#202 theoldmortuary ponders

Lurid dreams, reflux, and Wordle. Where could this possibly be going ?

Just one of those nights I suppose. A busy day was followed by a late supper and the evening dog walk amongst Pirates on the Barbican.

Pirate weekend is a big thing in Plymouth by 7pm it was a little ragged around the edges but it was obvious that after a two year break, everyone was anxious to bring out their inner Corsair.

Our favourite Saltash Pirate had been out and about earlier in the day.

© Chris Wotton What’s on Plymouth

We were just a little late for all the full on Pirate antics but the soft evening light made the boats look good.

The Barbican itself was possibly looking more truly authentic than earlier in the day. There was an air of too much sunshine and booze but in a good way, the sense of a day well spent having fun and the promise of an evening with high heels on cobbles, some wobbly flesh and tears before bedtime.

© https://www.berylcookprints.co.uk/

Visit the website below to get a flavour of Plymouth with it’s going out mood on. Beryl Cook is a notable Plymouth artist.


None of this really explains my opening sentence, but I had a shocking nights sleep last night. Mostly due to eating a lively Levantine soup too late at night, reflux and a vivid imagination kept me in and out of sleep and this morning I had my first Wordle fail.

Pirates are life disrupters.

© Anheuser-Busch InBev
Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. (CBSA)

#172 theoldmortuary ponders

Serendipity plays a huge part in these daily blogs. Serendipity gave us some free time on Saturday when we were close to our London home villages of Dulwich Village and Crystal Palace. Proper journalists are writing about Crystal Palace this weekend because it has been voted the best place in London to live. We do not disagree, and for us Dulwich Village is a close second. Below are two links to proper writers singing the praises of CP.



The funny thing is that the dogs love being back ‘home’ too. So this blog is a little bit about a dogs view and a little bit about things the journalists didn’t mention.

Starting with Dulwich. Morning is not morning without coffee and a cheese straw from Gails.

The cheese straw is a snack for dogs and humans. It gives us all strength and energy for visiting interiors shops.

Before a walk to the Dulwich Picture Gallery where the dogs can really appreciate Contemporary sculpture from Peter Randall-Page, titled Walking the Dog. The dogs and us have a good bit of history with this place the dogs love the sniffs and @theoldmortuary has exhibited here too.

On our way out we found a lovely complicated image.

Painted scaffolding boards behind an over wintering Beech hedge.

Next stop Crystal Palace.

More interiors shopping, Crystal Palace is known for its Independent imaginative shops and a thriving antiques and second hand trading vibe. We found some antique ceramic finger plates and some lovely coat hooks that look like Tom Daley executing a perfect Olympic dive. All for a fraction of the cost if we bought new or from on-line retailers. The pictures below are fancy glass in bright sunshine.

Second interiors shop of the day and both dogs were still enthusiastic.

Crystal Palace shopping was fueled by a Roti Brothers Vegetarian burger and their signature Rosemary Chips. Sitting beneath some fabulous street art.

Hugo and Lola basked while humans refuelled.

Our whistle stop tour of old haunts over, there was just enough time to collect some Portuguese baked goods and continue on with our journey

But not before recognising that the original village still makes a mark in this street names of this South London suburb.

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning wanderings, naked toes for the first time this year and a proper ponder. Dorothea Ltd is a very unusual name for a historic piece of cast iron street furniture. I had a lot of time to ponder some odd things on my walk today. The dogs took the business of sniffing out other dogs peemail messages very seriously, so there was lots of time for pondering the small stuff. Dorothea Ltd turn out to be pondering golddust. Please follow link.


Have dogs, will stand still a lot, is the motto of my day. Fortunately I had pre planned some supplies to keep me fortified on the walk.

Sunrise reflected as a Pain au Chocolat

The walk was one I have shared many times on the blog but these highlights are purely generated by prolonged sniffing locations.

Fabulous reflections on The Barbican, Plymouth.
A cafe sign has been removed showing a more nautically focussed business from the past.

