Pandemic Pondering #225

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 #218

No New Worlds is a new art installation in Plymouth it has a profound message which deserves its own blog. Contrarily @theoldmortuary has discovered new worlds while the installation was being constructed. We first encountered it when we went on the Dockyards and Warships boat trip. A New World, or an old world rediscovered for us. The installation was being constructed on the Mountbatten Break Water, we saw it as we sailed out of Plymouth Sound, at the time we didn’t know it was a significant commissioned Art Work.

Another New World for us is open water or Wild Swimming. We can see the sign from many of our new found bathing spots.

As an aside I had a very strange swim today which was also a bit of a new world. Maybe a little Queen World.

While swimming at Devils Point I was suddenly surprised by HMS Albion steaming towards me, towed by two powerful tugs. It is not every day that I am saluted by an entire ships company as I bob along in the sea. Obviously they were doing the salutations just for me. I so enjoyed the moment I couldn’t take a photo until the ship had passed by. A ship’s backside is an interesting change from the usual dog bottom in this blog.

Apparently this ship is the Swiss Army Knife of the Royal Navy. That’s quite a claim, I wonder where the corkscrew is?

I can say that not only did I experience a moment of Queenliness with the delightfully polite young persons saluting me. I also experienced a bit of Dolphinliness, the ship created quite a vibration in the water and some waves.

Another New World for @theoldmortuary was visiting the Mount Batten Breakwater, a place we had never visited before. We went to be up close to the Artwork to research and photograph for the proper blog tomorrow.

The installation is called Speedwell.

Pandemic Pondering #213

I don’t know quite how to describe pleasures enjoyed when alone. This morning, in England and Wales, pupils returned to school after five months away . Twice, on my 8am drive through urban areas, the fragrance of multiple , simultaneous makings of toast and butter were transfixing . I only had dogs for company so was unable to share conversation about the unusual pleasure of smelling toast. Created, I’m sure, by many houses being on the same schedule for the first time in ages and the continuing lower levels of traffic and pollution. The dogs , of course, experienced the smell of toasted bread far more vividly than me but didn’t feel the need to talk to me about it or even amongst themselves.

I also had some ‘alone’ time in the the park at Devils Point. Once again it was me wondering at the surprising absence of other humans and canines while they just took it in their stride, reading the messages left by other dogs but never once looking up and exclaiming ” Wow we are such lucky dogs to have this beautiful place to ourselves”

The smell of toast and these beautiful views this morning were lovely pleasures that I was unable to share with another human and made me think about another ‘alone’ pleasure I had recently . A swimming pool that just had no-one else in it at the time I went swimming.

Am I odd to enjoy these moments of serendipitous alone pleasures? It’s easy enough to isolate myself from other humans but somehow a chance encounter with aloneness plus a pleasure is one of life’s joys.

However I also love to share things and of these three things the one I most wish to share is the intangible one. The smell of many toasty breakfasts wafting from homes eager to return to some form of normality. If only I could copy and paste a link for you to share the buttery, toasty, smell of normality this morning.

Pandemic Ponderings #44

A pondering in which we queue for good coffee in Plymouth. Saturdays are made for good coffee. For the 6 weeks of lockdown we’ve not had a coffee made with love and care by a proficient barrista. Given the Coffeeshop in question you could say we’ve missed out for 6 months. Hutong which closed in October for a rebuild, ‘popped up’ today at The Lord High Admiral.

Queuing for coffee is not unknown to us as Monmouth Coffee at Borough Market is another favourite coffeeshop.

Hutong coffee is worthy of the queue. The new environment at The Lord High Admiral is pretty cute.

On reflection , it was lovely to see George…

and Emma who didn’t make it into the mirror.

Perfect Social Distancing throughout the process we took delivery of our coffee.

It was every bit as good as we knew it would be. Right to the bottom of the cup.

