Pandemic Pondering #106

Pondering was not the only thing I started on Day 1 of lockdown. A small clothing research project started.

With hindsight it had all the makings of the sort of research idea that should have been quietly binned early on.

All my non wardrobe clothes are kept in a chest of drawers in the spare bedroom. With no likelihood of guests I decided that as clothes were worn and washed I would store them on the bed. Then after lockdown I would know which ones never got worn and I could bag them up for a charity shop and I would have sorted them organically.

While I can allow pondering to go on I think this experiment failed from day one because it was a bad idea. Judging clothes usage from one of the most unusual period of my life has given me a clear idea of how to make a spare room look messy and very little else.

The piles of clean clothes stand on the bed like those towers of pebbles that are found on beaches and other pebbly places. Most of them have their tops removed where folded underwear was quickly removed to be worn.

Proper winter clothing remains, a wooly, dense reminder that late March was the last time I needed more than one set of clothing for socialising and existing in the outside world.

There are a couple of bright piles from early on when putting on a bright jumper or t shirt lifted my spirits artificially when the reality of a life in prolonged Lock down was difficult to process.

Because the weather was so good almost as soon as lockdown started I needed summer clothes to take my daily exercise dog walk.

I’ve improved my positional memory immensely, by knowing more or less when specific things were last worn and in which pile it can be found .

Handbags lay on the bed, unused, alongside gym clothes. When Joe Wicks YouTube exercise videos or dog walks are the pinnacle of fitness you can pretty much do it in anything. I wonder when a Handbag will feel essential ever again.

Somewhat madly I have put on, liked, but currently not essential, garments to go to the supermarket simply to save them from staying in the cupboard and facing the clothes equivalent of the last trip to the vets for a loved pet.

Not that charity shops are reliably open to receive my organically selected rejects.

Packing my bag for my first weekend away from Cornwall has made me realise this experiment had got to stop. There are about two bags of clothes left in the chest of drawers to go to charity shops if I stick rigidly to my own guidelines . I’m not sure it was worth the effort. They may just be clothes not required in a Pandemic.

Pandemic Pondering #90

#90 and exactly 3 months since I started Pandemical Pondering. #1 on the 17th of March was inspired by having to cancel an art exhibition I was organising with an art group . I was also showing symptoms of a virus so my lockdown and isolation was a week ahead of the official British Lockdown.
I didn’t really think 3 months ahead or imagine a daily pondering , pondering on for 3 months.I just checked the camera archive for the 17 th of March and I have nothing exciting to share. It must have been an unremarkable day.The unused public toilets near us gained a For Sale board and the shadows were longer.In those 3 months our lives have changed in unimaginable ways that have no direct relationship to Covid-19, but Covid-19 has shaped the way we have been able to respond.
The weather in lockdown has been very kind to us and the delicate blooms in our spring garden . A bit like wild Foxgloves our garden blooms are undamaged by wind or rain. So for PP#90 let’s hear it for Pinky Plants.PP#90 is also a day of celebration. Grocery shopping @theoldmortuary has been quite a formal planned outing during Lockdown. We’ve had a running list that could be flexible to cater for shortages. We’ve not been diligent shoppers if something hasn’t been available on the day we shopped then we’ve done without. For one item three months of doing without ended today . For the first time since lockdown we found grapefruit juice in a supermarket. Giddy Times ahead.Let’s see how the next three months shape up.

Pandemic Ponderings #87

On Saturdays I buy a real newspaper. The rest of the week I am utterly shameless and read anything and everything newsworthy on the internet. I’m inclined to follow my own natural political, ethical and moral bias on the whole but often read some strange and intriguing things that I don’t always agree with but that make me think a bit harder. Pre Lockdown I read several newspapers on-line content that are published elsewhere in the world. Melbourne’s The Age and Los Angeles Daily Breeze are favourites along with The London Evening Standard. I don’t for a minute consider myself to be well read by doing this I just like reading the local news that sparks interest in other places.

