Pandemic Pondering #394

We are going to hear a lot of the word languishing in the next few months. It is a descriptive word for a sort of midpoint of mental health and is apparently where many of us have ended up after over a year of Pandemic anxiety. It is precisely described as failure to make progress or be succesful.

The sketch in the image above is one that I did for a project that never came to fruition. It might even be described as a project that languished.

I’ve always been quite attracted to a bit of languishing. The leather deck chair in the picture would be an ideal place to do some languishing.

A fine location for mass languishing.

Obviously I’m being a bit flippant, the consequences of a whole world where many people are caught in a mental fog where progress and success feel unachievable is dreadful. But many of us will return to our old habits of chasing success, over-commiting and celebrating progress soon enough.

Languishing lives at the mid point between depression and flourishing. It will certainly be used with negative connotations in its association with our post pandemic recovery.

But I would argue that sometimes languishing is a positive choice. It is precisely why benches like the one above are positioned near a beautiful view. To allow passers by to just languish, to do nothing, to just be.

Languishing in our house is a full time occupation for some.

I’m sure Hugo does not see Languishing as a negative thing. He quite properly knows it is what he does between achieving and sleep and probably the thing that gives his fluffy life equilibrium and purpose.

A bench in the sun, a lovely spot for a languish.

Pandemic Pondering #245

Two weeks into a four week lockdown and this sign is a reminder of when it was perfectly possible to visit coffee shops, which is where I found this sign.

The Pandemic completely devalues the sentiment expressed. Normal actually gets you somewhere most of the time. It’s just that currently a lot of ‘ Normals’ and “Somewheres’ are denied us. The ‘ Somewheres’ that abnormal gets you, if the reverse of this statement were a neon quote, have proved themselves to be not quite so interesting in reality.

Flipping words should not be as interesting as I find it. It is safe to say that I’ve given the neon sign way too much attention in the last few hours when I decided to use it in a blog. The blog itself has been edited and redacted to the point of being digitally screwed up and thrown in the virtual bin.

I would say pondering has given way to rumination. Which brings me nicely to a conclusion with the promise of something for the future.

Random Ruminations in a post Pandemic Pondering world!

Pandemic Pondering #224

Munificence is one of those words that has fallen out of favour. It is most likely seen on memorial plaques or old graves. On- line dictionaries are divided on its exact meaning, some opting for the more simple, but in my opinion, wrong definition, generous with money. It is more than that. People who have little money can be munificent. Any idiot can be generous with money, it takes a good human to be munificent.

I think it’s a word that could do with being rehabilitated. Munificence is generosity, leniency, magnanimity, largesse and liberality. Surely all wonderfully positive human traits that could ease our way out of the desolate places that Covid-19 has driven us to.

Munificence was the powerful feeling that I felt at the Drawn To The Valley Exhibition yesterday. So much munificence from so many people created an Exhibition against the odds. Because the Vernissage, soft opening day, was calmer, gentler even, than a normal Private View it was much easier to take in not only the body of work but also the effort that it had taken to bring the whole thing to fruition.

Despite me saying that the word munificence needs to be rehabilitated. I’m fairly certain it won’t be any time soon. Is it a little too dated? Has Boris Johnson ruined good words for us all? I hunted around in Google Translate and a Thesaurus for something that might have the same quality of meaning and also suited our contemporary way of speaking and thinking. Hindi was the language that gave me what I was looking for.

Udaarata is the word I discovered. Udaarata is what I felt in that hall yesterday. People collaborating, being generous of their time and skills to bring together something that was enriching to a community of artists and also the wider community that supports and inspires those artists.

Udaarata is the best of humanity.

Pandemic Pondering #214

Monday finds me pondering a word . Inspired by one of those internet vocabulary tests. Luckily I can illustrate my feelings on the word with some glorious Dahlias from The Garden House.

https://www.thegardenhouse.org.uk/

The word is loathe. Most dictionaries suggest that it is in many ways a stronger feeling than hate.

Loathe means to hate or detest something. Loathe is much stronger than hate. It implies deep-seated, simmering hatred. … If you loathe someone or something, you hate them very much.

I’ve talked it over with friends this weekend and opinion is divided. Full disclosure means that I must tell you that we discussed the word using various humans we knew in common to illustrate our thoughts. Thankfully glorious Dahlias help me to illustrate my opinion in a far kinder way.

I’ve always considered loathing to be a more nuanced dislike than hate. Hate can happen in an instant but loathing takes time and consideration. My problem with ranking loathing over hatred is that I think they can have equal value strength wise. They can also be used in the same sentence correctly , be of equal value and illustrate feelings beautifully. This is where the dahlias have their moment.

I hate what snails do to dahlias, I loathe them for ruining such beautiful blooms.

I’m not bitter about snails constantly, or their sluggy friends. I do have perspective, but if they put a slimy foot anywhere near my dahlias, or a mouth near my ‘ ray floret’ (petals) then loathing will simmer.

I’m done. Have a marvelous Monday.

