A weekend away on a blogging course and a little rebranding. Moving on from Pandemic Pondering as the world moves from Pandemic to Endemic @theoldmortuary will be pondering at large. My walk from Spitalfields to Islington yesterday evening gave me the gift of this totally apporopriate sign.
There is an agreement within our blogging group that the course and its goings on are in the form of a conclave. While sticking very happily to those restictions I’m almost certain to natter on about the course in the future but not about the attendees or the contents. The venue is one of my favourite spaces in London and is always inspirational so talking about the course while not being explicit is easy.
There are 12 bottoms.
Occupying 12 seats.
We talk about our blogs and how we would like to allow them to evolve and improve. Refreshment and blogging nattering occur over beautiful food.
Right now I’m on my way back for Day 2. Have a fabulous Sunday.
Despite all the talk of too much talking over the weekend, the back yard is looking more stylish with Hannahs diligence with a paintbrush and a pot of black paint. The outside toilet has also been rehabilitated as a usable space instead of somewhere where stuff was dumped.
Of course my previous two blogs didn’t lie, there was a lot of nattering. Yesterdays nattering was with a woman we had never met before, although during the 18 months we have exchanged baking and crochet with her. Ruth is a friend of a friend. Our friend in common became a vital go between delivering bakes from us to Ruth. Ruth in turn made vital crochet for us. I can already feel you thinking what is ‘ vital’ about crochet. @theoldmortuary crochet became a conduit of love. During lockdown our toddler granddaughter moved to Hong Kong with her parents. I’m not sure such an occurrence is ever easy to bare but with the complextities of a pandemic and other worries it caused hard to manage grief. Ruth crocheted super hero clothes for our grandchild’s plush pig and the pig also flew off to Hong Kong with a crocheted and enchanted cape for safe travel and a happy return. In sad situations it is sometimes the little things that give comfort.
Recently, after our house move, we were in need of crochet again. Hannah’s mum had made beautiful crochet when she was alive and we have a few pieces of her work. An old house really needs some little touches to link the everyday contemporary world to the past. Once again Ruths nimble brain and fingers created two beautiful runners for us in a similar style to the one Hannahs mum had made. Another meaningful link to love and loss in a way that something mass produced could never be.
And out of all of this we have gained another friend.
Yesterday and today have been days of nattering around the table. In the evolution story of @theoldmortuary , chattering around the table was the original source of the daily blogging three months before the pandemic gripped and nattering around a table with friends or family was banned as an unacceptable infection risk.The daily blogging became lone pondering and almost 18 months later we have only just returned to the habit of nattering with friends around the table over a cup of tea or coffee and baked goods.
We seem to have nattered all weekend with very little actual work occuring!
The top picture represents the main topic of conversation this September and actually most Septembers. The sudden realisation that evenings are getting darker. It happens every September and yet every September it is a surprise. Baked goods from a bakery fuelled this weekends natterings, this mornings trip for baking perfection took me past Smeatons Tower, I managed to grab this shot while the streets were still quiet.
The weather today was not glorious, it was perfectly fine but we decided to hit the to-do list. Hannah picked up a paint brush and the exterior paint pot and took on walls and the outside toilet. I rearranged the work room and found a new home for @theoldmortuary neon sign. The reason for this flurry of activity is that while we were renting this house we promised the previous owner that we would do nothing structural. So when we moved in many of our unpackings and placements were temporary and we had to store quite a bit of stuff in the work room. Now we have actually owned it for a week it’s time to crack the whip on our to- do list. The paintwork is just on a first coat so that will feature on another blog. Oh the anticipation of a freshly painted outside loo !
A tidy work room also benefits from some neon placement.
The yard is proper twinkly now the neon has been unpacked and turned on.
Which makes for some interesting shapes and shadows.
Mid to late September is habitually the time of year when @theoldmortuary are getting ready to set off for a holiday. Holidays always involve some painting, or sketching in the sun. Usually in Greece because that is the destination of space and relaxation.
Pollen II , above was sketched in Greece and then painted at home. A roadside plant possibly a weed bursting with pollen. The paintings that emerge from holiday sketching follow no real theme or style.
Last September our usual holiday time was filled with non holiday activities at the height of the pandemic. There was no random sketching. It seems a shame to have given up my regular September sketching habit just because a pandemic has blighted travel and relaxation plans.
Last year was such a muddle of Lockdowns, Eat Outs, Stay ins, that September passed without any thought of what a normal September was like. This year I am a little more mindful of what I am missing. There is no reason not to take some time out to randomly sketch just because the pandemic still has travel and many other aspects of our lives twisted out of all recognition.
We have some holiday booked this year, no big trips and possibly a good bit of home maintenance but I might just pack my self a little sketching kit and take inspiration from closer to home.
We had a fabulous bob this morning. The sea was cool and bumpy and we had two invisiting bobbers from Oxford, both with the skills required, bobbing obviously and nattering. The more gregarious of the two guest bobbers got into conversation with a gentleman who had, he said, retired from the glamour industry. Women writhing to keep their bits covered up must have been quite a novelty for him.
Writhing occurs during the changing phase. Relatively easy during the dry change but post swim all sorts of curious movements occur, sea water and cold skin can be a sticky pairing. Even the simplest garment can become a tenaciously gripping piece of fabric, intent on clinging in the wrong place.
