Pandemic Pondering #436

Mornings here are very bright this week.

In some exciting news, a sign of loosening of Pandemic Restrictions I’ve just booked a Cheap Day Return ticket to go to a party in the City of London with old work colleagues. Home again by 5:15 in the morning , exactly like old times. The relevance of this to Pandemic Pondering is that the last time I saw any of this group of people was Pandemic Pondering # -24 . A blog that didnt exist but possibly should have. We had a wonderful weekend seeing friends and family. @theoldmortuary had what was assumed to be a very nasty cold and was a bit under the weather. There are very few photographs of the weekend.

This typewriter is the only interesting picture. I love old typewriters.

The rest of my pictures are really interesting to me but hardly represent the usual pictures of London.

Fanny, one of the famous London ‘ Station Cats’

Then another Gipsy Hill Blue Plaque.

Annie Besant swapped Gipsy Hill for India and California. I walked Hugo and Lola past her house every day before work. Gipsy Hill not California, sadly.

Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a champion of human freedom, she was an ardent supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule. She was a prolific author with over three hundred books and pamphlets to her credit. © Wikipedia

Annie Besant https://g.co/kgs/FN1G5h

She founded what is now known as The Besant Hill School of Happy Valley. Kaffe Fassett was educated there, his autobiography lives in my colour theory book pile.

One last underwhelming image of London is this street sign.

Time for another googling moment dear readers. Orinoco is not only a river but a Womble who cares for Wimbledon common.

The Wombles https://g.co/kgs/ojkBNK

Orinoco Womble © eBay

A pre pandemic pondering ponder on the strange links of life. Inspired by a train ticket.

Pandemic Pondering#435

I’m a little obsessed with the sad fate of Octopus mothers. They mate only once and after caring for their babies they die and are consumed. I always felt quite octopus-like as a mother, certainly wishing that I had more than one pair of hands. But very glad that the whole experience was not so all consuming that I succumbed to maternal death in order to provide my beloved children with a snack.

I’ve been doing a little Octopus research before I start a series of Octopus watercolours, and discovered a fascinating fact about Octopus anatomy that would explain a lot about some humans if only they shared the same anatomy.

We’ve all met some shockers of human beings. Often at work, certainly in general and public life and unluckily for some , within families.

Just look at this simple anatomy of an octopus.

Right by the Octopus heart there is a poison gland.

Everyone knows a human with one of those!

I’m not too sure where this blog is going. Watercolour research to fantasy anatomy.

But I think in the future when I meet a bad human I may try to imagine them being overwhelmed by their own poison gland. I hope it is unpleasant.

Bonkers Pondering.

Pandemic Pondering#434

The lost blog in The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This mornings blog was lost in the herds of tourists that have arrived in Cornwall for their holidays now no-one can travel abroad. Then it was further lost in an uncharged phone.

A trip to the Lost Gardens of Heligan is a regular treat for us and one that normally we dont plan too formally. But in these busy times we had to book and the only time slot available was really early. Not too tricksy I thought I can blog before I go. Unfortunately due to fashion and stupidity I needed to quickly collect some blister plasters before we even set off. I plugged my phone in to charge on the drive down and was surprised to arrive with only 10% battery. Three pictures later that was it.

One dead battery and many photo opportunities missed.

So apologies for the late arrival of this blog some days the moments in life just dont quite stack up for 600 words before 8 am.

Pandemic Pondering#433

Plenty of sunshine and a lovely bit of misogyny.

A sunny Bank Holiday weekend has brought many moments of mirth and pleasure. I took this comment from our towns community page on Facebook. I too think the mowing of the wildflowers is a dreadful shame. In the portion of the graveyard that we overlook, the graves  are so old that they are extremely rarely visited. The wild flowers make the area calm and contemplative. Pollenators love it. Never could the author of the comment have imagined she would get such a delicious example of misogyny as a response. Alan R is quite the man for going off at a tangent, in unexpected ways. In other churchyard news the poppies are  really showing off.

Planted to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1, this their third year is their most glorious.

Despite spending over a year walking every inch of our local area we discovered a new viewpoint yesterday. High up, ovelooking Plymouth Sound. There is a tarmac viewpoint just behind the old Marine Biology building on the Hoe.

The views are splendid.

On such a beautiful day it would have been impossible not to swim, or bob, in the sea. An evening bob with bobbers, friends and families was the perfect end to a gorgeous Monday.

Unexpectedly early, some of the bobbers took delivery of their new summer, post-bob, cover ups, this weekend.

All excitedly modelled on the Whatsapp group.

In other news my fabulous school friend Dai Pullen, an occasional contributor to Pandemic Ponderings has entered a short story competition. If you have the time please visit the facebook link below, read his entry and vote if his wordplay floats your boat.

Pandemic Pondering #432

Along time ago @theoldmortuary used to row pilot gig boats competitively and have even rowed in World Championship competitions, but a busy working life in London stopped all that .

The clip below shows an on board perspective of the sport.

https://youtu.be/9PBHCm4l60o

Yesterday tentative steps were taken to return to the sport. Which has given me the chance to use some old photographs of an arty farty sort.