P.S Just as I published this blog Facebook reminded me exactly why I feel snails are loathsome. In 2019 @theoldmortuary had a glorious year, our first, of cultivating Dahlias. 2020, a landmark year in so many ways produced dahlias that had been pre nibbled before they even bloomed, already identified as snacks they attracted snails from all over the place to feast and party on our blooms.

2019

Pandemic Pondering #149

Change is the prompt word for the Art Group for Saturday.

Is there a word more significant for Pandemic Pondering in a Pandemic. Change is the most unmentioned symptom of this whole Covid-19 period.

Percy the Peacock is the perfect example of the correct way to cope with change.

Most of the time he responds beautifully.

Sometimes he reacts….

Everyone prefers it when Percy responds!!

So being a wise bird, he reverts to responding. It’s better for everyone.

There is so much change for everyone right now, some of it’s pretty unwelcome and reacting is understandable, but it is always possible to upgrade a reaction to a response.

When confronted with change be more Percy!

#bemorepercy

Pandemic Pondering #147

Metaphors is the Art Group Prompt- word today.

This image is intended as a metaphor.

I painted it as a metaphor for the passing of time. The androgynous figure is shaped out of pools of colour and might not exist if the pools flowed differently. The face appears to be dissociated.

I love a linguistic metaphor and used wisely they are a dynamic tool.

In difficult conversations they can soften an awkwardness and mitigate against defensive or aggressive responses which can harm useful communication. They can be more easily understood,sometimes, than the actual subject matter.

In art I’m never quite so sure. Is the image below metaphor or satire. I believe it is both.

So given that I am on stronger ground linguistically I can share my love of mixed metaphors and bad metaphors.

Rich pickings come from Sports commentary and historic terms for sex.

Mixed.

If you can’t stand the heat of the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.

Terry Venables

Michael Owen has the legs of a salmon

Craig Brown

This has been our Achilles heel which has been stabbing us in the back all season.

David O’Leary

They’ve put all their eggs in one basket and it’s misfired.

Paul Merson.

Bad

Grope for Trout in a Peculiar River.

Take a turn at Bushy Park.

Bringing an al dente noodle to the Spaghetti House.

So that’s clear then, Metaphors should be handled with care.

Pandemic Pondering #137

Motivation is a funny word to think about. It’s August so pondering is roughly following my art groups prompt system.

It might well be August but as I write this, it is also a Sunday and we are all living in the grips of World Wide Pandemic. Not the most fertile of scenarios to feel motivated in the truest sense of the word. I took to the dictionary for inspiration , not my smartest move.

Maybe Google and Wikipedia were feeling all a bit August/Sunday/Pandemic-like, but quite frankly the explanation of Motivate was not motivating.

Obviously I pondered the word motivation before starting this.

The word is not on my scale of liked words and probably appears on the disliked list but not so close to the bottom that it affects me.

I dislike, with a passion motivational shite, on Social Media. New Age, Bible ( other books are available) Flower Fairy, quotes. Motivational Speakers!!! What’s their motivation?£E

I am motivated by People, Words and Serendipity and, like every living thing, Survival.

My second statement often cancels out the first.

I love an appropriate quote from whatever source, thoughtfully sourced and reused by a person. I just don’t think you can throw them around like wet confetti hoping they will stick.

I am regularly motivated by people speaking or writing . Normal people, family and friends speaking from a place of love or loving anger. Strangers with a wisdom or experience I don’t have. People whose interesting conversations I overhear. Not one of them wearing the preposterous title of ‘ Motivational Speaker’

Serendipity is my most delicious motivation.

I actively court serendipity, it is my ‘ thrill-ride’ of choice. Allowing the time and space for the unexpected to occur is one of my favourite things to do.

Serendipity is my favourite motivation.

Pandemic Ponder #105

Some blogs just write themselves. I warned that blogs written this week would probably be composed sitting, in comfort, on a sofa whilst watching recordings of Glastonbury Festivals of the past.

Three pieces of serendipity have mapped this blog.

1. It is being written on a Wednesday, which as you can see from an old poem suggests that “Wednesdays child is full of woe” ( I am not a Wednesdays child)

2. It follows PP#104 which is about the word desolate which is officially inclined towards woeful.

3. Mark Radcliffe, the DJ presenter of the BBC’s archival coverage for Glastonbury 2020 introduced me to a new word.

Kenopsia- The forlorn atmosphere of a place that is normally bustling with people but is now abandoned.

One word that completely describes Worthy Farm in June 2020.
https://glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Researching Kenopsia took me to this article from the Independent Newspaper.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-top-ten-obscure-sorrows-10506971.html

Follow the link for the full ten. I’ve cherry- picked the ones that resonate with @theoldmortuary.

The Independent took their ten from the early workings of a book that is soon to be published.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
https://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/

I’ve delved into the same material and come up with some words that slip perfectly into future Ponders. For now I present my current woeful favourites.

Anticipointment. The realisation that the excitement and expectation of an event are greater than the reality.

This word is a true slap-down for an optomist, she wrote, pessimistically.

Monachopsis. Subtle maladaption. The sense that you are not quite in the right place.

