#46 theoldmortuary ponders

A timely reminder that to chose working in the arts is not without its crtitics. But once the scientists have done their bit and pulled or pushed us to the other side of our recent pandemic it is artists and creatives who will give us the good things that add sparkle and embelishment to life.

My Wednesday Ponder, brief and to the point. Enjoy it with your coffee.

Pandemic Pondering #487

A series of firsts yesterday. A wedding! Beautiful weather despite warnings of a storm as we gathered in St Eustachius Church, Tavistock, for the wedding of a friend. A large number of family and friends , cleverly seated and spaced by a beautiful team of ‘ Best People’* witnessed not only a wedding but the first singing in that particular church for over 17 months. People have worshiped on that site since 1193 and in the current church since the 15th Century. I doubt if there has been such a long silence in that place of worship ever before.

I wonder if St Eustachius was as thrilled to finally give his Eustachian Tubes a good blow out as we were.

Goodness this was a well planned Wedding Service, the music and readings celebrating, most importantly a marriage but also shining a light on our human need to begin to mark the gradual return to a more normal life. Sacred spaces of all faiths carry some magic left by centuries of worshipping. It felt lovely to tap into some of that yesterday.

The first hymn to the tune of Morning Has Broken had us feeling a little tearful. Thankfully the serious business of the actual Marriage Service gave us something to focus on before hitting us with a hymn sung to the tune of ‘Thaxted’ by Gustav Holst. You can take a woman out of Essex but you cannot take Essex out of a woman. Particularly this one who has a fair bit of her gene pool resting in the graveyard of Thaxted Church!

The penultimate treat for our happy ears was the Widor Toccata. There is nothing better than an organist who can get his fingers competently around Widors Toccata. St Eustachius organist did exactly that, beautifully. Wedding service done we hopped off for a cheeky iced coffee.

And then returned to the churchyard for the glory that is Bell ringing. Something I can share with you with the link below.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000mbqw

© BBC

As soon as pictures of people who were part of this wedding appear on Social Media I will include them in a blog but for now I just want this blog to reflect the flavour and sense of loveliness of just being able to be part of something like this once again.

Here is one of the readings, which was deliciously appropriate.

Hokusi says… by Roger Keyes

Thoroughly uplifted we travelled home.

To this face!

* Best People. The bridegroom did not have a Best Man but a delightful team of Best People. Surely the way forward. Have a fabulous Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #478

The end of the week coffee. Coffeeer than any other coffee, not as desperate as some and maybe not as chilled as a Sunday morning coffee. But still a landmark coffee. Today happens to be Friday but in my previous NHS life the end of the week could be any day.

Always celebrated at Black Sheep. Coffee to power me through the last 12 hours at Barts Heart Centre. Obviously the doughnuts are not part of an approved Cardiac Health Diet.

©Black Sheep
©Black Sheep

Today’s coffee from Hutong, hopefully doesn’t have such a big task. Or does it?

Today is flat pack furniture day!

https://g.co/kgs/pYQUqg

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 #350

What do you do in a lockdown during the tail end of a British winter when the sun is out but the temperature is -2?

A sunrise Mediterranean breakfast on a deserted beach, obviously!!

Meanwhile the plants not in the sunshine reflected true life.

But the fantasy still beckons.

Spanokopita, Pain au Chocolate and Coffee were transported to the beach for authenticity.

Where we found relics , just as we would on beaches far away.

But the huge bonus of being on a beach much closer to home was sharing it with fluffs.

Lola
Hugo
Stanley

And for once we didn’t have to submerge ourselves in sea that is nothing like the Mediterranean.

Pandemic Pondering #235

Daily pondering is a lovely habit. It doesn’t always go to plan. As I write this it is the evening of Remembrance Sunday and this morning it seemed entirely appropriate to just post a simple picture of one of our poppies.We should have harvested more Poppy pictures today for the Monday blog but that didn’t happen. Never mind, a ready-made subject for 11.11.20. Meanwhile the day took its own path. Loads and loads of walking, some coffee and some 2:1 government approved socialising outdoors. Next week a painting commission from last month’s exhibition has to be started. It is a little too wintery in the garden studio so the table in the actual old mortuary has been cleared ready for action.

I’ve been experimenting with some new paints this weekend. I didn’t get quite as much done as I had hoped but anything more will have to wait until the commission is finished.

To avoid temptation all the experimental stuff has been tidied away. This Lockdown has a project!

Pandemic Pondering #202

Coffee and books, some days just ooze with pleasure.

This one started well with the arrival of our coffee prize from Extract Coffee. Our beans were roasted by hand restored roasters Big Bertha and Vintage Betty at Extract Coffee.

Home

Coffee at my elbow, it was time to Bookclub Zoomstyle.

Again no spoilers, we all felt very much the same about this book. A complex beginning that could be off-putting but a good tale once the narrative established itself .

Three of us shared an emotional moment that had happened when we met earlier in the week,with the group. @theoldmortuary and a Covidfriend all lost our parents at an earlier than average age, we all loved our parents dearly. A passage in the book had made us all have a little weep. And then another weep when we discussed it and then today when sharing the tale of our weepings, there were more weepings.

The protagonist had never known her mother and now her father was close to death.

“On the third and final night, a bright light shines from my Father’s body. And in the sublime peace of his face, I saw my mother waiting for him.”

