#253 theoldmortuary ponders

Last nights sunset was a warning, away from the actual sunset the skies were sulphurous. If it had been wintertime the skies would have been warning that snow was imminent. Overnight there was a lot of rainfall, the yard this morning was bejewelled by raindrops.

Apologies for using the same poppy as yesterday but nobody else has bloomed yet.

The Agapanthus is really holding off from blooming fully but the raindrop jewels are very pretty.

Not so great, from the overnight deluge are the slugs and snails, a mini city of slime and activity is happening in the yard, all at a very slow pace. It amazes me how much destruction such slow creatures can manage without any sense of rush or hurry. I never catch them rushing to destruction, they just travel to their destinations of gluttony with a casual slide. If only they were cuddlier or prettier they would be quite relaxing to watch but that is not something I have ever seen advocated for lowering of stress or tension. Quite the reverse really, somehow these slow moving creatures make me slightly uncomfortable without any logical reason. I don’t photograph them either, not even for the benefit of this blog. So here is a slug free sunrise.

#252 theoldmortuary ponders

This lovely shaded orange was a pocket shot after our evening bob/swim. It really was a rough one and nobody stayed in long. The strange thing is that waves can be lovely to swim in, but near to high tide it can all be a little bit too much of a good thing. Yesterday morning the perfect wave machine made its way close to our swimming zone. A very expensive wave machine to be sure, and very unusual.

The waves created were beautiful. Just big regular ripples really, I was sad to be on dry land, as this powerful submarine slipped by, it might have been rather interesting to feel all that power reverberating through the water. Our poppies are also presenting as rather powerful beasts this week. Just like the submarine, all the action is happening under the surface.

These two have not yet opened but someone else did overnight.

Is it just me or does the centre of this poppy look just like the most delicious cake?

Nuclear submarines to Fondant Fancies all in the space of about 500 yards and fewer words. Happy Monday.

#247 theoldmortuary ponders

A blue letter day, with bells on. Blue was the colour of the day. After 6 months my passport arrived! 6 months of waiting. 6 months of sitting on phone lines listening to shocking music and on the rare occasions I made contact with a human call centre person several months of listening to a variety of lies about the location of my missing passport. Just one month of getting my local MP involved and the passport is snuggly in my possession. How I wish my passport was still a cheery red European one but after 6 months the blue British one will have to do. This unacceptable delay was apparently caused by the loss of my original documents, something that would have been of concern to me had all the documents not been posted back to me four months ago. Quite how a passport could be sanctioned last week with no documents is a mystery that I can’t quite get my head around. Maybe I just sounded really British to the nice young man who phoned me last week from Westminster …

In other blue related events, the scaffolding came down from the front of our house and we can see the new colour scheme. We are very happy with our choices.

The ‘bells on’ comment comes from the evening dog walk. Morris Men and clog dancers were performing at a local pub.

The local streets were alive with the sounds of leg bells. While the dancers  twirled and stamped and entertained, the dogs were curious and happy to watch, but jangling legs close up were too much for them in the confines of the pub and we left, no doubt,missing a jolly evening of music making.

#246 theoldmortuary ponders

It is an unusual day that sees me up at 4am and straight into my swimming costume, but then Summer Solstice is an unusual day. One where as many Bobbers, who are able, swim at Dawn and Dusk, in the rising and setting sun. The morning bob became quite a dog bobbing session.

Two dogs bobbing and one surfboarding.

The dawn was soft and the water fairly warm, for the time of year.

The evening bob was another lovely experience. Bubbles in both senses of the world were free flowing.

The water appeared to be a little cooler but the prosecco bubbles perked us up a bit. And so, at the opposite end of the day, I was ready for bed straight after my swim.

This is the second year we have marked the Solstice with double dipping sessions, a lovely way to mark time passing and the fellowship of swimming year round.

#244 theoldmortuary ponders

Sunshine and showers was the weather serving for this weekend. Not exactly bittersweet but certainly two sides of the same coin.

