#624 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday we started a day of dull chores with a free gift of coffee. Just enough for four double espresso. Our gift came from Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market.

And before that it came from Bolivia.

We needed something pretty perky to make a day of chores magical.

As it turns out Finca Floribondio did not do a bad job at all. Our first Industrial Estate of the day, yes, it was ‘that’ kind of a day, turned out to be not what you might expect at all. Commercial Road in Plymouth was an Industrial Estate long before such things were invented. We go there to get our car and van tyres fixed or replaced. That was job number one of the day. Me and the dogs walked while Hannah took the van. The magic or dreamlike powers of Floripondio gave me a great view and water for the dogs to play in.

View of the Citadel from Teats Hill slipway.

Some time had passed since the first dose of coffee so we made a plan to rendezvous at a coffee shop in a Motorbike Dealers. Once again the magic of Floripondo made things a little dreamlike.

A motorbike showroom where bikes are allowed on carpet!

Window view to prove we were in an Industrial Estate.

Now with full disclosure I must say I know nothing about motorbikes beyond an artistic love of sprockets.

©theoldmortuary.design I painted this some years ago as a Memento Mori for a biker whose ashes were scattered on the Thames at Bankside not so very far from Borough Market.

But this motorbike must be quite special.

Motorbike cafes have a dress code which we only just fitted by accidentally wearing dark colours. Leather is de rigour. Fabulously engineered leather to keep its wearers safe in case of incidental or accidental damage. Human skin and tarmac or gravel at high speed is not a good combination, neither is collision good for bones or internal organs. Motorbike leathers are phenomenal. However they can make their wearers look like a cross between a storm trooper and a lizard/insect. As we enjoyed our coffee and a bacon sarnie every one of these beautiful lizard insects stopped to pay homage to this beautiful object.

Now the coffee at this cafe was also wonderful but without the hallucinogenic properties of Finca Floripondio we were returned to normal humans who had chores to do in utterly banal and dull industrial estates. The magic of a freeby wiped out by normal life.

The magic only returned when we started researching actually buying some Finca Floripondio beans.

The first hit on Google was a surprise and took us straight back to one of our favourite Hong Kong coffee shops. Internet cookies are powerful things, no calories though!

However nothing could tempt us to pay HKD 468 for 200g of beans even as a holiday treat.

Our coffee treat will come from London, when we deserve it.

Buy Coffee



And that, my Sunday friends is a ponderous ponder inspired by a day of really dull jobs.

#608 theoldmortuary ponders

And so we are in Hong Kong and wall art presents us with two quotes. One, possibly more useful than the other. The one above is the more useful. Below is one that is not quite so immediately thought provoking.

Beyond quotes we plunged immediately into authentic Hong Kong life. Authentic because we were in Sham Shui Po, Hannahs’s birthplace, authentic because much of the architecture is protected and the area is unlikely to become over-developed, and authentic in an @theoldmortuary way because it is the home of independent and intriguing coffee shops.

Colour Brown, Sham Shui Po

Even Tatler talks about Sham Shui Po and that’s fairly rare for genuinely working-class areas.


Accompanying us on our daytime adventure were our growing family, one of whom danced with delight last night when we touched down at Hong Kong airport just after 7:30.

There is also the promise of a trip to an exhibition by Yayoi Kusama. Expect dots later in the week.

#355 theoldmortuary ponders

It’s not every day that I go for a walk in a completely unknown part of the city and find myself face to face with something very familiar. This Street Art depicts an old pub, previously called The Long Room. The actual yellow building is on my daily dog walk. I had gone to get my flu and Covid boosters and had completely misjudged the parking situation about 2 miles from home. Searching for a space in labyrinth of small streets and cut through footpaths I abandoned the car and hastily found a way to my appointment.

Jabs done I had to find the car again. The route was a curious mix of elegant Victorian town houses and modernist social housing. A sure sign, in Plymouth, that I was in an area that was heavily bombed in World War II.

Something tells me I am going to have to find this mural again and try to make some sense of it, it is certainly not geographically accurate. I wonder if there are a series of them in the area. Finding it again might be tricky but street art is nearly always worth the effort of further investigation.

#313 theoldmortuary ponders

Let sleeping dogs lie. For two evenings every year Plymouth Sound is alive with the sound , and sights, of fireworks.

We are very lucky that our dogs are not fussed by fireworks. Last night, the first night of the British Fireworks Competition, we set off with them to find a good vantage point close to home. We were lucky and found the ideal spot and saw the first display . Unfortunately our vantage spot was discovered by a young woman carrying a wine glass while wearing a strappy dress and rather a lot of entitlement. Her dog was off the lead and bothering everybody. She remonstrated with ‘Arlo’ who really was way too excited to listen and when she did eventually put him on the lead she couldn’t be bothered to hold the lead. A lethal combination in the dark on uneven high ground. Common sense made us retreat home, our well behaved dogs tucked under our arms. Leaving her to irritate everyone else.

This might have been a real irritation had we not discovered a streaming service broadcasting the whole competition. Our ears could hear all the bangs and clashes as they echoed around our house but we could get a front row seat to see all the fireworks via our lap top.

Tonight the weather was not so perfect and we had already done a really long dog walk, the temptation to enjoy the fireworks on the laptop was too tempting when coupled with tea and biscuits.

Once again the crashes and bangs filled our ears in reality. The streaming service filled our eyes with fireworks and I discovered that I could even get a half decent photo while enjoying a chocolate digestive.

#257 theoldmortuary ponders

Sunshine and Fl(Sh)owers, mostly showers. So much rain in the last two weeks, the new flower beds in our yard have become mini jungles. After the vivid colour of the late Spring ; Summer is a different yardening business. The greenery is wild and vibrant, the flowers mostly shy and retiring, preferring to stay inside or appearing only as coy buds.

Domestic admin is the winner in this sort of weather, we are a week ahead of the game, which feels very luxurious. The game in question is a family holiday, at our house, followed very swiftly by an art exhibition. The smug feeling of being prepared is almost certainly going to be fleeting. We had double smugness as we tucked into a vegetable curry featuring courgettes from the garden.

The sun came out yesterday evening and just like flowers, people and live music popped out to bask for an hour or so.

The perfect setting for a party at the Tinside Lido

The minute the sun came out we set off for a walk, and a quest for junk food.What better way to finish off after a healthy veg curry than a walk to the lighthouse and some 2 for 1 chocolate. Saturday all sorted.

#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.