#401 theoldmortuary ponders

Stickers add to the palimpsest of Street Art

After two days of Tamar Valley art @theoldmortuary is going to double- back to Dublin for a quick whizz through some street art. Dublin being Dublin there is also some great wordage included. Starting with the Love Wall on Love Lane.

Check out more work from Anna Doran below.


There was not exactly a plan A or plan B for our trip to Dublin. There was one fixed item on our itinerary but the rest was left to chance and the weather. As things turned out the weather was perfect for just wandering the streets. Our wanderings for Saturday and Sunday were about 20,000 steps each day divided into two sessions, longer daytime adventures and then after a rest an after dark trip out.

Sometimes the quest for good coffee and baked goods brought us an unexpected extra of street art.

Alongside great coffee, cardamom buns, fuel for more walking and a sticker pole.


Other street art was more commercial and directive.

But street artists also get in on the act.

We found a lot of work by Oriel.

Too much lovely street art to share it all here but this James Joyce quote on Harman Street sums up our two day visit.


#396 theoldmortuary ponders

First steps in Dublin lead us to an Irish/Italian Cafe Bar serving homely food in cosy surroundings. Two bottles of Jameson* later we tuck into food that smells and tastes like our mothers made it.It being Friday night our habitual back street wander took us into cobbled streets alive with the sounds of boisterous fun being had just out of sight. A few men leaned on walls for support as they splashily dampened their boots with misdirected urine. Dublin is new to us, but not. Dublin feels like a mythical, hidden suburb of New York or Chicago. A concentrated, vivid place full of young people. Two of them stopped us in the street to take a selfie, perhaps thrilled that people over 40 had joined them in their night-time place. Too soon our travel weary knees called us away to a sofa and curative cups of tea. As we slept the night noises of Temple Bar kept going until they were chased away by the dawn chorus and road sweepers. Tweaking Dublin back to perfection after a bachanalian night just beyond our windows .

* Jameson bottles used as water carafes @theoldmortuary would barely function after two glasses.

#386 theoldmortuary ponders

It will come as no surprise to anyone that @theoldmortuary has no experience as marathon runners or other extreme sports. So we have never experienced survival blankets. You would never expect to be introduced to a survival blanket by a five week old grand-daughter. Rather intriguingly in her sensory box there was a whole adult sized survival blanket. Who knew that a collection of sensory toys could exhaust her accompanying adult to the point of exhaustion.

I rattled things and twirled ribbons with caution being really quite unaware when fatigue might overwhelm me. The small person was not remotely interested in having her senses stimulated at any level so there was no chance of me deserving the survival blanket. Deserving or not I donned the survival blanket and was amazed at how quickly I became very warm.

On a practical level I might but some survival blankets for winter swims, just in case we get too chilly. On another practical level the blanket is in a baby sensory box so she can enjoy it’s silvery crinkly surface. And on a last practical level I am writing about a Survival blanket because nobody wants to read about a long rainy journey with many detours. There was no rainbow at the end of my travels but there was blue skies and a small girl with a Sensory box.

#376 theoldmortuary ponders

@theoldmortuary we are still in some sort of crazy autumnal clear out. Domestically rather satisfying but not exactly blog worthy. One other job today was to find a photograph of my daughter as a four year old artist. Digging around in my digital archive I found some old favourite photographs. The one above was taken at Petersham Nurseries in Surrey. A garden centre that has a wonderful cafe. The next photo is a very superior sheep at The Royal Cornwall Show.

Since a small artist inspired this blog it would be an error to not include some actual art in this random trip through my photographs.

Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro Gallery London. These silver balls we’re floating in a pond and were an unexpected surprise. We were actually there to see the work of Grayson Perry.

Another London picture taken whilst I was doing Jury Service in Southwark,this image ticks all the boxes. London bricks and a message that all the miscreants in court would have done well to pay attention to.

And then on to some Spanish bricks and a pigeon posing perfectly.

I think my little cache of favourite pictures could run for two days if we are still in domestic mode tomorrow, but here is the photograph I searched for. A small artist in Montana, 26 years ago.

And her niece in Hong Kong this week.