What more strange things have my dogs given me to share with you?

A doorway into the sky.
A very complicated image that curiously mimics the random Union Jack on the next building.
Bold Primary Colours in morning sunlight.

So there we are, my visual notes from early morning, prolonged dog stops. I have no idea what information they gathered this morning. Information gathering exhausted them. Both fast asleep for hours on our return.

#142 theoldmortuary ponders

Without passports we are seeking our holiday pleasures much closer to home. At home to be precise. I am a complete sucker for peeling paint and although this neighbours door is not strictly peeling it is the sort of thing that I love to find when I am abroad. Bright shafts of sunlight would make it perfect but yesterday was not that type of day here.

Stripped back ready for refurbishment there is real history in these paint layers. The door could be original and may date back to the 18th century. Once a grand townhouse built some time around 1760, the home has been converted into flats. Stripped of uniform colour it is now obvious that the letterbox was not centrally placed.

If the door is original the letterbox would have been retro fitted for the start of the postal service in 1840.

By the time I walk past again today the door is likely to be shiny and bright under a new coat of paint. All that simple domestic history hidden again until the next time.

Today the number may be less informal.

Even this simple photo reveals another little piece of history. A modern door security lens. So much to learn from one simple door.

#141 theoldmortuary ponders.

This is not the picture you should be seeing today. All things being equal, and some passports arriving @theoldmortuary, todays picture should be a breakfast set up on the quayside of a warm Spanish town. Instead we have both set to with paint brushes. I’ve been catching up with the end of my colour course and Hannah is catching up with the gradual refurbishment of the spare bedroom.

When not painting we have decided to travel the world with the available culture in our city. So far we have travelled to Havana with Cuban Ballet, the inspiration for the top picture. Tonight we are off to Japan and tomorrow a crime ridden Social Housing estate in London. As yet unbooked is a trip to a South American cafe, other destinations to be added as time permits. But for now I am on roller duty.

#139 theoldmortuary ponders

Blue Sunday, the sun is erratic today but when it is out it is OUT.

© Jenna Blake

Last night we went to some Cuban contemporary ballet. Just mind blowing and we were in the front row so the sweating and the heavy breathing of the dancers was very very real. In truth the raw energy of the performers made our evening.

The picture below is another blue example of raw energy and huge joy.

A rogue kite wrapping up our grand daughter in Honk Kong.

©Sam Blake

Finally in the theme of blue is the Plymouth Christmas lights, reprogrammed to show solidarity with Ukraine

Blue Sunday in three pictures.

#136 theoldmortuary ponders.

A different waveform washed up on the beach today. Tranquility Bay does not suffer from too much sea plastic so I suspect this is a garden decoration delivered here by the recent storms. After this photo it was consigned to the bin but gives me the excuse to share this picture from the weekend when the sun was out and the waves were crashing.

The seawater pool is empty for maintenances but you can see the size of the pebbles that get thrown in there when the sea gets rough. Spearmint the seal has been known to climb in for a more confined dip. On really bad days the bobbers have attempted a half decent little swim but mostly we brave the open sea.

Still greige here hoping for better tomorrow. Meanwhile London is looking beautiful.

©Murray Saunders Friends of Gipsy Hill

#136 theoldmortuary ponders

Storm Franklin

Another day, another storm and a revelation. Living on a small peninsular is a unique experience and one that I am not always able to express with words or pictures. Painting the Screaming Eunice experience made me realise that there is a third way.

Screaming Eunice was the big ticket event of the extended weekend.

Screaming Eunice

Franklin arrived on Sunday. No show stopping headlines and ‘just’ an amber warning. He kicked the already dispossessed dustbins further down the street in the same way that a tin can might be kicked by revellers leaving the Royal William Yard. He dumped loads of rain on us and blew it up inside waterproof clothing by wickedly changing direction.

