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.
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!
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!
If unseasonably sunny weather appears in any February, in Britain, the moment is known as Fools Spring. People usually flood the streets in lighter clothing and floral patterns. Sunshine on the weekend late in February 2021, after nearly a year of restricted Pandemic living was a recipe for quiet sartorial skittishness. The flood was replaced by a gentle trickle but along with floral patterns, shorts were worn and socks were abandoned so blue white toes could lay flacidly on the corky soles of Birkenstocks.
Colours took on a vivacity that lifted our spirits.
And even the moon put on a vivid show for the end of the day.
Foolish it might well have been but it felt like Spring was close.
A micro blog today, the storms hitting the Tamar Valley have made outdoor activities almost impossible for the last couple of days. Regular walks are taken with our heads bowed against 50 mile an hour winds coming up from the south. Bobbing has been abandoned for safety reasons.
Being focused on just keeping upright has had two bonuses. Firstly this tiny daffodil , who against the odds, is growing through tarmac, near a busy cut through. In normal times the views here are spectacular so no one looks at the ground. I cannot imagine he will be here long.
Close by on the outside wall of an old pub, that is now a coffee shop, there is some old carved graffito. The wall was offering precious shelter from the worst of the weather. Again under normal circumstances the landscape and architecture of this area would grab anyones attention. Just like the tiny daffodil the graffiti shouldn’t exist. The old pub is built of very tough stone but there is this one random stone that is soft enough to carve on.
Just a tiny search on Google brings this little nugget up.
An Ernest Deves was born in a house at the red marker position. The old pub is currently known as the Hutong Cafe.
A chance finding in the London Gazette shows us that Ernest Edward Deves was a skilled labourer in Royal Naval Dockyards.
The Royal William Yard, a former Royal Navy Dockyard is less than ten steps from the Hutong Cafe.
Today did not go to plan. There is a fair old chunk of domestic admin to do currently, some of the admin filled nearly the whole morning and I had an afternoon Zoom scheduled. I planned a socially distanced take-out coffee and walk with a friend in the small gap between commitments. The walk had the same restrictions as yesterday, quiet and dog free. Low tide offered the chance to walk further along the riverbank than usual.
We basked in sunlight and enjoyed our drinks while the dogs snuffled around. We talked and talked and walked until we reached the most distant town slipway.
Slipways are areas of sloped concrete to launch or reclaim boats.
We discovered a whole new world of slipway. Unknown to us the dry looking green area was a slippery slope of doom. I was the first to go down. Six to eight feet of sliding down on my bottom took me beyond the dry looking area straight through the slippery looking stuff and into the seaweed coated riverbed. Meanwhile Steph had leaned forward to catch me and also lost grip joining me very swiftly on the riverbed.
This was our view, the dogs had also been dragged down the slope. They managed to stay on their paws. We checked that we were not too badly damaged and then laughed loudly for five minutes or so. The riverbed was impossible to stand up on. The only way out of our predicament was to scramble back up the slope on all fours. More mirth!
We returned home to medicate and clean our wounds. Zooming came and went and it was time for another walk, the river was once again the destination but this time I kept myself out of it.
Just as well, as mud is the stand out feature of the afternoon walk.
My favourite patch of mud.
A blue sunset and as the sun goes down my bones are aching a bit. Tomorrow needs to be a bobbing day. The cold water is wonderful for sorting out aches and pains. I will avoid slipways!
Pondering may just have taken a new turn towards dull. Miss Lola is in season for the first time in any lockdown. Not only are we restricted geographically by Covid restrictions but now I need to find walks with no other dogs. It always surprises me that men, and it is always men, moan at me for taking a bitch for a walk when she is in season when their own dogs are running off the lead with a pair of massive testicles swinging in the breeze. My unusual walks today have taken me to very familiar spots but in a part that I rarely visit.
Low tide at the Waterside exposes beach that is rarely seen . It’s not particularly picturesque. There is a hotchpotch of tatty old boats that definitely look nicer floating on a full tide. But there are some lovely things to see.
A terracotta pipe that spends most of the time submerged in the tidal waters of the Tamar river.
A gathering of old ropes.
Moist seaweed fronds hanging below a pier.
Some ever watching eyes.
And a lone trainer. I could ponder on about a missing trainer on a beach. The red laces are a gift to a photographer and the unusual design caught my eye. Who is the person who lost this shoe? The location below the Tamar Road Bridge is infamous because, sadly, successful suicide attempts end up in this stretch of the river. Of course this shoe is far more likely to have been lost during a leisure pursuit, but shoes lost in desolate places do have a poignant aura.
Anyway we managed to avoid any other dogs and went home for some domestica and then returned later for the evening walk. Elwell Woods is just above the river where we walked this morning. Somewhat cut off from the town this was a historically significant area with a freshwater spring that provided water to the town , first documented in 1284. For nearly 100 years there was a brewery here . More recently there was an electricity generator but ultimately the Tamar Bridge was built in 1961, the access road has isolated this area from the rest of the town. However a recent Celtic Cross has been erected in the area.
It is supposed to be a significant sculpture to mark travellers entry into Cornwall. It is beautiful but the scale makes it fairly insignificant. Angel of the North it is not!
Our introduction to Hutong Bagels was a couple of days late but serendipity delivered them on a day when we could bask in winter sun.
Dressed for the cold, we felt as warm as toast. I’m wearing a tweed coat I picked up at a charity shop over the New Year. It was in the window and the subtle colours called out to me. What a find. A Saks 5th Avenue brand, every edge is bound with leather . A Transatlantic coat to keep me warm while I look out over the Atlantic. Not that I would have dreamed of scrabbling about on rocks in it if I had actually bought it in Saks. Truth be told the only time I could ever have shopped in Saks I needed an afternoon sleep. Rooftop bars and the New York tradition of free pouring spirits meant I was not a very effective tourist in the afternoons!
Coats are only temporary though. After an hour of basking it’s time to get our clothes off and swim with the ‘ Bobbers’
Cold sea swimming has become addictive. Not just us, the whole of Britain is dunking in the sea more than ever before.We go out twice a week. Today we shared the water with boats and a seal. The seal is called Sammy and lives in Firestone bay. There are no photographs of the seal but the boats were more co-operative. Clyde Fisher was the big chap. Powerful and Faithful are the tugs.
Another greige old day. Hannahs birthday,and we had plans, weather permitting, to walk on beaches, enjoy coffee and have a great burger for supper. The weather was having none of this and an unplanned but essential session of domestic admin stole time and space to achieve the planned day.
Modified plans held the same ingredients but not quite the same pizazz as anticipated. Coffee was from a drive- through and picnic lunch was a side order whilst we read through mountains of paperwork. The dog walk was taken during a miraculous break in the weather, we were still blown about like shuttlecocks but without a side serving of torrential rain. Hands were firmly dug into pockets so no photographs of joyful dog bottoms enjoying a playful walk. Facebook came to the rescue on this particular subject. Offering me an image from 8 years ago. Hugo’s first day out in South London, about to create his first patch of yellow snow!
The only bit of our day to stay on plan was the burger. In some ways another South London throwback. Zephyr Burgers were a pop-up in our neighbourhood. https://www.zephyrburgers.co.uk/
What you don’t expect when you move back to the West Country is for a familiar London pop-up to pop-up close to home again. Currently parked at the back of Bullet Proof Brewery on Mutley Plain.
Our burger choice marked not only a birthday but also had a nod to the inauguration of a new Potus.
Either the carb load or a more reliable hand on the nuclear button made for a good nights sleep.