#625 theoldmortuary ponders

Using a prompt today, not because I was lost for a subject to ponder, but more because there is always something to ponder.

Early morning pondering in the van, waiting for coffee. Two dogs on my lap.

What are you good at?

I’ve always been a ponderer and on the whole pondering is a private occupation, unless a daily blog is written. So with some self judgement I would say that I am a particularly avid and accomplished ponderer. Being good at something carries responsibilities, I have been accused of having too vivid an imagination or being lost in my own world. Well I adore vivid, that’s why some of my images are over-saturated and trust me,I have never been lost in my own world. I know exactly where I am.

So after all that self-justification here is todays ponder which is a little late and ludicrously vivid.

A chance encounter with a patient took us to Buckfast Abbey early this morning.

It was the most peaceful spot for an early morning dog walk with friends.

So peaceful that, beyond the vivid stained glass,I forgot to take photos.

The whole place is rather overwhelming and the Stained Glass is certainly a show stopper.

But coupled with an organ recital of some contemporary music the whole experience was quite other worldly.

Which I suppose is the point of an Abbey.

#624 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday we started a day of dull chores with a free gift of coffee. Just enough for four double espresso. Our gift came from Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market.

And before that it came from Bolivia.

We needed something pretty perky to make a day of chores magical.

As it turns out Finca Floribondio did not do a bad job at all. Our first Industrial Estate of the day, yes, it was ‘that’ kind of a day, turned out to be not what you might expect at all. Commercial Road in Plymouth was an Industrial Estate long before such things were invented. We go there to get our car and van tyres fixed or replaced. That was job number one of the day. Me and the dogs walked while Hannah took the van. The magic or dreamlike powers of Floripondio gave me a great view and water for the dogs to play in.

View of the Citadel from Teats Hill slipway.

Some time had passed since the first dose of coffee so we made a plan to rendezvous at a coffee shop in a Motorbike Dealers. Once again the magic of Floripondo made things a little dreamlike.

A motorbike showroom where bikes are allowed on carpet!

Window view to prove we were in an Industrial Estate.

Now with full disclosure I must say I know nothing about motorbikes beyond an artistic love of sprockets.

©theoldmortuary.design I painted this some years ago as a Memento Mori for a biker whose ashes were scattered on the Thames at Bankside not so very far from Borough Market.

But this motorbike must be quite special.

Motorbike cafes have a dress code which we only just fitted by accidentally wearing dark colours. Leather is de rigour. Fabulously engineered leather to keep its wearers safe in case of incidental or accidental damage. Human skin and tarmac or gravel at high speed is not a good combination, neither is collision good for bones or internal organs. Motorbike leathers are phenomenal. However they can make their wearers look like a cross between a storm trooper and a lizard/insect. As we enjoyed our coffee and a bacon sarnie every one of these beautiful lizard insects stopped to pay homage to this beautiful object.

Now the coffee at this cafe was also wonderful but without the hallucinogenic properties of Finca Floripondio we were returned to normal humans who had chores to do in utterly banal and dull industrial estates. The magic of a freeby wiped out by normal life.

The magic only returned when we started researching actually buying some Finca Floripondio beans.

The first hit on Google was a surprise and took us straight back to one of our favourite Hong Kong coffee shops. Internet cookies are powerful things, no calories though!

However nothing could tempt us to pay HKD 468 for 200g of beans even as a holiday treat.

Our coffee treat will come from London, when we deserve it.

Buy Coffee



And that, my Sunday friends is a ponderous ponder inspired by a day of really dull jobs.

#623 theoldmortuary ponders


Every now and again Facebook memories jogs me into a realisation that there was a time in my life without daily blogging. Pondering before blogging was an entirely personal and private dialogue. Often occuring in the commuting time between work and home.


I had completely forgotten the quote from 2014 or even the work based incident that made me find it and post it on Facebook.

The quote is quite brutal in its takedown of the value of an apology. I don’t think the world of an apology is quite as black and white. Post-Covid in Britain the value of apologies has been utterly besmirched by the governing Conservative Party, who managed to be quite possibly the worst users of the hollow apology in history.

The broken plate analogy is perfect for this ponder. Because I believe the Japanese have a way of mending plates that demonstrates how a good apology can build back a beautiful broken plate into something different, maybe stronger, definitely a valuable transition.

While a bad apology, a missed apology or a failure to change just creates fragments of plates. Fragments that can echo down through history .

So, somewhat late to considering my 2014 quote, Facebook has prompted a good old ponder which I can share.

