Pandemic Pondering #13

Blogging in general is much in mind as I approach the end of March. Blogging through a pandemic is just an added puzzlement.

@theoldmortuary in its current form exists because I attended a blogging course at Spitalfields Townhouse, run by The Gentle Author. It was a hugely supportive and encouraging course with the most delicious blend of course members. We were encouraged to find our blogging style in a way that we could manage and sustain regularly.
https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Ever the nerd, I decided to follow the example of The Gentle Author and blog daily. It must be irritating to regular readers that my grammar is, at times, patchy and the narrative can be rambling. I am never going to have the eloquence or fascinating topics created seemingly so effortlessly by The Gentle Author. I do have cute photos though, a saving grace on days when my content quality wavers.

The deal on the first course was that I would publish a blog every day regardless of how finished or polished it is. This is a bigger deal than I imagined . Serendipity hand in hand with planning is the Key.

Be flexible like Water is useful little mantra.

Having been taught so well by The Gentle Author, it is very apparent that ‘ effortless’ is not a descriptive that fits with the creation of his genuinely lovely blog that has thousands of regular readers. I am completely in awe.

Soon after the November course I registered for the advanced course, being run over a couple of weekends in February and March 2020. After the advanced course I planned to look afresh at the blog to define its future.

Coronovirus leaves me needing that final twinkle of blog polish. As yet the date for the next course is unknown so for the time being the blog will remain what it has become. A daily pondering on something that peaks my interest. My terms of reference on a daily basis are much more limited with Social Isolation and yet even that is not strictly true. Today I looked at a post box I drive past many times a week. I had never realised it was a new design.

Todays local long walk took us down the hill about half a mile to Forder Village. Past this post box.

The tide was out and the sun was up. Hugo and Lola needed to be kept on a lead, this much mud and sunshine would make them giddy with excitement and not responsible for their actions. They do not look or smell at all good after a romp through this stuff.

Who can possibly guess where Coronovirus will take this blog. Where it won’t go is to the Advanced Level, like most things that is on hold.

Pandemic Ponderings #10

Yesterday was a strange one . It started off sad and strange and finished off stranger.

Yesterday I decided to put away our grandchild kit @theoldmortuary.

Stuff that we gathered in a hurry in July last year when she arrived in the UK at 8 months old.

It was surprisingly sad. I thought we were well used to not seeing her. Even before she was born there was the knowledge that any contact was only ever going to be fleeting. She was born in Hong Kong and we met her two weeks later fully aware that it would be a Hello/Goodbye relationship. Then her parents decided to return to the UK and we spent a month in Hong Kong caring for her during the beginning of the troubles whilst they fulfilled their contracts. She was a resilient little soul as we made the most of being with her and being in Hannah’s home town. Public transport was sketchy and the climate unforgiving as we visited government offices and Embassies to facilitate the paper trail of three people leaving their home of five years. We also managed swanky afternoon teas and less swanky but far more interesting visits to Sham Shi Po and Cape Collinson, the former home of Hannah’s family and the last resting place of her parents and sister.

One last goodbye we thought as we jumped on a plane in Hong Kong, a few hours ahead of her and her mum and dad. As luck would have it they were moving to Cornwall.

It’s strange having an 8 month old baby arrive in your home. The equipment needed is massive and happened all at once. Since July we’ve settled into a routine of seeing her most weeks , sharing family time and viruses in equal measure.

We waved her off ten days ago, clean and sleepy in her pyjamas fully expecting the new routine of life to continue.

But we don’t know when we will see her again . Social distancing and self isolation have isolated bits of families and friendship groups in a startling way. Lock down which was announced last night further breaks our social and familial ties . We’ve all had last goodbyes without ever realising the significance of the moment.

Some of those last goodbyes will have been exactly that.

What strange times.

Pandemic Ponderings #9

Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday was bittersweet. The weather was beautiful but in reality too many people forgot about Social Distancing and enjoyed too much Fresh Air and exercise. Mount Snowden had its busiest Sunday ever , and it’s been around a long time. I wasn’t there but it was pretty mad. The Government got cross and said people were selfish. I agree and that’s a big thing to say because if I were a stick of rock, the word Conservative does not run though me.

@theoldmortuary we took a Social Distance walk around the uncrowded but very sunshiny and uplifting Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour. Enjoying a take out coffee from Jacka Bakery, completely ignoring the baked goods on offer. A good sign that we are not hooked on Bakery Porn, or any other sort for that matter

Two lovely things arrived in the evening. Chocolates from the beautiful J and a lovely WhatsApp message from S.