Lockdown has , for some reason stopped that habit , but the Saturday ritual of a print copy of The Guardian has endured. Often by midnight on a Saturday it has not been opened which makes it an even bigger pleasure on Sunday.

Ritual is everything. The paper as purchased has to be stripped down. Supplements taken out of their potato starch bag and annoying loose advertising pamphlets discarded. The starch bag goes into the dog poo disposal pot in the garden . The dog poo disposal pot is in fact a rhubarb forcing jar, which somehow copes with the output of two dogs who only poop in the garden when their owners have not provided a correctly timed walk. This may be too much detail but the poo is picked up with loo paper and popped in the jar alongside the once a week potato starch bag. This cocktail of excrement, tissue and biodegradable packaging is nirvana to a whole host of wee beasties who like to chomp on such stuff.

Saturday night the newspaper, if I have managed to keep my hands off it, is carried upstairs at bedtime ready to be read as soon as I wake up on Sunday. Or overnight if insomnia bites. I prefer a day old paper to Sunday Editions for some reason.

It then accompanies me back downstairs to be read with coffee. Bits of the newspaper hang around all week being read and reread. Most of it is recycled and the cookery section filed . It is rare for us not to use one of the recipes during the week.

The newspaper ritual is undoubtedly irritating for those who share my life or bed on a Saturday or Sunday. Flackering of the newspaper whilst reading it is inevitable . By way of apology I always make cups of tea.

The ritual Saturday paper is a barometer of a weekend. I like to be too busy on a Saturday to read it and to have enough down time on a Sunday to read most of it.

This weekend is shaping up well so far, it’s nearly midnight and not a word has been read from the print edition. Just one or two articles on-line whilst waiting around.

Happy Saturday/Sunday

Pandemic Pondering #76

Living in Lockdown and the accidental rise of Orange. Yesterday, Pandemic Pondering #75 was about serendipitous gifts. It was not my best blog as it had two threads which I failed to entwine as well as I might have done. One of the serendipitous gifts, of yesterday was a retro, wind-up alarm clock.

In a gorgeous wake- up orange. It feels lovely to have a ticking clock in the house again. Something I hadn’t realised I’d missed until it was back.
As an Artist I’ve always loved orange , but in general non-arty life I am a little more cautious. I only have one piece of orange clothing. A bold, linen shirt from a market in Hong Kong. It doesn’t get a lot of wear as it feels a little shouty in the habitual grey weather of Cornwall but when the sun is out so is the shirt.
https://www.annglinen.com/

Early on in the pandemic lockdown I felt the urge to wear it. This was in April , not a month that usually sees this shirt out and about. Pre pandemic along with the shirt there were little pops of orange in our lives. This beautiful mug and the handbag hanging on the Newel post are by my elbow as I write.


https://www.repeatrepeat.co.uk/contemporary-bone-china-mugs/menagerie.html
https://www.mulberry.com/gb/shop/women/bags

Here is a snippet of orange in my art.

The arrival of the orange alarm clock made me consider my new fascination with the colour.During Lockdown the percentage of orange images in my archive has gone up 75% since the same time period last year. Fortunately I have two excellent colour theory books to read during the day before I finish this blog and maybe I can share some of my freshly harvested wisdom.

I wonder if subliminally orange is and has always been a secret pleasure. I have a favourite piece of Poole Pottery that I inherited from my parents. It has a prominent position in the same room as the newly acquired alarm clock.

With my newly attuned orange eye it completely fits the brief of a secret pleasure.

Edith Anderson Feisner in her book Colour, says” Orange is present in nature, in the setting sun, autumn leaves, fruit and flowers. It stands out well and creates a sense of warmth” From the same source Orange is a positive colour , it suggests warmth, fruitfulness, brightness,cheerfulness and spice. The only negatives are brashness and danger.
What came first the Orange or the colour?

Kassia St Clair,in her book The Secret Lives of Colour, is emphatic.Definitely the fruit,the fruit probably first cultivated in China but then quickly spread around the world attracting the name nãrang, nãranj,nãranga,nãranja,oranje and orange.

