#462 theoldmortuary ponders

8:15 am on a January morning in Firestone Bay. I know I share this sort of image often but yesterday I did a little research on the area as it was in 1895. Because the tide is high the tidal pool is invisible apart from the three swimmers walking out on the slipway that forms one of the pool walls. In 1895 the pool did not exist. Next week’s research will be to find out the pools history.

I was able to spend a few minutes looking at old planning maps while I was working at The Box yesterday.

The orange arrow points out the place the Bobbers nearly always swim. We know our bay as Tranquility Bay but on this map it is marked as Ladies Bathing Place.

Here it is this morning. 5 minutes with an old map makes more questions than answers. When were the steps and walkways built that make this such a gorgeous and practical swimming location. Sadly the map also shows the more than thirty houses and a school that were lost in my own area during German bombing raids during World War II. Just looking out on my street I can roughly outline how many homes were lost. How many people and their beloved pets lost their lives?

5 minutes with an old map, so thought provoking, where will this Pondering end? Sunshine+ An old map= gratitude and the need to know more.

#460 theoldmortuary ponders

What are early mornings about?

1- Cold walks towards a sunrise.

2- Early morning chattering to swimmers, some known some not.

3- Waiting for paint to dry.

4- Going to the Gym.

5- Reward for all of the above.

6- Write the blog.

Which is exactly where we are now. The paint is still drying. Ready, I hope, for the Winter sun to make an appearance in the studio in an hour or so. I suppose the gym is the unusual topic for a blog. My last foray into the world of a gym was in late February 2020. COVID lockdown made the experience very brief. I did not expect to love it as much as I did. Three years later the cold weather has driven me into a different gym. Neither the dogs or my knees love walking distances in this very cold weather. The gym is in an old military building, I’ve been going for a week. I may never mention it again in a blog but I just wanted to share this lovely old notice, which I look at while abducting and adducting.

Rust, old printing and human notes. My favourite kind of stuff.

‘Keep your head and use it’ What a fabulous instruction.

#455 theoldmortuary ponders

Three Forms- 1970- Dame Barbara Hepworth

The sunlight has high jacked another days blog. Imagine walking upstairs at your place of work and seeing this. Just spellbinding in every sense of the word. Then the evening dog walk, for five beautiful minutes gives this clear and crisp sunset. Not all guns blazing just quietly contemplative and comforting. The Northern Hemisphere is slowly grabbing the light back.

#308 theoldmortuary ponders

What lies beneath?

Our early morning dog walk produced a cute breakfast treat. Fresh windfall figs, minding their own business, resting on the pavement.

Enrobed in creamy yogurt they soon fulfilled their destiny. Later in the day the camouflaged net disguised another gustatory pleasure. Soupe au Pistou. A French tradition neatly relocated to the Stonehouse Tennis Club. In late summer when there is a glut of vegetables, communities in France come together for a communal meal of Vegetable Soup served with Parmesan and Pistou, a sauce made of garlic, oil and basil. Pistou is similar to pesto but does not have the addition of pine nuts or cashews.

Beneath the camouflage was a community of people enjoying charcouterie, the eponymous soup, a cheeseboard, tarte au citron and loads of chatter.

We met many people who we would normally pass on the street with a nod or brief good morning/afternoon. Released from just a simple polite greeting by sitting together for a couple of hours in the sun we had wide ranging and fascinating conversations with people who would quite rightly have been categorised as strangers only moments before. Well fed and watered we made our way home. The evening plan was to work off all the days fabulous food with a swim from our regular evening location.

Not a bad day at all and all within a five minute walk from home. This is turning out to be a very fine weekend.

Recipe below for Soupe au Pistou


#288 theoldmortuary ponders

I must walk past these lovely handles most days but have never noticed them before. Today turned out to be a day for first experiences in every day places. These doors can act as a portal for the day. A little bit of Plymouth as a Mediterranean location. A Tuna was seen this morning in Sutton Harbour .

And a neighbour gifted me a home grown fig.

The fig was eaten soon after this posed image but may feature posthumously in a sketch. Possibly one of my watercolours with typing.

After a day of delicious figs and fabulously diverse natterings the evening dog walk had a little surprise.

This walkway into the sea was empty and we were hot, an impromptu swim was decided upon, just a quick dip in our knickers. It was glorious.

#282 theoldmortuary ponders

This is how a good morning starts and then the day progresses. Today has not progressed as planned. Covid has struck at the heart of our Printers group and we cannot open our exhibition today. So straight after the cup of tea came some reorganisation of our exhibition space. The cafe staff will reserve any sold artworks today and we will contact the buyers tomorrow.

After a swift reorganisation I was off to meet the bobbers for a swim. Overlooked by the majestic Sail GP boats moored on the Camber moorings.

On my way I was charmed by the sound of amplified ukulele playing and singing from a small yellow car.