The gold standard of apologies is Kintsugi while Roman Pottery is of no value in the world of good apologies.

I always aim for Kintsugi but fear that at times I have taken the Roman Pottery road.

On the receiving end I have wonderful Kintsugi apologies that have strengthened and enhanced my life. Life has also dealt some Roman Pottery style apologies or non apologies. Things to step over and move on.

How good would it be to fix all of lifes broken pots with Kintsugi.

Ponder over, thank you Facebook 2014. I’ve managed to programme in a bit more wisdom since that post.

#601 theoldmortuary ponders

A spring morning and the fish are swimming, this is always a good sign to wake up to. Sunshine streaming in through the blind and creating sharp fish shadows. This last week has been busy, but I am winning the tasks v time battle. Some paintings sold at the weekend which is always worth a skip and a jump.

At the risk of repeating myself I also took a photograph yesterday that makes me really happy.

If I were the sort of person to ever go anywhere posh enough to wear an outrageous hat, then this image might be my inspiration. As it is this photograph may end up as one of my art greetings cards later in the year. After a week of toil, today, Wednesday is almost a day of rest.

My fingernails are no longer ravaged by packing and unpacking, decorating, or framing art and took themselves off to a nail bar yesterday. There is a huge flaw in my rest plan though. There has been a large amount of seagull poo deposited on my car. Neighbours had suffered a similar fate over the weekend but we had been lucky, not so yesterday. There are parts of my red car that would be camouflaged and easily hidden in Antarctica. Nobody needs a photograph of that. So here we are, ‘hump’ day, enjoy the slide towards Friday.

#522 theoldmortuary ponders

First Ice Cream of the season. Soft whip with clotted cream and a chocolate flake.

A late in the day pondering, possibly not hugely interesting but worth pondering, I feel.

I recently read a very bitter editorial by a woman journalist who was bemoaning that the craft of good journalism was being diluted by people like myself who blog.

She claimed we were “flooding the world of the written word, with bad grammar and poor punctuation.”

Maybe she was having a bad day but that comment seems counter intuitive to a profession that holds on tight to the right of free speech.

There are some professions whose job of work is quite rightly protected by law. So that amateurs, people without formal training and qualifications cannot do the thing in question.

Writing is not one of those occupations. But her pithy article made me think, ponder if you will. I am all too aware that my punctuation and grammar can be hit and miss at times. I am comfortable with this, I realise. For the most part nobody has paid me to write so I have only rarely stolen work from ‘real’ journalists. My cranky punctuation and grammar are my written voice. Just as my actual voice is not perfect, neither is my written one.

I am comfortable with my writing peculiarities, not necessarily proud of them, could do better, of course.Thank you, anonymous journalist for pricking my conscience on a Sunday. It was a brief and productive ponder.

Last muddy boots of the season ?

#519 theoldmortuary ponders

The End of the Day, Tinside Lido © theoldmortuary.

There is a magical moment, on Summer evenings when the swimming public have been ushered out of Plymouths Iconic Tinside Lido.The fountain is still turned on, but there are no swimmers in the water,no bystanders sat on the walls. All the staff are out of view, stacking sun loungers and deck chairs against walls far below us. For a moment the fountains sounds are not masked by squealing swimmers and all you can hear is splashing water . Then, just like that, an unseen hand flicks a switch and the splashing water of the fountain is silenced. A funny pocket of silence occurs before all the normal,environmental, sounds of a busy seafront road take over as the sun sets on another day. Why does splashing water sound so good?

I listened to a radio programme the other day about a charity that makes requested soundscape tapes for prisoners on death row in the United States. Even in completely land locked States the requests often included some sort of watery sounds. I’m still pondering what my sounds would be, were I to find myself in that somewhat niche environment.

#501 theoldmortuary ponders

Rather a late blog. No particular reason. Certainly not giddy celebrating of blog 500.Our weekend plans have flipped completely and maybe that has affected my time line. For whatever reason I overslept considerably this morning leaving no gap for some gentle Pondering before the day started. A news article piqued my interest as I was scrolling while cooking breakfast. It seems that one of my favourite doors has a life of its own beyond its home town of St Ives or my blogs.

This 200 year old door is opposite the kitchen window of a cottage that we like to rent in St Ives during the winter months. Below is the 2018 article that popped up while I was scrolling.


I hastened to Pinterest and Instagram and had a look at their picture grids of the door.

It seems I am not the only person to find old doors with flaking paint fascinating.


