Pandemic Pondering#488

©Uphill Farm

Yesterday we were on fire and finished building the flatpack furniture. Not something we would normally do on a hot summers day, but essential to the last of the unpacking and sorting out of the recent house move. Fortunately for this blog the energy and enthusiasm for this task was fueled by a great night out at the evening reception of our friends wedding; which is a far more enjoyable thing to write about than the making of two identical chests of drawers.

© Uphill Farm

A day that started with the wedding of Tess and Adrian.

Finished in the walled garden of Uphill Farm with dancing, pizza, cake and wonderful company.

And finished off with nattering around a firepit.

More photos of the wedding can be found on Instagram #tessasmiles. I’ve just got one more to share which sums up my particular interest at weddings. I adore what I think of as wedding litter. The beautiful small details that are always a significant part of the planning, coupled with the detritus of the day. This picture sums things up and not being in focus is a clear sign that a good time was had.

Pictures of the gorgeous venue can be found on Instagram @uphill_farm or on their website.

https://www.uphillfarm.co.uk/

Pandemic Pondering #465

Bobbing with bubbles is not a regular piece of behaviour at all but this had not been a normal bobbing week. Even more unusually we managed to use a Winston Churchill quote in the after swim nattering session. Friday bobbing is the most regular session and happens at about 10:30 each Friday morning.

This was our first Friday swim since moving house. Apparently we need to hurry up because the water is lovely once you get in!

Our first Wednesday day swim after moving featured a pod of Dolphins. Friday featured Pol Roger Champagne!

Bobbers getting giddy before noon is definitely not normal. New house owners getting giddy before more unpacking is surprisingly effective. Although not in all corners of a room.

A tidy sofa is essential for a little post-bob, post Pol Roger siesta. It is almost certain that Winston Churchill would not have needed a siesta after drinking Pol Roger in the morning. It was his favourite champagne and he drank it with a traditional Full-English breakfast often. Thankfully we don’t have his responsibilities or the budget for such a lifestyle. But just once with the lovely Bobbers after a sparkling swim was just perfect. Our bobbing friend Helen provided the Champagne. She also gave us the chance to hear her sharing her voice in a graffiti- decorated disused grain store not far from our Bobbing Zone.

Follow the link below to hear her voice paired with great acoustics and gorgeous Street Art.

Jenny of Oldstones performed by Helen Bobber.

A remarkable day in the Tamar Valley.

Pandemic Pondering #428

What an amazing day! First a perfect un weather-damaged Poppy bloomed.

And the sun came out, so hopefully pollinators were busy later harvesting this tasty purple pollen.

Then I got to take a friend, who is recovering from surgery, for a little road trip to visit the exhibition. We also met another friend there so some nattering occured. The red of the morning poppy was much in evidence as we looked round the works on show. Red dots all over the room. Red dots are the traditional way to denote that a piece of artwork is sold.

There are several columns like this around the exhibition showing the success for many artists in selling work. As one of the co- curators of this exhibition it is incredibly exciting to see so much work selling. Even better was the huge hug I got from a very happy Allie Cole who was so thrilled to sell a new style of work. She still has two more to sell but her happiness felt better than seeing a red dot on one of my own paintings!

©Allie Cole- details from her paintings awaiting new homes.

We couldn’t have picked a better day for a small trip out , the sunlight was amazing and the views across the valley as stunning as ever. The sunshine lasted through to the evening swim.

A fab day of sunshine, friends and red dots ( of two sorts).

Poppies @theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #314

This slightly tatty perfume bottle has a story to tell. For a time it lived in my work bag and the fragrance perked me up at low points in 24 hour shifts.

Tom Ford fragrances were introduced to me by a work colleague, Haji. Haji always wafted into my work area on a cloud of fragrance, no matter what the time of day or night. His subtle perfume and his smile arrived slightly ahead of the man himself. Sometimes I would have to guess which particular version he was wearing. When a new one came out he would encourage me to go and try it in Selfridges on the way home. Maybe not his best idea, anyone who does massive shifts in the NHS knows the error of ‘reward’ shopping after a gruelling night of work.

