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.

Pandemic Ponderings #1

Ponderings at theoldmortuary are just that. Something that comes into mind or sight that can be the kernel of a blog.

Pandemic Ponderings will not be particularly virus related, but they will be shaped by a newly restricted life.

I’ve started them today because I had to make concrete changes to life yesterday because of new restrictions in the UK.

Hand washing and the prevention of spread of infection were for so long part of my previous occupation that societal increases in protective behaviours has made no significant impact on me, it has been second nature for all of my working life and switching to the same gear in private has barely registered

Now I’m responsible, with others, for putting on an Art exhibition. I’m hugely aware of the creative work, costs and administration that has got us to within two weeks of opening. But it is in everyone’s interest that we do not hold an exhibition now or for the foreseeable future. It also seems sensible to mothball the whole Artist Collaborative that has plans for many exhibitions before the end of the year. Mothballing allows us to not have face to face Commitee meetings or working groups, so vital to the running of most organisations.

Everything looks better in the sunshine.

This morning’s dog walk was always going to be beautiful. Amazing bright sunshine after a rare, for this winter, frost.

Sunshine lifts the soul. What better than to do a great walk not once but twice, the second time extremely slowly.

I opted for the nature reserve walk this morning even though time was limited as I had some gym sessions booked.

On the way I took photos of mundane things looking glorious in the sun.

Lola and I had a moment in the sun, represented by long shadows.

Even the festive wreath was given its last moment of beauty before being cast into the compost heap.

This was moments before I discovered the house keys had exited my jeans pocket at some point during the walk.

The second walk was much slower, scanning the ground for the recalcitrant keys. Unhappy dogs kept on their leads for added concentration.

Luckily everything does look better in sunshine and keys twinkle.

Libraries and bookshops, journeys to somewhere else.

Saltash Library

All my reading life I’ve loved libraries, as I got older bookshops took over because library opening hours are not always convenient for working people. We always visit libraries whenever we travel to cities. Birmingham and Seoul stand out as two of the best. Yesterday I was in our local library doing some admin for a book group. Not planning to get anything for myself I had a quick wander around in case something irresistible caught my eye. Two books leapt out at me, not because they would take me on new journeys but because they reminded me of journeys already taken.

Alan Johnson’s In My Life will be the second Alan Johnson book I’ve read. The first one The Long and Winding Road was the third book of his memoirs. I have yet to read the first two parts. The Long and Winding Road was significant to me because during the period it covered we were neighbours, not close, but some of his roads were my roads and when his days of secure chauffeur driven cars were over we shared our regular commute into Victoria or London Bridge. Obviously like proper London commuters we never made eye contact.

Looking down Gipsy Hill
© theoldmortuary

Alan Johnson is not the only recognisable face seen on the platforms of Gipsy Hill Station.

One stands out as the ‘ most’ famous. Fanny, the Gipsy Hill Cat. Famous throughout London for her duty of care to the commuters of South London. She has her own station waiting room.

and is nearly always on hand for cuddles or ticket checking.

Spiri Tsintziras book Afternoons in Itheka is the second book that grabbed me and is the second based in Itheka that I have read.The first was North of Ithaka by Eleni Gage, a book that fueled a trip to Itheka last summer.

The trip to Ithaka was serendipitous and wonderful. It is such a peaceful island.

We had a huge rustic supper in a general store and occasional cafe.

Some of the artwork was surprising.

The food was everything you would expect of Greek hospitality. Comforting, delicious and never ending.

Reading is my favourite pastime, it gives me time and location travel. Sometimes backwards like these two books but often projecting me forward to adventures as yet unknown.

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.