Pandemic Pondering #521

Vanlife day 2 at Bantham. Up bright and early for a dog walk.

We learnt so much last night, having lived so long in Cornwall we are well used to the marked nativism that is the signature disrespect held for all that were not born in the Duchy. Devon takes a gentler approach. Visitors are generally known as DFL ( Down from London) London being a general term for visitors from elsewhere.

For many years like so many Cornish, Devon and West Country people we became economic and professional migrants and lived and worked in London. On our regular returns to the West Country we were certainly described as DFL when in actual fact we were FH R ( From Here Really) Last night we mingled with many who were DFL and with whom we had much in common but when discussing that we were FHR needed more clarification. JUFP did the job! Just up from Plymouth.

So much easier to be a dog, they just needed to pee and sniff each others nether regions to realise that they and the DFL dogs had in fact met many times in the glorious parks of South London.

Not for them the curious Social dancing of humans just a simple. sniff and all the social niceties are observed in an instant. Not that that didnt exhaust them. Barely able to keep their eyes open last night. Today is very much a van day after the early morning walk and a breakfast until noon.

Taking it in turns to be alert.

More Bantham blogging tomorrow, you can never have too much of a good thing.

Pandemic Pondering #496

Back to bobbing in our own bay with some intriguing little sea weeds. At this angle they look a lot like a sorting hat from the Harry Potter books by JK Rowling. At a different angle they looked like a cast of a kiss. Either way quite fascinating.

Back to reality with trips to the tip and supermarket. All improved by an afternoon swim and chatter with the Bobbers, and a good long walk with some friends and the fluffs. Just as the swim was rewarded with seaweed kisses, or sorting hats, the evening walk was embellished by chips.

Our friends that we walked with deserved these chips as they had canoed up the Tamar, Im not entirely sure what our excuse was!

Pandemic Pondering #426

This one picture is all that was left of the day once weather and breakfast had taken what it wanted out of our waking hours. The Pandemic, guilty as it is for so many things, did not affect Sunday, or indeed this blog.

The weather was the most damaging. Another day deluged out of existence. This blog should have early morning action pictures of Pilot Gigs and happy rowers rowing on the Tamar. But the wind and rain postponed that. Nothing stopped our first meeting with friends indoors to share breakfast and natter over too much coffee. The rain continued to pour down on their courtyard garden , making everything lush and tropical looking. The trouble is we forgot our manners, we’ve not really used them for more than 15 months. A breakfast gathering suggests that other things might be done with the rest of the day. Not with guests like us! We left the breakfast gathering at 4:30 in the afternoon. We had talked and talked, fueled by good coffee and breakfast, but we had talked the day away, our ribs and faces aching from mirth. At 4:30 the rain still battered the streets but dogs needed walking, any pretence that anything else might be achieved was washed into the gutter with rainfall. A brief dog walk in waterproofs got the essentials done before book reading and cooking filled a couple of hours. Finally at 8:30pm we could find a rain-free period when dogs could be walked and 10,000 steps could be achieved. One day, one photograph, some sort of milestone.

Pandemic Pondering #425

After two days of near normal human socialising it was a huge shock to accidentally do something that involved no other humans and after a week of storms a couple of dry hours was an added bonus. We went to Dartington Hall for a dog walk and had decided to do the walk regardless of the weather. Suitably dressed we set off for a walk in the deer park. We were soon immersed in a landscape little altered for centuries. The recent rains had made the walk quite gooey underfoot. I’m sure this is the reason we didn’t meet any other humans. Despite having dogs with us, on leads, we saw plenty of deer close up, their natural camouflage protecting them from both predators and my photography. The bees were easier, fat and somnolent from rich pollen harvests they rested on blossom long enough to pose for pictures.

Bluebells and wild garlic scented the air of the woods and when the sun came out there was a woodland version of petrichor in the air, not perhaps as vivid as in an urban setting but there never the less.

Deep within these woods there were echoes of unseen steam trains chuffing and whistling their way on a local historical rail track. Running a service for the first time since last summer. Instead of a muddy, damp trudge it was a hugely relaxing walk in dappled sun. The sun came out properly when we got closer to civilisation.

With civilisation came coffee and for Hugo the chance to grab a quick snooze in a sunbeam.

Slow Sundays . Link to location below.

Home

Pandemic Pondering #354

Its been a funny old week. Too much domestic admin has tied me to the house and the weather has been too contrary for us to plan any coastal swims.

As soon had we cancelled this afternoons ‘bob’ the sun came out in a blaze of glory.

What you cant see in this photo is a very chilly wind blowing up the river.

The local RNLI have been suggesting all week that sea swimming should be a wisely considered option considering weather and tides on a daily basis.

We also follow a local swimming group for advice on safety.

Link above is to a video taken at our swimming beach at the time we were planning to swim.

Im glad we made the call not to swim today.

The dogs benefitted from a very sunny walk . There is always tomorrow for a swim.

Pandemic Pondering #331

Pondering may just have taken a new turn towards dull. Miss Lola is in season for the first time in any lockdown. Not only are we restricted geographically by Covid restrictions but now I need to find walks with no other dogs. It always surprises me that men, and it is always men, moan at me for taking a bitch for a walk when she is in season when their own dogs are running off the lead with a pair of massive testicles swinging in the breeze. My unusual walks today have taken me to very familiar spots but in a part that I rarely visit.

