Pandemic Pondering #541

The second day of this weekend with lots of colour and a little bit of anxiety. Coupled with some charity fund raising, this time a swim around Burgh Island just off the South Devon coast. Under normal circumstances Jenna would not be abseiling without full family support or Hannah swimming around an island without the same. Pandemic rescheduling has concentrated so much into the 4 weekends of September that everyone is spread a little too thinly to cover all commitments.

An early start at Bigbury gave us two seasons in the space of half an hour, summer glory then autumnal gloom. Thankfully the summer glory won through for the actual swim.

Hugo and his mum heading to the check in

The land bound support team tucked into scones Devon style.

Whilst the sea swimmers confidently circumnavigated the island and returned to us, very happy with their achievement.

©Katie Bobber.

The route, what you cant see is that at least half of the swim was through waves more traditionally used for surfing.

Pandemic Pondering #539

We live on a funny foot-shaped peninsular of land that juts into the sea. We decided early on to only plant things in our yard that flourish in other peoples gardens nearby. The micro climate of such a location is hard for us to predict. There will probably be a flurry of yardening at our home in the autumn. One of the key purchases will be a fig tree. There is rumoured to be a 400 year old one somewhere on the peninsular. The gorgeous thing about fig trees around here is that the fruit actually ripens. A restaurant just down the road from us bases some of their signature dishes on the figs that they harvest in their own garden.

We went there yesterday to celebrate a friends birthday.

Illustration from Med by Claudia Roden © Ebury Press

9 of us gathered indoors to eat lovely food and natter. Something we’ve not done since she was two years younger!

The weather was perfect for admiring fig trees

True to form Steph had a figgy desert.

Fig Créme Brulé with Fig ice cream. https://thefigtreeat36.co.uk/

I’m not sure how old a fig tree has to be to produce copious ripened fruit so we better get on with planting one if we want to make fig based foods anytime soon.

Pandemic Pondering #535

Back to the usual morning dog walk. In the hours we have been back from the weekend sojourn to Wimbledon, dog walks have been slow paced affairs. We have only lived in our current location for a couple of months. The dogs obviously dont feel that their cachet of news filled wee stops is quite extensive enough to keep in the canine loop while away for three days. Yesterdays home return walks were very sniffy, news gathering, affairs with many replies needing to be sprinkled en route. This morning there was canine disdain when their usual early morning routine was disrupted by a closed footpath. I managed some lovely photos but they are unmoved by such things .

The footpath will be closed for two weeks. This will upset the dogs but it is also the footpath that leads to our regular ‘ bobbing’ beach , our regular haunt for the whole of the pandemic!

While the dogs are sniffingly detained on information gathering I am sometimes left standing around a bit. This morning I noticed two lifting rings on an old manhole cover.

One of them had been quite crumpled. It is really hard to imagine what could possibly have caused such harm, but I am very glad not to have been standing in the same place when the damage occured.

Pandemic Pondering #534

The King of Bling

Yesterday was vivid. The exuberant creativity of a passing cyclist embellished the day and boosted our happiness in a way that sweaty lycra never would.

Instagram @bondwimbledon added to a day that was full of texture and sensation. Starting with a purple cabbage.

In truth the day actually started with dusty, filthy feet when I got a little lost on Wimbledon Common, but nobody needs to see those bad boys on a Monday morning. The inevitability of Autumn gave more texture with fallen Oak leaves which have way more charm than my grubby toes.

Fuelled by lunch from Wimbledon Market, Turkish flat breads and salad.

We set off for the Sky Garden in the City for vertiginous views and some much needed, after the last 20 months, or so, family time out and about.

Even there,in a highly controlled environment, Autumn gave us some gorgeous form and texture.

Natures way of mimicking the King of Bling!

The Sky Garden is an extraordinary place to people watch although the style bar for the day had been set to unreachable high standards already. An accidental photographic moment , the red crane that forms a tick, sums up my relationship with London. Some of the best moments of my working life were had in hospitals that are part of the annonymity of this urban landscape. Some wonderful friendships were formed within the boundaries of this image.

A Sunday well spent!

Pandemic Pondering #526

We had a fabulous bob this morning. The sea was cool and bumpy and we had two invisiting bobbers from Oxford, both with the skills required, bobbing obviously and nattering. The more gregarious of the two guest bobbers got into conversation with a gentleman who had, he said, retired from the glamour industry. Women writhing to keep their bits covered up must have been quite a novelty for him.

Writhing occurs during the changing phase. Relatively easy during the dry change but post swim all sorts of curious movements occur, sea water and cold skin can be a sticky pairing. Even the simplest garment can become a tenaciously gripping piece of fabric, intent on clinging in the wrong place.

In other news a new cook book has arrived @theoldmortuary . Med by Claudia Rodin. The waves in the blog come from the cookbook not Plymouth Sound.

There is an update on Pandemic Pondering #524.

Only 24 hours after a few bobbers had watched the cremated remains of an unknown person belatedly drift into the bay, other bobbers visited for an evening swim. Two high and two low tides had occured and had returned the roses to the high tide point. Once again bobbers gently returned the floral tributes to the sea. Whilst we are in thoughtful mode I can share a poem about swimming in a cold sea that Angela Bobber shared on our Bobbing WhatsApp group

©Samantha Reynolds

https://instagram.com/bentlily?utm_medium=copy_link

The link above takes to you to Samantha Reynolds Instagram page.

Bobbers don’t particularly fill their swims with worries of rocks and sharks. We have smaller fears, eels and seals with caves full of plundered treasures and enchanted seaweed with the power to grab ankles. It’s all in the mind, of course, but we never allow fantasy or fact ruin good conversations or good bobbing.