Not in any way eclipsing these two lovely gestures on Mother’s day. Hugo and Lola has been making free with someone’s debit card and this card had arrived during the week.

The two mother’s Day sentiments are different yet the same. My adult children are far from the days when their elimination is my problem. My dog children will never move on from me not only having responsibility for their poo but treasuring it by sealing it in a bag and sometimes carrying it for miles.

Hugo is a private pooer , when I approach him, for accuracy of collection, he gives me a disdainful hard stare that dissolves into something pitiful as he skips and kicks his way through the post defecation victory dance. Lola is a more artistic dog, she likes to choose a grassy tussock on which to balance the canine equivalent of rock stacking.

She knows that her little pile might be a thing of beauty and waits until she is well out of the way before embarking on the Defacation Dance.

I, of course, demonstrate to both of them how precious their bottom offerings are and gather them into a special little bag .

So Mother’s Day 2020 a mixed bag, you could say.

Lovely adult children being kind from a distance because that’s what the guidelines said we should do. I always think Mother’s Day is as much about paying the love back. My two make me happy and proud, they are lovely people.

The fluffs, of course, had no idea about Mother’s Day but as of tonight the country is in lockdown, they will be my constant companions and in a strange switch of fate will have more freedoms regarding socialising than me. And that is absolutely fine, I really will never have the need to sniff a stranger’s bum or genitals. Pandemic or no pandemic.

Pandemic Ponderings #8

Dead Mother’s Day ( and grandmas). It’s Mother s Day in the UK and Social Distancing and Social Isolation protocols suggest that the last people on the planet who should be visited are grandmas and mother’s only within the existing regulations.

The cemetery opposite @theoldmortuary is always well visited on Mother’s Day, but this year it was busy. The more contemporary grave areas are alive today with the colours of bouquets and pot plants.

It was to the old part of the cemetery we popped this evening . To find the unusual and beautiful daffodils planted centuries ago for mourned mums and grandmas.

Even the graves had their faces turned to the setting sun and looked beautiful in their shabby uncared for ways.

The two most delicious daffodils were these two.

Today not having a mum or a grandma didn’t feel quite so bad

Pandemic Ponderings #6

Life really does have a way of taking you in unusual directions in these rapidly changing times. Earache or not I had to go out today, observing social distance and cleanliness at all stages.

For some time now doughnuts have loomed large in my imagination, not just any doughnut, nothing fancy, a fresh ring doughnut or indeed a perfectly simple jam doughnut.

It has been a back burner kind of fantasy, perhaps a little enhanced or made more presient by the current restrictions on life. It was those very restrictions that enabled doughnuts to feature @theoldmortuary today. Parking in our local High Street (We are in Cornwall so it’s called Fore Street) is normally impossible but less people around gave me the Golden Ticket of parking spaces. Right outside Rowe’s Cornish Bakery.

Not somewhere I usually go for no other reason than the parking is tricksy.

Their doughnuts were perfect and the staff had been fully trained in no touch techniques and tonging. It was impressive.
https://www.rowesbakers.co.uk/

But it didn’t stop at Doughnuts…

Long ago in a large NHS hospital on- call and long shifts were sometimes fuelled by a Gregg’s Bacon Tasty, truly the comfort food of Health Professionals who know a lot about diet and Cardiac health.

It’s been 12yrs since I was close to a bacon tasty. Rowe’s call it a ‘Bacon Bite’ for complete accuracy. London Hospitals of my aquaintance did not offer such things. More worldy offerings certainly, equally bad for the general health but not Bacon Tasties.

The picture tells the story. The very best thing for a virus that induces earache is a Bacon Tasty. Served by someone well versed in the art of tonging.

Followed by the perfect doughnut. Also delightfully tonged.

I won’t bore you with the lovely fresh vegetables I sourced today, or the fish or other healthy comestibles.

What’s the point, this is Bakery Porn. You were warned that I had no idea where this restricted lifestyle would take us.

By complete coincidence a gift of bakery was also delivered to @theoldmortuary.

A man, unknown to us but connected made us a loaf to help out with the earache.

We are feeling plumptious and unrepentant.

Pandemic Ponderings #5

Hannah the other human @theoldmortuary has succumbed to a virus, not The Virus.

It would not be an exaggeration to say our house is always handwash central and we’ve only become more obsessed in the last few weeks.

