Pandemic Pondering #502

©Debs Bobber

Sometimes we bob at Firestone Bay in very strange weather. Three days ago this was the view over the bay just after we had finished. The swim itself was fairly unremarkable. Yesterday the skies looked entirely benign, the sea, though, was like a boiling cauldron.

Once we swam out beyond the rougher waters the water was more manageable but there could never be the pretence, as there often is that we were swimming in the med. The swim made us all have slightly dodgy balance once we got out, which makes for an interesting walk home. Aesthetically it was the perfect night for over-saturated, silky water settings on the camera.

At home we have finally remedied the significant wifi and broadband problems. A news bulletin has been watched, unbuffered, for the first time in more than 6 weeks. Not a habit that we need to return to necessarily. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Radio news has been kinder on the eyes.

Pandemic Pondering #429

Regular readers of this blog may recognise these images filmed at our local ‘ bobbing’ location.

©BBC News

This morning National TV is covering a remarkable ‘bob’ . A military veteran with only one arm and a huge personality is swimming 1000 metres to raise money for REORG . A charity that introduces Brazillian Jiu Jitsu to Veterans, Military personal and Emergency Services staff, to support their physical and mental health.

Link – https://reorgcharity.com/

A local man, Mark Ormrod, has attracted the National press to our bobbing zone.

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-ormrod6?utm_source=Sharethis&utm_medium=fundraising&utm_content=mark-ormrod6&utm_campaign=pfp-email&utm_term=5c17269f674a4837b764c49c30415

©BBC News

Which enables me to share some different views of the bay. Bobbers dont have the budget of the BBC to hire drones to follow our bobbing sessions!

©BBC News
©BBC News

This may be the freshest blog ever. Mark has only been out of the water for twenty minutes as I push the button. Normal bobbing will occur this afternoon. No Drones. Please follow the links for proper journalism. Happy Friday.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/legendary-mark-ormrods-mammoth-swim-5448841

©BBC News

Pandemic Pondering # 417

The May weather is so shocking in Cornwall this year that my poppies are ravaged. I can show their purple loveliness inside but their outsides are not photo worthy. The insides though are a velvety pleasure zone, too bad the weather that is battering them is also keeping the pollinators away.

In contrast the dreadful weather is not keeping us out of the sea and miraculously the storms have not stirred the sea bed too much so the minute the sun comes out everything looks pristine.

©Debs Bobber

The sea temperature has started to edge up a little so the rush to dry off and dress quickly after a swim is getting less desperate.We can even feel some warmth from the sun as we stand around enjoying our flasks of hot drinks.

©Debs Bobber

After some thought the Bobbers have decided to take their relationship to the next level. With temperatures rising slightly the need to dress like arctic explorers, post swim, is less essential. Water bottles have mostly been discarded already, along with wooly bobble hats and one layer of thermal underwear. Some time soon there will be a post swim photo of Bobbers posing in their new team hoodies, a ‘ Next Level’ sign, I’m sure, that ‘ bobbing’ is set to continue as the Pandemic restriction ease off and we could all be off doing different things. Two years ago this location was just somewhere to walk the dogs, a year ago, at the height of restrictions we dreamed of being able to get here to walk the dogs. Now after restrictions eased and exercise was a valid reason to travel short distances we swim here at least 3 times a week and mark special occasions with a dip. Something none of us would have considered until Covid-19 recalibrated our lives and mindsets.

Pandemic Pondering #408

I’ve spent the day immersed in Tranquility Bay. Not actually, of course, but it has filled my mind a lot. The next exhibition I am taking part in is called Resurgam.

The work we offer for selection should reflect new beginnings after the last year of Pandemic restrictions and lockdowns. I am planning a series of paintings to reflect the sense of calm that sea swimming has created while the world has been a little crazy.

4 mini pictures are on the go at the moment.

They feature the rocks at Tranquility Bay at High Tide. They are resting overnight to be finished later in the week. The best way to clean painty fingers is to take a dip in the actual Tranquility Bay. The sunset was bright and I was feeling bold so I took the phone into the water to catch some waves.

A touch of increased saturation in the camera settings makes the photography quite painterly. Really cold fingers meant that this camera moment couldn’t last long .

The one above has an abstract sparkly heart. The paintings are also waiting for some sparkle, I’m waiting for some gold leaf to put in Drakes Island.

Pandemic Pondering #397

Normal blogging service will resume later this morning. Its a swim lesson day and I haven’t even made the sandwiches!

So a late start for the blog but with the added bonus of some dog pictures. The stand out feature of this weekend has been the wind. A very brisk Easterly blowing into Plymouth Sound affecting everything weve done. Al Fresco Dining, Bobbing, and dog walking. Nothing I’ve produced photographically has shown the severity of the wind. Anecdotally Miss Lola was blown off her legs yesterday. A situation only remedied by a very tight cuddle. The swimming lesson outing required the van to keep Miss Lola on board and in a good mood.

Hugo was also not averse to a bit of van comfort while swimming lessons were affecting the quality of his Sunday morning.

Some outdoor activity was permitted in the morning schedule. Lola agreed to a pose that demonstrated the wind direction.

Hugo also attempted a similar pose but just ended up looking messy.

The most important part of the day was guarding the beach awaiting the return of the swimmers.

Pandemic Pondering #391

Oh! The drama of a Monday morning. The footpath to our usual swimming beach is closed for three days for ‘ Tree Work’. Seems it is not just humans who need a bit of a trim after another long lockdown. This is going to discombobulate the ‘ bobbers’. We have become creatures or indeed Merthings of habit. The pesky and ever changing currents of Firestone Bay are best observed from the high level footpath that runs 12 feet or so above the beach. We ponder them from above, then decide on the route for the day and then return to the footpath afterwards to change and cogitate over the swim and life events while warming up. The raised footpath gives the perfect vantage point to view the whole of Firestone Bay and Plymouth Sound beyond. It can also provide interesting images.

