Pandemic Ponderings #9

Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday was bittersweet. The weather was beautiful but in reality too many people forgot about Social Distancing and enjoyed too much Fresh Air and exercise. Mount Snowden had its busiest Sunday ever , and it’s been around a long time. I wasn’t there but it was pretty mad. The Government got cross and said people were selfish. I agree and that’s a big thing to say because if I were a stick of rock, the word Conservative does not run though me.

@theoldmortuary we took a Social Distance walk around the uncrowded but very sunshiny and uplifting Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour. Enjoying a take out coffee from Jacka Bakery, completely ignoring the baked goods on offer. A good sign that we are not hooked on Bakery Porn, or any other sort for that matter

Two lovely things arrived in the evening. Chocolates from the beautiful J and a lovely WhatsApp message from S.

Not in any way eclipsing these two lovely gestures on Mother’s day. Hugo and Lola has been making free with someone’s debit card and this card had arrived during the week.

The two mother’s Day sentiments are different yet the same. My adult children are far from the days when their elimination is my problem. My dog children will never move on from me not only having responsibility for their poo but treasuring it by sealing it in a bag and sometimes carrying it for miles.

Hugo is a private pooer , when I approach him, for accuracy of collection, he gives me a disdainful hard stare that dissolves into something pitiful as he skips and kicks his way through the post defecation victory dance. Lola is a more artistic dog, she likes to choose a grassy tussock on which to balance the canine equivalent of rock stacking.

She knows that her little pile might be a thing of beauty and waits until she is well out of the way before embarking on the Defacation Dance.

I, of course, demonstrate to both of them how precious their bottom offerings are and gather them into a special little bag .

So Mother’s Day 2020 a mixed bag, you could say.

Lovely adult children being kind from a distance because that’s what the guidelines said we should do. I always think Mother’s Day is as much about paying the love back. My two make me happy and proud, they are lovely people.

The fluffs, of course, had no idea about Mother’s Day but as of tonight the country is in lockdown, they will be my constant companions and in a strange switch of fate will have more freedoms regarding socialising than me. And that is absolutely fine, I really will never have the need to sniff a stranger’s bum or genitals. Pandemic or no pandemic.

Pandemic Ponderings #7

Wonderful, wonderful Wembury.

This picture is from a previous visit to Wembury when a cup of tea overlooking the sea was just every day life. Wembury was my destination yesterday. Hugo and Lola needed their regular hair cut at their dog groomers.
https://www.nataliesdoggrooming.co.uk/

Wembury is a regular visit for this exact reason.

The hours between dirty dog delivery and pampered pooch collection are spent doing Plymouth based jobs or enjoying the beach or coast. The charity shops of Modbury are also an irregular treat.

The beauty of Wembury beach is the sand. It doesn’t cling so even freshly clean dogs come off as clean as they went on it.

These shots make it look like we were the only people there. Nothing could be further from the truth, I would like to say we are really good at socially isolating but I think I just got lucky with photographs. It was pretty chilly so many people were hunkered down against the rocks with flasks of coffee. The coast path was probably very busy but that involves mud and we don’t do mud on grooming days.

The National Trust giving free access to much of their land during the pandemic is very generous and public spirited . The car park was as full as on a hot summers day. Even after only 5 days of keeping ourselves isolated fresh air and a walk was like drinking fresh lemonade.

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.

One clean finger and a camera phone.

Artists and makers tend to be isolationists. Not, perhaps, deliberately but almost certainly circumstantial.

In order to create original work a space is required. Those spaces become a unique location where the artist or maker has the tools and ingredients of their production alongside reference materials and importantly the space to think.

Even in the most delicious communal art spaces ,artists quickly set about erecting boards and barriers to mark their own individual territory.

Shared areas, the loo or kitchen have an almost international grubbiness to them . Marked with indelible signs of the artists that have passed that way. Artists ,Mark-Making on communal areas like a tomcat with territory acquisition and the balls to do it. Just like tomcats artists communal spaces have a distinctive odour.

As an aside I believe the art world has missed a trick. Imagine an exhibition of Butler’s sinks, or local type, brought together from around the world’s greatest artists studios. All displayed in a huge white space. With their original fittings and adjacent work surfaces. Imagine the smells!

Social Media allows artists to maintain their isolationism and yet join with like minded people without the effort of putting on their arty clothes and washing their faces. Social media just needs one clean finger and a camera phone.

Last night we had a real-time gathering of artists from the Tamar Valley to share and expand their knowledge and use of Social Media . Everyone arrived with at least a clean finger and a camera phone. Everyone left with fresh knowledge, a few more followers and probably some new friends.


https://drawntothevalley.co.uk/

Leap Year

What to do with the extra day in 2020.

©Hong Kong Ballet

Obviously after just one lesson we are fizzing to leap around on Leap Day, but this young man does it so much better .

February always needs more red.

Leap Year attracts flimsiness and fun, see my efforts above, or read Guardian flimsiness.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/29/leap-year-day-how-you-could-and-should-celebrate-29-february

But it exists to keep us all ticking along nicely in time. Introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

Leap day recalibrates and corrects time keeping because every year is actually 365 days and 6 hours long (one complete earth orbit of the sun) so once every four years those extra 6 hours are gathered together to make an extra day.

