Pandemic Pondering #376

With a four day weekend in hand and still restricted by Pandemic protocols the only thing to do is start the day with a swim. A good number of ‘bobbers’ today and the added bonus of a government funded wave machine.

© Andy Cole

Which made bobbing bobbier.

©Andy Cole

Fast forward to the end of the day when we were walking on the Hoe and we learned a little bit of history. In 997 Viking long boats sailed past our swimming area , presumably making waves, and on up the Tamar for their habitual rape and pillage. Let me just say that if the bobbers had been bobbing in 997 history may have been very different. Ten women in fluorescent hats with luminous buoys might have been all it took to frighten the Vikings off. We would have looked like fearsome Sea Nereids protecting Britannia and may well have become the source of Viking Myths and legends.

But we weren’t there to frighten off the Vikings and history is as it is. Today we found a stone which marks 1000 years since the Vikings invaded.

And so the sun sets on another day in a peculiar year.

Happy Easter

Pandemic Pondering #217

Friday Night in Union Street 1948.

A couple of days ago a Local History group on Facebook published some photographs of a mural that was discovered under layers of wallpaper in a Union Street bar. If you have any interest in Plymouth history this is a great page to follow.

Local History is one of the great strengths of Facebook. Local History Facebook pages are hubs of knowledge that become magnets for new information or insights into a local area. They are the modern version of the Local History shelf at Libraries.

I already had some photographs from the mural , taken during one of Plymouths Art Weekender Festivals. Gloria Dixon who is the administrator of the Facebook page Old Plymouth Society has a much better range of images.

She has written a very good account of the mural on the Old Plymouth Society FB Page, I urge you to visit the page.

The artist, who created the mural, Vincent Bennett took the well- worn path, familiar to many creative Plymothians and moved to London at the age of 20, where he not only painted commercially, but also boxed, to earn a living. It was the boxing that caused him to return to Plymouth just two years later. A head injury forced him to return to his home city in 1932 and he added teaching and drumming to his portfolio of money earning skills. Eighteen years later he painted the mural at what was then called the Sydenham Arms.

The story of Vincent Bennett seems so much more tangible and intriguing than the Plymouth to London story of Joshua Reynolds, another Plymouth man, nearly 200 years earlier. For me it is not only that much of the city he occupied still exists but that his subject matter is much closer to my own life experiences.

A drink in the Clipper, as the Sydenham Arms became, was always an experience, even if I was never as glamourous as the woman in the red dress. My grandfather, a sailor, far from his Essex home would almost certainly have known The Sydenham Arms and enjoyed all that Union Street had to offer.

The mural can be seen in its original location 63, Union Street, Plymouth. Currently the property is a Community Cafe.


The link above is to a gallery website.

Pandemic Pondering #164

Layers is the prompt word for the Art Group today. This photo was taken during a Drawing Day at Kelly House, Lifton. A house that has been lived in by the same family for over 900 years has the most exquisite textures. 60% of us live in the same house for 15 years but only 10% for 25 years. 900 years is an astonishing amount of time even though more than one person has had to make that decision to stay. Imagine how interesting the domestic clutter must be at Kelly House, the layers of familial bric-a-brac. Recycle, repurpose and Reuse has a whole new depth when there is 900 years of things that will come in useful, stored away in cupboards.

By comparison our layers @theoldmortuary are miniscule there is nothing here older than three generations. Four generations if you include old photographs.

I’ve recently been digging through a box that holds some of these layers, while looking for a lost spare car key. The digital age and its minimalism side effect will diminish the amount of clutter or stuff that we leave behind. The things I found gave me such pleasure, I’m not sure less layers is a good thing.

Leave some layers.

Braintree Shakespear Players 1947. Keith and Raymond

Pandemic Pondering #88 told a story.

This black and white image is part of it.

Pandemic Pondering #161

Print is the prompt word for the Art Group.Printing is Dirty work and I absolutely love to do it. There has not been enough printing in my life.My fish are a popular print.But on the whole I do not do anywhere near enough printing.I should do more , it was a printed piece of work that was exhibited at Tate Modern.Note to self, spend more time printing.Fine Art printing is one thing but written word printing is a whole other world. Bringing Pandemic Pondering to the written word brings me to The Mayflower and the postponed anniversary celebrationsLocally in Plymouth , England 2020 was set to be a hugely significant year. 400 years since the sailing of the Mayflower and the founding of America. Events were planned all over the place. The Pandemic has delayed celebrations.Printing is the key to this date,not the arrival of settlers.The Mayflower was not the first ship to deliver Europeans to America in search of a different life. What made the date of the arrival of the Mayflower significant was the signing of a printed document. The Mayflower Compact. 2020 is the 400th anniversary of the signing of that document. The actual date of arrival of the first European migrants to The New World is unknown. The 400th anniversary had, in reality, already been missed so postponing the party for a year is regrettable financially but not historically a problem of accuracy. can also make us laugh.