Pondering has always seemed to me to be an intangible act. Private and personal and not obvious to others. Unless like me the ponderings are laid bare on paper or electronic media. Ezra’s branch of my particular family tree set forth from an insignificant corner of North East Essex for the New World just before 1620, predating the sailing of the Mayflower. Thus they missed the notoriety and celebrity of being popular histories ‘Pilgrim Fathers’
They migrated having produced a child a year, at least prior to migration and their fecundity continued unabated when they settled in Rhode Island and later The Bronx. All those babies and children while simultaneously making history!
Meanwhile my branch of the family made no history.
Late Night pondering, shared. Hopefully keeping the rust off my cerebellum. If simple pondering is enough to keep the rust away, or do I need to philosophize properly to keep things buff. Google is not much help.
And this my friends is why I should not drink three utterly delicious black coffees with caffeine in one day, all before noon. When my normal quota is usually one. Oh the giddiness of Christmas excess. Oh the insomnia. Oh Advent+2022.
P.S New family motto. Actually we were there already but didn’t make a sing and dance about it.
Just a little blog today about a moment, just a moment. My screaming stone is a good enough illustration.
Genes are a lottery and all of my life I have looked a lot like my mum. Obviously there are other peoples features packed into my face and my temperament comes from my dad, but on the whole it is her who looks back at me in a mirror. Until yesterday. I am now older than my mother ever was. The face that looked back at me yesterday was my grandmothers! That was quite a shock!
We’ve just had a lovely weekend filled with friends and family. All the usual stuff happened but with extra family members. We dined in barns, farmyards, walled gardensl and out in the open and the food slipped effortlessly into our tummies as we talked, laughed and reminisced.
When Sunday evening comes with the inevitable farewells, the left-overs hide in the fridge waiting to catch out the casual grazer searching for a non essential snack.
A rare moment of culinary serendipity occured @theoldmortuary yesterday evening. A recipe in the Saturday Guardian exactly corresponded with our selection of left-overs.
Sunday night supper was amazing and finished off a lovely weekend perfectly.
A glorious weather weekend lifted our cabin fever this weekend. Snow and Bagels were forecast.
A favourite coffee shop reopened as a take away destination. Sweetening the deal with home made bagels. Bagels it seems got the good people of Plymouth out of their beds very early and by the time we arrived at 10:30 the bagels were just a memory. Good coffee in hand we set off on a city walk enjoying the sunshine. The sunshine kept coming and the walk kept walking. 7 miles or 11 km later we arrived home. Only then did the snow arrive!
Our social media in-boxes were filled with friends and family sharing snowy photos.
Merry Christmas, who needs a big blog on Christmas morning, probably no one . What we all need is our friends and family around us. The hurly burly of traditions all bound up with over crowded homes and too much food. What we have this year @theoldmortuary is the time to go and look at Christmas lights after last minute shopping.
And the chance to make home made cranberry sauce.
While watching Christmas Carols from Kings College, Cambridge.
Very peaceful and lovely, but not normal. We love and miss our festive season regulars, the irregulars and those in other realms. Love to our families and friends far and wide. You light up our lives.
Christmas Eve 2020, what to say! Facebook reminded me yesterday that the day before Christmas Eve is usually Christmas Jumper Day, if it is a work day. Not @theoldmortuary we usually rock a festive t-shirt, you can hide it under scrubs and flash when appropriate.
Which is very fortunate for this meandering blog . Facebook also shared a video with me this morning. It seems only right to share it on here too.
My favourite Christmas tune of all time.
It’s very strange looking into a fridge on Christmas Eve and still see spare capacity. It’s also odd to feel able to crack open the festive treats, Cheese Footballs, without a pang of guilt that I am depriving my children of a heritage, festive, comestible. No family for us this year, just an empty table where sometimes there have been over twenty. Not this actual table obviously.
Back to Cheese footballs.The more retro cheese footballs become the more significant it is to hunt them down early in the festive shopping season. I’ve had these little chaps since September. I have even supplied other families with them. I am obsessed!
In these Covid times where even trivial things have disappeared I thought I would share my personal timeline of cheese footballs
My grandparents owned a country pub for most of their lives. A substantial meal in their establishment was a pickled egg and a bag of crisps.
High days and holidays were marked by bar snacks. This was long before the health hazards of such things was common knowledge. Christmas was marked by swapping out the dry peanut and raisin combo for Huntley and Partners Cheese Footballs. The tin below is the retail version. Pubs could get a substantial size catering pack in the same design. Nobody ever knew that my greedy hands helped themselves to the Christmas stock long before it got to the bar, which for reasons explained below is a good thing!
Time moved on and pubs like The Red Cow have disappeared. The illustration of the building above is an image I found earlier today on the internet.
Bar snacks have been tested and declared a bad idea because, pre- Covid, the words man, pub toilet and hand washing rarely appeared in sentences or real life. High levels of transferred urine and faecal matter could be detected in free bar snacks within half an hour of being placed on the counter. Women may also have been guilty of the non hand washing crime.
Cheese footballs not unlike the England football team are a long way from their golden years of the sixties. Every September they can be spotted in the Seasonal aisles of a few supermarkets. Dressed up in a fancier tub and sold by KP.
At this point pondering took a curious path. I googled the Red Cow to see if the internet had an image. It did and a whole lot more.
I can share with you an article from the Daily Mail discussing the conversion of the Red Cow to a dwelling. The toilets get a mention. Fascinating too that the new owner was a microbiologist.
Somewhat stranger is an image of my grandfather’s grave in Wethersfield Cemetery that appears on the same Google. Something I have never seen before. My family did mild dysfunction long before it was a ‘thing’. My grandmother , Gladys, is buried in Melbourne, Australia.
