Pandemic Pondering #284

It was a huge surprise to wake up hungry on Boxing Day morning. We had accidentally avoided doing anything too traditional, for us, on Christmas Day and were lucky enough to avoid any lachrymose moments. Avoidance worked to the point that we were too exhausted to even cook a proper festive roast.

Boxing Day has a tradition in our home of no traditions . It always has an organic free flowing style. Decisions are largely predicated by weather and participant enthusiasm and availability. Today despite the greige and the cold a walk on the Hoe was our chosen activity. Unusually for Plymouth we found some profound graffiti.

For us today it is about learning Tier 2 rules and working out a life pathway up to the next Covid based government decision. Basically we need to throw on the thermal underwear and do anything that involves other humans outside. What we have not considered is the dogs temperatures while socialising outside. As this is likely to go on for a couple of months we’ve just ordered doggy thermals. Meanwhile Lola loved a hat

Sell-by dates also inform our current lifestyle. Our festive season attendance @theoldmortuary was abruptly cut by 2/3 so there is an element of cooking food for 6 in a way that 2 can come out of the non festive season not looking like overstuffed Turkeys.

An actual roast is occuring today , purely to provide us with traditional left overs. One of the best meals of the festive season is Bubble and Squeak. Cooking it at home is one thing but eating it at Borough Market crafted by the wonderful cooks at Marias, takes Bubble to new levels.

In our house it never has its full title the dish is just known as ‘ Bubble’ the word is traditionally shouted with a South London accent.

@theoldmortuary has adopted the ‘love’ logo to share some love over the festive period because there is so much about the festive season and in fact the whole year that we love to share with friends and family, we’ve really missed you all . A little logo of love lets you know we are thinking of you.

And finally Christmas dinner was cooked and consumed.

Pandemic Pondering #278

An unusual blog today, made up of a variety of things . A portmanteau blog if you like.

© Britannica

Our weekend had a plan that most definitely conformed to a usual pre-christmas weekend. Saturday started and finished with a watery theme.

It began well with some cold water bobbing.

In the evening we went to the National Marine Aquarium for a ‘Night at the Museum’ dining event which in itself was a curious piece of serendipity. The pictures we took will illustrate the rest of the blog.

We had been booked to attend this event at a different time of year but it was postponed until this weekend because of Covid-19. Our socially distanced dining area was in the room holding the Eddystone tank which is where the tenuous serendipity comes in.

In the morning we were swimming in Plymouth Sound above unseen sea creatures. In the evening we were dining surrounded by the same types of sea creatures that would have witnessed our flailing limbs from below. Not that I’m suggesting that ‘Bobbers’ swim to the Eddystone Rock, or in anyway disrupt sea lanes. We ‘ bob’ in the vicinity, quite a distant vicinity in reality and always with regard to the Sea Lanes. We are not the sort of sea swimmers who get mentioned in the Plymouth Evening Herald or are reprimanded by Harbour Masters or Port Admirals. I don’t think we even trouble seagulls.

In between these two events at 4:30pm Boris Johnson had delivered a monumental clusterfuck. Or Prime Ministers Briefing as it is officially known.

Without going into details, these can be found on any, far more reliable, news source. Christmas in Britain has been Clusterfucked.

This certainly affected the mood and ambience of our evening at the aquarium. We had plenty to talk about just trying to reset the logistics of a Bubble Christmas to the Clusterfuck variety. This may be the time to say that the food was great and being in an aquarium at night was wonderfully calming. The Rays were particularly meditative. We had a great evening.

Understandably, under the current circumstances, the streets of Plymouth, on our way to the Aquarium, were unusually quiet for the last Saturday before Christmas, as were some tanks at the aquarium.

The Sea Horses, our favourite exhibit, were missing.

Only time will tell if the Sea Horses and the good residents of Plymouth were spending their Saturday night doing the same thing. Officially the Sea Horses were ‘ away breeding’
It was a massive disappointment in a day inadvertantly filled with disappointments. I’ve been forced to design my own Christmas card. Exclusively revealed here!

Pandemic Pondering #276

Naturally occuring hearts have been a little thin on the ground.

This one is not on the ground nor is it particularly naturally occuring. The bright blue heart is just an accident of light reflection.

Nothing in this picture shows how windy it was during this walk. Maybe the picture below gives a sense.

Dog walks in weather like this are for one reason only. Elimination. Picking up a dog poo in such winds is unusually difficult. It was hard to stand and open the plastic poo bag but once I had grasped the evenings offering the wind whipped one little nugget and blew it away before I could tie the bag up. I did not chase it!

Pandemic Pondering #272

Twilight dog walk.

One week from the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. These three photos were taken within the space of about ten minutes and all within the same geographical location at either end of the tunnel that leads to the sea from the Royal William Yard, in Plymouth.

It had been a very grey day but just at the last moment some colour grazed the sky. The photo above does have a filter applied and the other two are artificially lit but the vivid colours brightened up the end of the day.

These last few short days of December are my least favourite time of year. I completely understand why many cultures and religions choose to throw a festival into the schedule to perk things up a little. Two of the three daily walks get closer together as I try to catch the best of the day at either end of the available daylight.

Left to their own devices Hugo and Lola would not choose to interrupt quality sleeping time with scheduled walks at this time of year. They accompany me out of love not neccesity. To be honest I feel the same but we have never discussed it. Perhaps we should…

P.S This 10 year old post just popped up on Facebook, nothing changes!

