#3 theoldmortuary ponders

Long before I started a blog, I had a normal job in London. One of the places I would seek refuge, after a nights work, was The Townhouse, Spitalfields. Home made cake and coffee embellished by the Townhouse itself always slowed the busy pace of London down to something more manageable. The link below describes the Townhouse far more comprehensively than I ever could.

Town House Spitalfields

There was serendipity at work when one of my favourite blog writers, The Gentle Author offered blog writing courses based at The Townhouse.

Returning this weekend for a second writing course with The Gentle Author was a treat, both visual and experiential. In between learning and enjoying wonderful food I hopped around like an overactive magpie gathering photographic trinkets for future blog use. It helped that bright autumnal sunshine barged its way into the corners and recesses of the early Georgian building, making everything a little more magical.

Taking magic to a different place was the bathroom we used this weekend.

And the kitchen where refreshments were served.

https://www.townhousespitalfields.com/

The link above takes you to the Townhouse website. I”m sure this will not be the last blog I write about this gorgeous building.

#1 theoldmortuary ponders.

A weekend away on a blogging course and a little rebranding. Moving on from Pandemic Pondering as the world moves from Pandemic to Endemic @theoldmortuary will be pondering at large. My walk from Spitalfields to  Islington yesterday evening gave me the gift of this totally apporopriate sign.

There is an agreement within our blogging group that the course and its goings on are in the form of a conclave. While sticking very happily to those restictions I’m almost certain to natter on about the course in the future but not about the attendees or the contents. The venue is one of my favourite spaces in London and is always inspirational so talking about the course while not being explicit is easy.

There are 12 bottoms.

©Pádraig Macmiadháchain @Spitalfields Townhouse

Occupying 12 seats.

We talk about our blogs and how we would like to allow them to evolve and improve. Refreshment and blogging nattering occur over beautiful food.

Right now I’m on my way back for Day 2. Have a fabulous Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #569

The weather, very kindly gave me a fine illustration for this weekends blogging journey. An open road with just enough fog to make the near future unclear. I’m heading off to the Advanced Blogging course run by The Gentle Author. Last night my dog walk on Wimbledon Common was damp and boggy underfoot but the evening sky also provided some blog embellishments.

Daily blogging into infinite was never my original plan but a Global Pandemic has blown a hole in lots of original plans.

Have a fabulous weekend. I’m off to Brick Lane for a brain enriching bagel before the course starts.

Pandemic Pondering #467

Hard on the heels of yesterday’s blog. Facebook memories gave me four images that I can use for the Monday Blog.

This first one is from the birthday some years ago of the friend who we always, apart from the last two years spend together. The rainbow cake rather nicely leads into a watercolour I did about three years ago. I was taking some watercolour classes. The subject of the week was human figures. I chose to paint a cruising site near Crystal Palace in London. It is called Beaulieu Heights and men go there day or night for casual sexual encounters. I suppose this is about a missed encounter. A man on his phone is oblivious to another man watching him from a park bench.

The word bench leads me rather fortuitously to a stool at Coffee Acadmics in Hong Kong.

Life is often a beautiful journey searching for something but this last picture is me just setting out on life’s journey.

This picture was almost certainly taken at the height of summer on the East Anglican coast. A brisk wind or sea mist often makes a cardigan essential beach wear even in July and August. Not such a problem on the Atlantic Coast which is my current location, although I could do without all the rain.

I have my fingers crossed for the successful instalation of a broadband service later today, that will make blogging and everything else a lot easier.

Pandemic Pondering #422

About this time of year @theoldmortuary are sometimes to be found at the Chelsea Flower Show. Picking up gardening inspiration for our own patch of horticulture. Our next project is going to be a courtyard garden and with the Flower Show cancelled for a second year we will have to go it alone using photos we’ve take in previous years. The Islamic garden above is quite beyond our talents but we could get close to something similar to the one below.

You might think that gardening and sea swimming have very little in common, and you would be right, but in our post swim natterings the subjects we cover are wide ranging. Some would make a nun blush, and quite possibly do, as we swim and natter just below the walls of a convent. Gardens though do feature a bit in our conversations because that has been the only place we have been able to meet friends and family. Bobbing has become a bit of a social club and we are looking forward to gathering together, with our clothes on, in each others gardens during the summer. The picture below popped up on our bobbing WhatsApp page, most bobbers thought it was a garden designed to be open to the public. But it is actually a Bobbers Garden!

