#422 theoldmortuary ponders

The sunset on my evening dog walk.

For someone born 60 miles inland, I have spent an extraordinary amount of time living on the coast. Yesterday I had a great day by the sea. In the morning I went to a post-Covid, reunion,social gathering of women in the majestic buildings of the Royal William Yard. Quite cheeky really as the word reunion did not apply to me. I had never met many of these people before. The cafe we met in has several massive sofas that can fairly comfortably sit ten people. I was not the only cheeky one. Lola and Hugo came with me because there is nothing they love more than a walk that terminates in a cafe. Lola is always a sociable soul, Hugo more reticent. By the time I left Lola had cuddled and been cuddled by everyone on the large sofa. I realise that makes non dog lovers recoil but there was no recoiling from her warm curly cuddles yesterday. Hugo noticed the attention she was getting and made slower progress along the row of laps. After a brief interlude of domestic admin* I was back for a small afternoon gathering of friends, mulled wine and rats.

We met in old Stonehouse pub that has recently reopened. A bar that also sells coffee and cake, a game changer for me. I am fairly certain I have never paired coffee cake with mulled wine before. It works. Hidden in the pub are four small rats. I plan to only ever find three, that way there is always a reason to return.

Did you say Quiche?
Do you have any Coffee Cake?
Yes, I am the Bass player, who’s asking?

* Who gives a crap about my domestic admin? There was a small order error when I ordered the festive toilet rolls. The error was quickly rectified, rather generously, by the company. Yesterday’s most pressing domestic admin task was to find homes for 100 toilet rolls.

42 rolls on each shelf.

Suddenly I have become the sort of person who over-caters for Christmas.

#249 theoldmortuary ponders

It is Glastonbury weekend and, without tickets to the real thing, we are into the Festival Spirit by having a Tee Pee in the Studio. It makes viewing the festival on TV a little awkward but maybe that adds to the authenticity of our experience.

This is a really rare weekend, in our house, when the TV is on in the background, just in case we catch an ear glimpse of a band or performer that we like but have never heard of. ( What is the word for a fleeting aural experience?) I’m not certain that we will get to a festival this year so we are going to need to keep our ears to the ground to experience fresh music from other sources. Hugo of course has no idea what a festival is and got quite giddy at the thought of our little bit of fakery.

Meanwhile I have completely spooked myself with the idea of an ear glimpse. Whatever is the hearing equivalent of a glimpse? Answers appreciated. I had no plans to tease your minds to search for a word for me but what else is the weekend for if not a little gentle pondering?

#164 theoldmortuary ponders

Dawn April 1st 2019

I need no excuse to republish this photograph. A tributary running into the Tamar at low tide.I love it. 2019 was the last time April arrived when the arrival of Spring was anything like optimistic, yesterday April 1st blew in with bright sunshine, sharp shadows and icy cold blasts. Some optimism but not on the heady scale of 2019.

Lola has another week of convalescence, with only two walks a day of fifteen minutes. Hugo was booked in for a haircut so we had a couple of hours of being out and about when we could only be out and about in an extremely leisurely way. Some gentle Charity Shop shopping provided a brand new cashmere jumper that made outdoor breakfast a much more comfortable affair than it would have been, dressed as I was originally.

There are rules though about Charity shop shopping, if things come home with us other things have to be donated. With Lola comfortably settled on a sofa in the studio I set about a bit of a spring clean with donation in mind. The studio became the last place of the house to be sorted out when we moved. I had sorted it enough to be a usable space but there is plenty still to do. Lola will happily oversee my efforts in the next week from the comfort of a velvet sofa.

Yesterday Facebook gave me a time hop photo of Hugo as a clean white five month old puppy 9 years ago. A lovely coincidence as being groomed yesterday has given me a clean white mature gentleman for a few days. A picture comparison was inevitable.

Just for balance here is a recuperating Lola cautiously extending her love of cuddles

And some late narcissus that make the house smell beautiful every morning.

April , not exactly optimistic but better than March.

#161 theoldmortuary ponders

Blogwise it is going to be a quiet patch for the next few days.

Lola has had a hysterectomy and is advised to take life gently for the next two weeks. No walks longer than ten to fifteen minutes. No giddy excitements. This was a planned procedure so I had stored up quite a few non exciting projects to be completed at home.

This morning I bought some mackerel, mackerel models if you like, for a longstanding commission and a portrait exhibition later in the year.

Plymouth Market has an excellent fishmonger with gorgeous fish straight from the fish market.

I had no qualms asking for three of the prettiest mackerel for posing reasons. The mackerel pose, not me.

I also asked for fish heads to paint actual fish face portraits but I need to go back later in the day for that.

Obviously for continuity of dog care it was a very quick nip into the market but even a quick nip created a ponder, one created entirely from my own ignorance.

I love a market, but snobbishly or for whatever reason, foreign or London markets really float my boat. Meanwhile my local market gets barely a thought. Well more fool me. I do know that Plymouth Market is an architectural gem and I do go there reasonably often but I have never noticed these two pieces of wall art before.

The bottom one even features by name one of my favourite London Markets. Spitalfields.

Now of course I need to return to the market and research the artist!

So for my next visit, fish heads and Art History, who knew caring for a post surgery dog could be quite so stimulating!

