Pandemic Pondering #385

Yesterday England took a partial step out of Covid Lockdown. Among other changes non essential shops opened and food and drink suppliers could serve customers in outdoor seated areas. The media this morning are reporting a Monday like no other, ever, with people queueing to enjoy retail therapy and socialising, after a very long period of restrictions.

Not much changed @theoldmortuary. Our lockdown routine will probably only change with small incremental adaptations. Our swimming, ‘ bobbing’ life changed immediately though . The scone and landscape picture at the top of the blog represents absent friends, who were unable to swim last night because they were free to travel and stay away. Or had work commitments that were no longer screen based or as flexible as they have been during lockdown.

A campsite over looking Plymouth Sound
©Kevin Lindsey

Not only were there less ‘ Bobbers’ last night, there were less swimmers in general. The Firestone Bay seal had huge portions of the sea to himself. He/she is the small dot in line diagonal with the two bouys.

The second scone picture of the day sums this transitional period up. There is some certainty and clarity in the immediate foreground but we can’t clearly see the outline of the future.

Pandemic Pondering #383

Today is an unusual pondering, not because it comes a day after the death of Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Although that fact is in some ways central to this blog. It is unusual because I can mention the great diarist Samuel Pepys for reasons other than his diary.

We did one of our usual dog walks near the coastal part of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth, being a naval city, was one of the locations of the 41 gun salute to mark the passing of the Queens husband. There is always something intriguing about witnessing something that has happened in the same location for many centuries, to mark significant events.

Gun Salutes started in the late Middle ages. Fixed odd number salutes of 21 and 41 were formalised as an economy measure by Samuel Pepys when he was a Naval adminstrator .

Another thing that was different today was that when HMS Westminster sailed out of Plymouth just after the Gun Salute the flag on her Jack Mast, the one at the back, was flying at half-mast.

Gun salutes are a complex old business. The link below will take you to a website with more information should you require it.

On a brighter note a couple fresh from their teeny tiny Covid Regulation wedding had their photographs taken at the tidal pool in Firestone Bay.

Coffee and tea was, of course, essential to a day of lots of walking, talking and listening to 41 Gun Salutes. Hugo and Lola do not get left out during comestible breaks.

Sun setting on another day of action in Plymouth Sound.

Pandemic Pondering #380

On reflection, moments like this are very rare. A still tide and no river traffic causing movement or ripples in the water. I do this walk almost every day but rarely catch moments like this. The proper business of dog walking is the purpose of the visit, but yesterday I just took a moment to capture these two pictures. I could already hear the sound of outboard motors approaching to ruin the perfect reflection.

Moments after this picture was taken the tide direction switched and the river started to flow again and I was able to concentrate on walking the dogs.

The road bridge in the front of this picture was completed in 1960 and the rail bridge behind 100 years earlier. Together they carry passengers and goods in and out of Cornwall, a hundred feet or so above the heads of humans standing on the riverbank. I never give it much thought on my daily walks but for the people living on the banks of the river in 1859 the first trains crossing the rail bridge must have been an extraordinary moment. I’ve only recently discovered that, less than two weeks after the railway service into Cornwall started,a train fell off a bridge just a couple of miles from here. That cant have made living under the bridge feel very safe at all. A future ponder will emerge from this new information once I can freely visit the local museum and research the story. Rail and road safety being what it is I happily walk beneath these bridges never anticipating a train or motor vehicle landing on my head. I may give it more consideration now!

Pandemic Pondering #377

© Debs Bobber

The weather today was better than expected. We walked a very long way today. All over the Stonehouse Peninsular. George the dog in the picture above with one of his many Nun friends is a regular dog about town in Stonehouse. He is a therapy dog based at Nazareth House, a residential care home for Adults. When not delivering therapy he can be seen on walks with one of the Sisters or occasionally just basking on the Cliffs.

Hoping your Easter is as chilled as Georges.

Pandemic Pondering #364

What a lot of miles we’ve walked this weekend. Sometimes on very familiar routes and other times on city roads hardly ever visited before. Always trying to avoid large numbers of people. There wasn’t really a plan blogwise, but as often happens a subject revealed itself. Random signs we’ve never noticed before.

So far this one resists quick research. Writing this blog will possibly inspire somone with a comment that points me in the right direction.The sign is near Millbay Dock in Plymouth. Named Millbay because tidal Mills were established here in the 12th century. Millbay is currently best known for being a ferry port. Not too far away we found St Demetrios & St Nikitas Greek Orthodox Church.

A sign that should inspire us to revisit the classroom , a coincidence as we were urged, yesterday, to visit our friends in Katerini and Upper Apple Tree Village as soon as travel is permitted.

Closer towards the city centre this Street art is new to us.

Plymouth is having a surge of thought provoking street art. Another new to us piece in the city centre are these two happy birds.

© None Here

I’ve written about the work of None Here before, typically the transient nature of street art requires people to photograph and record it for many reasons. It can become a target for thieves and disappear overnight or become part of something bigger as others add to it or obliterate parts of the original work.

This sign is far from new but I’ve never noticed it before.

