#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. 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 home 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.

#622 theoldmortuary ponders


Yesterday was a mix of plans coming together and plans falling apart. Up to 3pm things pretty much went to plan, two art projects were finished in enough time to get me to Wembury for dog grooming. I even managed to get the best parking spot above the beach .

After top grade parking the plan was to swim and read while the dogs were being pampered. Tide and weather slightly changed that plan. I hadn’t checked the tide and the clouds occluded the bright sunshine.I found myself a warm rock and basked on radiated heat while reading my book. Other beach goers provided unexpected entertainment if I allowed myself to drift away from my novel. The beach was full of teenagers away from school for the exam season. There was also a group of mothers planning an after school party. I was in awe of the amount of stuff they transported onto the beach, sadly most of it,very environmentally unsound. The tide was going out and making the beach huge. They relocated three times, each time having to move enough stuff for a mini festival. Time ticked away while I listened to teenage drama, George, Lauren and an anonymous girl were particularly good value. Eventually though, and after an unplanned snooze it was time to collect the dogs. The beach had reached peak business and the smell of barbeque was overwhelming.

Our evening plan had been to swim after collecting the dogs but we had failed to remember the seasonal ban. However a coastal path walk took us to a rocky bay not too far away.

We were the only people there and the water was warm. My swim was essential. During the unplanned snooze, or it may have been a deep sleep. I had managed to squirm off the warm rock and onto fine sand. The sand was everywhere, absolutely everywhere. Driving home to sort things out would have been an exercise in whole body exfoliation. Not an experimental beauty treatment I was prepared to trial.

While I sorted myself out, Hannah basked on non invasive rocks and the dogs had a whole new beach to explore, without sand ruining their newly primped good looks.

A day that survived planning errors rather well.

#619 theoldmortuary ponders

This quote appears on the back of a book that I am about to read. Just reading it exercises me greatly. What would be the purpose of my three hearts if I were so lucky.

One would certainly be my actual anatomical heart, working hard keeping me alive.

The second I think would be a super resilient heart to house all heartbreak, sadness and grief that life serves up.

But number three, well that would be the heart of love, the one that makes every day special, the one that expands as required. The one that looks into a sunset and concludes that another day has been well-lived.

#617 theoldmortuary ponders

Suddenly May has turned the temperature up and banished the rain. Clothes, now, reliably dry in half a day when we hang them against our white painted, stone wall. I treated our highest patio with white vinegar and soapy water and the sun has done some magic there and bleached away all the mildew that formed over winter.

I think a little Yayoi Kusama madness has penetrated our minds. See yesterday’s blog.https://theoldmortuary.design/2023/05/20/616-theoldmortuary-ponders/

The van is ready for our first good weather excursion and there is some spottiness about.

I was also impressed whilst in Hong Kong by some stools that we saw in a museum cafe. Not something you can tuck under your arm when travelling with hand luggage only but global giant Google has provided the exact thing now I am home.

Too bad that we no longer live in the actual old mortuary which had the most beautiful untreated concrete walls. Let’s see how this gorgeous shape fits into a Georgian house when it arrives from Shenzen. Yesterday evening was still full-on sunshine, we walked the dogs before going to a birthday party and the sounds of happiness coming from,what was left of the beach, were so uplifting.

Still in full sunlight we set off for a birthday party and were transported back 20 years with ex colleagues from Plymouth. What a fun night and it seems 20 years have passed by in the twink of a glitterball and we all looked fabulous. Below the birthday woman on our bobbing beach.

#616 theoldmortuary ponders.

One week on, from our trip to the Yayoi Kusama Exhibition in Hong Kong.

Yayoi Kusama (草間 彌生, Kusama Yayoi, born 22 March 1929) is a Japanese contemporary artist who works primarily in sculpture and installation, and is also active in paintingperformancevideo artfashionpoetry, fiction, and other arts. Her work is based in conceptual art and shows some attributes of feminismminimalismsurrealismArt Brutpop art, and abstract expressionism, and is infused with autobiographical, psychological, and sexual content. She has been acknowledged as one of the most important living artists to come out of Japan,[1] the world’s top-selling female artist,[2] and the world’s most successful living artist.[3] Her work influenced that of her contemporaries, including Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.

We were both early to the party and late to the party. We were there as the doors opened on the last day of the exhibition.

I was overwhelmed by the experience. Ordinarily if this exhibition had been in a home city I would have booked at least two further visits to fully absorb the significance and depth of what I was seeing. For this blog I am just going to ponder the large installation that was in the basement of the art gallery.

Her work is immediately joyful. When I walked into the installation I felt like I had symbiotically absorbed more champagne than would be conducive to steady walking. A smile appeared in my soul instantly. I could quite happily have laid in a great big bean bag and stayed there all day. The perfect thing would have been to be dressed all in black laying on a black bean bag watching the instant pleasure playing out on every visitor in the room. I realise, of course, that I would have been a hazard, slips, trips, and falls magnet and completely forbidden by the Health and Safety Axis of power. But a woman can dream.

