#164 theoldmortuary ponders

Dawn April 1st 2019

I need no excuse to republish this photograph. A tributary running into the Tamar at low tide.I love it. 2019 was the last time April arrived when the arrival of Spring was anything like optimistic, yesterday April 1st blew in with bright sunshine, sharp shadows and icy cold blasts. Some optimism but not on the heady scale of 2019.

Lola has another week of convalescence, with only two walks a day of fifteen minutes. Hugo was booked in for a haircut so we had a couple of hours of being out and about when we could only be out and about in an extremely leisurely way. Some gentle Charity Shop shopping provided a brand new cashmere jumper that made outdoor breakfast a much more comfortable affair than it would have been, dressed as I was originally.

There are rules though about Charity shop shopping, if things come home with us other things have to be donated. With Lola comfortably settled on a sofa in the studio I set about a bit of a spring clean with donation in mind. The studio became the last place of the house to be sorted out when we moved. I had sorted it enough to be a usable space but there is plenty still to do. Lola will happily oversee my efforts in the next week from the comfort of a velvet sofa.

Yesterday Facebook gave me a time hop photo of Hugo as a clean white five month old puppy 9 years ago. A lovely coincidence as being groomed yesterday has given me a clean white mature gentleman for a few days. A picture comparison was inevitable.

Just for balance here is a recuperating Lola cautiously extending her love of cuddles

And some late narcissus that make the house smell beautiful every morning.

April , not exactly optimistic but better than March.

#160 theoldmortuary ponders.

Three solid days of Spring sunshine and it was time to raise the level of our yardening. The last six months or so have been about moving plants in containers into their most comfortable positions in the new yard. A chance event, the delivery of some free seeds from the local Primary School pushed us into greater action.

Most of our container plants have survived well, despite doing well some of them are not so suited to a blisteringly hot, coastal yard and need rehoming. The free seeds spurred us into action as the plants needing rehoming were in a container that was perfect for a bee corridor.

So far so sensible but somehow things got out of hand when we popped into a garden centre for some anting compost. The tiny project inspired by some free seeds suddenly involved reinstating a 2 metre long raised bed that had been lawned over with artificial grass by the previous owners.

Many plants and hours later we have a beautiful new border and some cute plants.

Which was not the plan at all!

The neighbours, meanwhile, look on in disgust, nothing worth eating at all

#155 theoldmortuary ponders

I’ve just managed to finish another visual/aural/real world and sensation mind map. This one created at dawn on the Vernal equinox on the Thames at Pangbourne. Since learning this technique on a recent course with Tansy Hargan I am beginning to find this colour mixing, meditative shape creating style really useful for making notes of the 3d experience of outdoor painting.

These were my quick notes.

And here they are together.

Far from being a completely perfect landscape this painting expresses the highlights and my irritation at sharing the early morning peace with a man still drinking from the night before. Almost the highest high point was the dawn chorus, something that accompanied me from the camper van down to the flood meadows on the banks of the Thames. The pinky gold colours are a representation of that sublime early morning sound of birds waking up and singing. Bird song filled the air and enveloped everything I painted. Really the inebriated man takes rather too much of the image, but in truth he really pissed me off.

Not because he was drunk, he was just a bit too much in my face, perching on ‘my’ bench when there were ten others available, asking stupid questions and scuffing his over white trainers in the dust beneath the bench. I’m sure he had no malign intent. The same cannot be said for the swan who approached for snacks, but the inebriated man skipped off on uncertain feet as the hungry chap approached, so a hungry swan became a good thing.

Water colours do not appear on a swans ideal diet so he, just like the drunk, waddled off. Leaving me at last to the pastoral scene that I had got up so early for.

Spring is finally here, it was good to be up early to see it arrive.

#147 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was a well balanced day, for Bobbers. Water temp 9 degrees and air temp 9 degrees, and, for a while, sunshine. This morning we have mist, but for the first time this year the sun has some strength, and the right angle, to make happy mist, not greige. The happy mist is slightly enhanced here.

Both things though strongly suggest that Spring is on the way. A fine thought for a Monday morning.

#133 theoldmortuary ponders

Another day of West Country greige so I decided to use lovely colourful pictures from the weekend to brighten up my own morning and tell a small piece of local knowledge. First up though this gorgeous rust and paint combo. Followed by another.

