Pandemic Pondering #384

Sometimes you have to get up early for the twinkliest of moments. We got double twinkle yesterday. -1 degree and a frosty car as we set off very twinkly. Then a twinkly sea to swim in.

We only exchanged christmas gifts last week, during Easter. This weekend we got to use some of them. Swimming lessons and a silk shirt, neither particularly suited to the day but we are living in unusual times .

I got the easier option of wearing a new orange silk shirt while walking the dogs.

Hannah opted for orange accessories for her swimming lesson. Accidentally orange became the colour of the moment as an orange noodle was thrown to her during the early part of the lesson.

https://www.aceswimming.co.uk/

Me and the dogs watching on the beach.

Just a tiny tweak on the saturation of this photo shows up the orange of the tow floats as the lesson continues. It also gives the shine on the sea a pale purple hue which matched the weed I was leaning near to get these photos

Then as the lesson concluded I got a lovely splash of the complimentary colour to orange. Turquoise. This was not a cunning plan to introduce colour theory into the Monday blog!

Just luck, but serendipity does play a large part in these blogs. Because as luck/serendipity would have it we have a red flask for post swim warming up. Another portion of colour theory is that a small dash of red can improves the overall look of a picture. The same could be said for this blog.

For the story about a dot of red read this.

https://www.cassart.co.uk/blog/colour-speaks-volumes.htm

An accidental lesson in colour theory during a deliberate swimming lesson. Pandemic Pondering in a nutshell.

Pandemic Pondering #383

Today is an unusual pondering, not because it comes a day after the death of Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Although that fact is in some ways central to this blog. It is unusual because I can mention the great diarist Samuel Pepys for reasons other than his diary.

We did one of our usual dog walks near the coastal part of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth, being a naval city, was one of the locations of the 41 gun salute to mark the passing of the Queens husband. There is always something intriguing about witnessing something that has happened in the same location for many centuries, to mark significant events.

Gun Salutes started in the late Middle ages. Fixed odd number salutes of 21 and 41 were formalised as an economy measure by Samuel Pepys when he was a Naval adminstrator .

Another thing that was different today was that when HMS Westminster sailed out of Plymouth just after the Gun Salute the flag on her Jack Mast, the one at the back, was flying at half-mast.

Gun salutes are a complex old business. The link below will take you to a website with more information should you require it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21-gun_salute

On a brighter note a couple fresh from their teeny tiny Covid Regulation wedding had their photographs taken at the tidal pool in Firestone Bay.

Coffee and tea was, of course, essential to a day of lots of walking, talking and listening to 41 Gun Salutes. Hugo and Lola do not get left out during comestible breaks.

Sun setting on another day of action in Plymouth Sound.

Pandemic Pondering #382

©Debs Bobber

Another Friday swim day with the Bobbers. A tiny Whats app group of 5 people has expanded to 12 regular swimmers and one land based Andy who keeps an eye on everything on land and in the sea. The swimming is the primary function of Bobbers but also loud natterings on any subject. Some of the natterings would make a nun blush, especially as we base ourselves below the perimeter wall of a convent.

There was a fine show of tugs today.

Tug Spotting

This one sailed out just before we plunged into the somewhat chilly sea. Sometimes if the conditions are right you can feel the resonant thrum of moving tugs when you are in the water. Not the case today. This busy tug sailed out before we got in and then back in again pulling a Royal Navy Survey vessel after we got out.


The reward for swimming yesterday was a tiny chocolate biscuit shaped like a penguin. Another unexpected treat is a visit to the same beach today at extreme low tide to hunt for goggles which were lost during the talking phase of the swim. Not a phase usually shown in swimming events but one in which the ‘ Bobbers’ excel.

Later, on a regular dog walk we chanced upon a new import being brought into Plymouth Fish Market.

If only I had known you could buy this stuff. I’ve had many unavoidable colleagues and huge numbers of equally unavoidable patients who could have done with a big dose of this stuff. Humans with no discernible traces of charisma are all over the place. As soon as this product becomes available on the retail market, I’m getting a pocket spray , the use of which the pandemic has made entirely acceptable. I am assuming it has a similar transmission but without the fatality of Novichok. When I meet those all too frequent people who have no manners or any measurable social graces, a quick squirt, will sort them out, probably only briefly, but for as long as I am forced to endure them.

Once the pandemic is over we could even repurpose all the sanitizer dispensers and make all our lives a little easier when interacting with increasing numbers of other humans. Charisma dispensers would really make emerging into the post pandemic world a little easier.

Pandemic Pondering #381

Hugo and Lola went for a walk yesterday with their friend Grace. I tagged along to natter to her mum and drink coffee. Facebook Timehop gave me evidence of a curious coincidence.

Yesterday we walked in Victoria Park , Plymouth. Previously on the same day a few years ago Hannah and I had been walking and drinking coffee in Victoria Park in Hong Kong. A coincidence I am happily exploiting to inject an image of coffee, in a china cup, in a coffee shop, abroad!

Not that Victoria Park in Plymouth needs embellishing with interesting stuff from elsewhere. It has quite a lot of interest of its own.

JMW Turner painted there when the area was still a tidal pool at the head of Stonehouse Creek. At the time it was known as the Dead Pool.

Sometime, not long after Queen Victorias death it was drained and turned into a park. Not always known as the most salubrious of places at night it is the perfect place to walk dogs and coincidentally enjoy art.

©Plymouth Evening Herald

At the far end of the park ‘ Moor’ by Richard Deacon is both obvious and easily missed.

