Pandemic Pondering #545

New home for neon

The weather today was not glorious, it was perfectly fine but we decided to hit the to-do list. Hannah picked up a paint brush and the exterior paint pot and took on walls and the outside toilet. I rearranged the work room and found a new home for @theoldmortuary neon sign. The reason for this flurry of activity is that while we were renting this house we promised the previous owner that we would do nothing structural. So when we moved in many of our unpackings and placements were temporary and we had to store quite a bit of stuff in the work room. Now we have actually owned it for a week it’s time to crack the whip on our to- do list. The paintwork is just on a first coat so that will feature on another blog. Oh the anticipation of a freshly painted outside loo !

A tidy work room also benefits from some neon placement.

The yard is proper twinkly now the neon has been unpacked and turned on.

Which makes for some interesting shapes and shadows.

Pandemic Pondering #500

500 Pandemic Ponderings and the world is still in the grip of something that affects everyone. Currently our planet is still gripped and the Pandemic is far from over.Who knows how this part of our history will end.

@theoldmortuary, just like everyone, is in quite a different place at #500 to where we were at #1. No longer living at the actual Old Mortuary, that was never a plan!

Today though, beyond PP#500, is pretty average. We took a trip out to Tavistock in the rain. The rain gave me all the images for this blog. A rain swollen river + my silky water feature on the phone camera is as good an illustration for time passing as I could muster today.

We went to Tavistock to visit the Drawn to the Valley exhibition again and to visit the Saturday market.

We also had a Bubble Wrap popping and styling date with our grandchild in Hong Kong.

Not something we were planning to do in the street but that is where we were when the call came through. We had planned ahead and just whipped our Bubble Wrap out of a handbag and struck some poses and popped away. Passers by were certainly puzzled! A fine way to spend half an hour on a normal day with an auspicious number.

Pandemic Pondering #452

©Suzy Billing-Mountain

It would be true to say that for many of us the last 18 months have not gone to plan . @theoldmortuary this weekend has not quite gone to plan but where unplanned gaps in my schedule appeared I was lucky enough to fill some gaps with art. Drawn to the Valley are supporting an Art Trail that shows the work of both members and non-members.

©Sue Coleman

The trail has also had its own unplanned moments and was postponed because of Covid restrictions. Suffering the same fate as the Open Studios event that is was organised to replace for the same reasons. In consequence it has been some time in the planning. Sadly one contributing artist has died between the planning stages and the actual realisation of the trail.

©Glenis Blakiston

The widower of Glenis Blakiston had decided to open her studio just as she would have done.

Pandemic Pondering #413

My ‘ bonus track’ day. My parents both died at the same age that I am now. Yesterday I outlived them both by one day. So from now on every day will be something more than they were able to experience.

My mum had a long terminal illness and spent her last day on this earth ” Taking a turn for the worst” By contrast my dads terminal illness was brief and he spent his last day deliberately enjoying one of his favourite meals with family and friends before snuggling into bed never to wake up again. Obviously I always hoped to reach this milestone day and mark it in some way. I imagined a gathering of my nearest and dearest enjoying communal eating and celebrating my good fortune. As has been the habit of the last 16 months the pandemic has obliterated long term plans and made even short term plans unpredictable. Better perhaps to have no plans and live life as it is rather than as we hoped it might be. So no gathering today.

The eve of my new ‘bonus track era’ was spent charging up my life batteries with a swim in fabulous waves.

And finding new paths on the ancient byways of Cornwall.

My actual Bonus Track Day will be spent very much living life as it is, with domestic admin, dogs, lovely companions and an evening swim with the Bobbers.

Tranquility Bay was in quite a lively mood when we arrived. A quick dip for some and a longer challenging swim for others gave the day a sparkly, fizzing finale.

Pandemic Pondering #407

May the 4th be with you. Except, of course this is the 5th. May the 4th always brings rich pickings of Star Wars quotes.  I’m unsure if just loving the original 1977 film, correctly and simply known as Star Wars makes me a Star Wars luddite. The surrounding films and obsessive fandom makes me feel saddened that the one original film can’t be enjoyed as one unique moment of great creative, cinematic collaboration.

But without the hullabaloo, that irritates me so much, I would not have found a lovely quote from the actress Carrie Fisher who played Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise. She was open and honest about her, nearly life- long, struggles with drink, drugs and bi-polar disorder. She was also a wise and clever woman.

Discussing her difficult life patches she wrote.

” Going through challenging things can teach you quite a lot, and they also make you appreciate the times that aren’t so challenging”

A simple sentence that works under normal circumstances and especially as we emerge from beneath the pressures and sadnesses of the Pandemic.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27esprit_de_l%27escalier

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.

https://therisebakery.co.uk/

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.

https://racecheck.com/races/plymouth-breakwater-swim/

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

Friday!

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 .