Pandemic Pondering # 417

The May weather is so shocking in Cornwall this year that my poppies are ravaged. I can show their purple loveliness inside but their outsides are not photo worthy. The insides though are a velvety pleasure zone, too bad the weather that is battering them is also keeping the pollinators away.

In contrast the dreadful weather is not keeping us out of the sea and miraculously the storms have not stirred the sea bed too much so the minute the sun comes out everything looks pristine.

©Debs Bobber

The sea temperature has started to edge up a little so the rush to dry off and dress quickly after a swim is getting less desperate.We can even feel some warmth from the sun as we stand around enjoying our flasks of hot drinks.

©Debs Bobber

After some thought the Bobbers have decided to take their relationship to the next level. With temperatures rising slightly the need to dress like arctic explorers, post swim, is less essential. Water bottles have mostly been discarded already, along with wooly bobble hats and one layer of thermal underwear. Some time soon there will be a post swim photo of Bobbers posing in their new team hoodies, a ‘ Next Level’ sign, I’m sure, that ‘ bobbing’ is set to continue as the Pandemic restriction ease off and we could all be off doing different things. Two years ago this location was just somewhere to walk the dogs, a year ago, at the height of restrictions we dreamed of being able to get here to walk the dogs. Now after restrictions eased and exercise was a valid reason to travel short distances we swim here at least 3 times a week and mark special occasions with a dip. Something none of us would have considered until Covid-19 recalibrated our lives and mindsets.

Pandemic Pondering #153

Wet on Wet is the Art Group Prompt.That is quite a challenge for a blog.Wet on Wet is a painting technique, where layers of wet paint are applied onto an already wet surface. I am not an expert at this technique. I’ve never used it with oil paints . I do use it with watercolour, but I’m not the best practitioner. It can turn out dreadfully badly, or with practise you can get lucky. Having a good teacher helps immeasurably.

© theoldmortuary
This is an infinity pond at The Scarlet Hotel, Mawganporth, Cornwall. Mr Mackerel posed for this painting, below, before supper.
I’ve also evolved a Wet on Wet technique for acrylic painting. This method is not taught but comes from an inquisitive mind. For this technique, as yet unpatented, I mix acrylic paint with a variety of clear fluids. There has been no teacher for this technique, many muddy mistakes.Water.Saline.Vodka.Rubbing alcohol.Silicone lube.When the different diluents meet on a pre-prepared canvas or board they react to one another quite differently and can give some fascinating effects. Sometimes great and sometimes shockingly bad. With a little practice I have learnt what works well together but I can always be surprised and not always in a good way.These two went well.Dungeness
Dungeness detail.Forder Creek
© theoldmortuary
Forder Creek Detail.And finally and importantly.A Left Hand Cleaving Water
© theoldmortuary
Detail.This last picture is an important link to non arty wet on wet.P.SA pandemic revelation! @theoldmortuary have become hooked on wild water swimming. Not something that you expect to read in an artyfarty blog. But with a prompt like wet on wet, added to us living in Cornwall that particular prompt lends itself to wild swimming too. It can rain a bit in Cornwall. We are fairly enthusiastic swimmers in warmer climates but swimming outside in Britain has been pretty infrequent until this pandemic. Without access to swimming pools since March and with no holidays on the horizon, swimming was off our radar until about 10 days ago. Some friends invited us to go to a beach for an early morning swim and we haven’t stopped going. Wet on wet refers to us not caring about rain , which is very curious. We’ve taken the plunge a few times in the rain without any worries.We’ve even talked about wet suits to prolong our season.Pandemic Pondering- exploring Wet on Wet two ways.

Pandemic Pondering #142

The prompt for the Art Group today is Walk.

Today @theoldmortuary has walked 16, 000 steps which is something to celebrate. We have also eaten a similar amount of calories. We are not feeling as wrecked as we could have done.

Possibly because the cafe where we stopped had this useful sign.

Surely an encouragement to go beyond the 10,000 daily steps reccomended.

10,000 steps is significant in the Pandemic particularly but also in life in general, because it is considered to be the right amount of walking exercise to maintain a good fitness level.

10, 000 steps,5 and a half miles, 9k or there about, is significant in another hugely important human endeavour.

Spatial Homogamy

Not a word group that springs to mind when thinking of matters of the 💓 or further down.

Spatial Homogamy- The Geography of Love

Pre 1931 most couples mate-selected from within a 10km geographical location. Between 1931 and 1988 despite the advent of motorised transport the distance didn’t change significantly and even with internet dating a distance of less than 5 miles from home or work is the most popular option.

This is represented in the naming of geographical locations. Dogger Bank should not be considered in this pondering.

Lovers Lane.

Lovers Walk

and the obvious name of a piece of street furniture.

The Kissing Gate.

10,000 steps not just a fitness goal.

Pandemic Pondering #62

Insomnia/Dungaree Day/Exercise

I’ve been struck by Pandemic Insomnia. The causes are multiple and the Italians warned us all that it would happen. You would think hard Labour would give some protection but despite shifting tonnes of gravel yesterday my head was very busy overnight. Contrary to popular wisdom Blue light can make me sleepy in a way that a book does not. So I have some constant companions on my night time sojourns into smartphone enlightenment.

Messrs Google, Guardian, London Evening Standard, and a little Instagram and Facebook.

Last night the main topic of my swiping and browsing was stay at home exercise. My guru is Joe Wicks but yesterday I listened to a podcast of Joe talking to Lennie and Jessie Ware on Table Manners. I’ve reccomended this podcast team before.