Eunice was here for a day and gone a trail of celebrity damage left overnight . Franklin is hanging around, booming down chimneys just to let us know he is still here, wailing over the rooftops looking for mischief. Making solid mature trees jig around like children. He sets off car alarms and leaves them pulsing into every aspect of a quiet afternoon. Franklin is not a nice storm.

#135 theoldmortuary ponders

Screaming Eunice

Accidentally, while creating a colour memory, colour wheel, I created an image of an imaginary beast which very much conformed to my imaginings of Storm Eunice as she hit land in Plymouth. She didn’t stay in Plymouth long and did less physical harm locally, than she did further in land. I call her Screaming Eunice because of the high pitched wailing and booming that accompanied her arrival from the Atlantic, alongside the record breaking gusts of wind and physical damage.

Screaming Eunice

Unknown to us Screaming Eunice brought something else with her. We saw the the effect but didn’t know the reason until later. The dogs were mostly unpeterbed by their initial walk in Eunice. After the walk I settled down to paint my visual record of the morning walk. Hugo and Lola were snuggled in the studio dozing their way through Eunice at her worst. Without warning Lola woke up and was inconsolable, nothing would settle her. Forty minutes later she could only be calm when snuggled on a human. Unknown to us Eunice brought a huge amount of strange and wonderful smells. Scent is Lolas absolute favourite thing in the world. Eunice however brought so much unusual perfume, poor little Lola was overwhelmed . We only realised when her Stylist put up a message on Facebook.

©Natalies Dog Grooming

So, stranger things have happened than me naming a storm, Screaming Eunice and then painting her. It turns out that Screaming Eunice also has body odour issues. Who knew?

#134 theoldmortuary ponders

Well Eunice was quite the storm yesterday. Living on a historically fortified peninsular of rock that juts into Plymouth Sound during the worst storm for more than thirty years was always going to be interesting. Made even more so by needing to create a colour mind map of my daily walk using all my senses. Eunice hit land further down the coast at Sennen and barrelled her way across the country via the Bristol Channel. So we were not exactly in the eye of the storm, that said it was a weather event when not doing anything too adventuresome was advisable.A morning dog walk introduced me to Eunice and she was not happy

Eunice screamed between the elegant Georgian houses, screams of distress and melancholy. She boomed against fortifications built by Henry VIII and dumped water on concrete defences built for the many wars and skirmishes that Britain has been involved in. Eunice was not a happy woman. By the time we reached our favourite coffee shop she had taken to flinging dustbins into the air and overwhelming the small boats resting in protected harbours.

All this on a day that I was being ‘aware’ of my walk with all my senses so I could create a colour map of the experience. Certainly not in any sense topographically accurate but definitely synesthesically so.There are also two actual cultural references. I didnt hear bright red on the walk yesterday but I knew we were under a red warning with a strict advisory not to venture too far. It would have suited me far better artistically and synesthesically if the warning had stayed at amber.The synesthesia of a warm coffee shop was altogether a huge deliciously cacophonic callaloo of colours and sensations, as was the whole day, but I chose to depict it with the logo and tranquil white. A place of sanctuary in a world of sliding, feral, dustbins.

So welcome to my sketch of Screaming Eunice. Done quickly while she screamed in my ears. Topographically inaccurately drawn, it is a distillation of a moment in time and location. Sound, sensations, colours, geography and great coffee all in one picture.

The big P.S to all this storm chat.

I am very aware of the cultural appropriation in this blog. I work at a museum, The Box, and have spent months in the company of the Songlines Exhibition. A masterpiece ( mostly mistresspieces) of Indigenous, Australian peoples art. The image I created looks like a rip off, it isn’t deliberately so.

The word Callaloo- a word gleaned from a Trinidadian work friend, she used it to describe the mixed up chaos of our work environment ( operating theatres) after a heavy night at the office. It is a word I use often in my head when synesthesia and real life collide.

A Callaloo is a Trinidadian vegetable stew. It is also used by Trinidadians to describe the rich cultural life of their island created by the historic blending of people of many different heritages. The word is also used, by Trinidadians to describe a muddle or mixture. Something my head is all too familiar with.