#135 theoldmortuary ponders

Still shamelessly using the weekend sun to illustrate the blog, even though we are already on Wednesday. Significantly we are also still under a blanket of West Country greige, which sucks the soul a bit and makes any adventure outside a damp affair.

I had my first large meeting, in person experience, last night. Two years on from the first, long, Covid lockdown. Because life has changed in unimaginable ways, this meetings topics, location and reasons for being were unknown to me two years ago. There was something very comforting in realising that non professional/ business meetings have not changed a jot. However Zoom meetings with the ability to mute for a good giggle or rant off screen have made my meeting/social/skills a bit slack. I worried that I might burst when the generic, entitled, white, male got up to speak. Struggling to get his, ill-informed views across because of the plums in his mouth. Note to self- always sit at the back in future!

For reference I have included a Youtube clip of The Vicar of Dibley in case you too have forgotten the way of meetings.

We took the dogs with us. Hugo is a very entitled, white male. Sensibly, apart from one brief woof, he kept his opinions to himself. Lola, being female listened intently. Fully aware that at any moment she might be asked to take notes.

#99 theoldmortuary ponders

Earlier this week the dogs had a true post pandemic moment. Of course they probably have no concept of the pandemic but they must be aware that the past two years they have spent far more quality time with us. This week they went to the vets and a mummy was actually allowed to accompany them into the consulting room. Such is the skill of animal nurses and vets that they almost certainly have no thoughts on attending the vets without us. But for the humans @theoldmortuary visits to the vets have been additionally traumatic as we have had to wait in the car park as they have endured, and not always silently, their various treatments and procedures. Our veteran 24 year old cat took the single ticket, one way trip to the surgery last summer and Hugo has had a very intimate area probed. His howls of indignity filled the car park and set off supportive howls from all the dogs in the car park. Lola in particular took the howling to operatic levels of sound and drama. So as they snuggle on the rug I imagine they are looking at me with gratitude.

But in reality I think they would like me to move on and leave them in peace.

#87 theoldmortuary ponders

As the days of the festive season give way to January, I was anticipating a return to Sunday normality. Some time alone with a newspaper is one of the regular joys of the weekend. What I had not factored in was two dogs who have had two full weeks of an endless supply of cuddles from a bigger variety of people in the house. Regardless of our level of business or relaxation there has always been someone willing to give them on-demand cuddles, tickles, snacks, access to the yard or bracing walks. Just two of us is suddenly not quite enough for their wish fulfilment. The picture above looks either posed or a lucky moment with a handy camera phone. It was neither, just an absolute certainty. During my twenty minutes of attempting to read the paper this happened more than ten times. He needed nothing, but what he wanted was the undivided attention of the only human available. As soon as I took this picture I gave up reading the newspaper. As soon as I gave up reading the newspaper, he went to sleep on it. As soon as he went to sleep we took him on a walk. I’m not sure which of us is the victor. Only one person did a victory dance

#57 theoldmortuary ponders

It is not all about dog walks in lovely places and comfortable places to sleep. Sometimes Hugo and Lola believe that they are doing actual work. Here they are on car duty while we have a wee and grab a coffee.

Yesterday was pretty full on for them. Early morning house guarding duty while we went, with other bobbers, for what turned out to be the most disappointing ‘ bob’ of recent times. It was a really low tide so there was a good bit of rock scrambling before we even hit the water and then it was all a bit sea weedy for a while until we hit water deep enough to swim in. The dogs, of course, had to offer counselling and support when we returned.

After the car journey there were more dog responsibilities. Urban Squirrel watching.

And minor hangover care after a Christmas party.

#40 theoldmortuary ponders

Just a little blog today about the joys of an early morning start, and another unexpected morning joy.

Starting the day early with a cup of coffee, the sunrise and a natter with swimming friends at Tranquility Bay. Even though this was officially a dog walk and not a ‘ bobbing’ session.

They were not averse to some morning basking. It is going to be a beautiful day.

My day got a little more complex soon after this when I took the car, an automatic, to have some body work done and the courtesy car had one of these!

Both feet doing something while I drive is quite a novelty.A bit of driving round early morning, empty car parks soon put my driving skills back into the manual world. And the word novelty allows me to add a small serving of another fairly unique experience of the past weekend.

I suppose Covid has altered the way hotels can serve breakfast. My inner child was properly thrilled to have a one person serving of breakfast cereal. A treat that only occured very rarely when I was an actual child and pretty rarely when I had actual children.

#5 theoldmortuary ponders.

©Emily Bobber

This is all that is left of the West Pier in Brighton. I used to pass it every day on my way to work in Brighton. The pier closed in 1975 and has been ravaged by storms ever since. For me it has always been a ghost pier. Something to focus on when looking out to sea thinking deep or not so deep thoughts. It is some years since I have visited Brighton. It was definitely a destination booked in for this summers great staycation but a complication arose with the dates and we weren’t able  to go. Getting a “fix’ of Brighton every few years is an essential piece of ‘touching base’. Fondly known as London-by-the-sea it is a larger than life sea side resort.

One of our ‘Bobbers’ group ran a half marathon there this weekend and captured this lovely image.

Hunting in my phones image file I’ve only found one other blogworthy picture.  Hugo, posing very regally at the Prince Regents Pleasure Dome, The Royal Pavillion.

Any future visits to Brighton will almost certainly involve swimming in the sea, no matter what time of year we schedule a trip and definitely more photography!