By one of life’s wonderful coincidences we found an old, green, ghost sign in Plymouth, this example of flaky paint may not interest any branch of the various Tate Galleries but it has a green flaky charm of its own.

Below is another WordPress Blog with the exact same subject.


Flaky paint on a Sunday. Pondering is a funny old habit.

#475 theoldmortuary ponders

There is something odd going on in our house. The indoor plants are expressing a preference to living in the west facing rooms this winter. The shortness of days is one factor but the same phenomena did not happen last year. The plants in the east facing rooms started begging for attention in December, despite being looked after entirely appropriately. They started displaying teenage angst, flopping a bit, not really communicating and generally not being themselves. As they have managed to persuade us that they would be better off elsewhere the bathroom and dining room have slowly gathered more plants. A particular favourite spot is an odd shaped window where a door used to be.

It is getting rather crowded. This week’s big move was a cheese plant that had been moved into the bathroom a couple of weeks ago. His spirits were not perked up at all in our bright bathroom but less than 12 hours in the favoured window seat he was a very happy chap. The only real difference between the dining room and the bathroom is the proximity to the coffee machine.

Our coffee machine self-cleans before every brew. We collect the water in a small jug and use it to water plants when it has cooled. The water is always brown with residual coffee, this has to be the reason for the plants happiness. How long will it take before all the green members of this family persuade us to let them move to the dining room, where all the drinks are caffeinated. Soon enough they will be giddy and over-stimulated.

Exactly like teenagers.

#474 theoldmortuary ponders

Earlier this week this quote dropped into one of my Social Media accounts. It irritated me from the minute it arrived because it seems so passive aggressive in tone. Also it hit a small nerve because I know that sometimes I am not capable of forgiving and forgetting. I am not a seething bundle of angst, just rather too practical. Forgiveness is fine but surely forgetting is counterintuitive.

Earlier this week while we were decorating the kitchen we kept banging our heads on some pendant lights that are normally over a table.

The table was moved to enable us to paint the wall. Time and time again we banged our heads on the light as we walked past. Clearly we had forgiven ourselves for being so daft but also forgotten and did it repeatedly. Had we remembered and recovered it would have been a much better day.

So I came up with a quote that works so much better for me.

And for special occasions…

Clearly the last quote is not the behaviour of a fully perfect human and would not have been appropriate for the pendant light. However deleting the quote at the top of this blog, and considering other options was all the revenge I needed to recover from something unwanted dropping into my mind.

Sometimes I will forgive and forget. Other times I will remember and recover. Occasionally revenge works. It can be delicious if used appropriately, sparingly and safely.

Not everything that drops into Social Media is bad.

This fabulous quote from Jacinda Ardern made my empathetic heart sing. It will sit in my thoughts very comfortably for a while.

#465 theoldmortuary ponders

I feel I have been a little harsh with January. I am not alone, an early morning conversation drifted over to me from above the dogs heads.

” When exactly does January finish, it does seem to have dragged on and on this year, bloody hell not until Wednesday”

Are we all all still affected by the lag of Covid years when January’s have been uncertain. This January has definitely felt more like a liminal space than an actual flesh and blood, lived in Calendar month.

Like all months January has its own distinctive personality. If it was a person I would not be drawn to it, we would not be going out for coffee or hooking up for a dog walk.

There are, though some lovely, unique positives about my most unloved month.

1. Left over Christmas Cake- ours left the building last Thursday. Small squares of it have accompanied our evenings of binge watching T. V.

2. The pile of Christmas books. Always a satisfyingly reassuring interior design feature. Enough reading matter should we ever get snowed in with power cuts. With enough candle power boredom can be banished.

3. Christmas toiletries. Morning ablutions become foamy fantasies of far away places with coconut and jojoba. Personally I avoid mintiness. It does not remind me of Alpine meadows. It could just be me, but mintiness on one’s soft parts is torture. Nothing Swiss about it. Pure Spanish inquisition of the red hot poker sort.

I think 3 January positives is enough. I need to discuss the header image. One of three pure white tulips that were in a Christmas bouquet. Strangely they were supplied still attached to their bulbs.

One month after their arrival they are languishing floppily in the kitchen. Their stems are weak but the flower is still willing. Willing for what, I have to ask. Their flower friends have long ago joined the compost gang. My hope is that the bulbs will dry out from nearly a months immersion in water. I just couldn’t bare to keep them in a vase any longer, being all droopy and gloomy. They were a plant reflection of my own pathetic seasonal ennui. Wednesday is a deadline for both bulbs and humans in this house