© Kim and Andy Bobber

Also featured this week, in the the Bobbers Whatsapp group photos, is Flossy, a guinea pig, who has recovered from a recent illness, which kept her mum away from bobbing for a while.

©Helen Bobber

Bringing the subject back closer to actual bobbing, the picture below is a Bobbers portrait of a fellow bobber with her daughter.

©Marianne Bobber

And finally given the unusual location of our beach a warship and an assault vessel.

©Andy Bobber

Have a fabulous Thursday !

Pandemic Pondering #421

Life is starting to stack up. With every slight loosening of government restrictions our lives @theoldmortuary get a little busier. In many ways it feels as odd as the sudden deceleration of our lives over a year ago. We are not even pushing ourselves to the max possible.

Lunch indoors with one set of friends yesterday followed later by a meal inside a pub with different friends was lovely and an enormous pleasure but it felt both exotic strange and exciting to behave almost normally for once . Just as lockdown deeply affected my sleep patterns, last nights sleep was disturbed by recalling the days events. We also have some longstanding domestic admin that keeps us awake and an art exhibition to organise at the end of the week. Just as Covid-19 has the physical nasty that is Long Covid, all our lived experiences will suffer from the after effects of this pandemic for a long while even if we have been lucky enough not to catch the wretched disease.

Another period of sleeplessness will not be welcome in this house.

Some people are, of course, oblivious, although even this doggy naughtiness is Covid related. Thermal socks for outdoor socialising and post swimming are the best for chewing and there are plenty of pairs to be stolen.

In other news, the Advanced Blogging course has been announced for October. Alongside this announcement, the delightful Gentle Author has decided to return to teaching the art of blogging. I will pop a link below, his courses are wonderful.

https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/spitalfields-life-1516790/departure-arthur-beale-8006014249

So in a fine example of art imitating life everything is starting to stack up.

Pandemic Pondering #296

Sunset swim and numeracy failure were the high points of the day. The numbering of the blogs has gone wrong and will be corrected very soon. The sunset swim was a choppy affair and not , in truth, quite as pretty as the picture above. I just had to tweak the saturation to make the sunset live up to the last few days. We also tried a swimming shot. Having practiced in the sink beforehand.

The practice may not have made perfect.

The blog numbers failed for a variety of reasons . Some blogs have been removed but replaced . I managed to transpose and not notice some numbers and boosted myself by 45 extra non existant blogs. I just dont ‘feel’ numbers in the same way I do words so I didnt notice. I love numbers for their visual pleasure.

Just a little blog while I sort out my numbers.

Pandemic Pondering #220

There is a significance to the number of this blog. Come inside and I will explain.

In 100 blogs time I will have been pondering the pandemic for roughly a year. I say roughly because some days there was more than one blog and sometimes a subject took a few days to complete so the same number was used until I was done.

At the time of Pandemic Pondering #1, I had no idea of what was ahead of me, or indeed the rest of the world. #1 was ahead of the government imposed Lockdown in Britain because I was displaying symptoms of a virus and decided to self isolate. I had been unwell for much of March but believed it just to be a regular virus gifted by a toddler. As we have learned more about Covid 19 I do wonder if @theoldmortuary had actually grabbed ourselves an early version.

At the time I was practicing daily blogging, ready for a course with The Gentle Author.

https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Here I am just over 2/3 of the way through a year still waiting to attend the course and the Pandemic still giving me plenty to ponder about.

Some days write themselves and others need a little more effort to extrude. Dog walks are a great source of blogging material, beyond that the subjects or topics usually just reveal themselves during normal daily life, sometimes we seek things out because they might make a good blog. Meanwhile normal daily life goes on @theoldmortuary, 90% of it too humdrum for blogging.