As a colour descriptive it only emerged in 1502 replacing the more cumbersome yellow-red. Kandinsky, a fellow synesthete, describes orange as a red brought closer to humanity by yellow.

A fellow blogger has told me that in Cornish the word Orange does not exist and it is still known as rudh- velyn , red-yellow. Thanks to Sandra , who writes a blog that I like to wallow in.
http://acornerofcornwall.com

None of this is particularly helpful in explaining why I’m attracted to orange in the middle of a pandemic. The internet is not helpful, it seems far more interested in the increased worldwide consumption of Orange juice. Perhaps I should be drinking it rather than looking at it.Time to share my little obsession.

A flat-lay in the garden. Flat lays are beloved by Instagram, I’m not very experienced in doing these and they can seem contrived and dull, lacking in creative individuality but done well they can be spectacular.
https://www.befunky.com/learn/flat-lay-photography/

Here is a little rust heart from the Love Tree. Pandemic Pondering #73

A Marigold from the garden.

The Orange Box Pandemic Pondering #38 and #23

The peony in a vase on the fireplace.

Our collection of early penguins.

A honey spoon on the coffee table. Pandemic Pondering #18

Oranges at Tate Modern. Pre Pandemic but only just. Contemporary art that we could eat.

Orange, I’m still not sure why.

Pandemic Pondering#75

It is a complete coincidence that #75 is occuring on the day that Lockdown restrictions are being eased in Britain.

I have pondered when exactly I would stop writing Pandemic Ponderings. If things were uncertain in Pandemic Pondering #1, there is no greater clarity as I reach #75. The uncertainties are different but not less. At #1 I wondered what would become of this country, led, as we are, by not particularly competent politicians. By #75 I no longer have to wonder because we are all pretty much in the dark. I do have to think very hard for myself about how and when I will ease my own lockdown and introduce myself back into a different world, because our government has not given me the confidence to think that they are capable of giving the best advice.

In consequence, pondering will continue until it feels right to stop. I am the best judge of this.

#75 is a significant number and, by serendipity, today really rose to the challenge of making a day memorable.

Memorable Moment #1

A friend shared this simple piece of text explaining one reason why we all need to be cautious about rushing out of Lockdown, for other people’s sake.

Thanks Tessa for the following message.

A quick lesson about autoimmune diseases. It is a disease where instead of your white blood cells protecting your body from invaders, they turn around and attack your cells, tissues and organs. Chronic fatigue is a symptom. It is not a cold or the flu, you will never get better, and even a nap will not help. Just eating a salad and hitting the gym won’t slim your face or get the pounds off. Sleeping 10 hours doesn’t leave you well rested, ever. The last minute changes in plans because that “just got ran over” feeling never makes appointments, it just walks in whenever you aren’t ready. Painful joints, muscles and bones, dry skin, breaking hair, hair loss, mood swings, and depression are just the tip of the iceberg. You are also prone to having multiple autoimmune diseases, they typically come in pairs of two. You easily catch viral and bacterial infections. Currently Covid 19 is the worry. You have days where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t smile for anyone.
I urge you to think twice before passing judgment and thinking our nation is overreacting to the extra measures being taken to curb the spread of this virus. YOU might be able to recover from it no problem however, carry it to SOMEONE WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE and that individual won’t be as lucky. A list , maybe not exhaustive, of Auto immune diseases.All of them exhausting!
Severe Asthma, Addison’s disease, Endometriosis, M.E, Rheumatoid Arthritis, POTS, sarcoidosis, MCAD, Sjogren’s, Scleroderma, Hashimoto Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitis, Raynauld’s Syndrome, Diabetes, Mould Illness, Celiac, CROHN’S, Ulcerative Colitis, Pemphigus, SPS, MS, PBC, Psoriatic Arthritis, CIDP, MMN, GPA , CRPS

Memorable Moment #2

A neighbour, Gil, popped a recipe through the door for a low carb no dairy supper. If we avoid the New Potatoes. Thanks Gil.

Memorable Moment #3

These beautiful earrings arrived from a friend, currently caring for her parents in Canada. They represent our shared love of Daffodils with the beautiful Citrine beads.