Like a seal mum who lumbers onto land to endure the discomfort of birth and its after-effects in an environment that makes her clumsy and not quite in control.

Knowing that she will become graceful and confident again when she and her pup can glide back into the sea.

Zenosine. The sense that time keeps going faster.

I can only add Zenosine+P

Where exactly did Pandemic Ponderings #1 to #105 go.

July 1st already, utter madness.

Thanks to the BBC and Mark Radcliffe for fueling this blog with a new word used in their Glastonbury coverage.

The research for the blog has taken me to some intriguing places and gave me the perfect ending to blog PP#105.

Diligence and the internet led me to someone called the ‘ Disappointed Optimist’. Fact checking for accuracy got me this far.

Pandemic Pondering #104

Desolate is a word that it is tough to love, but, love it, I do.

Boardwalk at Dungeness

Growing up I knew it as a descriptive word for geographic or meteorological phenomena. There is no coincidence that the flat lands of East Anglia and the sea mists that roll in off the North Sea are as much a memory of my early summers as sun drenched bucket and spade days on beaches.

When people enquired after a day out on the Essex coast my parents would describe a mist- harmed, beach day as ” all a bit desolate ” but I had had a great time so I never realised the negative connotation. My excuse for finding a sad word, not sad.

Battersea Power Station

I’ve jogged through life not really associating desolate with bleakness. The French word désolée = sorry, has also been a victim of my false up- beatedness about this family of words.

It is only with adulthood and an understanding of mental ill health or depression that the gravity of the word desolate has anchored itself in my mind . A person who is missing and possibly at risk of suicide is described as ‘ desolate’,when being discussed.

Looking towards Devon, River Tamar, Cornwall

In Pandemic Pondering #101. I described the desolate story of a World War One, casualty.

I used the word deliberately and advisedly because of the circumstance of his death.

Have I rehabilitated the word in my mind. Is it now properly recalibrated to the sad end of my word spectrum.

Pill Creek, Saltash

If I’m honest, not entirely. I still find pleasure in places that could well be described as desolate or bleak and more curiously they make me happy.

Condensation in a sweaty gym, St Mellion

Pandemic Pondering#92

This image of Hugo pretty much sums up my lifelong indifference to one of Britain’s favourite sports, football or soccer. As a blog that very loosely charts social history it seemed wrong not to mention the return of competitive sport to England.

Initially I didn’t give the cancellation of sporting fixtures much thought, but sporting events are, at the very least, background noise in the cultural life of a country. Significant events mark the gentle climb out of winter hibernation because they get media attention. The Six Nations Rugby tournament, The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and the Grand National are as much a sign of Spring in Britain as a Daffodil. Even if you pay them no attention they exist. Except this year they didn’t because of Covid-19.

I missed the sporting markers of Spring.

I must be one of the least capable people to contemplate writing a blog about sport. Pondering is exactly that sometimes . How does the return of professional football touch, however briefly, my Ponderings..

Words of course.

I do love intelligent conversation about any subject. In some ways it is relaxing to have no opinions on the subject being discussed.

Football my aural pleasure.

Quite a few years ago @theoldmortuary were in a Jamaican cafe, in East Dulwich. One of only two tables occupied.

The table behind us had three men on it talking animatedly but most importantly, intelligently, about football.

Obviously, we eavedropped a lot, our magical Harry Potter stretchy ears weaving invisibly onto the next table.

We remarked , once we had left, how great it was to hear football discussed so wisely. When we left we realised we had been listening to two retired players talking with the owner of the cafe. This was my late introduction to an interest in football talk and the seed of an idea to carry this blog.

Football is much in the news this week . Post lockdown the men’s professional teams have started playing matches in empty stadiums in order to complete their 2020 fixtures.

More importantly a 22 year old professional footballer, Marcus Rashford used social media to eloquently force the British government to perform a U-turn on policy regarding providing meal vouchers for the most vulnerable schoolchildren during the long summer vacation.

Thankfully podcasts have brought us as much intelligent football/sport chatter as we can handle since the ‘ East Dulwich Ear Incident.

Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy accompany our long car journeys.
https://g.co/kgs/XiyDTW

Just this week I’ve caught two football podcasts.

Gary Neville applies Sports psychology to real life on Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner.A fascinating natter over simultaneous take away food about philanthropy and football. During the pandemic Out for Lunch has become, in for a takeaway, on your own with a lap top.

Lame joke me would have preferred it if his brother Phil had actually discussed the same topics.
https://castbox.fm/x/1FqhV

Then out of nowhere our favourite coffee shop launched their own football podcast.
https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=544048&refid=asa
https://m.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Headphones replace Harry Potter Ears but the effect is just as pleasing.

Daisies growing in the penalty box lines on a disused football pitch.

So here’s the conundrum , we’ve really not missed sport itself in the last three months but it will be good to hear about it again,and for it to mark time through the seasons. For actual pleasure and also importsntly because Eating Podcasts have filled the void left by sport. That is not entirely a good thing.

Meanwhile Lola can also demonstrate sporting indifference every bit as well as Hugo.

This is not a football club bench!

This is not a sports blog.