaloo- a word gleaned from a Trinidadian work friend, she used it to describe the mixed up chaos of our work environment ( operating theatres) after a heavy night at the office. It is a word I use often in my head when synesthesia and real life collide.

A Callaloo is a Trinidadian vegetable stew. It is also used by Trinidadians to describe the rich cultural life of their island created by the historic blending of people of many different heritages. The word is also used, by Trinidadians to describe a muddle or mixture. Something my head is all too familiar with.

#122 theoldmortuary ponders

Harlyn Bay

Yesterday was all about avoiding a Storm that was battering the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. We had to go to Truro to collect my typewriter from its service and took a chance that the North Coast might not be so badly affected.

Typewriter collected, and that is a whole other blog, we called in at Strong Adolfo on the Atlantic Highway for coffee and some lunch.

©Strong Adolfos

Sartorial and comestible choices had uncanny similarities!

Lola and Hugo looked on, their doggy colour blindness giving them no clue why we thought this was so funny.

All they really wanted was to get to the beach and blow off some energy.

I’m not sure we exactly avoided the storm by travelling South to North, we just altered the direction that the rain hit us. The video below gives you a minute of wave action. We were not tempted to get in for a swim.

All in all a Sunday well spent, now its time to get on with the week.

#44 theoldmortuary ponders

I had known for a little while that this particular blog was going to be about illumination because I had tickets to attend an illumination festival in the Royal William Yard.What I hadn’t expected was that the sunset over our evening swim would be quite so spectacular. Just a tiny tweak on the saturation of this image brought out all these gorgeous colours.

After drying off and warming up we set off to visit the area around Ocean Studios which was the location of Illuminate.

Like lots of things this event has been postponed a few times.

Many of the illuminations were similar to previous years but a new one was a fabulous, luminescent squid called Bobby Dazzler by Kate Crawford and Beth Munro. Visitors were invited to add embelishment to Bobby with fingertips dabbed in luminescent paint.

Outside we could write on a graffiti wall. My rookie error was to seek out a clear piece of wall to advertise this blog without checking the appropriateness of the surrounding marks.

Also new to Illuminate were the thousands of bugs and moths fluttering in the breeze to remind us that we must protect biodiversity and species around the world. There was also the luxury of a cafe serving decent quality late night coffee, always a bonus!

The architecture of the Grade 1 listed buildings lends added texture to projected videos.

And although I failed to record a video the musical pipes and interactive lights were fascinating. Although not particularly musical in our hands.

Returning just for a final comment and illumination to our sunset swim. Here I am wearing my night swimming hat which was a birthday gift last week.

©Gilly Bobber

Pandemic Pondering #495

It felt pretty good over the weekend to just dump normal life on the curbside and head off to a music festival. Festivals create the perfect bubble away from normality.

Our little family bubble just kept smiling.

Our entry back into the real world was fueled by pastries and coffees at a fabulous roadside bakery and farmshop/ store at Bridport. Following our dawn swim at Lulworth Cove, some munching was essential.

https://www.risebakestore.co.uk/

The welcome home from the fluffs, Hugo and Lola,was loud and excitable. They did not cover themselves in glory during their weekend away with friends. Terrorising chickens and leaving muddy paw prints on the top of an Aga is not advisable if you ever want to be invited back. Fortunately baked goods, from our stop off on the way home, may just about have bought them a pardon.

The fluffs seem blissfully unaware there was even a problem.

Thank you Dorset,back to basics pondering now …

Pandemic Pondering #487

A series of firsts yesterday. A wedding! Beautiful weather despite warnings of a storm as we gathered in St Eustachius Church, Tavistock, for the wedding of a friend. A large number of family and friends , cleverly seated and spaced by a beautiful team of ‘ Best People’* witnessed not only a wedding but the first singing in that particular church for over 17 months. People have worshiped on that site since 1193 and in the current church since the 15th Century. I doubt if there has been such a long silence in that place of worship ever before.