My lovely friend and colleague Haji has died of Covid-19 his Janazeh, funeral prayer, was held yesterday.

A man who was such a valuable part of a place that was called The Heart Hospital when we worked together.

Social media is the hub of communual mourning now and the comments all mention how much people enjoyed working with him.

I’ve stolen and paraphrased another friends comment.

David said “I loved the football banter”

Haji, I loved the perfume banter.

Pandemic Pondering #198

October started @theoldmortuary with a touch of socialising with our Covid friends that we first met in Pandemic Pondering #44 on the 2nd May. A chance meeting in a coffee queue at Hutong, Plymouth, has led to a summer of meeting and exploring various locations in Devon and Cornwall. Again quite by chance we were both staying near the Cotswolds town of Burford. Given the location of our meeting it would have been uncivilised not to have met up for a coffee. Covid friends know the area well as they lived in Burford for a while. For us Burford is somewhere we pass through but never stop because it is always somewhat crowded with tourists. One of the bonuses of the pandemic is less tourists, so today was a good day to stop and have a wander. Burford is hugely picturesque and my photography is never going to be as good as the images you could find on the internet, so Google Burford to find all the gorgeous images and information that others have provided.

Cotswold Stone

The morning colours of Burford were amazing. It helped that October arrived wearing sunshine first thing in the morning. There was still dew in the nooks and crannies of the churchyard.

We also found a petulant cherub on a grave. She/he looks like the sort of toddler to avoid rather than a second order angel to spend eternity with. She/he may be unhappy because someone has dressed her/him with her/his wings under her/his chin. Speaking as someone who recently put a hoody on the wrong way round, I understand the grumpiness. It’s hard to be effective with either thing on back to front.

Effectiveness is the key word for this blog. @theoldmortuary has more things to do than the time available for a couple of days. Blogs will be brief but hopefully not dull. Link below to properly explore Burford.

https://www.cotswolds.com/plan-your-trip/towns-and-villages/burford-p720323

And the Churchyard where these pictures were taken.

https://www.burfordchurch.org/

Pandemic Pondering #118

Sweet Peas, such a thoughtful gift from a neighbour who we’ve come to know better during the pandemic. Gil and his wife Jen live just down the hill from our renovated Cornish Hedge. Gil is also a South Londoner, by birth rather than adoption like us! I found the perfect vase @theoldmortuary for a gift from a native Londoner.

I also tried another ‘flat-lay’ with the Sweet Peas, the orange painted 🍊 box and inadvertently my foot.

Gifted sweet peas are a happy reminder of Hannah’s mum who always gifted us large bunches of them and my grandfather who always delivered home grown flowers. With him Sweet Peas were always safer than his dahlia deliveries which always came with a side serving of earwigs that nipped small fingers.

Another gift this week of gooseberries has inspired another ‘Flat Lay’, thanks to Mel and Ed for the goozgog inspiration to make Gooseberry Drizzle Cake and Gooseberry Fool.

