Pandemic Pondering #543

Devon pretended to be Greece again today. Even mythical creatures were looking gorgeous in the sun.

Leviathan in the sun

Chocolate croissants were also looking tasty near the harbour.

And a lonely swan was looking arty among squiggling reflections.

All this loveliness doesnt get the jobs done though so after a longish walk in the sunshine we returned home to perform domestic diligence. Domestic diligence does not a fascinating blog make, but with full disclosure we have lovely clean windows, energy efficient light bulbs in every chandelier ( I know!) And non slip foam applied to 20 slats on a bed. Meanwhile in Hong Kong half of our family was celebrating the Autumn Moon festival, which makes better pictures than domestic diligence.

We had planned a moonlight swim for the last full moon of the summer but the moon didn’t put in an appearance. The sunset was pretty though and the sea was kind to us

Fingers crossed for more Grecian weather tomorrow.

Pandemic Pondering #539

We live on a funny foot-shaped peninsular of land that juts into the sea. We decided early on to only plant things in our yard that flourish in other peoples gardens nearby. The micro climate of such a location is hard for us to predict. There will probably be a flurry of yardening at our home in the autumn. One of the key purchases will be a fig tree. There is rumoured to be a 400 year old one somewhere on the peninsular. The gorgeous thing about fig trees around here is that the fruit actually ripens. A restaurant just down the road from us bases some of their signature dishes on the figs that they harvest in their own garden.

We went there yesterday to celebrate a friends birthday.

Illustration from Med by Claudia Roden © Ebury Press

9 of us gathered indoors to eat lovely food and natter. Something we’ve not done since she was two years younger!

The weather was perfect for admiring fig trees

True to form Steph had a figgy desert.

Fig Créme Brulé with Fig ice cream.

I’m not sure how old a fig tree has to be to produce copious ripened fruit so we better get on with planting one if we want to make fig based foods anytime soon.

Pandemic Pondering #538

Nobody expects, when they set out on the journey of a house move, for it to take one month short of two years.

Crystal Palace ©

Yesterday we finally completed on the end point of our house moving journey. We are not where we expected to be, but there were times when we had no idea what or where the outcome of our relocation would entail.

Of course the Pandemic played a massive part in making the whole process more complicated but in a strange twist Medieval history was also responsible.

In 1066 William the Conquerer gave his loyal warrior Robert the Bastard considerable chunks of land in Devon and Cornwall as a reward for victory in the Norman Conquest of England. Unusually the land has stayed in the same family since 1066.

Unknown to us, the house we ultimately planned to buy was on a patch of this land, ordinarily this would have complicated things a little. In our case it complicated things a lot when the current descendant, the 8th Earl of Mount Edgecombe died just two weeks before we were supposed to move. The house moving rule books don’t really have a legal strategy or flexibility for such an event, beyond just giving up and walking away from the situation. With the co- operation and a lot of trust between ourselves and the sellers of the house (but not the land) we opted for a homemade solution and rented the house for three months while the legal teams were able to catch up with the paperwork. Sometimes risks have to be taken and yesterday the paperwork was in order and the house became ours, the land transfer will catch up with us later.

Last night we celebrated with English Champagne, anything French seemed a little inappropriate as the events of 1066 had created such a massive wrinkle in our recent lives.

Pandemic Pondering #516

Hot on the heels of yesterdays morning blog is an evening blog of the same day, and two pictures from the exact same position with only a dog walk between them. Between yesterdays blog and this one lies the path of a day taken up by stuff, complicated by maintainance work on a local bridge. A normal 20 minute journey swelled to fill an hour and I missed an appointment. Rebooked for two hours later I filled my time with delivering brochures for an upcoming Open Studios event.

And took a trip to the supermarket. The appointment required me not to drive for two hours after so I was ‘forced’ to enjoy a late lunch in a friends garden and soak up the sun whilst my eyes returned to a normal, not blurry, way of life. Time then to head for home and get all the day jobs done. Before heading out for the evening dog walk which provided the two pictures that top and tail this blog. Since moving, our evening dog walk always takes in the area around the Royal William Yard, especially since the evenings have started to get darker. Royal William Yard is a collection of Military Buildings in Plymouth.

Between the two photos we walked up to a meadow and the dogs chased each other inside the old, second world war gun emplacements of Devils Point.

I’m sure the longer we live here the more the history will soak into our bones but right now every slab of concrete is a complete mystery to us.

Returning to our original position, night was properly upon us.Time to turn our twelve feet for home.

Pandemic Pondering #512

A day of sweet and sour. Three hours in an actual physical bank and the transaction still not completed by the time we left. Not a businesslike bone in the building! The sweetness that started the day came out of boredom as we waited and waited. I had bought some sunflowers and noticed that there were beads of nectar. I also marvelled at the Fibronacci Sequencing of the seed head. The bank was very dull!

