#462 theoldmortuary ponders

8:15 am on a January morning in Firestone Bay. I know I share this sort of image often but yesterday I did a little research on the area as it was in 1895. Because the tide is high the tidal pool is invisible apart from the three swimmers walking out on the slipway that forms one of the pool walls. In 1895 the pool did not exist. Next week’s research will be to find out the pools history.

I was able to spend a few minutes looking at old planning maps while I was working at The Box yesterday.

The orange arrow points out the place the Bobbers nearly always swim. We know our bay as Tranquility Bay but on this map it is marked as Ladies Bathing Place.

Here it is this morning. 5 minutes with an old map makes more questions than answers. When were the steps and walkways built that make this such a gorgeous and practical swimming location. Sadly the map also shows the more than thirty houses and a school that were lost in my own area during German bombing raids during World War II. Just looking out on my street I can roughly outline how many homes were lost. How many people and their beloved pets lost their lives?

5 minutes with an old map, so thought provoking, where will this Pondering end? Sunshine+ An old map= gratitude and the need to know more.

#458 theoldmortuary ponders

Some blogs are slow burning, ripening slowly over many days, weeks or months. Others present themselves in a moment. This one is a hybrid, the Pondering has been bubbling away for a couple of months, the moment today, was perhaps 60 seconds of decision making. That moment is the top picture. After a small amount of walking, the coastal path at St Ives, we came upon this idyllic beach. After a moments paddling the decision was made to throw caution to the wind and strip off completely for a swim. Confident that my weekly sea swims, or bobs, as they are known, have equipped me with the ability to quickly submerge in any chilly sea temperature.

It would not do to fanny about, frightening fellow walkers, with my nakedness. The long, slow, ponderous part of this blog has its inspiration from a comment made by a fellow course member at a blogging course.

” Your blog would be better with more of you in it”

Since November I have tried putting a little more of me into the blog. In truth I have always been there, peeping from behind words or hiding in pictures. Trying to find my voice, or style, while nattering on about not very much. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone has noticed the slight changes since November.

Ten or so minutes of swimming in a cold sea, off the North Cornwall coast was just fabulous this morning. I could be evangelical about the benefits of cold water immersion, likewise the buzz of not giving a moments thought to just taking my clothes off in a public space. Put the two together and the skills of fully clothed camera- wielding friends and the blog gets all of me for one time only.


I got a life boosting, energy creating, moment. Fizzy as a firework, giddy as the giddiest goat, happy as a human hippo. Naked, cold and loving life. All time stood still, the sun was out and I was feeling elemental.

#456 theoldmortuary ponders

Haberdashery Shop

Last weekend I collected some lovely textures from Marylebone High Street. Possibly my favourite High Street in England. I know it like the back of my hand and after a three year absence it felt as familiar as ever. It is decidedly upmarket and glam but holds all the shops you should expect from a normal English High Street. Supermarkets, charity shops, butchers, bakers, cafes and chemists.

Hardware Store

I’ve walked Marylebone High Street with so many friends,family and colleagues. Attended summer fetes and Christmas Markets, all with a little more twinkle and pizzazz than normal. I have left a little part of my heart in Marylebone.

Charity Shop

It is always good to step back into a place that has so many happy memories. A place to give thanks, to absent friends and fabulous moments.


#452 theoldmortuary ponders

City walks in January need plenty of stop offs. The last time I was in this glorious Tom Dixon interiors shop was in February 2020. I was feeling as ill as it is possible to feel and still be more or less functioning. In reality I very probably had Covid and could barely appreciate the joy of his designs or the fragrances of his beautiful candles. Three years have passed and my personal score of Covid( before testing) Novid ( – test, all the symptoms) Covid (+test minimal symptoms) My pleasure in the visual remains high, but sadly the pleasures of fragrances have all but left me.

The barge, glimpsed through the window says it all. So much has been lost by so many over those three years my sense of smell is a small loss to bare. A January afternoon in the Tom Dixon store is such a feast for the eyes I barely missed the fragrances.

#451 theoldmortuary ponders

Our day started, as it went on, doing entirely normal things in unusual locations. A visit to our favourite bakery seemed very standard until I decided to use the loo. Only to discover that it was in the strong room, the bakery was in a former bank.

Unfortunately the name of the Strong Room could also be considered a judgement of my years of expertise in enjoying bakery products. No such judgement on the next stop.

Be-oom a Korean tea shop whose outdoor space was very unexpected.

I was particularly thrilled by the nearby what3words location.

After the tea, this silver author wished for somewhere cosy to relax after my rose petal infusion. There was no relaxation, though, in a day of long city walks. The last of the normal things in unusual spaces was a book shop on a canal.

And just to bring this unusual blog to a close is a clever door stop.

