Pandemic Pondering #223

September 13th often gives us the gift of sunshine. It was Hannah’s mums birthday and we were always able to plan a birthday picnic for her, safe in the knowledge that the sun would shine.

This morning we started the day with a sunshine yellow breakfast. Sweetcorn fritters, bacon and egg.

A morning spent doing Sunday stuff, including clearing up fragile, ageing, yellow roses.

Then a trip to Union Street for a Street Party, more about that later in the week.

Sunflowers bought on Union Street replaced the discarded roses.

Then an evening spent swimming at Devils Point!

Dog bottoms in the Sunset…

Pandemic Pondering #216

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 #210

Todays prompt word for the art group is ‘paint’ slightly tricksy for an art group that encompasses 3D and Makers for whom paint is not a part of their creative process.

I chose to illustrate how paint brightens our lived environment.

Plymouth was in fine form today, the sun was out and the sea and sky were blue.

There were three stand out paint jobs.

The carousel on the Barbican

The Lighthouse on the Hoe.

The fishing boats in the Harbour.

Pandemic Pondering #123

100 WordPress readers for the blog. I know it’s nothing compared to hugely popular blogs, but 100 people who are happy to read along on the pondering journey of someone insignificant, who just enjoys writing and connecting, is thrilling!
I was pondering the longevity of Pandemic Ponderings when I remembered one of my favourite books, ‘The Long Weekend’ by Robert Graves. It is a social history of the interwar years.

I wonder if we are entering a Pandemic ‘Long Weekend’ in Britain. Restrictions of the draconian type are being lifted and bits of life are returning to some form of normal. @theoldmortuary lives a more resticted life than the government suggests whilst still connecting with family and friends. We are mindful of the Second Wave of the pandemic which could start anytime between August or October depending on who you talk to.
So I will ponder on through the Pandemic ‘long weekend’ and into the second wave taking at least 100 of you with me.

On with the Sunday blog.
Two quotes landed in my social media feed today. They are properly robust pieces of secular writing with not a hint of whimsy, new agedness or religion.

I love them both. They need no explanation, but I would say they represent quite accurately my attitude to life.

Time to catch up on 3 regular topics in the blog.

The first dahlia of Pandemic Pondering #120 is the only Dahlia still. This morning he was looking gorgeous but as you can see from the photo, protecting him from slugs and bugs comes at a cost. He cannot live out in the green areas of the garden but has to live on the decking area where domestic life happens. Here he is this morning amongst the drying washing.

This evening he is still wide awake at sunset.

Our fitness regime, at home with Joe Wicks on YouTube continues, and has often had a mention blogwise but after more than 18 weeks of exercising at home we are addicted to having a velvet cushion for our aching knees. Surely all gyms could provide such comfort.

And finally we did our regular walk around Sutton harbour and the Barbican in Plymouth. Our regular haunt of Jacka Bakery was enhanced today by having some of our lovely family in it.

Sunday pondering, a little bit deep, a little bit superficial. Thanks for being 1 in 100 xxx

Pandemic Pondering #116

Reflections on the first beer and other unplanned activities post lockdown.

Today’s walk was a familiar one to us, and to regular blog readers.

At weekends parking is free, in places, on Commercial Street. Giving the perfect opportunity for a circular walk. We do it so many times , and in particular in lockdown that it often gets a blog mention. Today, beyond the walk, we had no plans, we had VV with us so it was pretty much serendipity predicated by the whims of a 20 month old.

As usual, with a weekend visit to Plymouth, the first good coffee of the weekend was purchased at Hutong Cafe. Currently based at The Lord High Admiral.
https://www.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/
https://m.facebook.com/thelhaplymouth/

Energised by a smooth Oat Milk Flat White we set off from Commercial Street.

Normally it is a two coffee walk with a call in at Jacka Bakery for coffee number two.
https://m.facebook.com/JackaBakery/

Today though we walked closer to the harbour of the Barbican.

Serendipity showed us an empty table outside the Maritime Inn. Time for the first beer since Christmas.
https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Pub/Barbican-Maritime-Inn-1375656692678932/

It was all the better for being unplanned. We carried on our walk, essential dog walking training is taking place.

Then serendipity struck again, Suphas, a Street Food Cafe also had a seat available out in the sun. Suphas has been on our radar for a while but time and a pandemic have made this our first chance for a visit.

Our drinks, snacks and the environment were vivid in every way.

One of life’s coincidences. Juice of the Day, Watermelon, exactly matched VV’s drinking bottle.

http://www.suphas.co.uk/

In addition to these visually vivid comestibles we also ordered Spicy Fruit Salad . As vivid in flavour as these pictures are vivid.

Three hours well spent wandering familiar paths .A Sunday walk in the sunshine.

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 #71

Lockdown and a new diet regime has had a funny effect on our store cupboards. We are cooking everything from scratch and also learning new things to cook with ingredients we’ve not used before. We’ve always cooked a lot of Asian food . Today it was time to incorporate the local Asian Supermarket into the morning dog walk. KW Brothers of Durnford Street is a great shop. We stocked up on sauces for a third of the price of non specialist supermarkets.

Other things may have slipped into the bag too. KW Brothers has an amazing smell, I’m never sure if it makes me homesick for the Asian Stores of South London or Asia itself.

Either way I love it. Random fact of the day . KW Brothers stands on the site of a doctor’s surgery where Arthur Conan Doyle worked. Durnford Street has quotes from Sherlock Holmes inset into the pavement between the Asian Supermarket and Firestone Bay.

Durnford Street is pretty.

Firestone Bay is beautiful.

We were planning a Fusion evening meal , it was a coincidence really that we went to the supermarket as we had everything we needed for tonight’s supper without a visit.

https://schoolofwok.co.uk/our-story/heritage

This is our favourite Asian cookery book.

Fusion supper, Fragrant Aubergine with minced pork.

Elderflower and raspberry gin and tonic.

Happy Thursday

Pandemic Pondering #64

As dusk falls Smeatons Tower, on Plymouth Hoe, is lit up in shades of blue as a sign of respect for the regular Thursday night clap for carers.

I have to admit to a huge conflict with the whole thing. For political and personal reasons. I’m inclined towards the views of the anonymous author of the article in this link.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/21/nhs-doctor-enough-people-clapping

A whole career in the NHS, when I was repeatedly expected to work in less than optimal conditions,has always made me want to be in a properly funded work place with good working conditions.

All the clapping in the world cannot make this a reality.

However I am not so hard hearted or embittered not to be moved by the regular Thursday night clap. It affects me in a way I find hard to explain.

The silence surrounding the blue- illuminated Smeatons Tower, two hours after the clap, was a completely different sensation. Something entirely secular, thought provoking and calming. A sort of visual two minutes silence.

Time to reflect.

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