Pandemic Pondering #303

Our first bunch of supermarket daffodils illustrate this blog today. They have just emerged from tight buds. Strange to think that daffodils were a favourite subject when pondering started. Now there are so many favourite subjects that I would not have imagined a year ago.

My maternal grandmother would often say ” Some of us quite enjoyed the war you know”

I cant say I’ve enjoyed the pandemic, could anyone? It has forced me to adapt my life and I enjoy many of those adaptations. The unexpected benefits of a pretty dire period of history.

Daffodils are also known as the Heralds of Spring. I think mid- January is pushing that title a bit, particularly in Cornwall where daffodils arrive early and long before the worst of the winter weather. Regardless of their reputation they are very welcome guests @theoldmortuary , particularly in this tricksy period of the pandemic. Maybe the next time I buy the first supermarket daffodils of the season, life will have taken on a more easily navigated road map and just possibly I will have stopped pondering Pandemically.

Pandemic Pondering #294

Today turned out to be a red letter day. The letter in question was V for vaccine. Hannah @theoldmortuary was given the Corononvirus Vaccine today. She was texted yesterday afternoon and offered an appointment. By a great coincidence two other British VIPs got their jab today. The Queen and Prince Phillip. Headline stuff .

While Hannah was getting her jab I was doing the dog walk up the lane opppsite us. It has been the access point to a building site for the past 18 months. It can be tedious at times with noise, mess and massive trucks. On my return, to avoid lorries,I had to cut through the oldest part of the cemetery. There are many tiny graves marking the final resting place of children whose small lives were lost many many years ago. It is because of vaccines that there are less small graves in the more modern graveyards near by. I pondered a bit on this and realised that in a curious twist it is vaccines that have got the anti-vaxers to a point where they have the health, vitality, and maturity to become ardent anti- vaxers.

On a brighter note we went out in the campervan to take our hours exercise this afternoon.

Hugo and Lola love a camper van outing. The beach was grey and chilly.

But we found a sea-purse who was pleased to see us.

Pandemic Pondering #289

Yesterday started with a despondent dog walk. I was pondering the Pandemic and trying to consider if there had ever been a world event which has directly or indirectly affected every living human in the world before. I couldnt really come up with one. Despondency soon gave way to joy when we saw dolphins breaching in Firestone Bay. Today could also have been despondent because we are clearly heading into another lockdown. Despondent @theoldmortuary not because we are heading into the lockdown but because it has taken the UK so long to make that decision and take appropriate action.

Expecting a Prime Ministerial Address we busied ourselves about this morning getting some new tech to better keep up contact with our nearest and dearest. The reward for taking on a click and collect journey was a trip to the dogs favourite winter beach. Portwrinkle has everything a dog could possibly want all in close proximity.

There is a small problem though. Hugo likes to play alone in the rock pools. Lola is utterly shocked that every time she joins him at a rockpool he switches to a different one. He likes to rescue seaweed from the pools and create a pile on the sand. The task is taken very seriously and cannot be interrupted by Lola or any other passing dog.

He will relent and chase her across the sand to the point of exhaustion but seaweed and rockpools are a solitary pleasure for Mr Hugo.

Rockpools are also a fine thing to contemplate when the future is once again uncertain.

Pandemic Pondering #285

#breakfast

Post New Years Day the festive season starts to get a bit tatty round the edges. @theoldmortuary there is a loose plan to take the Christmas Decorations down . This feeling is complicated by a slow dribble of delayed Christmas parcels arriving in the post and a general inertia to actually fire up 2021 and get it going.

This lovely chap arrived today and needs a moment or two to shine, or more accurately to be matte on the tree.

We still have a small food mountain to pack away either,in reality for ‘Fake Christmas’ date to be announced, or metaphorically for us to eat some time soon. Food Mountain or not we felt obliged to rescue a doughnut from our favourite bakery this morning ,on our regular week end dog walk.

What could possibly cause a doughnut to require rescuing, I hear you all thinking.

Loneliness is the answer. He was the only item left in the window. The queue was long and as each person entered the bakery different baked goods were gently tonged into brown paper bags. It would have been utterly heartless to leave him there with no friends to huddle up with. No Brownies to banter with or Eccles cakes to heckle.What he needed was a compassionate customer to order two flat whites and a solitary doughnut. The doughnut was not the only compassionate rescue of the day. A local supermarket had excess Gerberas at a very silly price so they too jumped into the shopping basket with the Doughnut rather than spend another lonely night in the reduced bucket.

The festive season may be fading fast but it is doing so beautifully.

Pandemic Pondering #284

©Melinda Waugh

2021 dawned spectacularly in Saltash this morning. @theoldmortuary was set for less pastoral pleasures though.

The ‘Bobbers’ were booked to swim at Firestone Bay first thing this morning.

© theoldmortuary

Bobbers braved-2 temperatures to swim or gaze , or both, into the New Year.

©Andy Cole
©Andy Cole
©Andy Cole

The morning was beautiful and the sea was 10 degrees . An amazing way to welcome in the New Year. Cold water immersion is good for all sorts of things, we all talk a good bit of jibberish straight after a dip though. Then the endorphins hit and we are ready to take on the world. Although, due to Coronovirus restrictions, the world is not available, I did manage a quick nip into the Co-op for some bread rolls before we strode off for a lovely wintry dog walk. Endorphins though, in a similar way to pride, come before fall. The afternoon was spent attempting to read books but achieving dozing on the sofa. The fall to come.

Our evening took in a local harbour and a few Christmas lights.

©theoldmortuary

But then things took a turn towards the awkward. In my haste to get a perfect shot for this blog I tripped over a curb and the precious camera/phone skidded in slow motion towards the harbour edge. I’m a bit bruised and the camera teetered on the edge but ultimately stayed on land.