In other news a new cook book has arrived @theoldmortuary . Med by Claudia Rodin. The waves in the blog come from the cookbook not Plymouth Sound.
There is an update on Pandemic Pondering #524.
Only 24 hours after a few bobbers had watched the cremated remains of an unknown person belatedly drift into the bay, other bobbers visited for an evening swim. Two high and two low tides had occured and had returned the roses to the high tide point. Once again bobbers gently returned the floral tributes to the sea. Whilst we are in thoughtful mode I can share a poem about swimming in a cold sea that Angela Bobber shared on our Bobbing WhatsApp group
The link above takes to you to Samantha Reynolds Instagram page.
Bobbers don’t particularly fill their swims with worries of rocks and sharks. We have smaller fears, eels and seals with caves full of plundered treasures and enchanted seaweed with the power to grab ankles. It’s all in the mind, of course, but we never allow fantasy or fact ruin good conversations or good bobbing.
We’ve just had a lovely weekend filled with friends and family. All the usual stuff happened but with extra family members. We dined in barns, farmyards, walled gardensl and out in the open and the food slipped effortlessly into our tummies as we talked, laughed and reminisced.
When Sunday evening comes with the inevitable farewells, the left-overs hide in the fridge waiting to catch out the casual grazer searching for a non essential snack.
A rare moment of culinary serendipity occured @theoldmortuary yesterday evening. A recipe in the Saturday Guardian exactly corresponded with our selection of left-overs.
Sunday night supper was amazing and finished off a lovely weekend perfectly.
500 Pandemic Ponderings and the world is still in the grip of something that affects everyone. Currently our planet is still gripped and the Pandemic is far from over.Who knows how this part of our history will end.
@theoldmortuary, just like everyone, is in quite a different place at #500 to where we were at #1. No longer living at the actual Old Mortuary, that was never a plan!
Today though, beyond PP#500, is pretty average. We took a trip out to Tavistock in the rain. The rain gave me all the images for this blog. A rain swollen river + my silky water feature on the phone camera is as good an illustration for time passing as I could muster today.
We went to Tavistock to visit the Drawn to the Valley exhibition again and to visit the Saturday market.
We also had a Bubble Wrap popping and styling date with our grandchild in Hong Kong.
Not something we were planning to do in the street but that is where we were when the call came through. We had planned ahead and just whipped our Bubble Wrap out of a handbag and struck some poses and popped away. Passers by were certainly puzzled! A fine way to spend half an hour on a normal day with an auspicious number.
I’ve changed my museum working day to Wednesdays instead of Thursdays. Perhaps the dullest sentence to appear in the blog! Yesterday was a red letter day as the museum has adopted a near normal working model for the first time since it opened.
Figureheads loom over the entrance and reception area, I happened to look over as a large unruly group of people walked in. I imagined what a shock it might be to the figureheads who have spent the whole time the museum has been open, hanging over strictly ticketed punters, who could legitimately be limited and controlled in the name of Covid regulations.
At last the museum can relax, I’m not sure the figureheads ever will.
Not particularly museum related, this picture popped up on a sea swimming page on Facebook. Our summer swimming ‘friend’ the Compass Jellyfish doubling up as a display cabinet.
Museum time was sandwiched between dog walking and normal domestic chores. A prime donestic chore was to find a supplier of camping gas. Not as easy as you might think. Britain and presumably the rest of the world is in the thrall of a new, allegedly, type of holiday. The Staycation. The strangest things are in short supply. Camping shops ran out of replacable gas tanks weeks ago. @theoldmortuary ran out of gas at last weekends festival. This was a crisis of sorts as no gas= no tea, and @theoldmortuary runs on tea. A proper first world crisis! Thankfully as Plymouth is a seafaring port it has Chandlers. I have only once in my life been into a chandlers in search of a caribineer to hold a poo bag dispenser for dog walks.
Yesterday I went into 3 , they are fantasy destinations. The first two might not have had gas but they did have intrigue. Shelf after shelf of things to do with boats, all of which had names and practical uses that sounded exotic and quite unknown. The 3rd Chandlers had some gas but I may think of other reasons, in the future, to return to these shops just to look around and ponder a whole new world on my doorstep.
These flowers are also on my doorstep. I hope Thursday is good to you…
I will try not to visit a Chandler just for the sake of it.
At last we have WiFi. Back in the world of communicating via tech. It’s funny that my morning walk showed me benches and seats that are set up to allow non tech human to human conversation. The one above is set up high on a look out point accessed via one of two ‘secret’ Gardens close to home. The view from here is spectacular.
But two deck chairs set up for side to side nattering has huge potential for a satisfying conversation. The other`secret’ garden has a bench for four people to enjoy a lively chat.
During the various lock downs we have sat at each of these locations to have conversations and coffee. Much as we love a good natter for its own sake the benefit of talking and laughing or consoling with other people has been immense in the last 18 months.
My final great seat of nattering is a beauty.
Large enough to hold two bubbles of people and perfectly positioned outside, but under a stone canopy for inclement weather. This one has been a winter favourite with one negative point. It is made of metal and can be very cold on the bum.
A small celebration of the potential of conversation on the day @theoldmortuary is finally back in the loop.