Pandemic Pondering #407

May the 4th be with you. Except, of course this is the 5th. May the 4th always brings rich pickings of Star Wars quotes.  I’m unsure if just loving the original 1977 film, correctly and simply known as Star Wars makes me a Star Wars luddite. The surrounding films and obsessive fandom makes me feel saddened that the one original film can’t be enjoyed as one unique moment of great creative, cinematic collaboration.

But without the hullabaloo, that irritates me so much, I would not have found a lovely quote from the actress Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. She was open and honest about her, nearly life- long, struggles with drink, drugs and bi-polar disorder. She was also a wise and clever woman.

Discussing her difficult life patches she wrote.

” Going through challenging things can teach you quite a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren’t so challenging”

A simple sentence that works under normal circumstances and especially as we emerge from beneath the pressures and sadnesses of the Pandemic.

Pandemic Pondering #390

As the sun sets on a sad old week we are struck today by a coincidence. In Britain Prince Phillips coffin and his funeral will fill hours of television broadcasts and give the Sunday Newspapers plenty to report and speculate on. Exactly 4 years ago we were sharing a ferry journey with an unknown Hong Konger who was being returned to their home island for burial.

Just as at Windsor Castle there was only a small amount of family accompanying this person on their final journey.

Death is just a sad old business whoever you are.

Pandemic Pondering #387

L’esprit de l’escalier is a French term used in English for thinking of the perfect reply too late. I think it is mostly considered to be a witty or clever retort that would finish of a conversational or indeed confrontational encounter more perfectly.

Where is the handy french term for when you/ I, have thought of the perfect retort and delivered it leaving the other person stunned and perhaps uncomfortable. A linguistic victory certainly but not always kind.

Kindness at the end of a conversation is another of those moments with no useful term. Hugely important during difficult conversations when serious, possibly hurtful and important points need to be conveyed. If there is love, care, affection or even just integririty that must be built into that conversation the parting words need to be perfectly judged if the conversation is to be effective rather than harmful. A lifetime of harm can be caused without the right conversational ending included. If only these things could be straightforward.

The whole business of ‘stair case wit’ which I have expanded to Staircase Wisdom is chronically complicated and acutely regrettable. I have a huge dusty box in my personal archive of conversations that were not perfect because I got the end wrong.

The trouble is, unlike this collection of staircases, conversation with another is never black and white, and it can be complicated and unpredictable. The conversations in my head always go much better to plan.

The link below takes you to a less personal consideration of L’esprit de l’escalier. I hope that is the perfect ending.

L’esprit de l’escalier

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27esprit_de_l%27escalier

Here is a less than perfect ending , the steps that I imagine take me to my store of archived badly finished conversations. I don’t imagine I’m ever going to be diplomatic or wise enough not to need to store badly finished conversations in an imagined room beyond these stairs any time soon. These steps will continue to be well worn, a little bit smelly and unloved until I can no longer engage in meaningful conversation.

Pandemic Pondering #382

©Debs Bobber

Another Friday swim day with the Bobbers. A tiny Whats app group of 5 people has expanded to 12 regular swimmers and one land based Andy who keeps an eye on everything on land and in the sea. The swimming is the primary function of Bobbers but also loud natterings on any subject. Some of the natterings would make a nun blush, especially as we base ourselves below the perimeter wall of a convent.

There was a fine show of tugs today.

Tug Spotting

This one sailed out just before we plunged into the somewhat chilly sea. Sometimes if the conditions are right you can feel the resonant thrum of moving tugs when you are in the water. Not the case today. This busy tug sailed out before we got in and then back in again pulling a Royal Navy Survey vessel after we got out.


The reward for swimming yesterday was a tiny chocolate biscuit shaped like a penguin. Another unexpected treat is a visit to the same beach today at extreme low tide to hunt for goggles which were lost during the talking phase of the swim. Not a phase usually shown in swimming events but one in which the ‘ Bobbers’ excel.

Later, on a regular dog walk we chanced upon a new import being brought into Plymouth Fish Market.

If only I had known you could buy this stuff. I’ve had many unavoidable colleagues and huge numbers of equally unavoidable patients who could have done with a big dose of this stuff. Humans with no discernible traces of charisma are all over the place. As soon as this product becomes available on the retail market, I’m getting a pocket spray , the use of which the pandemic has made entirely acceptable. I am assuming it has a similar transmission but without the fatality of Novichok. When I meet those all too frequent people who have no manners or any measurable social graces, a quick squirt, will sort them out, probably only briefly, but for as long as I am forced to endure them.

Once the pandemic is over we could even repurpose all the sanitizer dispensers and make all our lives a little easier when interacting with increasing numbers of other humans. Charisma dispensers would really make emerging into the post pandemic world a little easier.

Pandemic Pondering #373

The warmest day, so far, of the year and day 2 of a loosening of restrictions in England and I’m still following the protocol of the last few months and walking the dogs and staying local. Just like this rusty supermarket trolley I am adrift from the social buzz of being amongst my own kind. Thankfully unlike the trolley I have not spent the last few months in a muddy tributary. I have yet to put concatenation into practice.

In theory the rules say I ( we) can meet in groups of six in the great outdoors. What I have failed to do is build the next chain in the series and go significantly further afield or meet other people for a natter . Its not that I’ve lived the life of a recluse but I have grown to love the days of a familiar walk listening to a podcast and watching nature unfurl. Today I downloaded a whole months worth of podcasts. I’m actually unlikely to need them once my social butterfly emerges from my Pandemic induced Chrysalis stage.

Socialising has been restricted to Coffee queues followed by a walk, or swimming followed by shouted socialising while we scramble into clothes,forcing not quite dry skin into garments that feel two sizes too small.

