Pandemic Pondering #375

Good Morning, Good Friday and we are embarking on another strange Easter. Yesterday my list of jobs included finishing the Christmas present wrapping. Not a usual deadline for early April but these are not usual times.

I don’t fully understand the movement of Easter dates but it must be around this early part of April quite often as my Facebook Memories page for today has lots of photographs of us specifically doing family stuff on the 2nd April. The dogs also appear to always be well groomed around now. Ready to charm relations into cuddles and tasty nibbles.

Miss Lola posing for best dog of the week.

In contrast, like many people this Easter, Hugo is looking rugged.

Motorways also seem to play a big part in memories of past April 2nds. The M25 and the M3 have their own mentions on Facebook . The M3 is recorded as being more like a car park than a motorway. 11 years ago we were heading to Southampton to visit a family member in Southampton and then travelling on to Cornwall We were stuck somewhere on the M25 and could see our friend Suzannah in a car next too us. She was also travelling between London and Devon. We managed a twenty minute catch up before the traffic moved!

Food is also a big part of any Easter and 10 years ago despite an over-full fridge and many Easter eggs we felt the need to visit Pattiserie Valerie and stock up on fancy calories.

In a previous iteration of record keeping there is also a lot of mentions of visiting comedy clubs or venues in early April. We trailed all over London for comedy but our ‘home’ pitch for laughter was the East Dulwich Comedy Club.Based either at the East Dulwich Tavern or The Hob in Forest Hill. We are never hecklers but we do often fall for being the victims of witty banter.

One Easter 6 years ago myself, Hannah and Hannahs mum had the mammoth task of sorting a mountain of Lego and Silvanian Families. It was a production line of cleaning and packing away for future family members.

In the middle of the task we were stopped by a phone call from Japan. Sam, my son, and his friend Martin had managed, in a drunken state, to upset members of the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza and were being chased around a city by them. Silvanian families and Lego were put aside as we nattered to a loquacious Sam who was hiding in a doorway.

Family, friends, travel, food, laughter and memories. The stories of Easters of the past .

Fingers crossed for next year.

Pandemic Pondering #309

A glorious weather weekend lifted our cabin fever this weekend. Snow and Bagels were forecast.

A favourite coffee shop reopened as a take away destination. Sweetening the deal with home made bagels. Bagels it seems got the good people of Plymouth out of their beds very early and by the time we arrived at 10:30 the bagels were just a memory. Good coffee in hand we set off on a city walk enjoying the sunshine. The sunshine kept coming and the walk kept walking. 7 miles or 11 km later we arrived home. Only then did the snow arrive!

©Helen Flinton

Our social media in-boxes were filled with friends and family sharing snowy photos.

©Mark Curnow

Even the dogs friends got in on the act.

©Monty and Murphy

We received Dinosaurs.

©Emily Yates

And tranquility

©Debbie Sears

Paths to walk

©Helen Flinton

And the boot prints of walkers.

©Jenna Blake

Have a marvelous Monday. P.S we got the Bagels!

https://www.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Pandemic Pondering #55

Easing of lockdown in England and Cornwall. There is a joke here as Cornwall believes it is, in many ways, a separate entity from the rest of the United Kingdom. Unlike Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which have some self-determination, Cornwall has not been able to stick to comfortable, safe lockdown.

We were obliged to travel into the rest of the UK this morning across the Tamar Bridge.

Watercolour © theoldmortuary

We’ve had to do it a few times during Lockdown but always in very controlled situations where social distancing has been easy. Shopping at Marks and Spencer and Holland and Barrett in Drake’s Circus, in Plymouth, was entirely relaxing and easy, but one other destination was just too much contact with other humans. We quickly left.

Emerging from Lockdown is going to be a strange and challenging experience. We felt like country mice suddenly being thrust into the Hurlyburly of Christmas shopping on Oxford Street. In truth the experience this morning was nothing like that , but that’s how we felt.

A Jack and Jill Book . 1962©Fleetway Publications

The illustration is from a book I had as a child and it always made me anxious, although Katie Country Mouse was always quite a role model.

The project for today was to sort out our glass jar storage area on the Cornish Range and label the jars , as many of our new healthy eating ingredients look similar. It was quite the task, but meditative and relaxing, which was just what I needed after the jarring retail experience to get the bloody labels. Now I’m a bit further away from the expedition it’s easy to see why it was quite stressful. The store was just too big and we probably saw more people than we’ve seen in two months. Everyone was pretty good at social distancing but there were too many people there and too many who should not have been out, let alone in a large retail store. I’d be struggling if I had been told to isolate for 12 weeks and I might also have slipped out for a bit of fresh air. A massive shop is not the place for those with compromised health. My worry for them made me sad.

Anyway back to the jars. All filled up and properly labelled whilst I watched Sewing Bee on the TV.

Link to The Great British Sewing Bee.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03myqj2

Two friends have sent me something, via digital media, today. Both are appropriate for the end of a blog.

One is a quote from someone I’ve known since I was 11, we share a love of language.

What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make beginning. The end is where we start from.

T.S. Eliot.

The other is a sunset over Plymouth Sound from someone I’ve known two weeks. We’ve shared a large space in a coffee queue.

Happy Hump Day

Advent#32

Counting down to the end of Yuletide 2020 on the 3rd of January. I’ve enjoyed writing daily on something vaguely festive.

Christmas, New Year and Yuletide has introduced or deepened our knowledge of new- to- us family members. Every one of them is a fabulous addition to our lives.

The sleeping black Labrador is Mr Murphy, who we met for the first time in the Cotswolds. Black pets are notoriously difficult to photograph, so I’m pleased with this shot. His serenity was short lived but he was also really keen to help with the domestica of festivus.

Mr Murphy was our canine companion, one of four, for New Years Eve. New Year 2020 was improvised at the last minute caused by a change of plans. We had supper and then took the four, four legged people for a late evening walk. The Swan Inn Lechlade was our hoped for destination as one of our friends had lived in a tiny barn conversion just behind it and knew it was a welcoming place.
http://swaninnlechlade.co.uk/

Finding space for four adults and four dogs is a big enough ask on a normal evening so we were not hopeful. Serendipity was with us, a table and live music pulled us in. Curiously the Swan felt like a time warp, the price of a round was very reasonable , the music was eclectic and the public bar was comfy and authentic. We could have been awaiting any change of decade from the last fifty years. We’ve all been through more bereavements than any group of friends wants to . Being in the Swan would have really suited all of our deceased and beloved . I did some artyfarty shots of Shadows for absent friends.

Four dogs at midnight in a confined space on New Year’s Eve might have been hazardously daft so we headed home about 11:30 and did what millions do and watched the BBC for Jools Holland with London Fireworks for midnight.

©BBC

©BBC

©BBC

Happy New Year and a delightful new decade.