Pandemic Pondering #79

Easing out of lockdown. Not so long ago conversations with people other than those that share the same home was a bit random or coincidental. We may have been deprived of hugs or the normal interactions with friends but our local to @theoldmortuary life has had some amazing revelations. We now know all of our near neighbours, and have had time to talk at length with many of them. We’ve made some new friends from distant places, distant in lockdown is not so far as it used to be. Being coincidentally in the same place at the same time made Coronafriendships. Social distance garden meetings have been lovely with our more longstanding friends.Today was a bit of a novelty, we had two meetings with two different pairs of friends . It felt novel and a little bit exciting . Giddy even.The morning started with a summer playlist . The stand out track was Peaches by The Stranglers . Such is my weird pandemic head that without thinking I chose these two garments to wear today, and the curious meandering that is Pandemic Pondering #79 formed itself.Back to The Stranglers. Peaches is one of those pieces of music that everyone is familiar with because bits of it are sampled in TV shows and other music. It was considered to be a seminal punk song in 1977 when it was released.
Listen to Peaches (BBC In Concert 23/04/77) by The Stranglers on #SoundCloud
https://soundcloud.com/the-stranglers/peaches-bbc-in-concert-23-04Enough of the Peaches, back to the nattering. This morning’s meeting was with people I’ve known for around 30 years, there have been some gaps, but now we see each other regularly and laugh about ridiculous stuff. The talk is non stop. After three hours we had jaw ache. A brief break and we were off to nattering session 2 this time with someone we met a couple of weeks before lockdown , more nattering and laughing at preposterous things . We completely forgot to mention Book Club which had been the plan. More jaw ache.Laughter is an amazing thing , it jiggles your belly and burnishes your mind.With my mind burnished and my belly jiggled it’s back to peaches. I’ve had a trawl through the photo archive and plucked out some peach images and had a look in the colour theory books. The photo file was a richer source of peachy stuff than the books. Peach seems a little overlooked in colour theory world.Peach represents immortality in Chinese culture. It is named for the interior flesh colour of the white Peach. It is a range of soft colours between pink and orange. It was first mentioned in literature in 1588.Art Deco in the 1920’s and 30’s used a lot of peach.With the randomness of the internet I can also share a code , which I accidentally wore today. In the gay community a ‘ bear’ who wants to hook up with other ‘bears’ wears a peach bandana. Exactly my choice for the new government guidance of face covering for public transport.Peaches from the archive.Last year’s Cafe Au Lait Dahlias.Close ups of a peachy rose.Autumn foliage in the garden.A tiny shell on a beach in Cuba.A peach trumpeted daffodilFriends , peaches and The Stranglers, that was a curious blog, sometimes they just write themselves.Have a peachy weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #70

Another friend has died in this curious time of Pandemic Lockdown. Just as my beloved friend mentioned in Pandemic Pondering #28, the friend who died yesterday died an anticipated death , unconnected to Coronovirus but most certainly affected by the restrictions imposed by the Pandemic. He died at home supported by a loving family.

We shared a love of books and music and he was kind and generous with his knowledge of both and equally enthusiastic about exploring new genres of either. I will miss his inspiration and enthusiasm.

Just as in #28 , I am a lower tier mourner. Unlike #28 I’ve had more time, as we all have to absorb the current way of marking a death. More experience too, our regular dog walk takes us between two graveyards and @theoldmortuary overlooks a church graveyard. In consequence we witness many restricted graveside services as voyeurs. We’ve become accustomed to the new way of marking death.

Not being able to join friends in a celebration of life at a traditional funeral has become an acceptable fact of life. The promise of attending a Memorial Service in the future is not something I’ve ever experienced before. It will, for many of us, be a new reality once communal gathering can take place.

For now, all I can do to mark a friend’s passing is quiet contemplation. Very Zen.

Pandemic Pondering #12

I realised yesterday that in one virus induced action all of my friends have become people I no longer see.

Some of those friendships have 55 years of longevity graduating down to those that have a tiny lifespan of a few weeks or months and may have fizzled to nothing in normal times. The pandemic preserves them all equally in digital ice like fertilised eggs at a fertility clinic. Granted equal potential to survive, or not, over this period of real life isolation. Many of them will be re-implanted into my future life to thrive, inevitably some of them won’t make it and they will be replaced by new friendships created during this highly unusual circumstance . Thinking about this is overwhelmingly sad if I consider the people I may never see or interact with again.
Thankfully none of us know specifically on which metaphorical doors the plague crosses will appear.

I realise fully that this is a highly pessimistic blog and in part it was induced by a photograph that I took a couple of years ago either in Cuba or Spain.

It was lost for a long while in my pile of digital images . Once I rediscovered it it was filed , waiting for its appropriate moment in the sun. Meloncholia seeps from this image but I love it .

For all our sakes I have some gorgeous optimistic flower images to lighten the mood.

A gift from a new friend. A lovely gesture .