29 pictures in red to fill your extra day.

Red car Plymouth Hoe
Miss VV
Tywardreath rail crossing
Crystal Palace Rail Station
VV and Mum talk Rothko
Posters Devonport Playhouse
Redcurrants Butler’s Cottage
Red vase @theoldmortuary
Poppies @theoldmortuary
Jewel Salad @theoldmortuary
100 Homes Project, Plymouth
Chinese New Year , Hong Kong
Bowls South Korea
Hugo and Lola hit the Red Carpet
Gipsy Hill Brewery at The Lord High Admiral , Plymouth
Nasturtiums
Detail of painting
Street Art Haggerston
Chilli lights and cook books
Welsh Guards
Autumn Leaf Dulwich Picture Gallery
Beach plastic, Portwrinkle
Croxted Road, Dulwich
Detail from painting
Street Art, New York
Dodging the spray, Niagara Falls, Canada
Post Box, Barnes
Brixton Market
Hoi An

Leviathan #valentinesdaynohearts

The Leviathan is a prominent sculpture, by Brian Fell, situated on The Barbican Plymouth. Locally it is known as the Plymouth Prawn . The Leviathan is set to become famous Worldwide as the Mayflower400 celebrations build up in Plymouth. The Leviathan is close to the commemorative Mayflower Steps.Leviathan has its own Twitter account , not that it’s particularly active or has many followers. Strange really. Leviathon lives in a lively location.Leviathan was installed in 1996 and is made of patinated steel. Leviathan is a sea monster created from regular sea creatures. Cormorants feet, the fins of a John Dory ,the tail of a plesiosaur, lobster claws and the head of an Angle fish. Despite this callaloo of body parts Leviathan is majestic.The Leviathans location is on one of my regular dog walks. There is a fabulous circular walk around the harbours and quays of Plymouth taking in both historic and contemporary port buildings and activities. I’m tempted to photograph the sculpture almost every time I see it , sunshine is the very best weather for Leviathan snapping, not unlike life really.I used the fishy subject for a watercolour subject, minus the drumstick! Although a competent image of a skewered Leviathan kebab eludes me.A little bit of printing magic and I’ve created a psychotropic Leviathan. At night The Barbican is nightlife central. Who knows if the Plymouth Prawn partakes.And then just one little move to create a completely abstract image with no hint of sea creatures.Not such a romantic blog as the date would suggest but to my regular blog readers a simple message, thanks for all your comments and feedback.This blog is linked to a social media Instagram project. The prompt for today was #valentinesdaynohearts.https://drawntothevalley.co.uk/I believe Leviathan has a heart. It just needs to find its Sole Mate.

Advent#20

Nearly Home Trees- watercolour by Juliet Cornell

The Nearly Home Trees.

Cookworthy Knapp. 140 Beech trees, planted 120 years ago near Lifton on the border of Devon and Cornwall. Clearly seen from the A30. They have become a sign to many returners and travellers that they are ‘nearly home’ or ‘ nearly there’

This coming weekend will see the highest volume of road traffic, of the year, on the A30 and A38 . Those who travel on the A30 in daylight hours will see the familiar mound of trees on the hill and feel a whole kalaidoscope of emotions . Love being the most significant in all its nuances, textures and intensities.

Advent#17

This week the Festival of Light has been supplied by the sun in the early morning. Rust is one of my favourite textures, coupled with winter sun the effect is dramatic.

These photographs were taken at Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth. They are all bits of fishing gear that were being stored on the harbourside.

The manhole covers were also getting in on the act.

Advent#16

Christmas comestibles.

Today the long walk in the sunshine took us back to the location of Advent #1
https://theoldmortuary.design/2019/12/01/advent-1/

Our visit to Jacka today was enhanced by festive baking. We weren’t exactly early birds, but were lucky enough to get there in time to get the last available slice of Stolen and one of their lusciously deep mince pies. Coffee drinking at Jacka this morning was hugely sociable . The coffee hounds Hugo and Lola were treated to snippets of delicious bacon from a generous benefactor while everyone at the various tables were talking to one another.

As this is a second Advent visit to Jacka I thought I would share some of the bakeries history . Gleaned from a 1985 published article displayed on the café wall .

Dated currently back to 1597, Jacka is the oldest working Bakery in Britain. It is said that it supplied Ships Biscuits to the Mayflower in 1620. Ships biscuits from this bakery were still famous worldwide well into the twentieth century.

Todays festive bakes were tastier than any Ships biscuit. Time to roll out the the word ‘ moist’ . The festive season is known for its traditional foods. In Britain moistness is demanded of Christmas cakes and Turkey. Today we added a third moist festive eating experience.

Bakery made Stollen , as far removed from the supermarket stuff as it is possible to be. A generous core of deep yellow marzipan surrounded by jewel fruited,doughy loveliness , gently dusted with icing sugar. The mince pie, no less lovely, had a deep, golden pastry case filled with dried fruits, quenched to plumpness and topped with a pastry star.

The coffee, as is usual at Jacka was made with great beans by a skillful barrista.

This may not be our last Advent visit.