Much like Fathers Day, which was for many, the focus point of the weekend. As an outside observer to many traditional family gatherings I wonder if living through a pandemic has sharpened the focus on marking significant days with family and friends. There seems to be less marketing of these events and more gathering together, less gifts more visits. We had a lovely family visit, despite not being able to offer the inducements of any fathers or grandfathers. Just a father on the horizon and an actual one,for one of our number, across the river in Cornwall. Enough to make the weekend have a little buzz of purpose. Three of us, unable to visit father’s in the other realm or in another country had an unhurried afternoon of wandering around the shops with no great schedule or aim in place. Possibly many people’s idea of hell, but for us, something to be enjoyed, not so much because we were shopping but because sometimes it is really comforting just to hang out together doing something mundane and nattering about it. Most unusually we were on the search for some fast fashion. Not something I really approve of but its hard not to get caught up in the constant fiesta of fashion fun that stores like Primark, New Look and H and M create. I did also break my own rules of reuse, repurpose or recycle and bought myself a fabulous string shopping bag in bright orange.

Social Media plays a huge part in the celebration of Fathers Day. Through it I get a sense of community with those of us without fathers or grandfathers to celebrate in person for whatever reason. It certainly helps to be aware of the many others there are, who are feeling a twinge, or more, of sadness on such days. The enormous positive of Fathers Day on Social Media is that people actively introduce you to their fathers or father figures on line. So Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of truly wonderful role models, representing many generations of paternalistic love.

After 36 hours of delicious busyness we were back down to just the two of us and two dogs. The weather had taken a turn for the worse but our evening walk was enlivened by stone skimming and stone hunting something both humans and dogs take very seriously. All good prep for the week ahead.

#242 theoldmortuary ponders

Another locally sourced colour square has been created today. This one is a corroded corner of a closed corner shop.

As I traverse the local streets it is very obvious that the time of day and weather conditions really affect the tiny colour snapshots that I take with my camera phone. The old corner shop catches the sun beautifully in the morning. The corner shop is fondly held in the heart of this community. When we moved here it was on the downward turn and did not immediately grab our attention and then just like that it was closed and then, not so long after, floral tributes and messages of condolence appeared. Rather incongruously a large sun hat with the words ‘ On Cloud Nine’ appeared.

Not having been part of a community that loses a much loved character and very popular shop there is a sense of dislocation and puzzlement at what we may have missed. Anecdotally I am aware that we missed a much loved shopkeeper called Ann. Everyone says what a wonderful person she was and what a hub of the community the shop was. There was definitely a sense that something locally important had been lost. The hat as an act of remembrance puzzled me. On Cloud Nine usually denotes someone who is extremely happy. Perhaps the hat was reflecting the character of the departed shopkeeper. Cloud nine is actually a very specific type of cloud. The etymology of Cloud Nine makes nothing clear.


The origin of sense 1 (“a state of bliss”) is uncertain; however, the following etymology has been suggested:

The first edition of the International Cloud Atlas (1896),[1] which defined ten types of cloud, described the ninth type as the cumulonimbus which rises to 10 km (6.2 miles), the highest a cloud can be.[2]
Compare cloud seven (“state of complete happiness or euphoria”),[3] which may have originated from confusion of cloud nine with seventh heaven.[2]

Sense 2 (“a state of fantastic or impractical dreaming or thinking”) may be due to a confusion between sense 1 and the phrase head in the clouds.

So, on this occasion, pondering has made me none the wiser. A sun hat embroidered with the words ‘ on cloud nine’ is a very unusual object to place as an act of remembrance on the steps of a closed corner shop. I suspect it will always remain a mystery to me, but I will ponder it often when I walk past.

#229 theoldmortuary ponders

This is the first sign of the day that Friday was not going to go to plan but not necessarily in a bad way. The early morning dog walk was complicated by the dog poo bag holder not being replenished. Lola performed in a deeply rural part of the walk and I was able to flick her early morning elimination into a deep bramble bush, land that has not seen the light of day since the second world war. At the end of our walk I treated myself to a cup of coffee to enjoy in the yard.