I know that once concatenation takes hold and I embrace the sequential changes as they ease me into normal life, slowly link by link, there will be no stopping me. But I am going to miss having the time to notice the small things.

Pandemic Pondering #366

A mini festival of positivity of the past year. I’m not about to load you all with the downsides of the pandemic as it has affected us @theoldmortuary but in common with many we’ve had some dodgy days in this last year . But it has been a year that has been fully lived and many positives have emerged from the negative spaces created by the sad days.

We are much better cooks , not only baking but also healthy vegetable loaded meals. If only I could stop there and mention healthy snacks but we’ve succumbed to pouch chocolate . A packet of Minstrels is not safe in this house.

Covid-safe extended walks on a limited number of routes has curiously provided us with some lovely new friends. We already had some superb ones. Nodding with recognition on a regular walk or queueing for coffee in a pandemic has encouraged us to talk to strangers. If you do that often enough, over a year, people cease to be strangers.

Finally the wonder that is cold water swimming. Originally started because we needed to boost Vitamin D levels and our immune systems. I’m not sure either of us truly believed we would keep on swimming throughout the winter. With the swimming came the little support network we built. A Whatsapp group called Bobbers and a whole informal group of swimmers who swim in Tranquility Bay. Sometimes we share the sea with a seal and sometimes with something bigger.

Pandemic Pondering #365!

Sun rising on one whole year of Pandemic Pondering.

The United Kingdom is marking one year since the first Lockdown announced with a minutes silence at noon and a collective act of reflection and rememberance at 8pm, when people are encouraged to leave a candle or other source of light on their doorsteps.

When plans for a UK wide act of reflection was announced last week I had mixed feelings. One year on we are still in the midst of this pandemic with no clear idea of how or when it will end. In the future 23rd of March may well be the day we remember, reflect and count the cost of the Pandemic but at the moment it is still our lived experience and most of us reflect and readjust many times a day. The world may decide to have a different International Day of Mourning once this Pandemic has been brought under an acceptable level of control. The details of the end remain unknown and the only thing we can reflect on is our personal current running total of loss which is accurate. Governments figures will be adjusted up and down as the pandemic is considered over the years and statistical analysis is argued over. Individuals and families know with upsetting accuracy exactly what they have lost in one year.

I would hope not to still be Pandemically Pondering in a years time. An additional P for Post will be added just as soon as it seems appropriate. Thanks for reading along and commenting on various platforms, thanks for stopping me in the street and saying that you read and enjoy Ponderings. Tomorrow will be a festival of Positives sharing the good things that have happened over the past year @theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #356

When you leave home in sunshine for a swim and by the time you arrive your car looks like this you know its going to be an interesting afternoon.

The hail did stop but the skies were pretty menacing for our swim.

As this blog is published it will be the second Mothers Day in Britain that has gone unmarked by  gatherings because of Pandemic Restrictions. @theoldmortuary will be at the centre of busyness tomorrow. Situated as we are close to two large graveyards. The only mothers who can be safely or legally visited currently are dead ones and only then if their last resting place is local. Last year was markedly busier in the cemetery than usual and I’m sure Mothers Day 2021 will be much the same.

We are really missing family contact. Our nearest and dearest are hundreds or thousands of miles away. Not that we are unique in this matter but it is irksome. Better to be irked than dead of course or grieving for a recent loss.

Two sea swims in 24 hours when it is chilly is exhausting. Our Sunday regime will involve an early rise to avoid people, especially those who are breaking Covid restrictions to meet their mothers! Being irked also brings a side order of  grumpiness with rule breakers!  Gazing at the sea with coffee in hand and not immersing ourselves in it is the plan. Almost certainly , especially if the weather is good we will regret not getting in. Skinny dipping will be considered and rejected immediately, not seriously but wishfully. Dogs will be walked and another morning in Lockdown will be ticked off.

Pandemic Pondering #348

©Tony Batty

Saturday sunshine…

Actually it was Friday sun and the image has been manipulated to make everything a bit more golden. Dreamlike perhaps.

There is a reason for this. Todays blog is about dreamscapes. I’ve noticed over the last week or so that my dreams that are close to reality have started to take place in pandemic world. Nothing dramatic, not nightmares. There are times when my dreams are so dull and humdrum waking up is a relief. It is these non interesting dreams that have shifted into Pandemic World. I’m not really sure why I’ve shared this, but as an observation of the progress of the pandemic I suppose it has some value.

Waking up today was a tiny shock to the system. We planned an early morning swim. Ooh it was chilly.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #346

This last few weeks has seen bloggers around the world start to comment on the anniversaries of Lockdowns starting. I use the Bloglovin App and WordPress Reader to follow other blogs.

Being a daily blogger I have another 19 days before I need to confront an anniversary, but no matter what the style or genre of the blogs, that I choose to follow there are some common threads. Puzzlement and incredulity that a year has passed and the changes that they have experienced from the mundane to Life Altering.

Not needing to write my anniversary blog just yet but being aware set me thinking yeserday. We deliberately imposed restrictions on our contacts and travel well before the government imposed restrictions on us. For over a year now we have barely travelled 10 miles in any direction from the Tamar River and that includes periods when we could have gone further. Excluding a couple of essential trips to London , with some stops on the way, we have lived the travel life of the average person in pre World War 1 times. Within that small radius there are only about 5 locations that we regularly visit by car. Everything else is a walk starting at home. I’m certain my life has never been this geographically restricted ever before. Obviously like everyone I am also, culturally, socially and familialy restricted which are far more significant. But I am a Thursdays Child.

Loaded into a motor cycle and side car soon after birth and driven 15 miles from maternity unit to home. 10 miles is just not enough!