If you are in Plymouth next Saturday the Hutong will ‘pop-up’ again next Saturday 9th May from 8am. The other ‘pop-up’ at The Lord High Admiral, Knead Pizza had sold out all their Pizza slots today and I think all of next week’s are sold out too. We were too slow for Pizza for both weeks and actually missed out on Hutong bacon butties today.

Note to self, get up earlier!

What to do after a Hutong Coffee? Drive to Stonehouse and do the usual walk.

This could not have been a better decision.

Firstly we parked up near Elvira’s,

who were serving bacon butties. By a strange coincidence we queued up at Elvira’s with a couple who had also been at the earlier coffee queue. They were much braver than us and ordered take-out Eggs Benedict. I would have been wearing egg yolk all day if we had ordered that.

Obviously once you’ve queued twice with people, observing social distancing, you can talk for ages even though they are complete strangers. (Pandemic observation, talking to strangers is a lovely thing now we all have more time)

Our Stonehouse walk is one we do often but everything in Lockdown is changed , there seems to be more to see.

Even at Elvira’s we saw these two lovely unusual things.

Non-local people can have a chuckle at the name of this location.

Admiral’s Hard; another saucy Plymouth location is Pennycomequick.

I just threw that in, it’s nowhere near our walk.

Stonehouse did not disappoint, we met another complete stranger at the proper distance, for more lovely conversations and Devils Point itself thought it was on the Mediterranean.

Pretty houses on the way back to the car.

Saturdays and Sunshine

Hutong Coffee

Elvira’s Bacon Butty

Lockdown rules all applied

Pandemic Ponderings #17

April sweeps in with more promise than March. These two months share the joint responsibility of bringing in Spring and hosting the Easter holidays. This April of course will be unique and this Easter, unusual, because whatever way we traditionally spend the four day weekend. This year will not be the same, in any way, for humans.

The natural world and built environment knows nothing of our 2020 restrictions. Away from our homes all these things are happening. Aprils past have provided these images.

The only one I’ve actually seen in 2020 is the first, 500 yards from @theoldmortuary.

The others are out there, but not for this year.

Wild Garlic brings vibrancy to rural lanes, and fragrance to the kitchen.

Sunshine illuminates beaches effortlessly.

While wild grasses hold the dunes in place.

Old cars twinkle in London Streets.

While bossy notices fail to realise Bill Stickers is currently Socially isolating, untroubled by threats of prosecution.

Closer to home a city beach and sea water pool look crisp but chilly.

Even closer to home the bridges between the rest of the World and Cornwall look super sharp in the evening light.

For now we are at the far end of these bridges and nowhere else.

Aqua Menthe, Lush Lava, Phantom Blue

© Shutterstock
It will be no surprise to regular readers or viewers of the blog that I love a deeply saturated colour almost as much as I love black and white.Any ‘colour of the year’ headline grabs my attention. Coupled with lovely descriptive words Shutterstock have analysed their way to a great trio of colours.
https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/trends/2020-color-trends
Synesthesia is always part of my life, I’ve had to learn to override it but these three colours make my heart and head thrill with their energy.
https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html My own collection of images is lacking Aqua Menthe and Phantom Blue but Lush Lava plays a big part. I’ve set myself a side project of finding more of those colours this year.A trawl through my collection earlier today has found these.Lush Lava
Flowers on a memorial bench. Devils Point Plymouth
An image I created to show a curving corridor entrance to a dark room.
Red Currants at Butler’s Cottage
Aqua Menthe
Detail from one of my paintings . From the collection of UltraCardiac
Boat at Port Wrinkle
Nightclub on the Barbican, featuring Jules and Lola
Phantom Blue
The Levellers at Minack Theatre.
Mediterranean Biome at Eden Project
A phone box at Royal William Yard during Illuminate Festival
All three colours in an abstract.The cover picture or frontispiece of this blog is a play on words. The shallow pool is at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall. The strip of red simply had to be done. I’ve slightly re- edited it to also be the Endpiece.