Pandemic Ponderings #17

April sweeps in with more promise than March. These two months share the joint responsibility of bringing in Spring and hosting the Easter holidays. This April of course will be unique and this Easter, unusual, because whatever way we traditionally spend the four day weekend. This year will not be the same, in any way, for humans.

The natural world and built environment knows nothing of our 2020 restrictions. Away from our homes all these things are happening. Aprils past have provided these images.

The only one I’ve actually seen in 2020 is the first, 500 yards from @theoldmortuary.

The others are out there, but not for this year.

Wild Garlic brings vibrancy to rural lanes, and fragrance to the kitchen.

Sunshine illuminates beaches effortlessly.

While wild grasses hold the dunes in place.

Old cars twinkle in London Streets.

While bossy notices fail to realise Bill Stickers is currently Socially isolating, untroubled by threats of prosecution.

Closer to home a city beach and sea water pool look crisp but chilly.

Even closer to home the bridges between the rest of the World and Cornwall look super sharp in the evening light.

For now we are at the far end of these bridges and nowhere else.

Pandemic Pondering #13

Blogging in general is much in mind as I approach the end of March. Blogging through a pandemic is just an added puzzlement.

@theoldmortuary in its current form exists because I attended a blogging course at Spitalfields Townhouse, run by The Gentle Author. It was a hugely supportive and encouraging course with the most delicious blend of course members. We were encouraged to find our blogging style in a way that we could manage and sustain regularly.
https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Ever the nerd, I decided to follow the example of The Gentle Author and blog daily. It must be irritating to regular readers that my grammar is, at times, patchy and the narrative can be rambling. I am never going to have the eloquence or fascinating topics created seemingly so effortlessly by The Gentle Author. I do have cute photos though, a saving grace on days when my content quality wavers.

The deal on the first course was that I would publish a blog every day regardless of how finished or polished it is. This is a bigger deal than I imagined . Serendipity hand in hand with planning is the Key.

Be flexible like Water is useful little mantra.

Having been taught so well by The Gentle Author, it is very apparent that ‘ effortless’ is not a descriptive that fits with the creation of his genuinely lovely blog that has thousands of regular readers. I am completely in awe.

Soon after the November course I registered for the advanced course, being run over a couple of weekends in February and March 2020. After the advanced course I planned to look afresh at the blog to define its future.

Coronovirus leaves me needing that final twinkle of blog polish. As yet the date for the next course is unknown so for the time being the blog will remain what it has become. A daily pondering on something that peaks my interest. My terms of reference on a daily basis are much more limited with Social Isolation and yet even that is not strictly true. Today I looked at a post box I drive past many times a week. I had never realised it was a new design.

Todays local long walk took us down the hill about half a mile to Forder Village. Past this post box.

The tide was out and the sun was up. Hugo and Lola needed to be kept on a lead, this much mud and sunshine would make them giddy with excitement and not responsible for their actions. They do not look or smell at all good after a romp through this stuff.

Who can possibly guess where Coronovirus will take this blog. Where it won’t go is to the Advanced Level, like most things that is on hold.

Pandemic Ponderings #10

Yesterday was a strange one . It started off sad and strange and finished off stranger.

Yesterday I decided to put away our grandchild kit @theoldmortuary.

Stuff that we gathered in a hurry in July last year when she arrived in the UK at 8 months old.

It was surprisingly sad. I thought we were well used to not seeing her. Even before she was born there was the knowledge that any contact was only ever going to be fleeting. She was born in Hong Kong and we met her two weeks later fully aware that it would be a Hello/Goodbye relationship. Then her parents decided to return to the UK and we spent a month in Hong Kong caring for her during the beginning of the troubles whilst they fulfilled their contracts. She was a resilient little soul as we made the most of being with her and being in Hannah’s home town. Public transport was sketchy and the climate unforgiving as we visited government offices and Embassies to facilitate the paper trail of three people leaving their home of five years. We also managed swanky afternoon teas and less swanky but far more interesting visits to Sham Shi Po and Cape Collinson, the former home of Hannah’s family and the last resting place of her parents and sister.

One last goodbye we thought as we jumped on a plane in Hong Kong, a few hours ahead of her and her mum and dad. As luck would have it they were moving to Cornwall.

It’s strange having an 8 month old baby arrive in your home. The equipment needed is massive and happened all at once. Since July we’ve settled into a routine of seeing her most weeks , sharing family time and viruses in equal measure.

We waved her off ten days ago, clean and sleepy in her pyjamas fully expecting the new routine of life to continue.

But we don’t know when we will see her again . Social distancing and self isolation have isolated bits of families and friendship groups in a startling way. Lock down which was announced last night further breaks our social and familial ties . We’ve all had last goodbyes without ever realising the significance of the moment.

Some of those last goodbyes will have been exactly that.

What strange times.

Pandemic Ponderings #8

Dead Mother’s Day ( and grandmas). It’s Mother s Day in the UK and Social Distancing and Social Isolation protocols suggest that the last people on the planet who should be visited are grandmas and mother’s only within the existing regulations.

The cemetery opposite @theoldmortuary is always well visited on Mother’s Day, but this year it was busy. The more contemporary grave areas are alive today with the colours of bouquets and pot plants.

It was to the old part of the cemetery we popped this evening . To find the unusual and beautiful daffodils planted centuries ago for mourned mums and grandmas.