All is well but the parking machine which told us it was out of action struck another blow. When we put a card across its reader, it was actually rather over active and charged us twice. Perhaps we should have stopped the day at dozing on the sofa!

©theoldmortuary

But we did find a naturally occurring (ish) heart.

©theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #289

The last day of the old year and the last day of Merryneum. Tomorrow we will have the freshness and promise of a New Year. But first a dissapointment of the Merryneum. Not many gifts found their way to @theoldmortuary this year. Many have been held in a secure location until ‘ Fake Christmas’ being held sometime in the New Year. New Pyjamas though did reveal themselves on Christmas morning.Their patterns are the illustrations of this blog.

You would expect with all the free time created by not entertaining family and friends during the festive season we would have been able to have a designated Pyjama Day.

It has not happened! Dog walking and inclement weather have restricted the ability to have a day not wearing clothes. Dark mornings and afternoons permit pyjama dog walks but only if the weather is not wet and a substantial coat can cover up the evidence.

So to top off any lingering dissapointments that we may all have with 2020 , we need to add general disappointment with the weather over Christmas. A very British way to sign out.

Pandemic Pondering #287

Its been a funny old festive season @theoldmortuary . We have a smallish family circle and a larger circle of friends. We are very lucky. One Christmas lost to being decent citizens, who stuck to the rules, is not actually a ‘ lost’ Christmas just a diminished one without all our treasured people around us.

Pyjamas @theoldmortuary

Today it is 360 days until Christmas 2021. Our strange distorted world will look very different.

Anish Kapoor at Pitzhanger Museum and Art Gallery

And while it can never turn the full 360 degrees to return us to our pre-pandemic normal. ( We can’t ever turn back the clocks.) Things will look and feel very different 360 days from now.

Less

A feature of a cleaning cupboard at The Box

And more.

The tunnel at Royal William Yard during Illuminate 2019

Pandemic Pondering #286

Merryneum continues, as do the leftovers. Turkey Pie, fresh sausage rolls and smoked salmon quiches were created @theoldmortuary baking session yesterday.

Under normal circumstances the above plate of food would have been hoovered up in half a day. Not so this year, on a positive note that is all the left overs gone from Christmas day food. I’m not sure how many calories Zoom meetings consume but that was our peak activity yesterday. Books were also consumed in large amounts. An activity not usually listed as a fat burner.

Dog walking in abysmal weather was also a feature of the day. Not satisfying to the body and soul of human or dog. The dogs now have thermal coats to pop on when we stop for coffee, so they can warm up. There are unlikely to ever be cute photos of them walking in their thermals. Because they refuse to walk in them but stationary dogs in thermal jackets might appear.

Like so much, our doggy thermals were made in Shenzhen an industrial town just north of the border between Hong Kong and China. The pollution from Shenzhen was dreadful for our granddaughter yesterday, she lives on the Hong Kong side of the border.

She was stuck indoors to avoid the pollution caused by the manufacturing industry starting up after the Christmas break. Inadvertantly, in a virtual world, we also got stuck indoors there too. Our Zoom chats took place inside her play tent and when she got a little bored of screen time she finished the call by leaving us and the phone inside the tent. The next day we were, again, talked to only in the tent while she busied about. Being stuck in a pale green teepee is our punishment for not shopping local. Although I think it will take more than us shopping local to cut pollution from the monumental manufacturing sites in Shenzhen.

Pandemic Pondering #284

It was a huge surprise to wake up hungry on Boxing Day morning. We had accidentally avoided doing anything too traditional, for us, on Christmas Day and were lucky enough to avoid any lachrymose moments. Avoidance worked to the point that we were too exhausted to even cook a proper festive roast.

Boxing Day has a tradition in our home of no traditions . It always has an organic free flowing style. Decisions are largely predicated by weather and participant enthusiasm and availability. Today despite the greige and the cold a walk on the Hoe was our chosen activity. Unusually for Plymouth we found some profound graffiti.

For us today it is about learning Tier 2 rules and working out a life pathway up to the next Covid based government decision. Basically we need to throw on the thermal underwear and do anything that involves other humans outside. What we have not considered is the dogs temperatures while socialising outside. As this is likely to go on for a couple of months we’ve just ordered doggy thermals. Meanwhile Lola loved a hat

Sell-by dates also inform our current lifestyle. Our festive season attendance @theoldmortuary was abruptly cut by 2/3 so there is an element of cooking food for 6 in a way that 2 can come out of the non festive season not looking like overstuffed Turkeys.

An actual roast is occuring today , purely to provide us with traditional left overs. One of the best meals of the festive season is Bubble and Squeak. Cooking it at home is one thing but eating it at Borough Market crafted by the wonderful cooks at Marias, takes Bubble to new levels.

In our house it never has its full title the dish is just known as ‘ Bubble’ the word is traditionally shouted with a South London accent.

@theoldmortuary has adopted the ‘love’ logo to share some love over the festive period because there is so much about the festive season and in fact the whole year that we love to share with friends and family, we’ve really missed you all . A little logo of love lets you know we are thinking of you.

And finally Christmas dinner was cooked and consumed.

Pandemic Pondering #282

Merry Christmas, who needs a big blog on Christmas morning, probably no one . What we all need is our friends and family around us. The hurly burly of traditions all bound up with over crowded homes and too much food. What we have this year @theoldmortuary is the time to go and look at Christmas lights after last minute shopping.

Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth.

And the chance to make home made cranberry sauce.

While watching Christmas Carols from Kings College, Cambridge.

Very peaceful and lovely, but not normal. We love and miss our festive season regulars, the irregulars and those in other realms. Love to our families and friends far and wide. You light up our lives.

Cranberry Sauce 2020