Pandemic Pondering #46

Even in the midst of this pandemic there is some great thoughts and conversations happening around how we will remember this period of our lives.

A smart phone has made diarists of us all. My phone is set deliberately to store all the pictures my family and friends send me. I delete some but most are kept as a personal archive.

This blog contains my pictures and ponderings shared to those who care to read it. Facebook and Instagram are more public. Instagram is the quickest, I think, to give a flavour of the times. I just scrolled through my Instagram grid to check out how 45 days of restricted living and Lockdown looked in picture form from @theoldmortuary.

This grid marks the end of normal life. The bottom 6 pictures are from the days running up to the official lockdown. The next row up shows a poster for a cancelled art exhibition and the offer of local help plus the all important hand washing picture.

The cancelled art exhibition poster also marked the beginning of Pandemic Ponderings.

The top row are images from early Ponderings. In private I was pondering on the madness of thinking I would find something to write about, every day, when life was so restricted.

This second grid shows a life of settling into Lockdown. The bottom row shows memories of foreign travel. A wet footprint on some decking in Hong Kong, it was so hot that image lasted less than 5 seconds as it dried off. The picture represents my first meeting with our adored granddaughter in 2018,We thought it was awful that she was thousands of miles away and our meeting with her was so brief. Then her mum and dad decided to move home. Just 50 miles between us and still we rely on phone calls to chart her progress.

The Pangolin pictures in the middle were an homage to the poor creatures caught in the middle of the controversial ‘Wet’ markets where this pandemic is said to have originated.

An image of coffee shows our early pangs of missing out on coffee shops and the bottle of Cuban rum marks the beginning of our cooking obsession.

This last grid shows us settled into Pandemic lockdown life. No longer worried about the subject matter of Ponderings I just natter on about any thing. There are two images that mark slight freedoms. The roots on the second row up were photographed when it was made clear that we could drive a small distance to take exercise and the cogs on the top row were photographed on our first trip to a proper independent coffee shop this Saturday. Yesterday, the very first picture on the grid above, there was of course, Cake.

Pandemic Pondering #42

I’m not normally a lover of alliterative phrases linked to days of the week or names of the month, although I do quite like cleverer, less trite, alliteration. Today though #ThrowbackThursday, works for me, as the glasses featured are very retro.

Today the weather in Cornwall is strange. It’s been windy and stormy overnight and the heavy rain of the early morning, interspersed with bright glorious sunshine, was at one point replaced by icy hail. I realise that this scenario is just local to us and it set me thinking.

It is said about Covid- 19, Coronovirus that we are all in the same boat in the storm.

But we are not all in the same boat , we are not even all in the same storm.

We all share a storm in common, but we also all have our own storms and boats that determine how we cope with the shared storm.

In common with many, we are cooking a lot more, remembering dreams more vividly and are craving coffee and curiously bright colours.

Which brings me to the point of this pondering. I got caught in the Hail storm this morning whilst walking the dogs, it’s not what I expected in late April, but I also didn’t expect a sharp bright shaft of sunlight to give me such pleasure this morning.

We’ve been using some 1960’s or 70’s glasses to brighten up our water drinking during the lock-down. They were a gift from our friend Steph who gave them to us as a keepsake from her parents house.

They go in the dishwasher just like any other glasses. When I got in from the hailstone walk, sunlight was pouring through the window and then onto these freshly clean glasses. The Abstract patterns that illustrate this blog were created on the work surface for about five minutes between showers and absolutely illustrate why a slightly quixotic decision was a good one.

We are not all in the same boat

Or even the exact same storm

Surprising things will happen

Sometimes fresh out of the dishwasher.

Pandemic Pondering #28

The inevitable has happened, a friend, who I loved bumping into, has died, not of Coronovirus but something that had got its claws into her long ago. It was undeserved as most deaths are and the world has lost a fabulous ball of energy. Not for me the excoriating grief of close friends or family, more a sort of dull acceptance of the inevitability of an inevitable event.

I suppose I’m describing the loss of someone to whom I was not close close but whose company I really valued when our busy lives coincided.

Our last such meeting was serendipitous, one of her favourite words and one that I stole soon after I met her.

My little town was briefly brought to a standstill by hundreds of motorcycling Santa’s.

I had ‘popped’ out to collect keys from an estate agent,a job that should have taken 10 minutes, two hours later I was using an unusual route to find my car which I had left down by the river.