Low tide at the Waterside exposes beach that is rarely seen . It’s not particularly picturesque. There is a hotchpotch of tatty old boats that definitely look nicer floating on a full tide. But there are some lovely things to see.

A terracotta pipe that spends most of the time submerged in the tidal waters of the Tamar river.

A gathering of old ropes.

Moist seaweed fronds hanging below a pier.

Some ever watching eyes.

And a lone trainer. I could ponder on about a missing trainer on a beach. The red laces are a gift to a photographer and the unusual design caught my eye. Who is the person who lost this shoe? The location below the Tamar Road Bridge is infamous because, sadly, successful suicide attempts end up in this stretch of the river. Of course this shoe is far more likely to have been lost during a leisure pursuit, but shoes lost in desolate places do have a poignant aura.

Anyway we managed to avoid any other dogs and went home for some domestica and then returned later for the evening walk. Elwell Woods is just above the river where we walked this morning. Somewhat cut off from the town this was a historically significant area with a freshwater spring that provided water to the town , first documented in 1284. For nearly 100 years there was a brewery here . More recently there was an electricity generator but ultimately the Tamar Bridge was built in 1961, the access road has isolated this area from the rest of the town. However a recent Celtic Cross has been erected in the area.

It is supposed to be a significant sculpture to mark travellers entry into Cornwall. It is beautiful but the scale makes it fairly insignificant. Angel of the North it is not!

Meanwhile Lola would rather just be snuggled up.

Pandemic Pondering #318

Thermal underwear can make you do crazy things. Yesterday was a day of sunshine with a side order of mud.

Everywhere here is pretty sodden with rain and winteriness. Some regular dog walks have been abandoned because they are just too muddy. The arrival of unexpected sunshine coupled with thermal underwear made walking without a warm coat entirely possible. My choice of walk has a semi-permeable surface that drains well, all should have been well but the dogs did not stick to the path. Beyond the confines of the path the parkland was a riot of quagmire and fascinating smells. Some of which the dogs felt obliged to roll in.

It was such a sunny day , two circuits of the park were completed. I was feeling toasty but the dogs were two muddy sponges, filled to capacity with moisture and mud. The ecstatic cuddles when we returned to the car were a mixed blessing.

The second walk of the day involved Tarmac and water contained in its proper place.

Pandemic Pondering #286

Rescued Gerbera see PP#343

Today started earlyish, a dog walk prior to another morning swim. These are ponderings in a pandemic there will be a certain repetitive nature to my ponders. Dog walks, coffee and some wittering- on are the skeleton on which a pondering is built. As luck would have it a new habit of ‘ Bobbing’ started during the first lockdown, something new to bore you with. Often any of these activities occurs within the beautiful landscape that we are lucky enough to live in. Usually any activity can create a photo opportunity but not today. Greige was the state of the weather this morning. My excuse for using a bright Gerbera picture as the header image.

©Andy Cole

By the time we got to the ‘ Bobbing’ part of the day the greige had lifted a little. On the way to our beach we spotted a pod of dolphins cavorting in Firestone Bay. If we had swum a little earlier they would have been playing in our swimming area. Sadly they were attracted away by stand up paddle boarders. SUP’s. One of them captured this amazing picture. Something we would never have managed during our cold, submerged activity.

©South West Sup

Time for this ponder to stop and just appreciate this beautiful creature.

Pandemic Pondering #283

The sun shone for the last walk around Sutton Harbour and the Barbican of 2020. It also snowed a little.

Our evening went to plan . This is the photograph for our family and friends distance, thousands of miles and many time zones, social media party.

Television watching for two, oh the dizzy heights!

The plan had actually been to go to bed early and show 2020 the disdain it deserves and sleep through its passing but actually it feels only responsible to not only see the year leave but also to make sure it has actually gone and shut the door behind it. For such a responsible observation a far less frivolous drink is required.

A fine cup of decaffeinated Yorkshire Tea and a Cornish Shortbread. Far less giddy than that party pleasing Snowball. Also guarantees a good nights sleep, essential after a year like 2020!

I can confirm 2020 left the building and the door slammed shut behind it.

Pandemic Pondering #267

Yesterday I said that dog walking could be repetitive. But today blogging is repetitive. Yesterday I was out early to catch the dawn and today was the same, strengthened by the knowledge that yesterday, dawn was about the only time the sun showed it’s face.

Forder Creek, at dawn. A wonderful place to walk at low tide.

Penzance to Paddington.
Paddington to Penzance

True to form the sun rose and was briefly beautiful but soon the ghastly greige of a West Country winter set in. My morning was filled with delivering this month’s books to the Bookworms reading group. Lunchtime however brought a very bright surprise. I went for a dog walk with a friend in Victoria Park, Plymouth, followed by an impromptu visit to a wonderful interiors shop. But it was the exteriors that chased away the greige of the day.

http://www.annterior.co.uk
http://www.annterior.co.uk

It’s not only sunshine that chases away the greige.