#450theoldmortuary ponders

The love-child of Zephyrus and Nortus gave us a good old going over last night. Not that I knew that at the time. I have been researching the blowing faces that are sometimes seen on old maritime maps. Mistakenly I thought they were cherubs, they are in fact wind Gods although many look a good bit like a cherub probably because they are blowing as hard as a trombonist.

©Albina Pinterest

I have a plan to create a painting that is a mash up of an old nautical chart and a Google map. My wind will be the lesser God of the South West Wind. Inconveniently the South West Wind is not the love-child of Zephyrus/ Favonius, the West wind and Notus/ Auster the South wind. The God of the South wind is Lips/ Africus. His parents are assumed to be Astraios and Eos. He is a winged man holding the stern of a ship and if last night is a sign of his strength he is capable of a good old blow. Drawing him is going to be blast, in my picture he will be holding the peninsular of Stonehouse. Currently he is just superimposed on an old painting of a stormy sea. And that my friends is the wind-God, rabbit-hole I have been down today after a windy and sometimes sleepless night at home.

#444 theoldmortuary ponders

Backtracking slightly to an earlier blog of this week. My Sunday ponder tackles the subject of procrastination again.

Sometimes while procrastinating I watch videos on art techniques, I am fascinated by the Japanese art of Kintsugi. Where broken porcelain is repaired, the repair is enhanced with gold.

I find the whole process mesmerising but am both self aware enough to know that I don’t have enough broken china in my life or the the tolerance for this meticulous craft. But knowledge can always be adapted.

This Christmas I was gifted a female torso vase. She had rather pneumatic breasts, if she were real I think she would almost certainly have ‘had some work done’

For some time I have felt the urge to depict the curious sensation of swimming in really cold water with a shortie wetsuit on.

Pneumatic Nancy is now officially a bobbing woman. Modified Kintsugi shows exactly the sensation of water finding it’s way into the openings of a wetsuit and then rivuleting over mounds and crevasses as it streams downwards. To be completely accurate the gilding should be done in ice cold silver. A project for another day, and another torso.

Procrastination creates gaps where serendipity can flourish.

#437 theoldmortuary ponders

Welcome 2023, let’s see what you have to offer.

January 1st heralds the end of 2022. The end of Advent+2022 and the end of the cheese footballs. A tasty snack that delights and disgust in equal measure. Savory wafer biscuit wrapped around powdery cheese and shaped like footballs. A Festive staple food for most of my life. You can take the woman out of Essex but you can’t get Essex out of the woman. Other classier snacks are available @theoldmortuary. Port, Stilton and Christmas cake drags me slightly closer to polite society.

Talking of my Essex roots I am thrilled to say that a fellow Essex artist has been given a Knighthood. At last someone prepared to take his responsibilities seriously.

Sir Grayson Perry

2023 off to an interesting start. No predictions, no resolutions, no expectations. Let’s see how it runs…

#436 theoldmortuary ponders

©Keith Hide

10 years ago my neighbour in London sent me this picture from his New Year’s Eve location. A holiday chalet on Whitsand Bay. By no stretch of mine or anyone elses imagination did I think that 10 years after this photograph was taken I would be living 25 minutes away from this spot. Exactly 10 years after this picture was taken I was just a little further up the cliff at a family reunion in a different holiday chalet. Celebrating our new grandaughter with her extended family and celebrating 4 generations of one branch of her family being together.

New Years Eve is traditionally a time for predictions, life has taught me not to put too much faith or time into predictions but instead to embrace Serendipity and Happenstance and ride them, like a surfer, onto the beach of reality.

Last blog of Advent+2022, lets see what 2023 delivers.

#435 theoldmortuary ponders

I made myself laugh yesterday on another wet and windy dog walk. I caught a glimpse of myself in the full- length glass doors of a closed cafe. I was completely dressed like the dogs.

The weather was dire so I couldn’t get a photo, but this bathroom shot gives you an idea. Even the architecture of the walk seemed to have got the ‘salted caramel’ dress code.

Long ago this was the entrance to my Fine Art Studio complex.

Then my task for the day was to create gift packs from a Photo Shoot * that my family were involved in at the height of summer.


The evening light and our choice of clothes was also Caramel coloured. Once again the dogs were perfectly colour co-ordinated.

Although Hugo could not be trusted to pose. As regular readers will know he is on a one dog mission to rescue every frond of seaweed from the sea. Sorting these pictures was like playing snap with my family. Six packs of selected images were the reward for a couple of hours of checking and checking serial numbers.

It was a Salted Caramel kind of day!

* we are not really a photo shoot kind of family. However meeting Rachel at Ruby Light was a very relaxed experience. I can happily recommend her.