” I had never seen my mother’s face and had longed beyond all longing to one day see it. I still do.in fact- that is a desire that age hasn’t softened- because that night her face was hidden, covered by the thick tress of her dark hair.”

” But I knew it was her because she used words like mine and daughter and her breath was of the sea.”

” My father said to her: Hello my love. You’ve come back to me.”

” My mother said: I never left.”

“And in those three words was a lifetime.”

” He said: Shall we go then? And they turned to me and they said: Can you let us go do you think?”

” And I could say nothing. I raised my hand, a feeble attempt at a wave, I think. But I could say nothing. Because I was 14 years old and all I wanted to say was, Please, don’t go.”

There’s not much that can follow such a passage but fortunately the book offers a very upbeat Bonus Material addition to the book.

To be a Reader 

by Sarah Winman

To be a reader, for me,  is about entering a world of unimagined possibility;  to have the willingness to suspend disbelief and to journey trustingly across the terrain of another’s imagination.

 To be a reader is to feel a little less lonely. To be a reader is to be challenged. To feel anger, to feel outrage and injustice. But always to feel, always to think. To be a reader is not a passive state, it is active, always responding.

To be a reader is to have the opportunity to question ourselves at the deepest level of humanity – what would we have done in this situation? What would we have said? To be a reader is to feel empathy and compassion and grief. To be awed and to laugh. To fall in love, with characters, locations, the author.  To be a reader is to learn and to be informed, and to rouse the dreamy inner life to action.

To be a reader is to take time out from the group. To not fear missing out; to turn off the TV, YouTube, the Internet. It is to slow down and engage; to be of the present. To be a reader is to find answers. It gives us something to talk about when we are unsure what to say.

To be a reader is to have the chance to collect stories like friends, and hold them dearly for a lifetime. It is to feel the joy of connection.

To be a reader is a cool thing to be.

To be a reader is wealth.

Pandemic Pondering #181

Lockdown @theoldmortuary changed many things , some things stayed the same.Today we received half of a prize that represents change and we await the half that represents no change. This is to encourage anyone who sees those ‘share and comment’ posts on Instagram for a chance to win a prize. The prizes are real and random people win them.

Our reading habits changed during Lockdown. Hannah completely lost the ability to commit to a book. I lost the focus for the kind of books I like to read and developed a thirst for foreign based detective drama. We weren’t unusual, everyone in my book group reported changes in genre choice. None of us managed to read the classics or ‘ difficult’ books that you might imagine time and limited life choices might allow.

Today we received the first part of our prize. 4 books fromhttps://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/ Neither of us are thriller readers but with changes in reading style so fresh in our minds and a gift of books, now must be the time.

Book bundle from https://www.deadgoodbooks.co.uk/
Coffee the ‘ no change’ habit @theoldmortuary . Less cake recently

Coffee and the pursuit of excellence is unchanged @theoldmortuary . Our prize will come from https://extractcoffee.co.uk/ A company we have used to send us lovely coffee by post.

What a clever coupling, books and coffee. Perfection would be enjoying both in a foreign place beside a pool. What may well happen is a flask of good coffee, a book and some warm clothes after a swim at the only pool available to us.

Tidal Pool, Devils Point, Plymouth
Tidal Pool, Devils Point ,Plymouth

Not a bad way to enjoy a prize.

Pandemic Pondering #171

Up early today for a sea swim off Plymouth Hoe.

Covid-19 has not, thankfully attacked us personally with its Spiky little viral sphere, but it has altered our lives significantly and forever. One of the more acceptable changes is a new found love of swimming in the sea; or wild swimming as it is now known.

Weekends used to be about getting a good cup of coffee to start the weekend. Now the Coffee has a higher purpose, to warm us up after a dip.

And for today’s brief blog it gave me a colour theme.

With an icon of 2020 and a motoring classic.

Happy weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #148

Blogging and running a series of prompts for #augustinthevalley on Instagram for my art group is challenging me. Yesterdays word Metaphor was great for the wordynerd but more of a challenge for my arty head. Todays prompt for the Art Group is 3D and I had no trouble finding the image I wanted to use as the prompt.So far so good you might think. I love this image for the one Red Coffee Pot in this apparent wall of coffee pots. Loving an image is all well and good but this image is not the whole story.This wall of coffee pots was one side of an art work/ sculpture by Roberto Fabelo a Cuban artist who created Catedral/Cathedral and it is both a Metaphor and a fetish object.@theoldmortuary we are exactly the sort of people who fetishize coffee. Not for us the Cathedrals of the large Coffee retailers. We attend the tiny chapels of independent coffee shops. There is even a little bit of on-line worship, this morning beans arrived, roasted to our idea of deliciousness in Bury St Edmunds.We plan a visit to a local roastery, Owens, very soon, always optimistic of an amazing cup of coffee. Fellow coffee fetishists have nagged us to make this pilgrimage.In place of religious artifacts our house boasts much coffee paraphernalia, including the contemporary version of the red coffee maker that I love so much in the top image of this blog.Roberto Fabelo has summed us up pretty well with his sculpture.Coffee has fueled my creative endeavours today todays prompt is, as you know 3D.I’m still trying to craft in watercolour a 3D image out of swirls of paint. Less obvious than the previous painting my androgynous person only just gains 3 dimensions. Maybe more coffee worship is needed. Thankfully it’s a fairly harmless fetish.