#375 theoldmortuary ponders

Today is another cupboard tidying day. Writing a daily blog can be a little like waiting for paint to dry, and between cupboard tidying there has been a little paint drying @theoldmortuary. I had rewarded myself with some new watercolours and inks following good artwork sales at a recent exhibition. One of my procrastination tactics is always to create a colour chart of new paints to the collection.

I have not actually bought 19 new colours. My order was lost in the post and the vendor very kindly added quite a few extra pans by way of an apology. Not colours I would have chosen but very lovely additions. The inks were a slightly different proposition. The trouble with artistic procrastination is the sincerity with which it is included in the creative process. I realised I did not have the correct dilution fluid for the inks but persisted with making a colourchart. Substituting gin to extend the flow of the ink.

Gin may make creativity flow, in moderation,but it does nothing for ink, in moderation or excess. Despite urgently needing to get down to some real art,my colour charts amply filled my available free time.

Procrastination 1- Creativity 0

Procrastination does not only apply to creativity, as I write, this largely non-essential blog, another cupboard lays empty. Stuff taken out, but not yet sorted into keep or charity shop piles. Blog and colour charts the enemies of productivity!

Procrastination 1- Domestic Admin O

#318 theoldmortuary ponders

Today we, @theoldmortuary are playing the Summer 2022 game of airport roulette. The wheel spun and awarded us with a cancelled flight and a rebooked one four hours later.

Apple juice and a plum feeling all arty at stupid ‘O’ Clock when we started this endeavour. Now we are hiding out in the comfy seats of an airport cinema long before any films will be shown. This will be a fine way to while away the extra hours as long as no-one decides to show any films. All being well tomorrows blog should be a feast of Jazz Age Architecture and bobbers bobbing in Lake Michigan.

Today however we are in the Oceanic Terminal as Terminal 3 at Heathrow was formerly known. Opened on my 3rd Birthday I feel I have weathered the decades better but, of course, I have had nothing like the footfall and also not so many facelifts. None so far! I can’t comment on the architecture but the cinema is a quiet spot with comfy seats and that is all good. For a visual end piece I offer a rather dusty BOAC flight bag.

#269 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was a fine observation of how Covid has altered life. @theoldmortuary used to row gigs out of Cawsand, this coastal village  Until yesterday we had not been there for nearly three years but in the past we knew these waters very well. For the first time ever we arrived by ferry.

The plan was to spend about three hours on the beach doing the things that 3 year olds love. In reality so much more was achieved as Kayaks could be rented, and fabulous milk shakes ordered.

And the sea was warm enough for everyone to swim as much as they wanted. We are nearly at the end of our week of intense family time. It has been such a blast of fun and exploration but also a big lesson in how beautiful our surroundings are and how accessible everything is. Looking at life through the eyes of a child really is an education and a wake up call to enjoy the moment. After a day at the beach we went on a camping adventure. High up on a Devon hillside we looked west towards Cornwall and in particular at Cawsand where we had spent the day.

Camping for a three year old is very exciting and almost derailed the beach outing because of the levels of excitement the appearance of a small person  sleeping bag created. Lessons to be learned, do not reveal the trump card of the day until all other activities have been exhausted. We even practiced camping in a supermarket car park while provisions were purchased.

Driving skills were practiced.

But the ultimate goal was always the sleeping bag.

Not necessarily sleeping though!

#258 theoldmortuary ponders

©Lauren Webb

Yesterday was all about watching family members doing sporty things. The weather was kind to everyone. Hannah and friends Emily and Becky swam to Drakes Island and back.

Just once a year swimmers are allowed to swim across the deep water channel entrance to Devonport Dockyard between Devils Point and Drakes Island. The swim was sponsored to raise money for the Chestnut Appeal, an organisation that raises money for research into Prostate Cancer. A disease that is close to our hearts and minds as far too many men have lives blighted by this disease. When I say close to our hearts the comment is emotional not anatomical. The prostate gland actually lives just below a mans bladder and surrounds the urethra just after it leaves the bladder. Clearly nowhere near a woman’s actual heart! It is the size of a walnut or chestnut. The prostate is a busy thing making the juice that sperm swim in, but in engineering terms it is badly designed for longevity. My dad described it as having ‘built in obsolescence’ . As men age it swells and becomes thickened, which is benign disease, and makes men wee a lot at night, sadly it is also the site of a very common cancer.

