#621 theoldmortuary ponders

The usual early morning view, but photographs don’t tell the whole story.

Out on the horizon and beyond there are warships taking part in Thursday Wars. A weekly Royal Navy plus others, event when war-like scenarios take place all around Plymouth Sound. What these tranquil views can’t show is the sound of rapid fire gunshots and weaponry being practiced out at sea. Conversely they also can’t show the amazing and constantly changing fragrances that were floating in the early morning air.

On mornings like this the dogs push for a longer walk than usual, if I am enchanted by the fragrances they are overblown by the smells of late Spring. Without dogs I would have been tempted to swim, but that is scheduled for this afternoon. But our extended walk did present a long anticipated treat.

A cinema is nearly ready to open close to home, no more schlepping out to a character-less box, on an entertainment park or going to the new but disorientating cinema in the city centre.Time to enjoy films and the experience of being at the cinema.

And after the dog walk, breakfast of a spinach smoothie while doing some window-box care.

May is my favourite month.

#613 theoldmortuary ponders

The after-glow of a successful Open Garden event greeted me yesterday evening. Whilst on holiday in Thailand and Hong Kong I still ran the Social Media posts for a National Garden Scheme, Open Gardens event in Stonehouse. Trusty photographers sent me photos of the plants, visitors, cakes and musicians taking part in the two day event. My Social Media posting was both one step removed and half a world away. On my return last night I took a few minutes,and a cup of mint tea, to enjoy the calm of the space in post-party mood. The space was also gearing up to host a social evening of croquet and nattering in the evening sun.

The events of the weekend were a success and there has been praise and thanks to everyone who contributed their time and skills to making the event a success.

This gardener did not get an email or Whatsapp message of thanks, but they were confidently enjoying the warm afterglow of success on the tarmac path.

This rose, that clambers near the public toilet block, was full of perfume for everyone to enjoy. While the Arum lily enjoyed some evening shade.

Part of the charm of these gardens and Tennis Club is the amazing location.

Even the wild flowers put out a good effort over the weekend and yesterday evening.

As did the daisies in the club itself. Skilful mowing had allowed islands of daisies to play a part in the weekend of horticultural show-offery.

An English garden on a May evening is hard to beat. I wish I could look this good after a weekend of partying.

#530 theoldmortuary ponders

A day with no plans started in the pink and then as these days do, it filled in unexpected ways. Chores were done, the winter coats were bagged up and put up in the roof. We moved stuff into the garage in the sunshine, the smell of cooking food and intriguing music wafted from the nearby monthly food market. In winter months the market is held indoors and the sounds and smells don’t reach us. But today the market is out on the green and the smells are too good to miss.

Blue skies and only slightly wet grass made the market a lovely interlude between some very odd jobs. Including admin.

I am 48 hours late for a deadline for an art exhibition. I am not sure where the hours have gone this weekend. I was properly duped by a friend for April fools day. Thinking a friend was in a pickle and without a phone signal I was busy researching for her…

Time when I should have been applying for the art exhibition…

Totally hoodwinked, my hat is off, never have I been so gullible on April 1st. Next year I will be more alert. But for 2023, the joking world is her oyster.

This particular friend has given me a wonderful way to respond to righteous disagreements. So I forgive her and applaud her success

The sort of disagreement where someone has reached an impasse or stalemate in negotiations.

“Oh well” people will often say ” the ball is in their court”

Which suggests that one side has handed the power of resolution to the other side.

Gills’, under the breath, response to that, which I have now used a couple of times in meetings, is-

” Oh yes, but the bat is up my arse”

Immediately grabbing the, hidden, power back in one deft sentence.

Onwards into another week, closer to Spring or Autumn, depending on your hemisphere.

#513 theoldmortuary ponders

I’ve been painting stormy sunrise for a couple of days. It has been a stormy everything for the last few hours. I don’t think the subject matter influenced the weather, but if I have in any way got some supernatural powers today should be a good day as I am painting Tinside Lido in high summer.

Actually not this view, but I might try this one later. It is almost identical to an old poster that lives in our bathroom.

