#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

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.


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.