Pandemic Pondering #138

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.

Pandemic Ponderings #60

A day of two words.

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.

© theoldmortuary

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.

Pandemic Pondering #48

A new word on a stormy day. Chrysalism.

Peggy the Pink and Orange Caterpillar

The act of feeling tranquil while being indoors in a storm.

I feel that that could also work for feeling tranquil indoors during a pandemic.

Peggy’s Pink and Orange Cosy Chrysalis

I’m not sure lockdown at home is always quite as tranquil as a chrysalis but just like Peggy we will emerge from this state of Chrysalism altered creatures.