Luckily for me and for different reasons Hugo and Lola, Grace knew the exact location of some new Street art so we took a very sniffy walk up some steps towards North Road West. Goodness knows what creatures scamper up and down those magnificent stairways at night. Hugo and Lola took forever to fully investigate the odours. Sometimes they give me a very dissapointedly specific look as I try to move them on. Particularly in areas of historical interest. Yesterdays ‘ look’ said. ” We don’t need wall plaques to tell us historic facts. Turners dog did a wee here 250 years ago and she had just had sausages and ale for breakfast”

Regardless of their investigative sniffing we eventually moved on to the Street Art. There was so much I am only sharing one location and one artist in this blog.

©https://www.facebook.com/groups/310503822375100/?ref=share

https://www.facebook.com/groups/310503822375100/?ref=share

Isn’t it great to have Street Art and contemporary sculpture all within a few minutes walk of a favourite location of a Royal Academician ‘ Romantic’ painter.

Just to give even more texture to the walk Grace met her swimming coach and I met a fellow ‘Drawn to the Valley’ artist.

A walk worth pondering!

Pandemic Pondering #380

On reflection, moments like this are very rare. A still tide and no river traffic causing movement or ripples in the water. I do this walk almost every day but rarely catch moments like this. The proper business of dog walking is the purpose of the visit, but yesterday I just took a moment to capture these two pictures. I could already hear the sound of outboard motors approaching to ruin the perfect reflection.

Moments after this picture was taken the tide direction switched and the river started to flow again and I was able to concentrate on walking the dogs.

The road bridge in the front of this picture was completed in 1960 and the rail bridge behind 100 years earlier. Together they carry passengers and goods in and out of Cornwall, a hundred feet or so above the heads of humans standing on the riverbank. I never give it much thought on my daily walks but for the people living on the banks of the river in 1859 the first trains crossing the rail bridge must have been an extraordinary moment. I’ve only recently discovered that, less than two weeks after the railway service into Cornwall started,a train fell off a bridge just a couple of miles from here. That cant have made living under the bridge feel very safe at all. A future ponder will emerge from this new information once I can freely visit the local museum and research the story. Rail and road safety being what it is I happily walk beneath these bridges never anticipating a train or motor vehicle landing on my head. I may give it more consideration now!

Pandemic Pondering #379

Lambs and Seals, Snow and Sun.

A very curious weather day was had in Cornwall yesterday. A planned walk around a reservoir had to be squeezed into a gap between snow showers. There are no words for how cold the wind was. A very quick 3 mile walk was completed by the early afternoon. Finished just as the second snow shower started. So bad was the weather that hardly anyone else was venturing out. But surprisingly half way round we met some friends. Possibly they are as mad as us which is why we are friends!

Home to warm up and ponder if the weather would allow us to meet some friends for an evening visit to Firestone Bay to enjoy fish and chips. We set off without too much hope for a sunny evening and then just as we walked out of the fish and chip shop the skies cleared and this view welcomed us as we arrived.

Fish and Chips devoured, we set off for the Mediterranean, wind protected bay. On the way we were treated to an audience with the resident seal.

The Mediterranean corner did not dissapoint.

Which brings me nicely onto the last image of the day which appeared on the Stand Up Paddleboard Facebook page yesterday. The link to their website is below.

We watched the drone take this photograph which shows us, as tiny insignificant spots, but it proves the Mediterranean feel.

Home

© http://southwestsup.co.uk/

A day well spent.

Pandemic Pondering #378

Lockdown Easter Sunday Number 2, and a surprise, Church bells ringing. At the same time this lovely picture of a friends dog popped into my Whats App .

Ralph © Debs Bobber

The Bells of St Stephens were a welcome sound, my recording was shocking so I thought I would share the bells of a previous, working, Easter Sunday. The bells of St Pauls Cathedral.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000qhhg

Easter morning was bright on the sea.

And the chocolate faces at home were cheery.

Then the second surprise of Easter Sunday after our lovely Roast Dinner. The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. Not quite as normal but for two ex rowers always a highlight of Spring.

Sunset happened.

And the festive turkey remains in the freezer until there are enough of us willing to take him on.

Pandemic Pondering #377

© Debs Bobber

The weather today was better than expected. We walked a very long way today. All over the Stonehouse Peninsular. George the dog in the picture above with one of his many Nun friends is a regular dog about town in Stonehouse. He is a therapy dog based at Nazareth House, a residential care home for Adults. When not delivering therapy he can be seen on walks with one of the Sisters or occasionally just basking on the Cliffs.

Hoping your Easter is as chilled as Georges.

Pandemic Pondering #376

With a four day weekend in hand and still restricted by Pandemic protocols the only thing to do is start the day with a swim. A good number of ‘bobbers’ today and the added bonus of a government funded wave machine.

© Andy Cole

Which made bobbing bobbier.

©Andy Cole

Fast forward to the end of the day when we were walking on the Hoe and we learned a little bit of history. In 997 Viking long boats sailed past our swimming area , presumably making waves, and on up the Tamar for their habitual rape and pillage. Let me just say that if the bobbers had been bobbing in 997 history may have been very different. Ten women in fluorescent hats with luminous buoys might have been all it took to frighten the Vikings off. We would have looked like fearsome Sea Nereids protecting Britannia and may well have become the source of Viking Myths and legends.

But we weren’t there to frighten off the Vikings and history is as it is. Today we found a stone which marks 1000 years since the Vikings invaded.

And so the sun sets on another day in a peculiar year.

Happy Easter