Joe said his wife, Rosie, sometimes used other on-line fitness coaches. No shock at the virtual dining table as Jessie’s husband is a fitness coach and she also used someone else.

Not being married to a fitness coach I feel no need to be unfaithful to Joe. Last night I browsed other sites, gazed with only a reluctant shoppers eye and decided to stay with Joe.

Last night, I learnt some adjunct useful tips that I can apply to our fitness regime.

Some we’ve initiated without the help of the internet. Baked bean cans have been ditched in favour of proper dumbells. The cans had a life of their own, once put down, and the exquisite pain of a can being exactly where I plonked my commodious bottom is a Covid-19 memory to cherish.

Apart from bottom injuries, uneven weights can cause harm when you exercise. I mention this not because my beans were uneven but because some unevenness occured coincidentally this morning, more of that later.

The internet warned about being obsessive about home exercise. This morning I took heed and didn’t wear lycra, bringing a certain casualness to the event.

Now to the unevenness of weight during an at-home exercise session.

Hugo is an empathetic dog. He has lived his life predominantly with 3 women . He is in tune with our emotional and hormonal states. An emotional or hormonal state brings Hugo to his true purpose in life. To calm and console, with a cuddle that is as close as he can possibly get to the woman in question. He also mimics the symptoms so he has in the past suffered from horrendous hangovers, romantic break ups,shocking grief and menstrual cramps. Insomnia is unknown to him and is more difficult to understand. It is rare if not highly improbable that a dog would actually suffer from too little sleep. Hugo decided that my cure would be his constant close attention.

An uneven weight for indoor exercise.

So now onto the blog I should have written today.

Dark Grey Walls

It’s been 6 weeks since the humans @theoldmortuary joined the gym. It was never the intention to become gym bores on here telling you about our reps/ sets/weights achievements. So as usual this is a ponder. We’ve even made a gym friend who has called in @theoldmortuary and noticed that the gym and @theoldmortuary have walls painted the exact same shade of very dark grey. We chose dark grey @theoldmortuary because it makes a small dark cottage seem larger and brighter. Quite why a gym would choose the same colour is beyond me but it’s all new and recently refurbished so there has to be a reason.The grey walls are significant to my static adventures on a bike. Every visit I knock out 10k always accompanied by a Podcast and this wall.This sweaty wall is the blank canvas to my imagination that is boosted by podcasts.It was an entirely appropriate backdrop to my sweaty, teary experience of Desert Island Discs with Ian Wright on the BBC Sounds app.
Thankfully not all podcasts have the same effect so often I can just relax and enjoy the sweaty drips on the wall.

Muscle Memory

It’s been a while since attending a ballet based class was a thing for the humans @theoldmortuary.

An exercise class called Barre enticed us in.

My previous ballet experience was in a mirror- less room at the Institute, Braintree so even the word Barre was a little bit exciting. Holding the Dado rail was the Essex way. Plymouth Ballet lessons were a lot posher for Hannah and involved lessons from Wayne Sleep and Bonnie Langford as well as mirrors and Barres.

As it turns out we didn’t touch the Barre.

The movements and language were a revelation. I had completely forgotten that French is the language of ballet.

The strange thing is that our bodies had not forgotten, effortlessly getting into the positions required before our brains had fully processed the command.

‘Effortlessly’ is slightly disengenuous, we didn’t turn into giddy, gauzy, whisps of women seemingly floating across the dance floor in a chiffon of pink. How I wish that were the case; but it was noticeable that none of the moves were unfamiliar to us and we threw in little ‘Jettes’ quite naturally and our ‘arabesques’ felt as beautiful as the word suggests. As with all things exercise there was a punchy soundtrack that encouraged movement and time keeping. The only downside to all this ballet nostalgia was the mirror, in keeping with its well-known cliche. It didn’t lie.

8 uninterrupted minutes

Aqua aerobics is an unusual place to experience a favourite music track.
Donna Summer released ‘ I Feel Love’ in 1977. It was a moment; 8 minutes long, it was a futuristic and ground- breaking recording. 35 years after its release the track does not sound dated.It was a key moment in the history of Dance music.

Read more in a 2012 Guardian article.

It was the backbone and pleasure zone of my nightclub and party life in London and Brighton.

Hear the track for yourself on YouTube

Nightclub and party life is , for most of us, a lovely but passing phase. With time ‘I Feel Love’ for me has become an unexpected and rare pleasure at weddings or work parties. A moment to slip responsibilities and, more contemporary, musical tastes. A time to dance and move for 8 uninterrupted minutes.

Somehow, inexplicably, I’ve become the sort of person who dips their toes and, in fact, all of me into a pool for aqua aerobics. Dumbells are involved. Donna Summer became involved.The much loved opening notes swirled across the pool. The familiar throb made a little impotent by the new, watery surroundings did its best to lure me in. It was impossible and inappropriate to lose myself in the moment as would be usual. I was among strangers and responsible not only for dumbells but also my own and others safety. Doing things with dumbells in water and moving effectively in the same shape as the instructor is tricksy to say the least, no time to get funky and flexible. I’m not sure I ever achieved gracefully executed exercise but on a positive note there were no unseemly moments, above the surface at least.

The unimaginable happened. A pleasure the younger me would never have condoned. The shortened version was used; its brevity made me smile. 8 minutes interrupted was perfectly acceptable on this occasion.