I wonder if St Eustachius was as thrilled to finally give his Eustachian Tubes a good blow out as we were.

Goodness this was a well planned Wedding Service, the music and readings celebrating, most importantly a marriage but also shining a light on our human need to begin to mark the gradual return to a more normal life. Sacred spaces of all faiths carry some magic left by centuries of worshipping. It felt lovely to tap into some of that yesterday.

The first hymn to the tune of Morning Has Broken had us feeling a little tearful. Thankfully the serious business of the actual Marriage Service gave us something to focus on before hitting us with a hymn sung to the tune of ‘Thaxted’ by Gustav Holst. You can take a woman out of Essex but you cannot take Essex out of a woman. Particularly this one who has a fair bit of her gene pool resting in the graveyard of Thaxted Church!

The penultimate treat for our happy ears was the Widor Toccata. There is nothing better than an organist who can get his fingers competently around Widors Toccata. St Eustachius organist did exactly that, beautifully. Wedding service done we hopped off for a cheeky iced coffee.

And then returned to the churchyard for the glory that is Bell ringing. Something I can share with you with the link below.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000mbqw

© BBC

As soon as pictures of people who were part of this wedding appear on Social Media I will include them in a blog but for now I just want this blog to reflect the flavour and sense of loveliness of just being able to be part of something like this once again.

Here is one of the readings, which was deliciously appropriate.

Hokusi says… by Roger Keyes

Thoroughly uplifted we travelled home.

To this face!

* Best People. The bridegroom did not have a Best Man but a delightful team of Best People. Surely the way forward. Have a fabulous Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #478

The end of the week coffee. Coffeeer than any other coffee, not as desperate as some and maybe not as chilled as a Sunday morning coffee. But still a landmark coffee. Today happens to be Friday but in my previous NHS life the end of the week could be any day.

Always celebrated at Black Sheep. Coffee to power me through the last 12 hours at Barts Heart Centre. Obviously the doughnuts are not part of an approved Cardiac Health Diet.

©Black Sheep
©Black Sheep

Today’s coffee from Hutong, hopefully doesn’t have such a big task. Or does it?

Today is flat pack furniture day!

https://g.co/kgs/pYQUqg

Pandemic Pondering #404

Today we took a trip to Totnes. The last time we took a trip deeper into Devon it was 6 months ago when we also went to Totnes to do Christmas shopping for the Christmas that never was.

By coincidence we recieved this traditional May Day gift of Lily of the valley from a friend who lives in France this morning, she and I have worked, danced and laughed together in Totnes and Brighton long before real life and children tamed us.

Totnes is an alternative type of place with a firm sense of the importance of traditional and Pagan festivals. Ordinarily a trip to Totnes on Beltane/Mayday would be a whirling,  psychedelic , Maypole dancing festival of alternative experiences. Only partially out of Lockdown, today was never going to be as vibrant as normal but our visit today was still vivid in a low key way. Just to celebrate Beltane in its Phallic/ Fertility glory I captured an appropriate shadow.

Accidental because the reason for the photograph was this lost earring, preserved, for its owner to find on top of a bollard that has been many different colours in the past.

Other bollards dressed up for the occasion.

Totnes is a rich source of Street Art. Some featuring Tom of Finland . Quite appropriate for a festival kind of day.

And some just near some spiral stairs which is about as close to a Maypole as we got in 2021.

The smells from Street food and Coffee from the many independent cafes can’t be reproduced with words. Neither can the sounds of music in the streets,  layered together , sometimes with a fusion no one would ever plan ( Prog Rock and Church bells) and other times with a mellifluence that was hard to walk away from ( Harp and Violin). Totnes made us smile today.

Beltane wouldn’t be Beltane without the leafy face of the Green Man.

Awaiting the arrival and union with a Goddess.

Accompanied by Mythic men.

And chariot driving , wise women.

The brightest of Beltane wishes to all.