Overwhelmed by Fibronacci excitement and curiosity and with plenty of time on my hands I decided to taste the nectar.

Tiny, twinkling beads of sweetness but oh so sticky!

If banks still had piles of money I could have covered my hands with nectar and plunged them into a pile of money and run around the corner and delivered it in person to the bank we were trying to make the transfer to.

Flights of fantasy and Fibronacci wonderment can only get you so far and there are no longer piles of money, obviously waiting for sticky fingered clients, in banks. After three hours we failed to transfer any money from one account to another. Legally or illegally, with or without nectar . Time to head off for afternoon tea in a barn.

Fully charged with sugar and tea there was only a couple of hours of downtime before an evening of questionable entertainment.

Four bobbers went to an outside performance of Jaws. Screened at our local Lido we were surrounded on three sides by water as we visited Amity Island for the 4th of July. We still jumped and screamed. Tomorrows bob will have an extra texture of frisson.

Pandemic Pondering #508

©Ricky Fenn Mazie Shalders

Last week a favourite piece of Plymouth Street Art got a sad addition and at 11 this morning there will be a Silence held across the country to remember and reflect on the events of last Thursday.


Yesterday evening nature also marked some time in Plymouth. A dense sea fog briefly cloaked the city making everything grey and a little more silent.

Overlooking Plymouth from Down Thomas. ©Kevin Lindsey

Pandemic Pondering#507


Smeatons Tower on Plymouth Hoe turns purple in remembrance of those who lost their lives on Thursday.

We were planning to go to The Hoe this weekend to see a World Premier of The Hatchling. A massive puppet requiring 14 human puppeteers to move it. From the Director of The Warhorse puppet,Mervyn Millar.

For obvious reasons an Uplifting Symbol of Freedom is hardly appropriate in Plymouth right now so the Puppetry/Kite event has been cancelled.

We still took a trip to the Hoe last night with friends/bobbers to take an evening dip.

The sea was extraordinarily kind to us and we swam to the new platform for some diving and jumping into the sea. It is pretty hard to see in this picture so below is a close up. For a while we had this great expanse of safe sea swimming and the platform to ourselves.

There was a reward for swimming in the evening. Fish and Chips and this beautiful sunset.

Sunsetting over Plymouth

Pandemic Pondering #506

This gorgeous bunch of hand tied garden flowers arrived yesterday in the hands of our friend Sophie and her lovely boy Billy. It was good to see them both. Our home was a revolving door of friends yesterday and that really is the loveliest feeling. The shared horror of the previous evenings events in Plymouth was obviously the main topic of conversation. It is strange to realise that the name of your home city will now be linked with the horror of a mass shooting. Having lived in London and Brighton during terrorist attacks, the familiar feeling of proximity and dislocation from the scene of the crime alongside huge gratitude for not being involved is becoming familiar. It is a struggle for me to understand how this crime is not also terrorism. Not that the category of the crime alters the impact on anyone but the conversations, at any level, change. On the day after a horrific event it was good to have friends, flowers and meaningful conversations.

Pandemic Pondering #479

Early morning dog walk and time to confess that the flat packs are still flat packs and sit in our hallway like megaliths. They are too heavy for mortals to carry upstairs and Covid restrictions require Atlas-like deliverymen to drop them as close to the front door as possible. This adds a whole new level of flat pack angst to the process as they will have to be unpacked downstairs and then constructed upstairs.

Coincidentally other big things are causing problems in the bay. A Humpback whale has decided to have some fun times on the course for the Sailing Grand Prix so practicing was at a standstill.

The course was moved to accommodate the needs of the Humpback and close encounters occurred not in the race zone.


Mega Saturday feels.

Pandemic Pondering #473

Christmas In July! Not exactly of course but certainly a flavour of the festive season. The last of our furniture and ‘stuff’ arrived yesterday, out of storage. A large old chest arrived ready to be stacked with Christmas decorations. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen our Christmas trinkets in the summer before. Yesterday was probably the last hard day of furniture positioning and curtain hanging. We rewarded ourselves with a Caribbean platter. Nothing rewards hard physical labour in quite the same way as a takeaway.

The work of the day was doubly rewarded with a trip to a comedy club at The Leadworks in the evening. This really was a milestone in the Pandemic, our first night out in a club environment. Normality with just some changes. It felt so good to laugh in public, in unison with strangers.

Chuckling, chortling, giggling, just fabulous. The room was puffed up with happiness and we ordered a cup of tea via WhatsApp at 11Pm because we could. I’m fairly certain I’ve never juggled a cup and saucer in a club environment before. It’s probably not the last time. High on laughter and a warm tummy is a good feeling.