#461 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility creeps up on me in surprising places. Our evening dog walk coincided with the exact point when the sea was still. High tide before the tide started to ebb away. There have been a few tranquil moments in recent days. These steps, leading to a soft sandy beach, showed signs of immense human and dog traffic but they were from the day before, preserved by neap tides and calm weather. Looking out at the beach there was no-one to be seen.

Similarly in this very complex photo from the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Tate St Ives there was not another person in my eyeline.

Tranquility, even the word makes me want to relax. I looked up an on- line Thesaurus to check other similar words and reciting this list would have me nodding off in moments.

Should you feel the same I have one last picture to fit the mood. Glass bricks at Tate St Ives.

#442 theoldmortuary ponders

Procrastination gets a bad rap. I absolutely am a procrastinator. I have always felt that procrastination, done well, is a force for good. In the exact opposite of current psychological thinking I believe procrastination is a force for good in my life.

Yesterday I definitely procrastinated, deliberately and mindfully. There was a small list of things that needed to be achieved but I delayed starting them. Then a whole new task arrived which required action and the use of old skills. The task was completed in a couple of hours. That squeezed the required tasks into a more compact time-frame, which made me sharper and more effective. Art got done, the washing was done, the dogs were walked and I felt like I had achieved.

There was also a bonus for someone. My delayed dog walk meant that they stopped a little earlier to poo. In a pile of leaves they have never bothered with before. As I rummaged around collecting their morning offerings I found a small gold ring. Someone else’s lucky day.

Positive procrastination, positively powerful!

#350 theoldmortuary ponders

©Anne Crozier – Golden Hills. This image can be seen at Drawn to Cotehele Art Exhibition.

My early morning walk had gusts of biting wind and brilliant sunshine. This whole blog could have been about the early signs of autumn getting a firmer grip on our daily lives, but between then and now I have attended a committee meeting and one word that I heard there knocked fading summer out of the blog for today.

Salmagundi in the context of our committee meeting was used as a word for a potluck supper. A meal or feast,for many, created by everyone attending bringing a plate of food to share.

Google suggests that the primary meaning of Salmagundi is of a mixed salad. But the words use to suggest a mixture in many different scenarios is also well established.

This, in a funny way also describes the weather between Summer and Autumn arrivng from all directions and a huge variety of textures; and the process of holding committee meetings, the opinions and experiences of a variety of people. In both cases different things come together to create a group experience.

A new word, for me, is a huge excitement, one that I am happy to share.

#341 theoldmortuary ponders

I did not anticipate some observations on class today. The Queens coffin is resting on a purple catafalque- a decorated wooden structure supporting the coffin of a distinguished person.

When we took over the mortuary, prior to renovating the space, we had a very similar catafalque, same colour everything. But of course the good people of St Stephens in Cornwall were not distinguished so their coffins rested on a bier!

Some sources say the two words are synonyms with no mention of any distinguished differences.

The bier or catafalque of St Stephens held a secret. Beneath its purple drapes there was an old chest of drawers with a door nailed on top.

What lies beneath the purple drapes of the catafalque in Westminster Hall is likely to remain a mystery to those of us not involved in distinguished funerals. It is unlikely to be an old door and a chest of drawers, but you never know.

#249 theoldmortuary ponders

It is Glastonbury weekend and, without tickets to the real thing, we are into the Festival Spirit by having a Tee Pee in the Studio. It makes viewing the festival on TV a little awkward but maybe that adds to the authenticity of our experience.

This is a really rare weekend, in our house, when the TV is on in the background, just in case we catch an ear glimpse of a band or performer that we like but have never heard of. ( What is the word for a fleeting aural experience?) I’m not certain that we will get to a festival this year so we are going to need to keep our ears to the ground to experience fresh music from other sources. Hugo of course has no idea what a festival is and got quite giddy at the thought of our little bit of fakery.

Meanwhile I have completely spooked myself with the idea of an ear glimpse. Whatever is the hearing equivalent of a glimpse? Answers appreciated. I had no plans to tease your minds to search for a word for me but what else is the weekend for if not a little gentle pondering?

#112 theoldmortuary ponders

Not a lot going on here. Some days or weeks are a bit becalmed. Not a huge amount going on or achieved. Those of you who actually know me would, quite rightly, never use the words elite athlete in the same sentence, paragraph or, quite frankly in the same room as me. But when I’m feeling a little bit becalmed I try to apply the sports or business philosophy of marginal gains.

