Pandemic Ponderings #11

This week started with bright shafts of sunshine. That special Spring sunshine that manages to illuminate dust and cobwebs even in the homes of dedicated cleaners. Obviously this week started with more serious restrictions regarding Covid-19 . Stay with me on this these two things are connected. Spring cleaning catches me just like any human, for a brief time dusting and tidying seem almost a pleasure. On top of this in these bizarre circumstances I feel the need to get rid of anything around the house that reminds me of what I’m going to be missing in this uncertain time. So artwork and ‘stuff’ associated with the Exhibition I was involved with next week needs to be put away. As did our grandparent kit of yesterday’s blog . The washing line has been strung up in the trees ready to blow fresh Atlantic and country fragrances into clean clothes and all the domestic linens that will fill the rest of my week of cleaning madness

After all these chores were achieved me and the dogs went out for our one permitted exercise walk.

The sun was beautiful and keeping our distance was easy for the few humans about. The dogs of course went about their usual social greetings.Not that you would know this from these photographs.

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 #7

Wonderful, wonderful Wembury.

This picture is from a previous visit to Wembury when a cup of tea overlooking the sea was just every day life. Wembury was my destination yesterday. Hugo and Lola needed their regular hair cut at their dog groomers.
https://www.nataliesdoggrooming.co.uk/

Wembury is a regular visit for this exact reason.

The hours between dirty dog delivery and pampered pooch collection are spent doing Plymouth based jobs or enjoying the beach or coast. The charity shops of Modbury are also an irregular treat.

The beauty of Wembury beach is the sand. It doesn’t cling so even freshly clean dogs come off as clean as they went on it.

These shots make it look like we were the only people there. Nothing could be further from the truth, I would like to say we are really good at socially isolating but I think I just got lucky with photographs. It was pretty chilly so many people were hunkered down against the rocks with flasks of coffee. The coast path was probably very busy but that involves mud and we don’t do mud on grooming days.
https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/

The National Trust giving free access to much of their land during the pandemic is very generous and public spirited . The car park was as full as on a hot summers day. Even after only 5 days of keeping ourselves isolated fresh air and a walk was like drinking fresh lemonade.

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.

Pandemic Ponderings #4

Zooming and WhatsApp has filled my day as I’m sure it has or will for many people during these early pandemic days.Setting up new forms of communication for groups that until this week simply got together is vital to keep us socially and culturally connected. Whatsapp has been part of my portfolio of communication for a while , I’ve settled on that platform for a small 10 person book club.
https://www.whatsapp.com/

Zoom is something I’ve only used once for an art course. I wasn’t so sure about it then. It worked much better today for an artist and makers organisation, we were all pretty much video conferencing virgins and once contact was established everyone seemed to relax into it.
https://zoom.us/

Away from my device I’ve had a lovely long dog walk, once again dressed as the Lone Ranger.

My walk was pretty slow as Hugo and Lola needed to read the doggy news that they all constantly leave for each other. I took their sniffing/peeing stops as a cue to find something interesting to photograph .

The last one must mean something to someone, it’s clearly important as it’s been highlighted but to the uninitiated( me) it means nothing. The others of course signify the arrival of spring and need only innate knowledge to decode. I am very grateful that in the Northern Hemisphere this pandemic is hitting us in the natural world’s most optomistic season.

Pandemic Pondering #3

Thankfully, today, the dreadful earache is much less dreadful. Grapefruit calls me for breakfast. Easy peel tangerines for other parts of the day.

Citrus fruits of all sorts in their awkward sticky, juicy, fleshy wholeness are my favourite fruits. I wonder if I’ve been craving them for the last couple of days because Mr Virus was hanging around. It helps massively that Lidl are selling grapefruit for 29p and no-one, except perhaps me, would ever consider panic buying or hoarding grapefruits.

Social isolation stops me being that person, but long before Coronovirus or its evil twin Brexit were gripping Britain I had squirreled away some tins of grapefruit.

Curiously me and grapefruit go back a long way. My parents thought that half a grapefruit served with its own special spoon was exactly the sort of breakfast to serve to their small child. It could be followed by another eye wateringly sharp citrus burst of Lime marmalade.

I wonder if my love of citrus is genetic, my father could never choose anything different if a lemon flavoured desert appeared on a menu. As he got older, about where I am now, he drove my mother mad with his lemon obsession. Even Christmas cake got the citrus treatment as he squeezed half a bottle of Jif concentrated lemon juice into the royal icing mixture.

Pondering is a funny old business. It was only while I was writing this that I remembered that mornings were always started with PLJ and hot water. I can’t have given that a moment’s thought for 40 years. I think it was a seventies thing but I’m not really sure.

Onwards into day 2 of isolation.

Pandemic Ponderings #2

This is not the blog I imagined I would be writing today. Yesterday I did some classes at the gym and as the day progressed I thought I had given my chest and neck muscles a good work out. But the pain settled around my ears and even my unpredictable exercise moves could not give me an ear workout.

So a virus has found its way in, maybe not The Virus, but a virus never the less. So it’s social isolation for me and I may as well measure time using this.

Like all viruses Coronovirus has a pleasing organic image.

As we all know this pretty thing originated in China. As luck would have it I have a Chinese chrysanthemum that nicely fits in with pretty round organic shapes.

Fortunately theoldmortuary is very close to a nature reserve so I did not feel too much of a fool walking the dogs dressed as the Lone Ranger. I didn’t meet a soul.