Pandemic Pondering #102

A rope bridge, currently closed, so no irritating people on it to ruin the image.

Saturdays newspaper devoted the magazine to many sports personalities and other types of celebrities talking about their ‘Lost Summer’.

Mr Bronze Turkey, grateful to see a few visitors after 3 months with no-one looking at him.

I realise I have not been prepping myself towards something momentous, that Covid -19 has taken away from me, and of course I’m not in any way famous but I don’t see mine or anyone elses missed moments as Lost

Quiet contemplation for a small person with a pathway to herself.

Life has just taken it’s own path as it always does, regardless of Pandemics. The next three months in the Northern hemisphere are Summer 2020 and obviously Winter 2020 in the Southern hemisphere. Not what anyone anticipated but valuable just the same.

Dicksonia Antarctica , more than 120 summers, many of them ‘different” to expectation.

The pictures illustrating this blog are definitely a gain. Covid-19 and its restrictions have given us many reasons to ‘ Seize the Day’ not too far from home. Summer Gains 2020. All pictures taken at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, during its Social Distancing phase. Calmer, quieter, a little wilder and still lovely.
https://www.heligan.com/explore/gardens/jungle

Restricted opening to comply with social distancing but gorgeous in its own way.

Pandemic Pondering #99

Cornwall is a surfing county. The mythical seventh wave exists in the hearts and minds of many who visit here. The seventh wave is supposed to be the best and strongest wave of the sequence. The science behind the 7th wave is pretty conclusive that it doesn’t exist, even accepting that sometimes it does, because wave strength is affected by wind, tide and the profile of the underlying beach. Randomly that sometimes is the 7 th wave but not predictably so.

Cornwall has done pretty well during the Coronovirus , reporting far lower levels of patients and deaths than the rest of the country. However Science and virus spread modelling suggests that the region might be worse hit by the Second Wave.

But just like the science behind the non existence of a 7 th wave phenomena ,The science behind the existence of a 2nd Wave of Coronovirus is also ignored as people flock to beaches ignoring social distancing advice and the fact that Covid-19 is still out there.

With this in mind I too am abandoning science to explore with gay abandon the world of another wave word. Confident that I am not risking anything by doing so.

An earlier blog mentioned my favourite word in Greek.

Flisvos- the sound of lapping waves.

English has something almost as gorgeous.

Susurration- a whispering sound.

It is also an onomatopoeic word. It sounds as relaxing as the action it describes.

The gentle susurration of the tide.


https://youtu.be/6kTkL4n8wsU

I’m gifting you the above link of waves on pebbles , firstly as an apology for yesterday’s musical earworm and secondly to gently introduce you to the nautical theme of Pandemic Pondering #100.

Pandemic Pondering #94

Northern hemisphere Summer Solstice 2020 and in Britain Stonehenge is all closed up and guarded by security.

Gathering in numbers is still illegal, although on our evening walk there were larger gatherings,than permitted, out and about but pretty nasty rain would have dispersed them. So the longest day will still pass without being marked in a communal way.

Trawling the archive seemed the right way to mark a solstice like no other.

For interest sake I researched the days either side of the solstice.

Without too much trouble it was easy to see some themes and maybe a little bit of Midsummer Madness.

1. People

Today @theoldmortuary spent time with our daughter and granddaughter.

In past years we’ve spent time with Brenda our mother-in-law. Who in this picture was captured by a sunbeam. We will also see her again today, who knows if she will bring the sunbeam again.

Breakfast in Southampton with Uncle Mohammed and Aunty Margaret who live in Canada but were passing through.

2. My fascination with street signs.

3. A fascination with stairs.

4. Flowers

5. Aberdeen , Hong Kong

6. Cups

7. Dogs , ending with a sunset on the longest day.

Pandemic Pondering #93

Travelling into Middle Earth,or less romantically but no less beautifully, Mid- Cornwall.The Coffee hounds were out today. Sniffing out good coffee and a walk at Siblyback Lake.On the way this old truck just had to be photographed.And then past the resting place of a Cornish King.King Doniert is mentioned at more length in Advent#21
https://theoldmortuary.design/2019/12/20/advent21/Our destination was Olive and Co. A coffee shop at Siblyback Lake.
https://www.olivecocafe.com/Already a favourite in Liskeard , this was a trip to their other branch.What a great location and a cute interior.We grabbed hot drinks and set off on the 3.5 mile circular walk around the lake.The walk is a flat easy walk and even on a grey day there were some beautiful sights.

For Coffee Hounds this is the perfect location. Good coffee, probably great food , as this is their advert.Plus a circular walk with great views.