Even the graves had their faces turned to the setting sun and looked beautiful in their shabby uncared for ways.

The two most delicious daffodils were these two.

Today not having a mum or a grandma didn’t feel quite so bad

Pandemic Ponderings #2

This is not the blog I imagined I would be writing today. Yesterday I did some classes at the gym and as the day progressed I thought I had given my chest and neck muscles a good work out. But the pain settled around my ears and even my unpredictable exercise moves could not give me an ear workout.

So a virus has found its way in, maybe not The Virus, but a virus never the less. So it’s social isolation for me and I may as well measure time using this.

Like all viruses Coronovirus has a pleasing organic image.

As we all know this pretty thing originated in China. As luck would have it I have a Chinese chrysanthemum that nicely fits in with pretty round organic shapes.

Fortunately theoldmortuary is very close to a nature reserve so I did not feel too much of a fool walking the dogs dressed as the Lone Ranger. I didn’t meet a soul.

Pandemic Ponderings #1

Ponderings at theoldmortuary are just that. Something that comes into mind or sight that can be the kernel of a blog.

Pandemic Ponderings will not be particularly virus related, but they will be shaped by a newly restricted life.

I’ve started them today because I had to make concrete changes to life yesterday because of new restrictions in the UK.

Hand washing and the prevention of spread of infection were for so long part of my previous occupation that societal increases in protective behaviours has made no significant impact on me, it has been second nature for all of my working life and switching to the same gear in private has barely registered

Now I’m responsible, with others, for putting on an Art exhibition. I’m hugely aware of the creative work, costs and administration that has got us to within two weeks of opening. But it is in everyone’s interest that we do not hold an exhibition now or for the foreseeable future. It also seems sensible to mothball the whole Artist Collaborative that has plans for many exhibitions before the end of the year. Mothballing allows us to not have face to face Commitee meetings or working groups, so vital to the running of most organisations.

Everything looks better in the sunshine.

This morning’s dog walk was always going to be beautiful. Amazing bright sunshine after a rare, for this winter, frost.

Sunshine lifts the soul. What better than to do a great walk not once but twice, the second time extremely slowly.

I opted for the nature reserve walk this morning even though time was limited as I had some gym sessions booked.

On the way I took photos of mundane things looking glorious in the sun.

Lola and I had a moment in the sun, represented by long shadows.

Even the festive wreath was given its last moment of beauty before being cast into the compost heap.

This was moments before I discovered the house keys had exited my jeans pocket at some point during the walk.

The second walk was much slower, scanning the ground for the recalcitrant keys. Unhappy dogs kept on their leads for added concentration.

Luckily everything does look better in sunshine and keys twinkle.

Arrivals and Departures

I think I’m a bit of a romantic when standing in Arrival or Departure areas. There is something that refreshes my faith in human relationships. There is anticipation,sadness, anxiety and hope but familial love and the closeness of friendship are the uppermost emotions.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours in a combined arrival and departure area of a train station. I have embarked on heart wrenching journeys to visit dying parents from here, excitedly started fascinating journeys to the rest of the world. Alternatively I have waited patiently to welcome many people I love and care for. On Sunday evenings there is often a gathering of young people just embarking on their careers in the navy being gathered up from all corners of the country to be bussed off to Torpoint to start their basic training at HMS Raleigh.

Yesterday I was going nowhere , just there to promote Daffodil Growing , Art and many other fascinating aspects of the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

What a perfect excuse to people watch. Plymouth Argyle were playing at home so the green and white army were the biggest recognisable group. Closely followed by happy Cosplay participants. Then there were the family or friend groups and the excited gathering of university students. There were some tears but there was overwhelming happiness to.

It was unpredictable who would interact with the joyous yellow of our leaflets and posters. The happy travellers of Plymouth Station took our yellow missives, who can guess how far they will travel.

Meteorological Spring/St David’s Day/ March 1st/ Inadequate footwear.

What to do on the first day of a new month having lived through the wettest February on record, in England and Wales.

The sun is shining and my feet scamper past both the wellies and converse and look optimistically at my twinkly golden Birkenstocks.

Let me just say the ladies (my feet) have not prepared for this. They are blue white and toenails have not been painted. The last time they were truly out was Christmas Day when waterproof Birkenstocks facilitate our traditional paddle.

I allow my feet their moment in the March sun and wearing wholly inadequate footwear we set off for the twin coastal villages of Kingsand and Cawsand .In honesty this past month of wellie wearing has inflamed my big toe joints, this horrible sensation also encourages wilful and inappropriate nakedness of the foot.

The poor choice of footwear immediately identifies itself when I want to take photos of fields of Daffodils on the way. Each field is surrounded by slithery red mud.

With my trusty wellies on I would have easily gathered arty shots of budding daffodils, stretching towards the horizon for this blog . Luckily sunshine and geology will give us a pop of colour that inspires as much as daffodils.

The sea wall at Kingsand is a thing of vibrant beauty on a spring morning. This whole area of the Tamar estuary is alive with geological colour.

March 1st had other plans for my poor feet , by coincidence a friend of ours was on a cliff watching the weather from inside a cosy bar. Moments before we were hit with a soaking deluge she sent us this picture not knowing we were less than a mile away.

Whitesand Bay ©Melinda Waugh

Luckily we were very close to The Devonport Inn.

Good chips, beer and seats indoors solved the problem of inadequate footwear.