The swim was a little delayed because a big ship needed to pass.

But soon enough the swimmers were off.

And 30 minutes later back again.

Rewarded by coffee provided by their very attentive support team.

My second stint of watching involved the TV, our family had tickets for Wimbledon and while on an outside court had front row seats. Unfortunately the BBC overlayed the exact spot they were sitting with a score checker.

When they were in court 1 they were just tiny dots of pink and blue.

Never in the history of @theoldmortuary has a blog had so many people in it! The dogs were there, at swimming, not Wimbledon, too.

So after a day of watching other people do stuff I felt duty bound to take a little dip in the sea. The crowds were smaller and reaching the island positively not allowed.

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Sunset to start the day! @theoldmortuary has not gone completely mad. I wanted to ponder the soft pinks and oranges of May. The pink on the horizon of last nights sunset and the orange of the artificial lights illuminating the Royal William Yard.

My eye was caught by a scruffy little Geum in the garden centre earlier in the week.

There were much showier plants of late spring to look at but this one seemed to reflect the mood of the day more accurately. I am also a bit more aware of flowers in the softer pink spectrum since I did a colour mixing painting course. One of the pictures in yesterdays blog featured a painting by Beryl Cook that featured a silk dress in these soft colours.

©Beryl Cook

I’ve finished the course now but haven’t quite managed, yet, to fully utilise these soft colours in my own compositions. But my awareness in the last few weeks makes me think again that I need to give soft orange/pinks a proper go.

These colours were highlighted in the colour course, that I was doing recently, to be deeply embedded in my memory archives, although had I considered these shades even six months ago I would have dismissed them as my least favourite and now I seem to be, subliminally, seeking them out. I suppose that is the point, of course, of courses, to make me think. I just never expected to think pink. Now I just need to find a way to use it.

One more sunset with a hint of pink to kick off Monday!

Course details-https://tansyhargan.com/

#195 theoldmortuary ponders

Saturday was always about two decent length walks, one very urban and the other deeply rural. They are so different that in normal circumstances they would be two different blogs but a common theme has linked them. There is a lot of subject matter from this weekend so I have plenty of photos and natterings for a few blogs. The common theme for this one turns out to be Spring Green. Amazingly both walks had plenty of it although the first walk produced it rather unconventionally. Walk #1 was a circular tour of Devonport and Mount Wise very early in the morning. Friends of ours who normally live in France like to explore new coffee shops and the walk we did has two, and as we discovered later a new coffee van. Our meeting place was the first coffee shop. Where quite by chance me the decor and my drink were matching in shades of green, some of it Spring Green.

Much of the Devonport and Mount Wise walk is urban and uninspiring. There are some lovely buildings but for the most part they are unloved and somewhat rough around the edges, the view though once these streets have been passed is beautiful. The Tamar, Hamoaze and Plymouth Sound all stretched out in front of you.

A little bit of Spring Green in the grass but our next stop provided the unconventional part of this blog. Our friend is an ex-military man and has a strange addiction. The curiously named Bogey Knights Military Surplus Stores. He was like a dog with several bones. The rest of us soon began to see the attraction.

Unbelievably this lurid green leather jacket and its marching leather biker trousers are a uniform somewhere in the world.

Bogey Knights also sells Spring Green ropes.

And number badges to attach to buttons.

Sadly the item that took most of our attention was not Spring Green, but a rather clinical steel. The workings of a drugs toilet kept us entertained for many minutes and it was a bargain at £120!

Walk #2 was some two hours away.

Although these instructions do not mention it. This walk is an old coffin path between one village and the nearest church with a burial ground. There are thousands of these paths criss crossing the countryside. Kissing Gates are the give away, not at all for romance. Kisten Gate is derived from Kist an old word for box. It enabled two or more people to pass through a gate while carrying a coffin without having to put the coffin on the ground. Since we love a country churchyard, walking footpaths that were formally coffin paths takes us to some interesting places. This one is our best so far and arriving at the churchyard by any other route would not have been so beautiful.

Plenty of Spring Greens.

The walk and destination deserve a blog of their own but one more Spring Green to complete this one.

@theoldmortuary posing as a green woman in a leaded glass window.

To the May Day blog, a little late, but full of Spring Green which is no bad thing.