Pandemic Pondering #135

August 1st 2020.

For a month Pandemic Ponderings will be slightly controlled by the prompt list that my art group, Drawn to the Valley is using to inspire a response from members on Instagram and Facebook during August.

As you know from PP#133, I am slightly churlish about prompts but am choosing to see this as a creative challenge not only for art but my creative writing/social history Ponderings.

#1 Gardens

About two and a bit years ago garden design @theoldmortuary took on a new angle when we had to make it safe for an anticipated grandchild.

At the time that little family were living in Hong Kong so we had time on our side for alterations to the structure of the garden.

Then with great excitement they returned to Cornwall to live and our garden plans were properly tested and found to be pretty exciting for someone under two.

Then the Pandemic hit and she couldn’t visit. Then the Pandemic hit in a different way and they have had to return to Hong Kong.

Here she is inspecting the garden for herself, from above.

Then she required a meeting with the Head Gardener to discuss changes and improvements required for when she is able to visit again.

By embracing prompts I have been able to explain in a gentle way why we’ve been a little sad for a few months.

In the future the little person will know that she was loved and we were sad to see her go in 2020.

I’m looking at prompts in a new way let’s hope I am not a recidivist and return to my grumpy prompt hating ways.

For completeness sake here is the picture I’m going to pop into Instagram for the Garden prompt.

Dead heading into a turquoise bucket.

Pandemic Pondering #126

We met a friend this evening whose words of welcome reflect the subject of this blog.” I saw some really blousy flowers the other day and thought of you”It’s hard to know how to respond to that but as luck would have it I have some bold flower pictures to share, as the same friend has some expertise in identifying bee bottoms so I forgive her for the blousy comment.Today is the day in our corner of South East Cornwall. The Artichokes have burst forth their pollen coated flowers and bees are all over the place, apparently this is a buff bottomed bee. There were many bees of buff bottom fame.Wikipedia suggests they are called White Tailed Beewhich is far less exciting.What is exciting is that we also had a Cornish Black Bee.The Artichokes are a gorgeous blaze of hot summer pink at the moment. They will get bluer in a day or two, some summers they deepen to a Klein or Majorelle Blue.When the Artichokes get bluer they tend to attract red-tailed bees. Something to look forward to later in the week.Meanwhile back to Blousy. I’m not sure Artichokes quite fit the bill.But they do have an essence of blousy. If an artichoke walked into a bar it would expect to be noticed. Not because of the unusualness of a walking artichoke obviously, but because it has a provocative way about it, it looks like a good- time plant, the plant that knows where the after party is and is confident it will brazen its way passed the bouncers into the VIP area.Very Impressive Plant.

Pandemic Pondering #119

The Saturday newspaper runs a Wordplay section every week. One part is a quiz to guess the meaning of unusual words. I don’t catch it every week and it doesn’t always spark my inner word- nerd. This week, though, a lovely word popped up.Shikantaza is one of those words, a firework of a word; it could go off in any direction. Street Food, the art of folding tree branches into mysterious shapes, a high fashion garment, the possibilities are endless.What it is, though, is Zen Meditation involving sitting and thinking. I do a lot of sitting and thinking , often adopting other positions too. Already I’m anxious to find the word for Zen Meditation while leaning on a wall. Thinking is one of my favourite activities. I also like to meditate which is the opposite of thinking.I’m not particularly good at static meditation, intrusive thoughts are the fuel of Ponderings why would I want to banish them?I’m more inclined to meditate when doing onerous tasks or when doing something that is regular and repetitive.
This morning I did a very familiar walk that, recently, has been very conducive to a snippet of meditation and sometimes if a bench can be found some Shikantaza.

Today there were loads of people about, quiet contemplation, of any sort, was not possible.It was very easy though to concentrate on the buzz of busy bees on spiky plants and feel wistful about the quieter days of lockdown.

Busy bees are buzzing in these next three pictures but unlike this singular chap above they did not stop to pose.

Too many humans, and not enough busy bees, I suspect, are a major part of the problem expressed on this embellished piece of slate, found later in my day.I found this pebble hiding on the edge of a field, while walking again, Another thing to contemplate. The message is compelling after such a pretty walk this morning.

It’s also been a day of thinking; time to sit down and turn it into Shikantaza.

Pandemic Pondering #101

@theoldmortuary had a bit of a Sunday snooze .Having a guest author for PP#100 was a great chance to step back and have a think. As many parts of the world ease out of Lockdown it could have been a good place to stop but the virus is still out there with no sign of a vaccine. The pandemic is not over so neither is the pondering.

