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!
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.
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.
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.
If you can’t stand the heat of the dressing room, get out of the kitchen.
Michael Owen has the legs of a salmon
This has been our Achilles heel which has been stabbing us in the back all season.
They’ve put all their eggs in one basket and it’s misfired.
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.
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.
Desolate is a word that it is tough to love, but, love it, I do.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Now there really is no link between these two words apart from the serendipity of them turning up within a lunchtime conversation within one minute of each other.
This is Pandemic Pondering #60 and I like to make special numbers a little bit different or special.
Kakistocracy could be worthy of a blog as some parts of the world are living through one right now , but I’m not certain I would feel uplifted by discussing it.
Petrichor is quite another matter. I’ve loved Petrichor all my life without knowing the word until today.
In rural Essex , where I grew up, Petrichor was pretty rare. Essex has one of the lowest rainfalls in Britain. But when it happened it was glorious.
The word was created by two Australian researchers in the 60’s. The smell is actually produced by bacteria that release Geosmin into the air when rain hits healthy soil. Humans are particularly sensitive to the fragrance and it is almost universally loved. Curiously it is also responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot which is not universally loved.
Beetroot and feta galette with za’atar and honey.
Sam’s Tamimi and Tara Wrigley, from Falastin a cookbook.
So the smell of Geosmin is what I and most humans love, and certainly my Essex experience would exactly be explained by Geosmin.
But what about my love of London streets after rain, there is precious little healthy soil in some parts of the city but there is warm tarmac and cement added to the Geosmin from parks and gardens.
St Paul’s and its neighbours in the City of London.
Cornwall and rain are inextricably linked and Petrichor is a rare treat because once the rain sets in there are very few chances to enjoy that wonderful smell despite us having acres of lovely healthy soil. Some of it on riverbanks.