#376 theoldmortuary ponders

@theoldmortuary we are still in some sort of crazy autumnal clear out. Domestically rather satisfying but not exactly blog worthy. One other job today was to find a photograph of my daughter as a four year old artist. Digging around in my digital archive I found some old favourite photographs. The one above was taken at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey. A garden centre that has a wonderful cafe. The next photo is a very superior sheep at The Royal Cornwall Show.

Since a small artist inspired this blog it would be an error to not include some actual art in this random trip through my photographs.

Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro Gallery London. These silver balls we’re floating in a pond and were an unexpected surprise. We were actually there to see the work of Grayson Perry.

Another London picture taken whilst I was doing Jury Service in Southwark,this image ticks all the boxes. London bricks and a message that all the miscreants in court would have done well to pay attention to.

And then on to some Spanish bricks and a pigeon posing perfectly.

I think my little cache of favourite pictures could run for two days if we are still in domestic mode tomorrow, but here is the photograph I searched for. A small artist in Montana, 26 years ago.

And her niece in Hong Kong this week.

#373 theoldmortuary ponders

©Angela Moritz-Smith

On reflection, I should not have been so worried about the repurposing of Battersea Power Station. It has been transformed very sympathetically into a shopping and entertainment hub. A really lovely new destination for our shopping alter egos. My beloved vision of it as a monolithic structure on my daily commute has been altered forever, but that commute has not been mine for quite a while either. My friend Angela was at Battersea the day before me and got the lovely shot that is the header for this blog. Like her, we also went in broad sunlight but the wind ravaged any chances of a reflection.

My reflection shot was taken on the backside of an Airstream food truck.

Inside was a brick-lovers dream. The architecture more fitting for a modern Cathedral than a Power Station.

There was even some carefully preserved flaking paint.

Our trip to Battersea trip was brief bit informative. Definitely somewhere to be revisited. I even managed to buy a favourite brand of coffee. The one that used to keep me going on long on- call shifts in the City of London. All I stay awake for now is small grandchildren, Black Sheep works for that too!

Serendipity and Facebook gave me a lovely coincidence. 10 years ago exactly I was finishing two paintings in my garden in London.

Two pictures that represent either end of my journey today. Nana and Nona duties completed in London we are heading home to the West Country. Not that this is the last blog inspired by our visit to London and the South East. Some retrospective pondering will happen next week I’m sure. For now I will leave you with a turbine room, full of shops and some glass bricks. Another of my mid century passions.

#369 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was our swan song as live- in helpful Nana and Nona to our new granddaughter. For now we have absented ourselves so another set of grandparents can enjoy cuddles and snuggles and disturbed sleep. We flew south to Arundel for a few days so a whole new location for pondering. Somewhere for us to reflect on a whirlwind past two weeks.

Arundel is going to be a fabulous spot to blog from, the dogs have done a preliminary walk round.

Hoping that this is not our actual swan song…

#368 theoldmortuary ponders

Re-use, re-imagine, recycle. A succulent use for your old, soft balls.

This was a lovely surprise today. We did a street walk with the dogs around Southfields this morning. Coffee at a coffee shop called Drop Shot…

Hard to avoid the tennis connections of this bustling High Street.

More charity shop bargains and some healthy food shopping all before lunchtime. To be honest we are at our grand-parenting best in the mornings. Up before the lark or even the sun with not much to do but admire these small feet while her parents sleep and catch up with box sets on the T. V.

#364 theoldmortuary ponders

I love the buttery grubbiness of a London Clay brick. I could bore you all with my love of these things. Of course, this beautiful autumn weather makes everything look glorious.

My second week of new baby care has slightly wider horizons. Not that Wimbledon Common has exactly been restrictive. Yesterday there were many firsts.

A trip to Gails on Northcote Rd for daytime snacking to do a first breastfeeding in public session and the inevitable first nappy change in a cafe toilet. Then it was off to Battersea for Miss B and her mum to visit work colleagues. I had a few moments alone to enjoy Battersea Art Centre. Link below for you to do the same. The many pleasures of Battersea were all basking in the sharp, warm sunlight.


There were also some repeated experiences. Cannazaro Park with the curvaceous, hospitable, sculptured, water fountain turned on.

This autumn appears to be a vintage acorn season, there are hundreds of them littering pavements and parks. Lola is mostly on squirrel tracking duties. We have tried letting her run free but she almost seems overwhelmed by the richness of nature in her London walks out. She is torn by her hunting urge and her need to be very near us. She almost looks grateful when her lead goes back on. Not so for a whippet called Tommy, whose owner we met yesterday. We never actually met Tommy. He was just the flash of an accelerating dark shape in the autumn undergrowth. His owners plaintiff calling getting more and more desperate as fifteen minutes passed and we and Tommy got further and further away.