I’ve often pondered on how the Plymouth of the future will reconcile the true history of Francis Drake now he has toppled from the romantic and always false notion that he was a romantic and heroic buccaneer. Pirate and slave trader are much more difficult subjects to consider. Some others from the time can be more easily removed from the modern city by renaming streets or buildings but Francis Drakes name is all over the city like a rash.

Also all over the city like a rash are the links to the Armed Services. The last new sign is a tiny sticker.

Have a fabulous first Monday of Spring/Autumn depending on your hemisphere.

Pandemic pondering #355

If a picture paints a thousand words then this frame says it all about Lockdown 3. Usually this frame on a wall on The Barbican holds topical graffiti. Currently it stands empty…

A friends retro print, though, might be predicting our 2021 travel plans.

©Marianne Wood

Pictures are the theme of this blog, like many blogs serendipity chose the subject. We did manage a sea swim today. We were super cautious and the weather was not kind.

Really cold fingers after our swim produced this curious image. It looks like a photograph produced on a glass plate from the earliest years of photography. Same location as above.

The ‘ bobbers’ also today at the same location.

©Andy Cole

And finally one last picure, after the swim and the restorative hot drink my warmed fingers found the Silky Water Filter on the camera and the sun came out.

Pandemic Pondering #354

Its been a funny old week. Too much domestic admin has tied me to the house and the weather has been too contrary for us to plan any coastal swims.

As soon had we cancelled this afternoons ‘bob’ the sun came out in a blaze of glory.

What you cant see in this photo is a very chilly wind blowing up the river.

The local RNLI have been suggesting all week that sea swimming should be a wisely considered option considering weather and tides on a daily basis.

We also follow a local swimming group for advice on safety.

Link above is to a video taken at our swimming beach at the time we were planning to swim.

Im glad we made the call not to swim today.

The dogs benefitted from a very sunny walk . There is always tomorrow for a swim.

Pandemic Pondering #353

This morning Britain wakes up to the news that human remains have been found in the case of a missing London woman. She has been missing for a week. During that week there has been press activity discussing womens safety. A headline that I noted was that in a survey all the young women questioned reported some anxiety caused by previous unwanted or threatening behaviour by men. Obviously the survey only questioned young women but all women almost certainly have a back catalogue of incidents that are etched into their memories.

If it were possible I could meet with a group of friends over coffee this morning and we could share our various experiences. I’m sure I would be surprised by some of the things my friends have experienced, it would also not all have occured while we were young. I know that all of us build modifications into our life, even if it is subconscious or habitual with the threat of rogue male behaviour in mind.

This morning we are reminded once again that the world is not and has never been a place of equal risk for men and women.

Pandemic Pondering #352

Doubly confined to the house for a couple of days has limited my horizons somewhat. I’ve had to wait in for various Domestic Admin tasks to be fulfilled
The irony is that the past two days have been gloriously bright and dry and now there is a hideous storm. Today may not be any more exciting.

Time at home gave me the chance to watch the Oprah Winfrey interview with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Shining an uncomfortable light on racism it was a skilfully directed conversation in the hands of Oprah. The fallout may take some time to reveal itself within the public domain.

Beyond that the day was just filled with routine chores , short dog walks and a lot of reading.

One of my dog walks provided the grim photograph of the day.

A very short walk from home takes me to a nature reserve.

The lane to this view passes through a small collection of houses and then two large graveyards. It is a walker and dog walkers paradise. I probably walk the lane at least twice a day, the dogs like to snuffle. Yesterdays snuffle revealed a stretch of disgusting littering. Someone has either emptied their car of cigarette butts or a group of individuals think a tiny stretch of this lane is their personal ash tray.

This stinking pile of cigarette detritus took me less than five minutes to sweep up. Words fail me!

Pandemic Pondering #349

Brockwell Park, March 2012

Saturday had a plan! We were heading into the city to have eye tests. Unlike this squirrel we were not heading into London on the next bus, instead our city destination was Plymouth. I say this only as an excuse to use a cute animal picture.

There is a bit of history to our recent eye tests . Each time there has been a lockdown we have recieved computer generated instructions to book an eye test. We’ve followed the instructions to make appointments on-line and then just prior to our appointment weve been contacted by a slightly officiously puzzled human who demands to know why we have booked appointments. The answer “Because you asked us to” is not the correct one as appointments are only for emergencies. We are always cancelled due to our flimsy reasons for booking. Glasses so slack they slip off our faces when wearing masks.

Once again this week we got the reminder message. We booked appointments and unusually nobody cancelled them. So today we went into the city centre for the first time since early December, when we shopped for the Christmas that never was.

We didnt have to avoid too many people.

As it turns out neither of us had changed prescriptions so there was no need to go through the awkward experience of trying on new glasses when you cant quite easily see what you look like because you have poor eyesite. The idea of doing it in a mask just seemed madness so we were glad not to have to do it. Slackness was tightened, always a good thing!

First Starbucks coffee in a year. Not entirely sure what the point of that was!

Giddy with excitement we drove off to West Hoe to catch some sunshine. The sunshine was lovely but even better we caught Antony Gormleys Look II sculpture with no fishermen making the background untidy. Urban art is better appreciated without urbanites getting back to nature too closely.

All in all a good day.

We also have a gleaming car which was the morning project, lucky for you we had eye tests I might have had to try and make cleaning a car interesting!

Have a splendid Sunday.