Pandemic Pondering #518

All along the length of the Tamar Valley artists are tidying their art studios in preparation for Open Studios with the art group Drawn to the Valley. Not so at home here, I didnt enter this year because of house moving uncertainty, my new studio has barely had the chance to get untidy. I am preparing stuff for another exhibition in October so there is actually activity but currently the most creative activity is procrastination. I’m doing the research and starting the project while simultaneously trying to remember where I stowed everything.

Ive also pledged to myself to only use a small percentage of new art materials in the future and to recycle wherever possible. This current project uses second hand tapestry materials bought from house clearances. I’m also saving the tiny, irritatingly clingy left overs from sewing projects to include in this piece of work.

Yesterday the first image emerged from the chaos. I might just be keeping the procrastination under control!

Makers ©theoldmortuary

It won’t last.

Pandemic Pondering #517

©The Box. A shard from a North Devon Pottery, excavated from a Colonial site in New England

My leisure reading life and my work life are intersecting currently and in truth a little bit late. I spend a lot of time in the Mayflower Exhibition when I am working in the museum.

Both the exhibition and the book have the same constraint. Very little is known about the actual Mayflower Voyage. Difficult for Historians but good for me as the original source material is the same. The curators of the exhibition do a brilliant job of explaining and expanding the known facts and illustrate them well with actual artifacts. The 60 years following the voyage of the Mayflower is the significant part of the narrative for history and probably the least accurately portrayed by the Thanksgiving myth and beyond. As I read the book my mind is illustrated with the items and documents I spend my day with.

This makes my reading of the book jog along very nicely. Neither the exhibition nor the book allow sentimental and fictional nostalgia, the darkness and brutality of the settlement and the impact on the indigenous people is all part of the story of European Colonisation. In reality the book is not a comfortable or easy read, but I didnt expect it to be.

© The Box

Here is the book I am currently reading.

The Exhibition is at The Box Plymouth.

Pandemic Pondering #516

Hot on the heels of yesterdays morning blog is an evening blog of the same day, and two pictures from the exact same position with only a dog walk between them. Between yesterdays blog and this one lies the path of a day taken up by stuff, complicated by maintainance work on a local bridge. A normal 20 minute journey swelled to fill an hour and I missed an appointment. Rebooked for two hours later I filled my time with delivering brochures for an upcoming Open Studios event.

And took a trip to the supermarket. The appointment required me not to drive for two hours after so I was ‘forced’ to enjoy a late lunch in a friends garden and soak up the sun whilst my eyes returned to a normal, not blurry, way of life. Time then to head for home and get all the day jobs done. Before heading out for the evening dog walk which provided the two pictures that top and tail this blog. Since moving, our evening dog walk always takes in the area around the Royal William Yard, especially since the evenings have started to get darker. Royal William Yard is a collection of Military Buildings in Plymouth.

https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/explore/areas-to-visit/royal-william-yard

Between the two photos we walked up to a meadow and the dogs chased each other inside the old, second world war gun emplacements of Devils Point.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/history/world-war-two-defences-you-2750611

I’m sure the longer we live here the more the history will soak into our bones but right now every slab of concrete is a complete mystery to us.

Returning to our original position, night was properly upon us.Time to turn our twelve feet for home.

Pandemic Pondering #512

A day of sweet and sour. Three hours in an actual physical bank and the transaction still not completed by the time we left. Not a businesslike bone in the building! The sweetness that started the day came out of boredom as we waited and waited. I had bought some sunflowers and noticed that there were beads of nectar. I also marvelled at the Fibronacci Sequencing of the seed head. The bank was very dull!

Overwhelmed by Fibronacci excitement and curiosity and with plenty of time on my hands I decided to taste the nectar.

Tiny, twinkling beads of sweetness but oh so sticky!

If banks still had piles of money I could have covered my hands with nectar and plunged them into a pile of money and run around the corner and delivered it in person to the bank we were trying to make the transfer to.

Flights of fantasy and Fibronacci wonderment can only get you so far and there are no longer piles of money, obviously waiting for sticky fingered clients, in banks. After three hours we failed to transfer any money from one account to another. Legally or illegally, with or without nectar . Time to head off for afternoon tea in a barn.

Fully charged with sugar and tea there was only a couple of hours of downtime before an evening of questionable entertainment.

Four bobbers went to an outside performance of Jaws. Screened at our local Lido we were surrounded on three sides by water as we visited Amity Island for the 4th of July. We still jumped and screamed. Tomorrows bob will have an extra texture of frisson.

Pandemic Pondering #510

©Kim Bobber

The Bobbers were out and about around Plymouth Sound last night, watching rather than swimming.

The British National Fireworks Championships are held in Plymouth every August. After a Coronovirus hiatus last year there was some doubt if the event would happen this year after the recent murders in Plymouth. It was decided the competition would go ahead with the two evenings events dedicated to those whose lives were taken. A minutes silence with a torch vigil, ended by heart shaped fireworks took place 15 minutes before the main event.

There were hundreds of small boats out in the Sound twinkling while they waited for the fireworks. Paddle borders too were illuminated.

Then the fireworks started and boats on the water were transformed into silhouettes.

©Debs Bobber

We spent the evening at Tranquility Bay the normal location for Bobbers. Not quite such grandstand images but only five minutes walk from home.

Hearts and conversations are very much at the centre of everything in Plymouth right now. Snatches of the same conversations are heard wherever people gather, as the city tries to comprehend the events of last week. Catching a heart in the sky seemed quite fitting.