Pandemic Pondering #267

Yesterday I said that dog walking could be repetitive. But today blogging is repetitive. Yesterday I was out early to catch the dawn and today was the same, strengthened by the knowledge that yesterday, dawn was about the only time the sun showed it’s face.

Forder Creek, at dawn. A wonderful place to walk at low tide.

Penzance to Paddington.
Paddington to Penzance

True to form the sun rose and was briefly beautiful but soon the ghastly greige of a West Country winter set in. My morning was filled with delivering this month’s books to the Bookworms reading group. Lunchtime however brought a very bright surprise. I went for a dog walk with a friend in Victoria Park, Plymouth, followed by an impromptu visit to a wonderful interiors shop. But it was the exteriors that chased away the greige of the day.

http://www.annterior.co.uk
http://www.annterior.co.uk

It’s not only sunshine that chases away the greige.

Pandemic Pondering #266

Dog walking can be repetitive, particularly the walks closest to home or favourites. London Park walks became meditative but also made me really appreciate the subtle way the seasons shift and change. Walks in Cornwall have a bigger diversity even if they all start more or less in the same area. In 12 hours I have done the same dog walk twice. Into the town and then off for a run by the river. I wasn’t lacking in options for other walks but I needed to do other things in the same location and not everything was open at the same times.

Last night’s walk was brightened up by our local towns festive project. Winter Wanderland. Local people and businesses were encouraged to make illuminated window displays, using sillouettes to brighten up walking about town, in place of the usual Christmas Carol Festival

The was no worry about avoiding crowds. We didn’t meet anyone else doing any winter wandering. Ours is not a town that gets giddy with excitement at the best of times. The promise of illuminated windows did not tickle anyone’s giddygland in this Tier 1 destination, despite many of the windows being really good.

Less than twelve hours later , nature threw a visual sillouette party of its own.

Still no giddiness or excitement or even any other people , but definitely something good to look at on a dog walk.

Pandemic Pondering #261

Pondering passages.

December and the run up to Christmas is a very appropriate time to fill in a huge gap in my local knowledge.

©The Box

One of the bodies of water I regularly walk along used to be known as Crimble Passage. That’s just as exciting as working near Grotto Passage!

That’s it I’m done for the day.

Cremyl Ferry crossing Crimble Passage

Crimble has in time changed to Cremyl. The tides and currents of The Crimble or Cremyl are complex and dangerous and give the land around which they swirl the name Devils Point. Conversely the beach close by where @theoldmortuary swim safely is called Tranquility Bay.

Pandemic Pondering #251

This is a little bit of a one trick pony of a pondering. One of my favourite Facebook History Pages, asked the question. ” What is your favourite street name?”

No other name comes close to Grotto Passage in Marylebone. It was on one of my regular work walks. As an aside but slightly work related, some of my work colleagues were big fans of post work hook-ups using the dating App Grindr. If it were me there could only ever be one address for a liaison post work. ” Meet me in Grotto Passage’ would be my first choice everytime.

As it happens history got there before me. In the 18th Century Grotto Passage led to a Grotto. A pleasure garden, greatly embellished with sea shells by the owner John Castle, an acknowleged expert builder of such things. The fashion was brief and after John died the grotto fell into disrepair and was eventually built over. Most notably in 1846 by a children’s home and school entitled ‘ The Grotto Ragged and Industrial School’ and later ‘ The Grotto Passage Refuge’ It was around this time the area became known for the sort of sexual liaisons I jokingly referred to at the beginning.

But not necessarily in a good way, in TripAdvisor of the time the sort of sexual entertainment that could be had in Grotto Passage was considered to be inferior to the services available in Haymarket and was described as ” Depraved in every sense”

That seems as good a place as any to finish this ponder.

Pandemic Pondering #243

There was always a plan to take a winter sea swim on my birthday. A stormy day made swimming impractical but just two days later things were a lot calmer.

Hugo and Lola never quite know which way to look when we swim in slightly different locations.

Today the beach was uncrowded.

There was even some time for some Land Art.

And because it was officially a birthday swim, there was a reward for us.

Plus a well earned sleep for our lifeguards.

Pandemic Pondering #239

Week 1 of Lockdown #2 completed. I have lower expectations of myself this time around. Managing expectations has turned out to be quite simple. If I have none they require no management and everything achieved is a bonus.

This sign in my favourite coffee shop is a beautiful example of managing expectations. If a complete apocalypse occured and this poster was discovered even in 100 years time it would still express optimism. I spotted it yesterday on my daily fresh air and exercise expedition.

Shamefully my exercise yesterday did not include a sea swim in Firestone Bay. But it would have been impossible to get a tranquil photo of the tidal Pool because it is busy most of the time in daylight hours now sea swimming has become so popular.

My bonus of yesterday was the exact opposite of a cold crisp swim. The link below shows you a video that will give you a flavour of the Thursday Bonus.

https://fb.watch/1Jbkuw3n3E/

A chocolatier has opened a tiny shop in The Royal William Yard. In truth we went for coffee but the offer of a brownie, especially when the word Caramac was used completely loosened any pretence of good behaviour. Unctuously decadent .

https://www.domeafavourchocolate.co.uk/

The experience was further enhanced by having the Brownie served warm. Nothing could be further from a cold crisp swim and unlike sea swimming in winter it required no special clothes or planning. It is entirely possible to just accidentally have a slightly warmed brownie in regular clothes while looking at a fabulous view.

Week 1 done!