#7 theoldmortuary ponders

Today is a red letter day. This cement mixer delivered the last pour of concrete to the new steps and slopes of our swimming area just as the tide was receding yesterday evening. Over the weekend the wooden shuttering will be removed and the concrete left to cure for a while and by next week we should all be able to swim at our favourite spots.

Swimming yesterday was not without excitement, but there is no photographic evidence. A submarine quietly slipped into port alongside swimmers who were swimming between the buoys. The deep water access to Devonport Naval Dockyard is just beyond the swimming area between Devils Point where we swim and Drakes Island which is on most of our ‘bobbing’ photos.

This misty shot shows the geography quite well. Swimmers are permitted to swim out to and along an imaginary line that runs parallel to the island. There is a cheeky fishing boat in the area that is the near the deep water, underwater trench. There were mackerel in there at the time, the submarine came later.

Mackerel accidentally played a big part in the serendipity of yesterday.

Last week at the blogging course, I had the fattest,juiciest,oak smoked mackerel for my lunch. Provided by a fabulous cafe in Bethnal Green.


© Leila’s Shop

The only place I know to buy these gorgeous, golden fish, locally, is our local Polish supermarket. Anxious to enjoy fat smoked mackerel again this weekend, a trip was quickly planned. The supermarket happens to be next to an eccentric and fascinating junk shop. This became the most random shopping trip.

There is a world shortage of Bistro sets, the cute French inspired table and chairs sets made of cast iron or aluminium. Apparently, they are all trapped somewhere in containers. On the hunt for mackerel, we found a bistro set outside the junk shop next door.

This may be the strangest two item shopping expedition ever. Thanks to


and Delta Supermarket https://www.westendplymouth.co.uk/

Thankfully last nights sunset just about brings this odd blog together riffing on a theme of red, orange and gold.

#4 theoldmortuary ponders.

Yesterday evening was the first time for a few weeks that I was able to walk along the coastal path nearest to the swimming beach that the ‘bobbers’ prefer to use. The beaches and the coastal path beyond the Artillery Tower have been closed for essential maintenance. Although the path is now open, the steps and slopes that allow us to get into the water at high tide are being refurbished.

We often joke that our ‘free’ hobby is anything but free as we buy various bits of equipment to make winter swimming easier and safer to achieve. But for our local council maintaining the concrete against twice daily tides and winter storms must be a huge budgetary responsibility.

Looking at the amount of work that has been done I’m pretty grateful that my only responsibility before winter is to get a wetsuit. But for now October is still being kind to us.

©Debs Bobber

Pandemic Pondering #546

A late blog, apologies. Yesterday I went to a real world meeting. It required me to catch a real world train on what turned out to be a not so scenic, Scenic Railway. The Tamar Valley, however, had other ideas about the scenic part and filled itself with a mist so impenetrable that the journey almost past without seeing any landmarks

This is a bridge. Fortunately for the sanity of this blog I have painted it. Not the actual bridge but a painting.

Fortunately a cow loomed out of the mist which brings some level of interest.

Beyond that there was hedgerows, the first one with mist the second a little higher with actual sunshine.

Eventually we got high enough up the valley to be above the mist.

And at long last some countryside.

Before we dropped down again to the river and the village of Calstock viewed from the viaduct.

Before arriving at my destination of Gunnislake.

There are days, like yesterday when I feel pretty confident on the way a blog is going to work. How wrong could I have been! I had bright sunshine as I boarded the train , a gorgeous blog with amazing photos was just going to drop into my lap, I thought. The weather of course had other ideas. For those of you with half an hour to spend, I’ve included a youtube of the journey in good weather.

For everyone else here is some lovely rust at journeys end.

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. https://thefigtreeat36.co.uk/

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 ©cpsubway.org.uk

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