At this point we were in an urban environment. At the most built up part of the walk Hugo decided to make his early morning deposit. Still no bags and too early to borrow from other dog walkers I had no choice but to stand over his steaming offering and drink my coffee down very quickly so I could use my coffee cup and lid to dispose of his poo in a proper way. This all took way longer than planned and then I was almost late for the 9 am bob.

©Rich Bobber

As you can see the sea was not to be missed this morning. The morning slipped away with bobbers drinking tea in the yard after what turned out to be a wonderful long swim. I also handed over a commission to a happy new owner. Then the day took a new and unexpected turn, two friends messaged to say they were in St Pauls Cathedral for the Queens Jubilee Service. In an unusual turn of events I was glued to a televised church service plus all the waffle that goes with it to try and see our friends.

Thank goodness for the green tie, and the fact that they took the seats at the back that nobody wanted. That green tie really stood out and the seats no one wanted were exactly where all the V.I.Ps had to stand before going down the aisle. They were often in shot. I am immensely proud of them for refusing to make eye contact with Boris Johnson. Credit too for whichever wit chose the reading from the Bible for Boris to read.

The passage Johnson read was from Phillipians 4:8.

He said: “Whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable … think about these things.”

That was no accident. All this serendipity gives me the chance to share this audio/ video of one of the most joyous sounds in London. The bells of St Pauls.

©Mark Curnow

And to finish this blog off, of an unplanned day, with the quiet space of a much smaller St Pauls also celebrating a Jubilee on my evening dog walk.

#152 theoldmortuary ponders

©Nicky Chilcott Facebook

We were not up early enough to see this wonderful misty sunrise, but not too long later. Hugo, Lola and this weeks man of the week Ralph all had a good scamper on the beach while a couple of bobbers set forth for a low tide swim

The other bobbers present kept their clothes on and their body temperatures toasty.

I’m also collecting Bobbers in action for some future paintings.

All this sunshine set us up nicely for the drive to Wimbledon. A drive that was somewhat enlivened by Ice Cream from Otter Valley Farm.


Our bladders are the deciding factor on stopping on journeys. In truth Otter Nurseries is a little close to home but no one should ever drive past such gorgeous ice cream regardless of bladder status.

Better bladder timed, for us, is Teals Farm Shop

©Teals Farm
©Teals Farm


How wonderful to be able to travel a long distance and only use independent organisations. The A303 is improving .

#140 theoldmortuary ponders.

Daily blogging started as an exercise between two parts of a blogging course. Covid 19 stepped in and the exercise stretched from 8 weeks to being indefinite. Doing something daily for just a few minutes for 18 months becomes a habit. If there was a plan it was always to record the mundane in a ‘normal’ persons life. After blogging for 18 months during the height of the Covid 19 pandemic I saw little reason to stop daily blogging once the ‘advanced’ part of the course was completed. The picture above may well have been in todays blog, simply because the ship and its tugs were very close to our swimming area. As usual in a blog about the mundane I would have told you that I missed a really great picture because I was picking up a dog poo, which was true. Yesterday was different though, Russia invaded Ukraine and the story takes a twist. Normally I would check which ship I was seeing on a Marine Tracking App. Yesterday the tracking App told me my eyes deceived me. There was no ship, just a big gap between two tugs.Big world events reflected on a very normal dog walk.

#98 theoldmortuary ponders

Candy coloured houses. The clear blue sky of yesterday lunchtime gave me this gorgeous photo. These homes are on the beginning and end of my dog walks. The dogs pay no attention to the colours of the houses but are very particular about sniffing all the canine messages that are left on the low walls to the front gardens. Sunshine has really lifted this week out of the rigours of January. The Christmas selection tins of chocolates are beginning to look completely ravaged which is another sign of the seasons moving on in an encouraging way. I think I am unusual in loving the fruit creams, so for me a ravaged tin is one that only holds anything that isn’t a fruit cream. Either way sunshine and ravaged sweet tins are fine markers of the Northern Hemisphere turning towards springtime!