I suppose these are the gifts from all the greige we live with. A damp, moist climate brings out the best for rust lovers. Similarly lichen and moss can be glorious and after the recent storms the ground beneath trees is littered with twigs and branches embellished by these moisture loving plants.

Which brings me to a little piece of local knowledge.

Visitors to Devon and Cornwall often think that daffodils are deliberately planted on the roadside and at the base of stone walls. These daffodils are actually the descendants of bulbs discarded out of flower growing fields during the second world war. The fields were cleared for food crops to be planted to feed the nation during war time. Some really rare daffodils can be found in quiet country lanes. One more picture of a beautiful day while I am in denial about the true state of todays weather.

#98 theoldmortuary ponders

Candy coloured houses. The clear blue sky of yesterday lunchtime gave me this gorgeous photo. These homes are on the beginning and end of my dog walks. The dogs pay no attention to the colours of the houses but are very particular about sniffing all the canine messages that are left on the low walls to the front gardens. Sunshine has really lifted this week out of the rigours of January. The Christmas selection tins of chocolates are beginning to look completely ravaged which is another sign of the seasons moving on in an encouraging way. I think I am unusual in loving the fruit creams, so for me a ravaged tin is one that only holds anything that isn’t a fruit cream. Either way sunshine and ravaged sweet tins are fine markers of the Northern Hemisphere turning towards springtime!

Pandemic Pondering #359

The middle of March is a curiously yellow kind of time. After a year of restrictions this March seems even yellower than usual. I checked back through my image file of the last few years and found some lovely yellows. Not just the obvious daffodils but all sorts of yelliw things to make me smile. I think it must be the quality of the light in March that makes yellow so vibrant. This commuting image is my first offering.

Tower Bridge from London Bridge
6 AM

Even yellow underfoot seems brighter in March.

Yellow daffodils were the thing that seemed particularly vibrant yesterday. It must be a wrinkle or crinkle in my thinking though that makes this year seem especially bright because I have loads of lovely yellows from past years. I think previously I have not been quite so desperate to shake off winter and celebrate the coming of Spring. This is quite a statement as beyond Christmas I see no real value or purpose in Winter ever. So I’m always desperate to find signs of Spring. I just hadn’t realised until yesterday quite how pathetically desperate I was to leave winter behind me in 2021.

Sadly a yellow all-in-one covering a snuggly person is no longer on my signs of spring agenda.

But gorgeous yellow, empty beaches have a very positive effect on seeing the bright side.

Closer to home there is always a naughty dog to bring some yellow to the party. Even if there is no party!

Panemic Pondering #342

Fools Spring

If unseasonably sunny weather appears in any February, in Britain, the moment is known as Fools Spring. People usually flood the streets in lighter clothing and floral patterns. Sunshine on the weekend late in February 2021, after nearly a year of restricted Pandemic living was a recipe for quiet sartorial skittishness. The flood was replaced by a gentle trickle but along with floral patterns, shorts were worn and socks were abandoned so blue white toes could lay flacidly on the corky soles of Birkenstocks.

Colours took on a vivacity that lifted our spirits.


And even the moon put on a vivid show for the end of the day.

Foolish it might well have been but it felt like Spring was close.

Pandemic Ponderings #4

Zooming and WhatsApp has filled my day as I’m sure it has or will for many people during these early pandemic days.Setting up new forms of communication for groups that until this week simply got together is vital to keep us socially and culturally connected. Whatsapp has been part of my portfolio of communication for a while , I’ve settled on that platform for a small 10 person book club.

Zoom is something I’ve only used once for an art course. I wasn’t so sure about it then. It worked much better today for an artist and makers organisation, we were all pretty much video conferencing virgins and once contact was established everyone seemed to relax into it.

Away from my device I’ve had a lovely long dog walk, once again dressed as the Lone Ranger.

My walk was pretty slow as Hugo and Lola needed to read the doggy news that they all constantly leave for each other. I took their sniffing/peeing stops as a cue to find something interesting to photograph .

The last one must mean something to someone, it’s clearly important as it’s been highlighted but to the uninitiated( me) it means nothing. The others of course signify the arrival of spring and need only innate knowledge to decode. I am very grateful that in the Northern Hemisphere this pandemic is hitting us in the natural world’s most optomistic season.