Pandemic Pondering #297

Pondering numbers recalibrated and we are looking forward. But for this blog a little bit of retro. Every morning Facebook offers a look back at old posts. It is not something I look at often , but today the images were very varied , I’ve picked four to ponder over. The first is a heavy snow day in Dulwich Village in 2010. 11 years ago.

Memorable because the walk to and from work in Marylebone was a challenge, and a milk float overturned just outside this gate scattering milk bottles everywhere.The milkman was unhurt but he must still have the memory, as do I, of a thousand tinkling bell sounds as the bottles smashed on the icy road.

10 years ago January 13 th was very bright. These lovely sculptures by Mauro Perucchetti were located at the top of Park Lane near Marble Arch. For 3 months between October and January they were smiling observers of my journey to work.

8 years ago a new puppy called Hugo wakes up a friend with early morning snuggles. ( This is the day I had to hide a puppy poo up the sleeve of my jumper in order to give Hugo top good behaviour points, when his toilet training failed him when visiting someone)

2016 Brixton, 5 years ago, a street memorial to David Bowie who had recently died. Another travelling to work landmark.

My idiosyncratic use of a cameraphone might be a little bit, or a lot, irritating to my nearest and dearest but today this little retrospective imagery reminds me that January life is as varied and colourful as any other month and every day is filled with moments, even in a lockdown.

#foodporn

Grey rainy mornings have been a constant companion of 2020. Some days the subject for the daily pondering is obvious, other days nothing seems quite interesting enough, today, with the early rain, is one of those days. A quick skip through the image archive tempted me towards writing about rust, but ultimately one of the rust coloured images I retrieved pointed me the way of a saltier story. Baked goods, in particular the Cheese Straw.Starting at the top I present the Gail’s Cheese Straw made with Mature Cheddar Cheese and Comté. This tasty little pile photographed at Gail’s Dulwich VillageI have a long history with cheese straws. My mum used to make them with left over pastry. Hers were pale and flacid and only as tasty as the cheese she had laying in the fridge. On fancy days she made a ring shape of cheesy dough and enclosed three or four skinny cheese straws within the ring.A fellow blog writer has taken the time to write the history of the cheese straw. It’s a fascinating read on a rainy morning.
https://thehistoricfoodie.wordpress.com/2018/10/30/cheese-straws-a-quick-history/I loved these unsophisticated treats eaten warm after school. For much of my life they were the only cheese straw I knew, I make them myself with left over pastry.At some point in the Baking Renaissance of the 21st Century . Cheese Straws became bigger, puffier and altogether much tastier.Armed with a Gail’s cookbook and a bit of creativity, cheese straws started to look a lot more fancy in my own kitchen.I don’t know if people feel particularly passionate about cheese straws. I suspect they are overshadowed by prettier and sweeter ‘show stopper’ baked goods.But without the cheese straw would it’s savoury cousins, the bacon or sausage tasty even exist?

The River Effra, digressions and a memorial bench.

The River Effra plays a big part in my London life. Rising out of the ground near my home in Crystal Palace it has been constrained by engineers and now runs underground nearly all the way to Vauxhall Bridge where it emerges from a culvert to join the Thames.

Effra emerges and looks like a small lake in Belair Park, Dulwich, where Hugo and Lola love to walk. Then she sinks back underground.

I always think of Effra as a woman because Effra is a character name in Ben Arronovitchs series of books The Rivers of London.
Effra, the character, is the daughter of Mama Thames she has a BA in History of Art and is said to be very involved in UK Grime.

Just a little digression there.
Effra gives her name to.all kinds of things .

Effra Parade in Brixton

Effra Parade bus stop on the number 3 bus route.

More digression.

One of the most interesting bus routes in London. During a conversation this weekend someone said I loved riding buses because I’m a socialist. I’m not sure that’s entirely true. I love riding buses because the front seat at the top of a London bus is a joyous calabash of cultures, particularly suited to a nosey person. The front seat on a number 3 is sublime.