What a gloriously unusual and unplanned way to start our day.


The link above takes you to the Sail GP website. I am so very very far from being a boat person, anything I write about this would just be gobbledygook, but when these thing move close to our swimming zone they are awe inspiring.

#260 theoldmortuary ponders

Shameless use of wildlife to make my excuses and say that it is a busy week with not to much time for pondering. It is also a week of Spring tides and wrong tide times so there is also not any time for Bobbing. Weeks like this, the one certain thing is dog walking early in the morning and later in the evening. Mornings are calmer because I dont venture onto the beaches.

But evenings, coupled with unusual tides have become quite the giddy experience. Lola calmly digs for gold.

But Hugo wages his one aquatic pursuit ,with great diligence and a lifetime of practice; rescuing all the floating seaweed in the bay.

We spent a lovely hour sat in the setting sun while he busied himself on the most futile and pointless of tasks. Sometimes he persuaded Lola to join in but she lacks any interest in doing something quite so impossible and prefers to just irritate him.

Leaving the beach at a time to suit the human element of the pack was more difficult. Rescuing seaweed is such a satisfying task that Hugo never wants to stop. Once back on his lead he was distinctly skittish and skipped and jumped like a puppy all the way home. Not too shabby for a mature gentleman of nearly 10. Even the evening poo featured many spins and elaborate excited dance steps before the exact landing spot was identified.

#255 theoldmortuary ponders

Firestone Bay

Crazy early morning walk, this morning, the sun almost too hot for two dogs, who are a little too furry for this time of year. By the time we returned home we had walked through a rain power shower. I was on my quest for abstract colours and shapes in bright sunlight and found a couple. Both doors this time.

Ever a magpie for images of rust. I also wasted 5 minutes on a neighbours pile of old metal put out for the recycling team.

The pile was much bigger yesterday.

The recycling team failed to take any of it but local people have taken more than just photos of the assemblage. Five minutes or so may also have been spent by me, yesterday, with someone elses garbage. Yesterday my favourite bit of rust were these two birds

Overnight I had a brainwave about what I could do with the bed springs, those in the garbage pile not the ones in my actual bed! Too late some other urban forager had taken them before I could. How will my sweet peas cope …

Before the rain set in me and the dogs cut quite the abstract image on our walk.

After our drenching our silhouettes were nothing like as sharp. Fortunately for you ,there was no bright sunlight to do an after shot. We squelched home, fur and skirts clinging tightly to our legs. Even the rust pile on the corner of our street failed to hold our waterlogged attention. The dogs also love the scrap metal for reasons of creative peeing, almost as much as I love to photograph it. Bigger dogs leave messages much higher up, cats, mice and hedgehogs leave their fragrance lower down, the whole thing is a multi story message board to them. Five minutes well spent for all of us on a dry walk.

#238 theoldmortuary ponders

Finally, yesterday I was ready to ditch any form of wetsuit and just swim. Unencumbered by a lengthy dressing and undressing process. Summer has arrived in my swimming life. The day had been a collection of small domestic positives, admin and chores achieved and dog walks in the sun. One of my walks located some old friends, the white cows who normally sit on the green are having a rest and possibly a spruce up in one of the local secret gardens.

A small tin has also arrived. A reward to myself for selling a few pictures recently. The topics of the exhibitions I am entering later in the year need a more earthy feel than recent works, so I bought some earthy colour watercolours hand made from natural minerals in Pennsylvania just to start off my thinking process.

One of my evening swimming companions took a fabulous panoramic shot of Firestone Bay. The colours in my little tin would also work quite well if I attempted a sketch here one evening.

#231 theoldmortuary ponders

©Gilly Bobber

The sun sets on an unusual 4 day weekend when the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee.

The bobbers got together in their usual place, Firestone Bay, to have a dry bob. A bob that does not require immersion in the sea but that does involve food and nattering. We gathered for a picnic at Stonehouse Lawn Tennis Club for a picnic overlooking our usual swimming spot.

The topics were, as usual, wide ranging but the Queen was touched upon and South West Film Archive provided vital evidence of one bobber presenting the Queen with a bouquet of flowers, she also, thoughtfully, gave Prince Philip a button hole, carefully wrapped in tin foil to protect his uniform. Posterity did not record that moment but we do have a still from the bouquet presentation.

©SW Film Archive. Shelley Bobber meets the Queen.

Today was a significant moment in history. None of us will ever see a Royal Jubilee again, so full on picnic time it was, with Sandwiches, Sausage Rolls, A cheese, pineapple and silver skin onion hedgehog, Fritatas, Scones, Strawberries and cream, Savoury Pin Wheels, Cherries, Crisps and Prosecco.

Games were played.

Trees were planted, cheers were cheered, and the National Anthem attempted. A good day was had.