Pandemic Pondering #82

Today @theoldmortuary attended the webcam funeral for a dear friend and regular reader of this blog. I think he would consider himself ordinary but actually he was one of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. There was so much love in St Petrocs Chapel it was easy to feel comfortable with this new way of celebrating and marking the passing of a life well lived.

The celebrant and family created a beautiful service that warmly evoked everything about our friend. Wonderful music had us dabbing at our eyes from almost the first note. Could this be a new way to mark the passing of someone when there are reasons that make actual attending of a funeral difficult.

For the first time ever , we travelled, digitally on this occasion,to the Crematorium at Bodmin. It was a beautiful day and the natural backdrop was perfect.

Is a daily blog, particularly in a pandemic, Social History ? Particularly in the hands of an ordinary person who just ponders and then writes about it.

I wondered about the appropriateness of mentioning a funeral in a blog, but it was an experience that has been altered by the Pandemic and this is our new normal for the foreseeable future. It may shape the future of mourning or it may just be for now.

If nothing else a daily blog is a way of recording the changes we are all experiencing.

Pandemic Pondering #81

A pandemic 1st for @theoldmortuary. A Day Out.

Today we went to the Eden Project in Cornwall to have a socially distanced meet up with some of our family.

The Eden Project opened to the public recently for the first time since Lockdown.
https://www.edenproject.com

The Eden Project has got socially distanced tourism spot on. You have to book a slot, so it can’t be a spontaneous visit but beyond that the amount of control is so deftly handled, once you are in, it is easy to forget the restrictions of the pandemic, without ever flouting them.

On arrival there are ample public toilets, water stations and a take out coffee shop. The hosts who welcome you have the same welcoming charm as London 2012 Olympic Volunteers, and that was considered a Gold Standard of hosting. Hand sanitising gel is available as soon a you reach the welcome concourse and throughout the site.

Only the outside area is open during this pandemic opening. Visitors are guided to wander through areas that can be overlooked by anyone dazzled , quite rightly, by the magnificence of the Tropical and Mediterranean Biomes or the Science of The Core in more normal times. This is a fabulous chance to experience the outside with restricted visitor numbers. The peace is magical.

Instead of biomes we got intimate with bees.

And wandered down Cornish lanes.

Flower meadows and single specimens slowed us down. This was the most tranquil visit we have ever made to Eden

Fragrance is everywhere. Once we had meandered our way down to the Biomes more toilets were available and another take- away coffee stall, again social distancing was imposed with a gentle reminder.

A great time was had by all.

And for Miss VV, her first experience of being, very gently, escorted out of a venue as the last woman standing.

Pandemic Pondering #74

Saturday at Elvira’s

Saturdays in Lockdown got a whole lot better once we could get our favourite coffee fix at The Lord High Admiral provided by the lovely Hutong Crew.
https://m.facebook.com/thelhaplymouth/
https://m.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Either before or after good coffee we go for breakfast at Elvira’s.
https://m.facebook.com/ElvirasCafePlymouth/

We’ve developed an unusual socially distance friendship with people we met on the first day in the Hutong queue. We meet for coffee and breakfast.

Breakfast at Elvira’s is immense, normally I go for a bacon buttie. For some unknown reason after four weeks on a super healthy diet I opted for the Farmhouse Breakfast.

As an aside this cafe in normal times is the favoured haunt of Commandos based at Stonehouse Barracks.

The Farmhouse Breakfast is exactly what a commando would deserve after a hard nights soldiering on night exercises

This breakfast was a thing of beauty and despite only doing a Joe Wicks work out I was determined to enjoy every mouthful. It was wonderful .

Elvira’s is very close to the Plymouth side of the Cremyll ferry. A boat ferry has crossed the Hamoaze, a stretch of the River Tamar, here, since the 11th Century.
https://www.plymouthboattrips.co.uk/ferries/cremyll-ferry/

Whilst waiting for my take away breakfast I discovered a combination of two of my favourite things . Rust and a Ghost Sign.
http://www.ghostsigns.co.uk/

A ghost sign is a faded sign, often seen on the walls of city buildings.

This one was set into the ground where passenger alight from the Cremyll foot ferry.

There wasn’t an easy way to capture the words in the bright sunlight.

The text reads.

WELCOME to Plymouth, now wipe your feet.

It is a matter of great pride that salmon have come back to the Tamar . A gentlemen was fly fishing on the slipway near where the ferry comes in. He was not a picturesque fisherman but he was standing in a picturesque place. I was anxious that he leave so I could get a nice photograph. I was very happy when his breakfast was delivered and he moved out of shot.