Effra Social.A bar and casual dining location with iconic status in Brixton. Previously the Conservative Club.

Effra Farm in the 1790’s roughly where Effra Road is.
The point, however of this blog is the lake in Belair Park where Effra takes in some daylight between underground journeys.
Belair Park has less memorial benches than many London parks but there is one in a very picturesque spot.As usual with memorial benches I’ve used what3words to locate it.Whoever Guy Robinson was his friends and family have chosen a lovely spot to position his bench.It is very close to a picture I took to manipulate into some lacy pictures.The last image is my favourite, it sums up the mystery of an underground river.

Advent#31

December 31st 2019, the last day of a decade. The blog has grown into itself. Pondering has become the driving word for narrative and visual creations. All thanks to a writing course with The Gentle Author of Spitalfields life.

https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Pondering the past year, I grabbed one picture for each month from my smartphone. There was no theme. No images of dogs or family or friends. In reality I ponder my friends, family and dogs often in the moments of these images. Taking you all into the next decade is the best gift imaginable.

Time to gently close the door on 2019 and lift the latch on the one marked 2020.

@theoldmortuary , pondering 2019 one month at a time.

Portwrinkle, Cornwall. January 2019

Portwrinkle again. Shells on a rusty GPO box. February 2019

https://gailsbread.co.uk/bakeries/dulwich-village/

Cheese straws. Gail’s Bakery, Dulwich Village. March 2019

https://www.porteliot.co.uk/

Wild Garlic, Port Eliot, St Germans, Cornwall. April 2019

Spring Flowers, Trematon Castle, Saltash. May 2019.

Hong Kong. June 2019

https://www.vam.ac.uk/

Shadows at the Dior Exhibition. V and A, Kensington July 2019

Rusty watering can rose and geranium. @theoldmortuary.August2019

https://kelly-house.co.uk/

Quick sketch of a 90 year old theatrical crown. Kelly House, Kelly. September 2019

Spider web, Waterside, Saltash October 2019

Corrugated cardboard rolled. St Ives, Cornwall. November 2019

Scavenged Festive wreath @theoldmortuary December 31st 2019.

https://www.oceanstudios.org.uk/

See you there …

The Dog ( Crown and Greyhound)

IMG_0459Ten years ago when we left Cornwall , Dulwich Village became our London home. Serendipity took us here and we have stayed within a couple of miles and have home and family here now. For the last couple of years the local pub has been closed for refurbishment and the addition of hotel rooms. The Crown and Greyhound is named after an amalgamation of two former Dulwich pubs and was built in 1900. Known locally as The Dog it has been greatly missed during its closure. Much has been written about the charm of London pubs, and as the grandchild of publicans I am particularly charmed. I have a love of pub aesthetics and the smell of them that I can’t really put into words. I’m all about the place rather than the drinking .

As an aside, in my mind, the bar mentioned in ‘Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran is exactly the ‘shape’ of The Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village.

Trepidation was, I suppose, the feeling I felt on walking in to The Crown and Greyhound on my first visit in June as it re-opened.

The refurbishment of the Crown and Greyhound is a triumph. All my favourite corners and spaces seem unchanged and the parts that were formerly a little awkward have been reworked into great spaces that look every bit as genuine as the original. A new bar and bar-b-que area in the garden is a great addition

I didn’t stray into the hotel area on my first visit. We had lunch, the food was fabulous as it has always been. Despite being very busy it was served promptly by very attentive staff.

On a lovely Saturday lunchtime the pub was heaving with people having a great time.

In common with many pubs in this area the Crown and Greyhound suffers, a little, from irresponsible families imagining that the pub is an informal play school and buggy park with a bar. Just a few feral children can be a big pain in the arse , ruining everyone’s enjoyment . Especially the families who have busy happy children who are a pleasure to share the space with. I’m sure this is a tricksy problem to resolve.

http://www.thecrownandgreyhound.co.uk/

Congratulations to the team at the Crown and Greyhound for a job well done.