Today we will be swimming and chattering from the beach next to the tidal pool.

Have a good week.

Pandemic Pondering #385

Yesterday England took a partial step out of Covid Lockdown. Among other changes non essential shops opened and food and drink suppliers could serve customers in outdoor seated areas. The media this morning are reporting a Monday like no other, ever, with people queueing to enjoy retail therapy and socialising, after a very long period of restrictions.

Not much changed @theoldmortuary. Our lockdown routine will probably only change with small incremental adaptations. Our swimming, ‘ bobbing’ life changed immediately though . The scone and landscape picture at the top of the blog represents absent friends, who were unable to swim last night because they were free to travel and stay away. Or had work commitments that were no longer screen based or as flexible as they have been during lockdown.

A campsite over looking Plymouth Sound
©Kevin Lindsey

Not only were there less ‘ Bobbers’ last night, there were less swimmers in general. The Firestone Bay seal had huge portions of the sea to himself. He/she is the small dot in line diagonal with the two bouys.

The second scone picture of the day sums this transitional period up. There is some certainty and clarity in the immediate foreground but we can’t clearly see the outline of the future.

Pandemic Pondering #384

Sometimes you have to get up early for the twinkliest of moments. We got double twinkle yesterday. -1 degree and a frosty car as we set off very twinkly. Then a twinkly sea to swim in.

We only exchanged christmas gifts last week, during Easter. This weekend we got to use some of them. Swimming lessons and a silk shirt, neither particularly suited to the day but we are living in unusual times .

I got the easier option of wearing a new orange silk shirt while walking the dogs.

Hannah opted for orange accessories for her swimming lesson. Accidentally orange became the colour of the moment as an orange noodle was thrown to her during the early part of the lesson.

https://www.aceswimming.co.uk/

Me and the dogs watching on the beach.

Just a tiny tweak on the saturation of this photo shows up the orange of the tow floats as the lesson continues. It also gives the shine on the sea a pale purple hue which matched the weed I was leaning near to get these photos

Then as the lesson concluded I got a lovely splash of the complimentary colour to orange. Turquoise. This was not a cunning plan to introduce colour theory into the Monday blog!

Just luck, but serendipity does play a large part in these blogs. Because as luck/serendipity would have it we have a red flask for post swim warming up. Another portion of colour theory is that a small dash of red can improves the overall look of a picture. The same could be said for this blog.

For the story about a dot of red read this.

https://www.cassart.co.uk/blog/colour-speaks-volumes.htm

An accidental lesson in colour theory during a deliberate swimming lesson. Pandemic Pondering in a nutshell.

Pandemic Pondering #383

Today is an unusual pondering, not because it comes a day after the death of Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Although that fact is in some ways central to this blog. It is unusual because I can mention the great diarist Samuel Pepys for reasons other than his diary.

We did one of our usual dog walks near the coastal part of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth, being a naval city, was one of the locations of the 41 gun salute to mark the passing of the Queens husband. There is always something intriguing about witnessing something that has happened in the same location for many centuries, to mark significant events.

Gun Salutes started in the late Middle ages. Fixed odd number salutes of 21 and 41 were formalised as an economy measure by Samuel Pepys when he was a Naval adminstrator .

Another thing that was different today was that when HMS Westminster sailed out of Plymouth just after the Gun Salute the flag on her Jack Mast, the one at the back, was flying at half-mast.

Gun salutes are a complex old business. The link below will take you to a website with more information should you require it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/21-gun_salute

On a brighter note a couple fresh from their teeny tiny Covid Regulation wedding had their photographs taken at the tidal pool in Firestone Bay.

Coffee and tea was, of course, essential to a day of lots of walking, talking and listening to 41 Gun Salutes. Hugo and Lola do not get left out during comestible breaks.

Sun setting on another day of action in Plymouth Sound.

Pandemic Pondering #382

©Debs Bobber

Another Friday swim day with the Bobbers. A tiny Whats app group of 5 people has expanded to 12 regular swimmers and one land based Andy who keeps an eye on everything on land and in the sea. The swimming is the primary function of Bobbers but also loud natterings on any subject. Some of the natterings would make a nun blush, especially as we base ourselves below the perimeter wall of a convent.

There was a fine show of tugs today.

Tug Spotting

This one sailed out just before we plunged into the somewhat chilly sea. Sometimes if the conditions are right you can feel the resonant thrum of moving tugs when you are in the water. Not the case today. This busy tug sailed out before we got in and then back in again pulling a Royal Navy Survey vessel after we got out.


The reward for swimming yesterday was a tiny chocolate biscuit shaped like a penguin. Another unexpected treat is a visit to the same beach today at extreme low tide to hunt for goggles which were lost during the talking phase of the swim. Not a phase usually shown in swimming events but one in which the ‘ Bobbers’ excel.

Later, on a regular dog walk we chanced upon a new import being brought into Plymouth Fish Market.

If only I had known you could buy this stuff. I’ve had many unavoidable colleagues and huge numbers of equally unavoidable patients who could have done with a big dose of this stuff. Humans with no discernible traces of charisma are all over the place. As soon as this product becomes available on the retail market, I’m getting a pocket spray , the use of which the pandemic has made entirely acceptable. I am assuming it has a similar transmission but without the fatality of Novichok. When I meet those all too frequent people who have no manners or any measurable social graces, a quick squirt, will sort them out, probably only briefly, but for as long as I am forced to endure them.

Once the pandemic is over we could even repurpose all the sanitizer dispensers and make all our lives a little easier when interacting with increasing numbers of other humans. Charisma dispensers would really make emerging into the post pandemic world a little easier.