As you can see in the picture above I was dressed to impress. Largely an accident of very minimal packing and a fortuitous find of earrings in Zara.

Every moment in this installation was a feast for the mind.

This was the moment a door opened.

I may stop wittering at this point and just share some photos. Have a fabulous Saturday.

#615 theoldmortuary ponders.

Returning from holidays means that normal routines need to be re-established. The dogs have been away at their second home. A rural idyll with more than an acre of beautiful landscape to scamper in.

This morning it was very much back to work for them. Hugo hunting seaweed and Lola wrestling sticks. Yesterday I was back bobbing in 12 degrees of Atlantic sea after 42 degrees in Bangkok. Yesterday was a birthday bob for a friend and ex colleague.

It was a significant birthday, marked as they sometimes are with hair growth in all the wrong places.

It was a fun time with catching up on all sides with old friends and making new ones. Bobbing is a very social activity. There has been a massive development, involving our favoured area to swim, Firestone Bay. It has been incorporated as an Official Swimming Zone. Which means the water has to be tested for quality and safety and that certain amenities must always be available close by.

My morning dog walk started at Firestone Bay this morning and it was as beautiful as normal. A film crew from the BBC were there to report on the successful bid to become a designated swim zone. Below is a video of the news clip that will be on National TV for most of today, unless a big news story bounces it into oblivion. The dogs were unable to keep quiet for the whole 6 minutes. And I fidgeted a bit as I didn’t expect the segment to be quite so long.

Have a good day.

#614 theoldmortuary ponders

Such a solid piece of good sense. This popped up on Facebook yesterday. Mostly these positivity posts leave me a bit cold, particularly if they have a religious or new-age vibe. But this one just feels like a pragmatic way to cope with the tough stuff. My dad was a pragmatic, kind person who always stated the obvious in a way that was instantly useful. Although he has been dead a while I still rely on many nuggets of his wisdom and am reminded of him often.

Museum of Modern Art. Bangkok

This painting which I met for the first time last week made me want to walk this path with my dad. I Imagine many people viewing this for the first time would instantly think of their fathers. So often parental relationships are complicated or difficult to explain but this simple straight avenue of trees looks inviting and calm, a place of great conversations no matter how insignificant or indeed life changing.

#612 theoldmortuary ponders

Torrential rain in Hong Kong

The last two days of travelling have taken us from the rain of Hong Kong via the crazy temperatures of Bangkok and the cool elegance of Vienna to May sunshine in Cornwall.

Hugo and Lolas holiday destination while we were away.

Given that we have spent much of that time trying to sleep in aircraft we have done a crazy level of steps over those two days. Allowing for time differences there was actually 24 hours of travel. A small amount of walking in Hong Kong on our departure day and a small amount of walking in Windsor after our arrival at Heathrow.

Windsor and Windsor Castle, still in party mood.

25,000 steps over two days when most of the time was spent in the air is remarkable. Some people would describe 12,500 steps a day, as a walking holiday.

Airport transfers are not most peoples idea of an enjoyable hike especially as we only ever travel with hand luggage of about 9 kg each. That’s us excused the gym for a few days. But travel resets the mind, our journey was primarily about meeting our newest family member, Cecily, in Hong Kong and we chose to not take the direct route so as not to overwhelm her parents and sibling with too long a stay.

Something completely unexpected occurred at the very end of our flight into Heathrow. We flew low over South London and our home villages of Crystal Palace and Dulwich. The early morning May sunshine was bright and clear. From my window seat I could photograph London Bridge Station which was my mainline commuter hub when I worked in the City.

St Bartholomews Hospital where I trained and worked.

And The Gherkin and Tower 42 where I celebrated my 60th Birthday.

Then in one final moment of serendipity we flew over Harrow School, 24 hours after leaving Harrow Hong Kong. Touch down at Heathrow and we made a quick exit and off to Windsor for a quick cup of coffee and a cheese straw to fuel the journey home.

Gail’s Bakery and Coffee, Windsor

Coffee to coffee 25,000 steps.

Arabica℅, Star Ferry Terminal Hong Kong

#611 theoldmortuary ponders

After four years away from Asia, a day of lasts. Last day of the shiny toes reflecting a Hong Kong horizon first thing in the morning. Last snuggly cuddles in the morning.

And the last delicious snuffles of a sleepy baby.

But other lasts are not of the flesh and blood type. Last good coffee before 26 hours of airports and aeroplanes.

Last Star Ferry ride, on the Rainbow one.

And after 10 days of fabulous art exhibitions we topped off with Joan Miro at the new West Cultural Centre in Hong Kong Harbour.

Lasts are all well and good but goodbyes get harder. Covid did some dreadful things to the world but isolating us from our close loved ones and our far ones has stripped me of my British stiff upper lip, and mine was never the stiffest. Bits of me ache thinking of how far we are all spread. Other bits will join those emotional aches as we hop from Asia to Europe. But aches are the price we pay for love.

One more last, surely the funkiest image of the new King of England. One week on and he is a blushing teacup.

Funny image to end a blog so I’ve wheeled out some junk. The last Junk