After a couple of long dog walks and no Hutong coffee, I had declined earlier, I was pretty sleepy after all that breakfast. An afternoon of reading turned into something much more relaxing.

Zzzzzzzzzzz

Pandemic Pondering #73

The Love Tree in Spring. My last visit to this intriguing tree was in early February when a pandemic was brewing far away. A little over a month after my first visit to the tree,despite the government’s inactivity @theoldmortuary we were already limiting our contact with other humans. Better to be safe than sorry.

I had read about the tree in a local publication and was interested in using it as an image
https://issuu.com/cornerstonevision/docs/issuu_love_saltash_february_20

The February photograph I used to create a print. The first of a series of works, I hope.

Love tree , wearing Spring green. Taken from the opposite side of the tree.

The Love Tree is also known as the Family Tree. People have carved their initials on the trunk for centuries. It is said that there was a leper colony nearby and that some of the early carvings date back to that period. The tree is also known as the Family tree with people hiding small fetish objects associated with their children in the nooks and crannies of the tree and it’s roots.

This gnome was an engaging chap with his apple harvest in his basket. Who put him here and what is his significance , hidden in this tree, on a remote Cornish lane. The same question hangs over each little object.

Some of the objects are placed in hard to reach places.

High up among the carved initials.

The Love or Family tree also has a new pandemic message.

Something we are all trying to do.

Pandemic Pondering #72

Spring in Cornwall is often beautiful but it is always tempered with a lot of rain. This year, in Lockdown, Spring in Cornwall has been magnificent. The beautiful show of wild flowers on Cornish hedges are more perfect than ever, almost Chelsea Flower Show perfect, because they haven’t been subjected to the bad weather of most years. Today I got up early to catch them in the rising sun. The bees were busy and the tiny lanes were a symphony of bird song, buzzy bees and pollinators whose names I do not know.

The pictures start at home and end with the Love Tree. I wrote a blog on 13th February called Love Tree/Jelly Shoe.
https://theoldmortuary.design/2020/02/13/

Tomorrow it will get another whole blog to itself .

@theoldmortuary poppies.

Beautiful seed heads on some grasses that have just turned up in our front garden planters

The perimeter wall of Trematon Castle swells with vibrant colour every May and June.

I painted one of the more formal walls of the castle,in Spring, a couple of years ago.

The next few images are an homage to perfect Foxgloves. These are the hardy perennial show stoppers of the Cornish hedges around here. Their strong architectural shape is indicative of Spring in Cornish hedgerows. Usually on closer inspection that are a little battered and bruised by traditional West Country weather. In Cornwall the day Lockdown was announced the weather became sunny and for the most part predictable . The next images are a celebration of Foxgloves in their prime, untarnished by the elements.

All Foxgloves were papped on the way to the Love Tree. I will start off with a couple nearest to the castle, after that the blog gets unashamedly pink.

I came across the cutest road sign on my travels. Steady On. Such a great statement to gently urge caution.

And it’s partner sign , politely thanking drivers for due diligence.

And finally, the Love Tree, tomorrow’s blog subject.

Pandemic Ponderings #60

A day of two words.

Now there really is no link between these two words apart from the serendipity of them turning up within a lunchtime conversation within one minute of each other.

This is Pandemic Pondering #60 and I like to make special numbers a little bit different or special.

Kakistocracy could be worthy of a blog as some parts of the world are living through one right now , but I’m not certain I would feel uplifted by discussing it.

Petrichor is quite another matter. I’ve loved Petrichor all my life without knowing the word until today.

In rural Essex , where I grew up, Petrichor was pretty rare. Essex has one of the lowest rainfalls in Britain. But when it happened it was glorious.

The word was created by two Australian researchers in the 60’s. The smell is actually produced by bacteria that release Geosmin into the air when rain hits healthy soil. Humans are particularly sensitive to the fragrance and it is almost universally loved. Curiously it is also responsible for the earthy taste of beetroot which is not universally loved.

Beetroot and feta galette with za’atar and honey.

Sam’s Tamimi and Tara Wrigley, from Falastin a cookbook.

So the smell of Geosmin is what I and most humans love, and certainly my Essex experience would exactly be explained by Geosmin.

But what about my love of London streets after rain, there is precious little healthy soil in some parts of the city but there is warm tarmac and cement added to the Geosmin from parks and gardens.

© theoldmortuary

St Paul’s and its neighbours in the City of London.

Cornwall and rain are inextricably linked and Petrichor is a rare treat because once the rain sets in there are very few chances to enjoy that wonderful smell despite us having acres of lovely healthy soil. Some of it on riverbanks.