But we have a VV, a toddler who shares everything with her Nanna and Nonna and clearly sneaked this one in under the new regime.It’s like being given cheap sliced bread when you were anticipating artisanal sourdough.

Hugo and Lola are putting in the hours caring in their usual cuddle style. Historically one of their other mother’s has been inclined towards the occasional hangover or broken heart. Hugo in particular has a whole repertoir of tired and emotional cuddles that involve him wrapping himself theatrically around the affected person. Lola is more practical and curls around chilly feet.

The messages they leave for their doggy friends probably reflect their disappointment in us for not catching the famous one.

I’ve never particularly envied them their news gathering system of sniffing recently delivered piss but it works no matter what the disaster. The same cannot be said for our current increasing reliance on techy solutions to this pandemic. I am only one phone charge away from near total isolation at the moment.

Random(eyes)

For reasons that are unknown to me my smartphone selected a group of photos of eyes this afternoon. I assume I had inadvertantly selected a voice control search when discussing someone with shifty eyes. I suppose it could have been worse.

Not one of the following eye pictures, apart from perhaps the first, is remotely shifty.

I’m going to share them in the order they appeared and try to remember the location and event they represent.

Above is me on a New Years Eve looking shifty.

The next is Hugo and Hannah with almost perfectly matched profiles.

A dragon at Chinese New Year in Hong Kong.

Graffiti near Waterloo Bridge London.

Lola in February 2016.

Che Guevara, graffiti just outside Havana.

Three cows at the Royal Cornwall Show 2012.

A judge at The Royal Cornwall Show 2012.

Two more cows , as above.

Two @theoldmortuary paintings.

And finally a barely-there eye from the Lambeth Country Fair at Brockwell Park.

Now none of these seem to me to be remotely shifty but since I had inadvertantly confused my phone I thought I would look up ‘ Shifty eyes’

shifty-eyed in British English (ˌʃɪftɪˈaɪd) adjective. informal. having the appearance of being dishonest, esp as signified by a lack of eye contact. He seemed evasive, shifty-eyed and vague.

Apart from words it seems the internet is not too clear on exactly what a shifty eye looks like. Beyond cartoons shifty eye seems to be intangible so maybe my phone can be forgiven for giving me pretty normal eyes. However I never did ask it to search for eyes of any sort so that action still remains a mystery.

Dark Grey Walls

It’s been 6 weeks since the humans @theoldmortuary joined the gym. It was never the intention to become gym bores on here telling you about our reps/ sets/weights achievements. So as usual this is a ponder. We’ve even made a gym friend who has called in @theoldmortuary and noticed that the gym and @theoldmortuary have walls painted the exact same shade of very dark grey. We chose dark grey because it makes a small dark cottage seem larger and brighter. Quite why a gym would choose the same colour is beyond me but it’s all new and recently refurbished so there has to be a reason.The grey walls are significant to my static adventures on a bike. Every visit I knock out 10k always accompanied by a Podcast and this wall.This sweaty wall is the blank canvas to my imagination that is boosted by podcasts.It was an entirely appropriate backdrop to my sweaty, teary experience of Desert Island Discs with Ian Wright on the BBC Sounds app.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000fdxwThankfully not all podcasts have the same effect so often I can just relax and enjoy the sweaty drips on the wall.Perhaps my rep/sets and weight stats would be more interesting, but this blog is about the dullness that is pondering.

When did we stop washing our hands?

I love hot soapy water on my hands, I can’t quite believe that people need to be encouraged to wash their hands. It’s such a refreshing task. Alcohol gel is nothing like as satisfying . I also have a funny habit of photographing sinks. So now hand washing is the new big thing, cue Julie Andrews

” Here are a few of my favourite sinks.”

@theoldmortuary
@QE11 Block St Bartholomew’s Hospital ( demolished)
@Aesop
Greek outdoor sink
Boston Tea Party, Plymouth
@Brixton East

Sunshine in poster form

All over Cornwall, daffodils have been raising their heads, looking for sun, in the darkness of winter in preparation for a big Spring reveal. Similarly artists and makers have been using the snatches of winter daylight to create work for this art exhibition in Gunnislake, Cornwall. The first visible sign that an exhibition is beginning to come together is the arrival of boxes of posters and flyers.

@theoldmortuary also has two pieces of art featured so that is another reason to feel zippy and spring- like this morning.

March, how lovely to see you.