My friend and I met, I was hugely surprised, not only because she was already terminally ill but because she lived 5 miles away and our little town is never going to be on anyone’s bucket list of things to do before you die.

We hugged and made one another laugh, caught up on each others news and shared snippets of information about our friends in- common that either of us had met recently.

She has never had ‘ an Elephant in the room’ . Her Cancer story was never hidden and her progress, or not ,with it was well known. We shared an update.

” It’s bloody everywhere now”

” That is such a bugger, bastard thing”

We agreed to catch up with some other friends ‘ In the Spring’ . She caught her bus and I walked down a 45 degree hill to find my car.

As usual meeting her had lifted my heart and soul , maybe some sadness but primarily she had, as usual, shone optimism and happiness into our conversation and we had luxuriated in sharing the use of the word Serendipitous, as we always did.

So here I am in April , she has died. Coronovirus and it’s social restrictions have cancelled Spring meetings, even if Cancer hadn’t already done it’s bit to blight our springtime meeting. Coronovirus has shaped and impacted the way us second tier mourners do mourning. I can’t go round to our shared friends and give them a hug, drink tea and wallow in reminiscing, love and happy memories. Hugging is the thing that wordlessly both links and restores us, it feels inhuman to endure bereavement without them. Hugging saves us saying too much or too little and making the misery worse. It also offers the opportunity of sorting out leaking eyes or a snotty nose behind someone’s back.

Not for anyone in the second tier of connection to her and many in the first the chance to gather together to celebrate and mourn the loss of a veritable power house of a woman.

It all feels kind of blunt really. Dreadfull sadness with no ability to hug or share seems to take on a previously unimaginable direction and poignancy.

The power of Hugging, I miss it.

Pandemic Pondering #13

Blogging in general is much in mind as I approach the end of March. Blogging through a pandemic is just an added puzzlement.

@theoldmortuary in its current form exists because I attended a blogging course at Spitalfields Townhouse, run by The Gentle Author. It was a hugely supportive and encouraging course with the most delicious blend of course members. We were encouraged to find our blogging style in a way that we could manage and sustain regularly.
https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Ever the nerd, I decided to follow the example of The Gentle Author and blog daily. It must be irritating to regular readers that my grammar is, at times, patchy and the narrative can be rambling. I am never going to have the eloquence or fascinating topics created seemingly so effortlessly by The Gentle Author. I do have cute photos though, a saving grace on days when my content quality wavers.

The deal on the first course was that I would publish a blog every day regardless of how finished or polished it is. This is a bigger deal than I imagined . Serendipity hand in hand with planning is the Key.

Be flexible like Water is useful little mantra.

Having been taught so well by The Gentle Author, it is very apparent that ‘ effortless’ is not a descriptive that fits with the creation of his genuinely lovely blog that has thousands of regular readers. I am completely in awe.

Soon after the November course I registered for the advanced course, being run over a couple of weekends in February and March 2020. After the advanced course I planned to look afresh at the blog to define its future.

Coronovirus leaves me needing that final twinkle of blog polish. As yet the date for the next course is unknown so for the time being the blog will remain what it has become. A daily pondering on something that peaks my interest. My terms of reference on a daily basis are much more limited with Social Isolation and yet even that is not strictly true. Today I looked at a post box I drive past many times a week. I had never realised it was a new design.

Todays local long walk took us down the hill about half a mile to Forder Village. Past this post box.

The tide was out and the sun was up. Hugo and Lola needed to be kept on a lead, this much mud and sunshine would make them giddy with excitement and not responsible for their actions. They do not look or smell at all good after a romp through this stuff.

Who can possibly guess where Coronovirus will take this blog. Where it won’t go is to the Advanced Level, like most things that is on hold.

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 #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.

When did we stop washing our hands?

I love hot soapy water on my hands, I can’t quite believe that people need to be encouraged to wash their hands. It’s such a refreshing task. Alcohol gel is nothing like as satisfying . I also have a funny habit of photographing sinks. So now hand washing is the new big thing, cue Julie Andrews

” Here are a few of my favourite sinks.”

@theoldmortuary
@QE11 Block St Bartholomew’s Hospital ( demolished)
@Aesop
Greek outdoor sink
Boston Tea Party, Plymouth
@Brixton East