In this poster and the imagined life beyond it there are always handsome servicemen in uniform decoratively placed at every corner. Real life is not like this. In real life the swimming rafts are a good way further out and in real life the water in the lido really is a gorgeous turquoise colour. I am not sure I would feel any sense of achievement if the rafts were this close, neither would I wish to swim in a murky green sea water pool. Since taking up sea swimming, pools are not my thing. I do however allow myself a couple of dips in the Lido, just for the love of the art deco beauty and the unique experience. It can be the most delightful suntrap and conversely it is also well positioned to make the most of cold south westerly winds even at the height of summer. Plymouth was a centre for the most delightful of holidays with my parents. They were not, however, swimmers so the Lido was definitely viewed but not experienced until I was in my 40’s with children who would enjoy it as much as I did. My delightful holidays in Plymouth took in bomb sites and remarkable modern Brutalist rebuilding. Not something that has made it onto promotional holiday posters. My arrival in this city was as marital baggage to my ex- husbands career, a two year project we thought. Many years later here I am doing that classic thing living my dream in a holiday destination, completely unplanned.

Hoping for better weather tomorrow.

#491 theoldmortuary ponders

Lovely winter daylight in the studio has given me some time to try a landscape that mingles the visual experience of checking out our swimming zone with the physical experience of checking out our zone. In truth we all predict how the swim is going to be in various ways. The Bobbers who cross the Tamar river have an observation that if the river is rough then the sea to the east will be calm. Bobbers from the North of the city travel together but many of them have already met in a park earlier for dog walking when various predictions for the upcoming bob are discussed. Those of us who live closer shiver in our thick winter coats while walking our dogs only an hour before we slip into something briefer to slip effortlessly, we imagine, into the chilly sea. What is the point of this predictive group Pondering, nothing really ever stops a well planned bob. On only one occasion have we taken the easier option of swimming in the tidal pool, and in over two years only a couple of bobs have been cancelled for safety reasons. We actually bob just a minute or two further east from this location but for every bob, we stand looking at this view and try to predict how much pleasure, or not, will be extracted from the days dip. We are rarely disappointed. If I were to paint an ‘after’ painting it would feature non-stop nonsense talking, flasks and many layers of clothing, not necessarily in the correct order.

#490 theoldmortuary ponders.

Tidal Pool, Firestone Bay ©theoldmortuary

I am very very late to the practice of doing Yoga early in the morning, but 6 months of an acute phase of arthritis has left me stiff and limpy in the mornings. As the first signs of things improving co-incided with the opening of a new gym nearby, I joined and am working my way through the classes that take my interest. Hatha Yoga gets my vote so far. The thought of walking to a warm beautiful space is definitely easier on the mind in those last sleepy moments of bed than my more common habit of plunging into the cold sea.

But both are invaluable in loosening up my cranky, creaky joints, which is my primary need but increasingly I am aware that my happily busy head takes some time out while doing these two disparate activities. Now to work out a way to combine the two.

Work in Progress.

#489 theoldmortuary ponders.

I have been having a bit of a fiddle superimposing photographs with watercolour washes. This is not the look I was aiming for, even in digital art happy accidents happen. I love the coppery tones that a splash of watercolour brings to this sunrise. Suddenly a real photograph becomes fantastical. More like a stormy sunset but facing in the wrong direction. This is absolute serendipity, I could never have planned this but accidents happen.

#464 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was a Bobbers birthday. Bobber Birthdays have evolved over the more than two years that we have been swimming as a group year round.

Inexplicably, the Bobber whose birthday it was, opted for a spa day rather than joining us at Tranquility Bay. Maybe the message above informed that decision. She missed out on a lot. A warship arrived to give her a sail past and there were the usual cakes and hot drinks. Because she was missing out on her birthday dip we called her and sang happy birthday down the phone. That mellifluous sound must have torn through the tranquility of the spa like a wax strip on lady parts

At Tranquility Bay though it was sung with enthusiasm and affection for an absent friend. The singing took our minds off chilly fingers and toes and inadequately dried crevices. What even is a Spa Day?

#462 theoldmortuary ponders

8:15 am on a January morning in Firestone Bay. I know I share this sort of image often but yesterday I did a little research on the area as it was in 1895. Because the tide is high the tidal pool is invisible apart from the three swimmers walking out on the slipway that forms one of the pool walls. In 1895 the pool did not exist. Next week’s research will be to find out the pools history.

I was able to spend a few minutes looking at old planning maps while I was working at The Box yesterday.

The orange arrow points out the place the Bobbers nearly always swim. We know our bay as Tranquility Bay but on this map it is marked as Ladies Bathing Place.

Here it is this morning. 5 minutes with an old map makes more questions than answers. When were the steps and walkways built that make this such a gorgeous and practical swimming location. Sadly the map also shows the more than thirty houses and a school that were lost in my own area during German bombing raids during World War II. Just looking out on my street I can roughly outline how many homes were lost. How many people and their beloved pets lost their lives?

5 minutes with an old map, so thought provoking, where will this Pondering end? Sunshine+ An old map= gratitude and the need to know more.