The marginal gains philosophy approaches specific weaknesses as opportunities for growth, not points of criticism, improving the emotional wellbeing of athletes and employees alike. With marginal gains, a team can grow and develop in a way that best suits their needs.

Really there were no specifics for my becalmedness, just a list of not exactly thrilling tasks for a couple of days. I realise that I could also use the word doldrums but that word always suggests a slight dispiritedness which is not the case at all. My marginal gains of the week feel very marginal but a gain is a gain, regardless of its scale.

The cure for this state of mind would normally be a quick dip in the sea, and that is precisely my plan for today.

#109 theoldmortuary ponders

Here is another gorgeous doorway from St Ives. Once again I am using a door as a way of introducing a topic that would only provide very poor visual content. The gate is open which is a fine excuse to open up about my latest addiction. Like many addictions someone introduced me to this new pleasure. It was almost a throw away comment as he left the house.

“Have you tried Wordle?”


I doubt he had even got to the end of the street before I had found Wordle, done a Wordle and needed more Wordles!

I texted frantically asking how I could get the next one.

He replied that I would have to wait until tomorrow.

Who in their right mind introduces anyone to something they can only access once a day for pleasure?

Well , me actually. You won’t regret it.


#59 theoldmortuary ponders

I love neon signs.

Neon signs are rarely created to encourage quiet optimism, which is exactly the sensation this statement evokes in me. But if I felt commanded to feel good, invoke would be the correct word.

©Merriam Webster

If I had commissioned this sign I think I would have added the word ‘again’.

I’m only pondering this because neon signs are expensive so you want to get them right. On the other hand googling ‘It’s time to feel good’ has given me an earworm for a Monday morning which it would be unkind not to share.

“It’s time to feel good” is a commonly misheard lyric in ‘Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves. The actual lyric is ‘and don’t it feel good’

So there we have it, a classic ponder to start the week and a pleasing earworm, have a good Monday

#50 theoldmortuary ponders

Sunday morning Firestone Bay

Illumination in the countdown to Christmas.

“Perhaps Juliet could illuminate us” was a phrase my English teacher would sometimes use when one of my essays had gone somewhere unexpected.

Lighting him up with a torch would almost certainly not gone down particularly well. In choosing, for myself, the loose working title ‘Illumination in the countdown to Christmas’ for the month before Christmas 2021, I fully expected to use both meanings of the word at various points. Yesterday, Storm Arwen, gave me illuminating photographs that did not at all illuminate what was going on around me.

Nothing in this picture articulates how much effort it took two women and two dogs to get to this point. Even a closer look at the sea gives no hint of the power of the wind.

A stop at our regular coffee shop was a battle against the invisible elements, and a moments foolishness of removing my coffee cup lid gave me a face full of the “flat’ that gives a Flat White its name. Yesterday was the start of another birthday surprise, a trip to Bude. Hugo and Lola were off to visit some friends for some overnight care.

There is absolute peace in this picture, but five minutes before we were unable to get to our friends house. We either had to leave our car at the top of the hill and walk the dogs down to them or tackle the tree which had blown down and blocked our path. The tree had a fragile beauty while laying, languidly broken, across the drive. No match, I thought, for one woman, so despite wearing some lovely clothes I jumped out of the car to move her gently to the side. Appearances can be deceptive and despite being slender and elegant she was going nowhere with one woman power. Two women in lovely clothes and two dogs in the managerial role, of hovering about but doing nothing very effectual,struggled to move the stricken tree. Ultimately we dragged her to one side, not particularly elegantly but effectively enough for us to deliver the dogs for their overnight stay.

The reason for our trip to Bude was an evening ‘Take Over’ by Chef Dan Murray at Temple Cafe.


I don’t really have the words or expertise to adequately describe the beauty and depth of what we ate but the picture below in some ways illuminates the whole evenings experience.

Fried Artichoke Chips

Just wonderful!

Illuminated Artichoke Chips illuminating the two meanings of the word.

#11 theoldmortuary ponders

My apologies in advance, this blog will use some of the same images as yesterdays. I’ve always thought the term Sea changes referred to the the fact that the sea can change its moods and behaviour really quickly.

The picture above was taken about 18 hours and 500 yards from the one below.

A substantial change in my opinion.

But it turns out Sea change is nothing to do with the actual sea and is something far more grizzly!

Who could have guessed! I actually prefer my theory, large waves compared to calm waters is infinitely easier on the mind than the changes that occur to a drowned body. Thanks Shakespeare