Thanks Kathy

Memorable Moment #4

There is something wonderful about seeing people for the first time after lockdown. My bookclub has been having a regular, monthly, WhatsApp chat about books. For the first time today 5 of us used the video mode, it was lovely to see such happy familiar faces. Thanks Bookworms.

Memorable Moment #5

A friend gave us this orange retro alarm clock today. It is living in the actual old mortuary @theoldmortuary. I think the time has come to write an orange blog.

Thanks Jeannie

Memorable Moment#6

Three generations standing in the flisvos of the retreating tide.

Thanks Sam and VV and the beauty of the Greek language.

Pandemic Ponderings #68

Some days are harder than others to distil down into a blog , on those days I often dig out a topic or theme and ponder on. But today deserves its moment in the sun.its just a struggle to find the right words.

We, like many others have been deprived of seeing our families . Today and tomorrow we have arranged to meet a small part of our small family, respecting government guidelines.

Obviously meeting loved ones has been looked forward to and anticipated with pleasure .

Lockdown is known to mess with most people’s heads . There are the obvious things like worry, insomnia, depression, grief . The serious proper head messes. I’ve had some of those but a few times I’ve had a curious little head mess that puzzles rather than worries me, and although you might think it is sad it doesn’t sadden me. It occurs in the Limnal spaces of my thoughts or when I’m waking or dropping off to sleep.

Sometimes imagining meeting with my actual living family after so many days of lockdown and self isolation gets complicated.

In these moments there are other people at these family gatherings. People like my parents or father-in- law who have been dead a very long while or Hannah’s parents who have crossed into the other realm more recently. I don’t put them in my thoughts they just appear and seeing them,after a gap of more than 30 years in some cases, feels as natural and normal as seeing the living people after only 3 months. The closest thing I can use to describe the sensation is Magical Realism.

https://bookriot.com/2018/02/08/what-is-magical-realism/

My entirely normal family is not going to be a powerful tool against political regimes any time soon, but my head, albeit briefly, sees nothing incongruous about me meeting my granddaughter in the presence of many dead relations. It seems to be entirely normal and quite unworrisome.

I’m really not sure where these thoughts are coming from.

Today , far away from Limnal spaces none of the deceased put in an appearance. The beach at Harlyn bay just held the live family members that I’ve missed so greatly. There was plenty of room for the others, they just didn’t put in an appearance.

Minds and thoughts are complex at the best of times, how much other strange and intriguing stuff will this curious period of our lives give us to ponder over.

Pandemic Ponderings # 67

Sunday musings on a sun lounger. Not everything goes to plan. This is true in real life, just as it is in pandemic life. I’ve always been accepting of the wonderful John Lennon lyric.

‘ Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans’

I’m surprised by the accepting way the whole world has taken to changing its plans, very little protest and a lot of understanding.

Things happen @theoldmortuary, under normal circumstances,that I had never even considered needed plans. A trip to the supermarket, coffee with friends, weekends with our family. These things happened, sometimes spontaneously with very little thought. Now doing anything takes great thought and the mundane has become something to dress up for and revel in, when three months ago it would have been a chore.

This weekend would not have been mundane.We should be exhausted and bursting with ideas and inspiration. This would have been a weekend in London soaking up the buzz and vibrancy of our favourite city.

Friday would have seen us at The Chelsea Flower Show, but like everything it has been cancelled.

The rest of the weekend would have been spent with friends and family in various parts of the city. Our hair would be cut, our minds would be restocked with happiness and great ideas, some shopping might have occured and, by now, we would be on the A303 chattering about everything and, in particular, how much our garden would be tweaked. Chelsea and Hampton Court are the two flower shows that inspire us.

I’m not actually dwelling on the might- have-been because there is a future out there for most of us , we just have to wait a bit to experience it. Today I should have been spending four hours on the road but actually I’ve spent four hours in the garden enjoying some of the stuff we’ve learnt in the past, at Chelsea, and the washing is dry.