I was always the sort of child that dreamed about keeping a daily diary. I never achieved it because I had always bored myself within a week. The same thing happened at various times in my life both with diaries and scrapbooks. I started blogging nearly three years ago because I wanted to regain my story telling skills; a career in the NHS prizes factual writing over whimsy. I also like to take photographs, sometimes they are quite random but most can be made useful in some way. In truth, blogging actually started when someone made a cutting and thoughtless remark to me about both writing and photography. Seething, I began blogging and the title could easily have been ‘ F**k You’

It has become a daily habit or ritual, blogging forces me to find something interesting in every day. Some days it has enabled me to concentrate on the positive when sadness and dismay were the actual truth of our lived experience. I am constantly learning and I should probably delete much of the last three years blogs on the grounds of badly written nonsense. Ponderings seem protected and will be excused any future cull because in my mind their mission statement to continue through the experience of this Pandemic makes them many pieces of a whole project.

I strongly suspect I will still be at this pondering malarkey in another 100 days, when @theoldmortuary hits 1 year of pondering. Thankyou for reading. Please close the doors on your way out.

Pandemic Pondering #91

Palimpsest is one of my favourite visual experiences. I’ve written about it in a couple of blogs.

Originally the word described the effect of parchment being reused and the original script showing through the newly scribed text.

The contemporary use of the word applies to, a mostly urban , experience of Graffiti, street art , posters and stickers jostling for attention on walls and structures.

Tidying my studio recently has given us an almost parchment experience of Palimpsest.

We’ve started reusing an old familial blackboard as our shopping list. The blackboard has lost the ability to shrug off earlier messages. I could repaint it but I am charmed by the old messages butting-in to our current life.

Tidying the studio also provided plenty of old work filed away, today I decided to put it to good use.

I’m not really certain where one person creating a work moves from Collage to Palimpsest.

This is the first layer of whatever this is, drying off its first layer of sticky gluey creativity.

Progress will be blogged.

Whenever I revisit palimpsest I do a search on WordPress to see if anyone else is talking about it. Today I found

Elizabeth, saved by words.
https://wp.me/p2Gol-2fw

Blogged on the 18th April, she was one month into quarantine.

Three months in Lockdown and reluctantly easing, my thoughts run in a similar way to hers.

Life in lockdown has been layered. There has been a lot of thinking time, too much sometimes. I’ve definitely gained many new skills, I’m fitter of body and my blogging muscles perform much better but the losses have been eviscerating. Despite social distancing I know more people now than I did in March.

The thinking space has definitely helped the negative aspects of the last three months and created some wonderful memories and perspectives.

There is also a tiny layer of guilt that while some jobs have been done there are a pesky few that we have been resistant to.

Creating Palimpsest in the studio is the best antidote to chore guilt. One little detail is a bit of a wish for a return to normality.

#foodporn

Grey rainy mornings have been a constant companion of 2020. Some days the subject for the daily pondering is obvious, other days nothing seems quite interesting enough, today, with the early rain, is one of those days. A quick skip through the image archive tempted me towards writing about rust, but ultimately one of the rust coloured images I retrieved pointed me the way of a saltier story. Baked goods, in particular the Cheese Straw.Starting at the top I present the Gail’s Cheese Straw made with Mature Cheddar Cheese and Comté. This tasty little pile photographed at Gail’s Dulwich VillageI have a long history with cheese straws. My mum used to make them with left over pastry. Hers were pale and flacid and only as tasty as the cheese she had laying in the fridge. On fancy days she made a ring shape of cheesy dough and enclosed three or four skinny cheese straws within the ring.A fellow blog writer has taken the time to write the history of the cheese straw. It’s a fascinating read on a rainy morning.
https://thehistoricfoodie.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/cheese-straws-a-quick-history/I loved these unsophisticated treats eaten warm after school. For much of my life they were the only cheese straw I knew, I make them myself with left over pastry.At some point in the Baking Renaissance of the 21st Century . Cheese Straws became bigger, puffier and altogether much tastier.Armed with a Gail’s cookbook and a bit of creativity, cheese straws started to look a lot more fancy in my own kitchen.I don’t know if people feel particularly passionate about cheese straws. I suspect they are overshadowed by prettier and sweeter ‘show stopper’ baked goods.But without the cheese straw would it’s savoury cousins, the bacon or sausage tasty even exist?