.

Surprisingly good rowing was achieved , not perhaps worthy of a video and no wildlife joined in ( see video) but it was a happy and sunny return.

The weather remains wonderful for a Bank Holiday weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #431

Cornwall pulled out all the stops yesterday weatherwise. The traffic situation was less blissful as any road or motorway turned from a place of movement to a congested collection of vehicles going somewhere slowly.

As Sunday starts with gorgeous weather and the promise of more, people can begin to forget the misery of their journey and start to enjoy their holidays. Willingly delivering doubloons, other forms of money also acceptable, into the hands of a land that previously took it by force.

The article linked below is a lovely read for a Sunday.

The Darker Side of Cornwall’s Smuggling Past

Joking apart the photos used in this blog were taken yesterday in a small Cornish village whose architecture speaks very eloquently of a less than squeaky clean past.

Pandemic Pondering #430

©Sarah Brown Drawn to the Valley

Today, Saturday is the last day of the art exhibition at Tamar Valley AONB. It has been a remarkable exhibition with good visitor numbers and many sales. Every time I’ve been there has been time to concentrate on different areas of the exhibition. Hares were my thing on the last visit. The sleepy one above and the mythical one below are so peaceful.

© Gilly Spottiswood Drawn to the Valley

The mum and leveret below make me smile.

©Shari Hills Drawn to the Valley

Stewarding at the exhibition has been a great chance to meet and talk with visitors and artists, and we have heard some fabulous comments and conversations but the real take away from this first post pandemic ( we hope) exhibition is the smiles and happiness that doing something normal  has given people. There has also been plenty of chance for a good natter when the exhibition has been quiet

©Sue Richardson Drawn to the Valley

But this afternoon it will be time to call in the hard hats and take everything down.

© Julia O’Dell ( detail) Drawn to the Valley

And all head off for the Hills.

© Allie Cole Drawn to the Valley

Or the quiet waters of the Tamar Valley.

©Clare Law Drawn to the Valley

The remaining unsold works will appear on our website very soon.
https://drawntothevalley.com/.

Pandemic Pondering #429

Regular readers of this blog may recognise these images filmed at our local ‘ bobbing’ location.

©BBC News

This morning National TV is covering a remarkable ‘bob’ . A military veteran with only one arm and a huge personality is swimming 1000 metres to raise money for REORG . A charity that introduces Brazillian Jiu Jitsu to Veterans, Military personal and Emergency Services staff, to support their physical and mental health.

Link – https://reorgcharity.com/

A local man, Mark Ormrod, has attracted the National press to our bobbing zone.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-ormrod6?utm_source=Sharethis&utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=mark-ormrod6&utm_campaign=pfp-email&utm_term=5c17269f674a4837b764c49c30415

©BBC News

Which enables me to share some different views of the bay. Bobbers dont have the budget of the BBC to hire drones to follow our bobbing sessions!

©BBC News
©BBC News

This may be the freshest blog ever. Mark has only been out of the water for twenty minutes as I push the button. Normal bobbing will occur this afternoon. No Drones. Please follow the links for proper journalism. Happy Friday.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/legendary-mark-ormrods-mammoth-swim-5448841

©BBC News

Pandemic Pondering #428

What an amazing day! First a perfect un weather-damaged Poppy bloomed.

And the sun came out, so hopefully pollinators were busy later harvesting this tasty purple pollen.

Then I got to take a friend, who is recovering from surgery, for a little road trip to visit the exhibition. We also met another friend there so some nattering occured. The red of the morning poppy was much in evidence as we looked round the works on show. Red dots all over the room. Red dots are the traditional way to denote that a piece of artwork is sold.

There are several columns like this around the exhibition showing the success for many artists in selling work. As one of the co- curators of this exhibition it is incredibly exciting to see so much work selling. Even better was the huge hug I got from a very happy Allie Cole who was so thrilled to sell a new style of work. She still has two more to sell but her happiness felt better than seeing a red dot on one of my own paintings!

©Allie Cole- details from her paintings awaiting new homes.

We couldn’t have picked a better day for a small trip out , the sunlight was amazing and the views across the valley as stunning as ever. The sunshine lasted through to the evening swim.

A fab day of sunshine, friends and red dots ( of two sorts).

Poppies @theoldmortuary

Pandemic Pondering #427

And another day of rain! Thankfully I had to go and replace some spotlights at the art exhibition so I could at least see some sunshine in paintings as I worked.

© Sue Richardson Drawn to the Valley

This picture has everything, sunshine, maskless faces, and a crowd. Spotlights fixed, I had hoped to take a walk around the Industrial Heritage, old mine workings, around Gunnislake, but the weather chased me into the car and back home to domestic admin. Finally just before sunset the rain stopped and the sun popped its head out for 30 minutes of golden moments.

The harbours captured the best images of the turbulent clouds.

This was our usual walk around Sutton Harbour, Cattedown and The Barbican, the sun put in only the briefest of appearances. Luckily one of the entries at the art exhibition shows the Plymouth Gin Distillery in a better light than we saw it last night.

We didn’t actually attempt loving our local gin. Its not a good midweek habit on a school night.