So a Sunday, not as planned, but a Sunday full to the brim of unplanned loveliness.

Pandemic Pondering #66

Lockdown Saturdays have become so much more exciting since Hutong started selling take out coffee in a pub .

I think we are better humans after a properly made Flat White. If this is the case , today we will be even more improved because we had two . One either end of the walk. Definitely more caffeine than I’ve had in three months.Giddy with excitement I’ve settled to writing a blog on one of the more mundane subjects of Lockdown.Soap bars, I think caffeine induced excitement might drag this blog into something vaguely interesting.I’m inspired to write this today because the first of our lockdown soaps has lathered it’s last.Bar soap is not something we ever really had @theoldmotuary. Hannah has traditional dry skin and I have non traditional. Either way the harshness of soap in a bar was something to avoid. Pump soaps disappeared off the shelves early on in Lockdown and bars it had to be. We have really enjoyed them and the extra time that there is in Lockdown allows for plenty of hand moisturising.The stand out bar soap in our house comes from Niagara in Canada. Not somewhere anyone outside of Niagara can nip to right now but it lasts and lasts doesn’t dry out skin and smells amazing. We bought a few bars two years ago and had forgotten we had them. More than two months on and there is still loads left.Soap Opera on-the-lake
15 Queen St, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON L0S 1J0, Canada
+1 905-468-7627https://g.co/kgs/3jwBYVNext favourite and the one that needed to be replaced today is Waitrose own.This little bar has lasted the whole of lockdown only needing replacement today.Least popular is this blue bar from Pears. Proof of any was needed that the enemy of good is better.

Despite being one of my favourite brands, this one dries out our skin and is really disappointing fragrance wise. I wish I had picked up the traditional version, which I know is ok for our skin.So…Soap and Caffeine not normally a traditional pairing but if you have enough of one you can Witter on about the other.The great thing about writing blogs is the need to research my own image archive. While checking the name and any photos of the soap shop in Niagara-on-the-lake I found one of my favourite pictures which was also taken in the town.kingstgallery.comThis tiny Private entrance enchants me.The Gallery has some lovely quotes . This one says it all.King Street GalleryNiagara-on-the-lake

Pandemic Pondering #64

As dusk falls Smeatons Tower, on Plymouth Hoe, is lit up in shades of blue as a sign of respect for the regular Thursday night clap for carers.

I have to admit to a huge conflict with the whole thing. For political and personal reasons. I’m inclined towards the views of the anonymous author of the article in this link.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/21/nhs-doctor-enough-people-clapping

A whole career in the NHS, when I was repeatedly expected to work in less than optimal conditions,has always made me want to be in a properly funded work place with good working conditions.

All the clapping in the world cannot make this a reality.

However I am not so hard hearted or embittered not to be moved by the regular Thursday night clap. It affects me in a way I find hard to explain.

The silence surrounding the blue- illuminated Smeatons Tower, two hours after the clap, was a completely different sensation. Something entirely secular, thought provoking and calming. A sort of visual two minutes silence.

Time to reflect.

Pandemic Pondering#50

Another significant number in Lockdown and a significant day. The 75th anniversary of VE day.

In lockdown this anniversary will be something that we have more time to reflect upon than usual.

There will be no street parties, civil events, sombre church services or riotous family gatherings around our own familial heroes.

Flags and bunting are popping up in our local town, but not in the amount that would have happened had life been normal.

Britain does not wear its national flag on its sleeve or in its gardens or even up its flagpoles quite as much as many other countries. Days like today are the exception. Although our own riverside town has quite a flamboyant exception to this statement.

The Union Inn, on the Cornish side of ‘ The Great Divide’ , the River Tamar, boundary between Cornwall and the rest of the world, is an almost daily fix of the Union Jack.

As I write this I can look out on our local church at a flag that would have fluttered on actual VE day

In the past my daily commute took me up Regent Street, a street that was never shy about getting its flags out.

Pandemic Pondering #50. A significant number and for world history the anniversary of a truly significant day.

Worthy of two blogs I think. This is the Early Edition.