Pandemic Pondering #387

L’esprit de l’escalier is a French term used in English for thinking of the perfect reply too late. I think it is mostly considered to be a witty or clever retort that would finish of a conversational or indeed confrontational encounter more perfectly.

Where is the handy french term for when you/ I, have thought of the perfect retort and delivered it leaving the other person stunned and perhaps uncomfortable. A linguistic victory certainly but not always kind.

Kindness at the end of a conversation is another of those moments with no useful term. Hugely important during difficult conversations when serious, possibly hurtful and important points need to be conveyed. If there is love, care, affection or even just integririty that must be built into that conversation the parting words need to be perfectly judged if the conversation is to be effective rather than harmful. A lifetime of harm can be caused without the right conversational ending included. If only these things could be straightforward.

The whole business of ‘stair case wit’ which I have expanded to Staircase Wisdom is chronically complicated and acutely regrettable. I have a huge dusty box in my personal archive of conversations that were not perfect because I got the end wrong.

The trouble is, unlike this collection of staircases, conversation with another is never black and white, and it can be complicated and unpredictable. The conversations in my head always go much better to plan.

The link below takes you to a less personal consideration of L’esprit de l’escalier. I hope that is the perfect ending.

L’esprit de l’escalier

Here is a less than perfect ending , the steps that I imagine take me to my store of archived badly finished conversations. I don’t imagine I’m ever going to be diplomatic or wise enough not to need to store badly finished conversations in an imagined room beyond these stairs any time soon. These steps will continue to be well worn, a little bit smelly and unloved until I can no longer engage in meaningful conversation.

Pandemic Pondering #373

The warmest day, so far, of the year and day 2 of a loosening of restrictions in England and I’m still following the protocol of the last few months and walking the dogs and staying local. Just like this rusty supermarket trolley I am adrift from the social buzz of being amongst my own kind. Thankfully unlike the trolley I have not spent the last few months in a muddy tributary. I have yet to put concatenation into practice.

In theory the rules say I ( we) can meet in groups of six in the great outdoors. What I have failed to do is build the next chain in the series and go significantly further afield or meet other people for a natter . Its not that I’ve lived the life of a recluse but I have grown to love the days of a familiar walk listening to a podcast and watching nature unfurl. Today I downloaded a whole months worth of podcasts. I’m actually unlikely to need them once my social butterfly emerges from my Pandemic induced Chrysalis stage.

Socialising has been restricted to Coffee queues followed by a walk, or swimming followed by shouted socialising while we scramble into clothes,forcing not quite dry skin into garments that feel two sizes too small.

I know that once concatenation takes hold and I embrace the sequential changes as they ease me into normal life, slowly link by link, there will be no stopping me. But I am going to miss having the time to notice the small things.

Pandemic Pondering #370

Sunshine and a spiky tulip to start the day. A bullet was bitten today. New glasses needed to be chosen. I’ve struggled on with two less than perfect pairs for the whole of the pandemic . Both coated with anti- glare coatings that are slowly wearing or being rubbed off. One pair worse than the other are now unusable and the pair that are in a better state, coating-wise, do not like to be on the same face as a mask and fly off my face at every mask wearing opportunity. The reward for choosing new frames, always arduous when you have poor eyesight, was a trip to a bakery and coffee shop.

We took the rather splendid cronuts to Down Thomas and nibbled them while looking at the Plymouth Breakwater from a different angle to our usual viewpoint. There is sometimes an organised swim from the Breakwater back to the Plymouth shore. Link below.

With Cronut in hand and overlooking the distance and geography of the course it is easy to see why viewing the race from whichever angle is infinitely preferable to doing it.

Have a good Sunday!

In Britain the Clocks have gone forward an hour.

The evenings will be lighter.

Another sign that Spring has arrived.

Pandemic Pondering #363

The blog about a non-blog. Tech failure today coupled with increasingly early sunrises conspired for there not to be a blog ready on the table at 8:00 this morning.

A small amount of alcohol was taken during a Zoom birthday party last night. Which added to a large amount of exercise during the day to give a very good, very effective nights sleep. Alarms were set for an early wake up and blog composition before our early walk, but the device with the photographs had not been plugged in over night.

Can you believe I got to #363 before suffering daily blog failure!

Hugo is disgusted

He cannot believe his puppymummy failed to charge up her device before writing a blog and going out for a sunrise walk. This is Hugo looking dissapointedly at me.

These are the deserted bays he was forced to suffer whilst a blog lay unwritten and uncared for on a Sunday morning.

Thank goodness for the baked goods featured at the top of this blog. Fueled by half a Cinnamon Bun, this non blog is finally, five hours late ready to brighten up Sunday.

Normal service will resume tomorrow!

Pandemic Pondering #361


There is a tranquility in this picture that I’m not quite feeling.

Yesterday I took the scissors to my hair. With a month to go until stylists are allowed to open up it may have been a rash move. Im not even sure why yesterday was the day I decided to do it. Too many Zoom meetings or calls I think. I spend most of my life not looking at myself . Meetings have become a liitle mad. Talking to a group of people, myself included, on Zoom shows me everything Ive ever wondered.

Did I Look Ok.

Do I look interested when others talk and I am listening.

Did I say what I needed too.

Can anyone tell Im also using my phone.

The last worry shouldn’t be a worry, additional devices are the current equivalent of arriving with a sheaf of papers. My actual papers , an old- school reporters notebook is just about full after a year of Zooming. It has a life of its own . There was a plan early on to use different colours for different Zooming. In the excitement, that has been lockdown life, Ive misplaced some of the colours. Without fail for at least the last three months I have forgotten to replace the notepad. In consequence my notes now fill borders and gaps between notes made months ago.

Yesterday I found 6 unused pages in the middle of the pad. The excitement in my room was palpable!

There is a quote in my head , I have no idea where I got it from.

” There is no point in an archive if there is not an efficient way of retrievals”

My Lockdown brain has got this covered!

Ask me for a certain date or point and I get too it really quickly. Somehow remembering the colours or patterns , doodles might be another word, where any particular meetings notes were jotted down. This could all have been done more efficiently with dedicated note books but I wasn’t planning on going on like this for a year. The notepad was temporary. I may never give it up.

If only I knew shorthand it would be a thing of true abstract beauty. A modern version of papyrus with stenograhic symbols merged with hieroglyphs.

The reality is messier. As was my hair.

The notebook is a keeper, the hair is gone.

Friday another week done .

Pandemic Ponderings #24

Its all a bit domestic here today but there is a note of High Fashion. Vogue magazine has stated that a full compliment of female pubic hair is the new look . Funny that given that no-one can take their lady gardens to a beautician for waxing and stripping. Normally @theoldmortuary we follow most of the advice from Vogue slavishly, but today we just had to trim our bushes.In other news the cutlery drawer is tidy.The dog walk/ permitted exercise took on a whole new shape today. We took a picnic and the delay gave us the chance to see nature just highlighted by a setting sun.Finally some lovely texture randomly created by a pile of stuff actually in the old mortuary.