Better later than never this little blog is about a sailor from World War 1. The sea being a bit of a theme on the cusp of PP#100
I found a plaque recording his story at the Lost Gardens of Heligan today. Charles Dyer was one of twenty gardeners who had worked at Heligan before WW1 who ultimately lost their lives as a consequence of that conflict.

https://www.heligan.com/

Charles’ story is a little more complicated than many. This plaque tells his story.

In 1918 Charles was hospitalised at Chatham Naval Dockyard. One day he put on his uniform and walked out of the Dockyard never to be seen again. He was listed as a deserter and his family were shamed and deprived of a pension.

2 years later a body was found in a wood close to the dockyard. It was identified as Charles by his wedding ring. He was taken off the deserters list, his family granted a pension and his body was returned to Mevagissy Cemetery and given a Commonwealth War Grave headstone.

I’ve aged some photographs I took today to illustrate this desolate tale.

Pandemic Pondering #98

Seasons in the Sun.

Rarely in England is Spring considered a season in the sun. Spring 2020 was an exception and along with Lockdown I think I’m going to miss it.

I stole the title from a 1973 song Seasons in the Sun which is a pretty melancholic song. In the 1973 iteration by Terry Jacks it is sung from the perspective of a man who knows he is about to die, he says goodbye to those close to him.

The original version by Jaques Brel was also melancholic, but told from the perspective of a man whose heart is broken by his best friend having an affair with his wife . The man with the broken heart believes he will die of it.

For those of you with an interest in Cardiology there is a broken heart condition called Takotsubo Syndrome.

Anecdotally people do present with all the symptoms of a heart attack and are seen in a Cath Lab days after someone they love has passed away. On rare occasions after their loved one has attended the same Cath Lab.

The link below is to the original song.
https://youtu.be/h02pNUKInBo

The 1973 version of the song became anthemic in my small Essex town during the seventies, when two teenage boys were killed in a road accident. The link below is the Terry Jacks version, should you care to share my earworm.

https://youtu.be/YG9otasNmxI

Today I was earwormed as I cut down and disposed of the poppies and alliums that lit up the days of spring. The poppies in particular became a local landmark. Which is in part why they have had to go. They were looking pretty shabby this morning.

They will live on in other gardens next year.

So much pondering from clearing a rough area of its faded poppies.

The alliums also took a one way trip to the compost bin.

Both can show off one last time to finish off this blog.

We had joy,

We had fun,

We had seasons in the sun.

But the hills that we climbed,

Were just seasons out of time.

Pandemic Pondering #41

A dandelion clock caught in a street lamp.

Wednesday finds us with 5 dumpy bags of green waste and a super tidy Cornish Hedge.

Last dumpy bag and Cornish Hedge picture.

In other news we rescued another neighbour who had taken a tumble, sprinting when we heard her fall. The sprinting obviously enhanced by our late arrival at the daily exercise videos produced by Joe Wicks

We opted to do the classes later in lock down because we knew we were coming to the end of the physical tasks @theoldmortuary.


https://www.thebodycoach.com/blog/pe-with-joe-1254.html

Enhanced sprinting and improved early morning fitness is the aim. Hugo and Lola love the half hour exercise regime,particularly the floor exercises when additional cuddles are apparently needed. A brief blog today , there is only so much excitement to be had in a day of pruning.

Pandemic Pondering #35

This morning this beauty appeared in the rough ground that runs along the side @theoldmortuary.We planted a mix of Oriental Poppies and Field Poppies on the rough ground to mark 100 years since the end of WW1. The land is opposite the village War Memorial.The rough ground is not officially ours but it is the entrance to our back garden. For many years it was the responsibility of the local council to look after it. It is a sad little triangle of land planted with actual road signs. It also bears the posts of old Street furniture and the droppings and scrapings of many years of road surfacing contractors left over cement and tarmac. With Austerity the council has abandoned it. As a growing space it has a mixed aptitude, in the spring it does beautifully with miniature daffodils . In summer weeds do particularly well but so do the poppies. At a high point, it slopes quite steeply up a hill, we have created a little garden between abandoned curb stones and an old but hugely fecund ash tree. The garden like the rest of the triangle is somewhat picky on what it will grow. Currently it supports a very old climbing rose from Hannah’s parents garden. A Christmas tree from a broken home who needed somewhere to rest his roots, some vivid geraniums, a glorious helibore and a few bright Heucheras.Attempts at introducing other things have failed , not exactly expensively, but disapointingly.This week’s Lockdown outdoor project is our annual chore of taming the wild space for the summer. We’ve not quite finished but it was a great reward to have this beautiful poppy this morning.And then there were two.and then the job was done.