#361 theoldmortuary ponders

There are many different ways of marking time with a new baby. The traditional ones of time, meals or sleep, slip their responsibilities and shape-shift into tiny fragments of moments or infinitely extended versions of themselves. From the generosity of others there are new markers like flower arranging or cake eating and tea making. Gifts to be unpacked and WhatsApp groups to be kept informed, photographs to be taken and shared. The familiar world takes on a temporary and unusual shape. Bewilderingly everything looks the same and yet feels very different.

We do still have one unchanged routine; dog walking, which was done yesterday in Canizzaro Park where this sculpture is the centrepiece of a fountain, commissioned to mark the millennium. I’m not aware of the brief for the sculptor when this was commissioned, but in our break-out from the baby bubble, it seemed like a great metaphor for our days. The soft shape and multi handled, multi spouted form really resonates with our current daily routine. Punctuated as they are by the need to rehydrate, welcome, comfort or recover with a cup of tea (other drinks are available )

As luck would have it a fresh cup of coffee is just being served to me, and I am in no position to do anything useful.

I can research the sculptors motivation and vision for his Millennial Fountain. For me though it is about these, current, shape shifting sensations of newborn baby days. Welcoming, homely and slightly surreal.

There will be a PS later in the day…

Here is the somewhat disappointing PS. It seems impossible to find the original brief for the Richard Hope sculpture in Canizzaro Park. Costing £50,000 pounds in 2001 it attracted mixed reviews, of course it did!

What it had failed to do on Google is attract any half decent photos of it with the water turned on that isn’t copyrighted. I will go back on a sunny day and do one myself. Below is one from the Guardian and some links for further reading.

©The Guardian



#358 theoldmortuary ponders

This may be a meandering blog. I know what I want to express but the path may meander a bit. This calm picture was my start point. There is a strength from a three generation female line. I’m sure four or even five generations would be even better but that is a luxury denied to our little family. Following our morning cuddles I did the most enjoyable autumnal walk which seemed also to be full of glorious natural strength. Oak trees gave me the most lovely example of the circle of life. Three colours of Oak leaves on one twig.

Then serendipity gave me the circle of life illustration. Three English Oak Memorial Benches were being delivered to their new locations on Wimbledon Common.

So familial strength and the circle of life all wrapped up in Oak on an autumn morning.

#326 theoldmortuary ponders

And just like that, August is over. We saw August out immersed in Canadian family. Having spent our entire North American experience taking daily swims in lakes, today we had a pool day. It would have been a tremendous shock if this had happened at the beginning of our holiday because we have become very used to swimming in the salty water of the sea over the last couple of years. But 8 days of fresh water lake swimming has made us used to not being able to float so easily.

Swimming in a pool is a fabulous place to ponder, I was as immersed in water as we have been in family for the past 5 days.We are very lucky. The cast of individuals has changed every day but there has been chatter, reminiscing and food ever since we arrived on Saturday evening. It will continue until we leave. Just being with people who are kind and generous of their time and homes is so very good for the soul. Soon enough we will be standing on our own two feet again nurturing our own family on the other side of the Atlantic.

Covid robbed us of so much family time on both sides of the Atlantic, and further afield. This summer we have had some wonderful moments, lets hope we never have such big gaps between visits ever again

#323 theoldmortuary ponders

Here we are in Ontario trying to find our place as numbers 14 and 15 in a family we have not seen for over 3 years because of Covid restrictions/ lack of passports and annual leave constraints. Just like marbles in a jar  there has to be a little movement in all directions for us to settle. The walking of many miles on our previous of four days was just a training exercise. Now we are all about the food. You know you have landed in the heart of an Anglo-Indian family when the welcoming meal is a belly bursting curry. Nothing like a curry that is painstakingly recreated from a recipe book or created by a restaurant chef,  but one that has evolved over many years at the hands of an Aunt who knows her recipes inside out and creates intuitively and with love.

#275 theoldmortuary ponders

And just like that, life returns to normal. Maybe in the three months leading up to July I would have thought that there would be a bit of a pinch point, late in July, when I would have a full commitment to family plans and a full commitment to running an exhibition, that had been in the pipe line for a long while. What I had not factored in was catching Covid. Two and a half years of avoiding the dreaded virus had given me a false sense of security. Exactly at my identified, life plan, pinch point, Mr Covid came calling, taking out three family members on the same day and one family member a week earlier. The two episodes cannot have been linked. But they reshaped our summer plans and added to the pinch point.

A Venn Diagram of my life.

The trouble with pinch points in life is that they look more dramatic when they are just abstract plans. Sometimes they look like a near impossible juggle. Juggling two balls certainly seems doable but throwing in the third ball seems foolhardy. As it happened life just flowed past the hurdle of Covid, our family replanned its plans. The Print Exhibition went beautifully to plan.

And here we are on the other side, bobbing in the sea and wondering what all the overthinking was about.

©Andy Bobber