As it turns out this is exactly the right blog for Christmas Eve 2020. A curious mixture of festive, reflective, emotional and pragmatic. I urge you to view the video, it is gorgeously poignant.
Merry Christmas, thankyou for being here.
P.S Following the publication of this blog a local history group sent me two photographs of The Red Cow.
The Theft of the Family Baubles Yesterday saw the gathering of three friends for breakfast @theoldmortuary table. For those of you who have read the ‘about’ page of this blog will know the table is where many Ponderings start.
All three of us had rather sad tales involving the theft of our familial collections of Christmas decorations. I suspect it is unusual to have such sorry tales involving something as trivial as Christmas decorations but the triviality underlines the unkindness of people.
Memories for all three of us are triggered by Christmas decorations. As a collective group of women we have been robbed of Christmas decorations that we knew and loved as children. Between the three of us they represented memories from Woolworths, Hong Kong, Poland, Harrods and many unremembered locations and events , in age they possibly stretched back almost 100 years. The theft of them says so much about the character of the people who took them as their only true value is within the loving memories of family members. Sadly, they are likely to all be in landfill somewhere now, as detached from their memories they do become worthless tat.
I think, encouraged by this sad talk, we decided to mark 2020 with some new decorations. We were aiming for gaudy colours with maybe a hint of retro and perhaps a little bit tastelessness. These new additions illustrate this blog.
Several things revealed themselves to us.
Gaudy and tasteless is not a thing in 2020.
Woolworths has gone.
The first week of December is way too late to get peak choice in Christmas Bauble World.
Some stars look a little like a Covid-19 Virus.
And to those Bauble thieves in three different locations – we know where you live.
Beach day after Storm Aidan. Last night was very stormy @theoldmortuary. It was a blustery walk at Seaton Beach this lunchtime.
As it happens it was good that we got out for a blow through on the beach, soon after we got home there was the promise of an evening briefing from the Prime Minister. This really can mean only one thing. A further Lockdown in Britain.
There was a little stone heart caught up in a pile of tidal detritus as we got onto the beach. Maybe a metaphor for the next few weeks. Some days beach days are also about the people who are not there with us.
This weekend was also the second birthday of our darling VV. This was her first birthday in Crystal Palace Park
This year she is living in more exotic places with different sartorial needs. Beach walks are not the same without her. These little feet are in Hong Kong now.
Meanwhile after the walk it is Saturday evening and time for Strictly Come Dancing. Even the Guinea Pig, Ginny and Hugo are ready.
Here we go headlong into another Lockdown, thank goodness this weekend was about a bit of mingling.
For a month Pandemic Ponderings will be slightly controlled by the prompt list that my art group, Drawn to the Valley is using to inspire a response from members on Instagram and Facebook during August.
As you know from PP#133, I am slightly churlish about prompts but am choosing to see this as a creative challenge not only for art but my creative writing/social history Ponderings.
About two and a bit years ago garden design @theoldmortuary took on a new angle when we had to make it safe for an anticipated grandchild.
At the time that little family were living in Hong Kong so we had time on our side for alterations to the structure of the garden.
Then with great excitement they returned to Cornwall to live and our garden plans were properly tested and found to be pretty exciting for someone under two.
Then the Pandemic hit and she couldn’t visit. Then the Pandemic hit in a different way and they have had to return to Hong Kong.
Here she is inspecting the garden for herself, from above.
Then she required a meeting with the Head Gardener to discuss changes and improvements required for when she is able to visit again.
By embracing prompts I have been able to explain in a gentle way why we’ve been a little sad for a few months.
In the future the little person will know that she was loved and we were sad to see her go in 2020.
I’m looking at prompts in a new way let’s hope I am not a recidivist and return to my grumpy prompt hating ways.
For completeness sake here is the picture I’m going to pop into Instagram for the Garden prompt.
100 WordPress readers for the blog. I know it’s nothing compared to hugely popular blogs, but 100 people who are happy to read along on the pondering journey of someone insignificant, who just enjoys writing and connecting, is thrilling!
I was pondering the longevity of Pandemic Ponderings when I remembered one of my favourite books, ‘The Long Weekend’ by Robert Graves. It is a social history of the interwar years.
I wonder if we are entering a Pandemic ‘Long Weekend’ in Britain. Restrictions of the draconian type are being lifted and bits of life are returning to some form of normal. @theoldmortuary lives a more resticted life than the government suggests whilst still connecting with family and friends. We are mindful of the Second Wave of the pandemic which could start anytime between August or October depending on who you talk to.
So I will ponder on through the Pandemic ‘long weekend’ and into the second wave taking at least 100 of you with me.
On with the Sunday blog.
Two quotes landed in my social media feed today. They are properly robust pieces of secular writing with not a hint of whimsy, new agedness or religion.
I love them both. They need no explanation, but I would say they represent quite accurately my attitude to life.
Time to catch up on 3 regular topics in the blog.
The first dahlia of Pandemic Pondering #120 is the only Dahlia still. This morning he was looking gorgeous but as you can see from the photo, protecting him from slugs and bugs comes at a cost. He cannot live out in the green areas of the garden but has to live on the decking area where domestic life happens. Here he is this morning amongst the drying washing.
This evening he is still wide awake at sunset.
Our fitness regime, at home with Joe Wicks on YouTube continues, and has often had a mention blogwise but after more than 18 weeks of exercising at home we are addicted to having a velvet cushion for our aching knees. Surely all gyms could provide such comfort.
And finally we did our regular walk around Sutton harbour and the Barbican in Plymouth. Our regular haunt of Jacka Bakery was enhanced today by having some of our lovely family in it.
Sunday pondering, a little bit deep, a little bit superficial. Thanks for being 1 in 100 xxx