Pandemic pondering #514

© Debs Bobber

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.

Fabulous fuel to take us into a new week!

Pandemic Pondering#442

Quite a red letter day @theoldmortuary . Nearly time to get on a train and take a trip to my old workplace. St Bartholomews Hospital in the City of London.

I’ve always loved the contrast of City and Country/Coastal life. Today is a fine day to leave Cornwall. A huge blanket of fog has settled on the peninsular over the last 24 hours. Somewhat perverse as the Worlds press has descended on the area to cover the G7 meeting. The famed beauty of Cornwall is wearing a murky mask just like rest of us. The slow trickle of VIP helicopters on Tuesday never got going yesterday and film crews search for scenic backdrops is going to be fruitless for a day or two. Yesterday was Ocean Day, our tiny corner of the Atlantic didn’t really make an appearance.

Luckily the ‘ bobbers’ brought some colour to the coast.

Picture not taken yesterday!

Last nights swim was really pleasant at 14 degrees and a high tide that we could just step straight into. Not a single photo opportunity that would lift anyone’s spirits though!

Luckily for tomorrows blog I’m briefly off to the bright lights.

A sign of a good night out in London has always been how late a return to home is. With the certainty of a train timetable I know I will be getting home at 5:30 am. Great night out guaranteed even under Pandemic restrictions and by 10:30 I will be back in the sea.

This is how dense the fog is, there is a house 10 yards from this wall.

Pandemic Pondering #426

This one picture is all that was left of the day once weather and breakfast had taken what it wanted out of our waking hours. The Pandemic, guilty as it is for so many things, did not affect Sunday, or indeed this blog.

The weather was the most damaging. Another day deluged out of existence. This blog should have early morning action pictures of Pilot Gigs and happy rowers rowing on the Tamar. But the wind and rain postponed that. Nothing stopped our first meeting with friends indoors to share breakfast and natter over too much coffee. The rain continued to pour down on their courtyard garden , making everything lush and tropical looking. The trouble is we forgot our manners, we’ve not really used them for more than 15 months. A breakfast gathering suggests that other things might be done with the rest of the day. Not with guests like us! We left the breakfast gathering at 4:30 in the afternoon. We had talked and talked, fueled by good coffee and breakfast, but we had talked the day away, our ribs and faces aching from mirth. At 4:30 the rain still battered the streets but dogs needed walking, any pretence that anything else might be achieved was washed into the gutter with rainfall. A brief dog walk in waterproofs got the essentials done before book reading and cooking filled a couple of hours. Finally at 8:30pm we could find a rain-free period when dogs could be walked and 10,000 steps could be achieved. One day, one photograph, some sort of milestone.

Pandemic Pondering #419

That really was a weekend of dodging heavy rainfall and sometimes being defeated by the gallons of water falling from the sky. Yesterday the only dog walk that wasn’t done in raincoats and wellies rewarded us with this lovely old window aperture. It overlooks The Elizabethan Garden. Nearby this brave rose had bloomed unseasonably early only to have its outer petals battered by the weather, but the internal folds look just like rippled ice cream.

Increased rainfall changed our plans but we just replaced walking activities with talking activities and eating out with eating in. Normally a weekend spent talking to friends and family might be described as ‘ putting the world to rights’ . But with a world with Labyrinthine problems, not unlike the folds of this rose, we talked ourselves in circles and had a great time doing it. The name of this fishing boat neatly sums up our revised weekend.

Pandemic Pondering #375

Good Morning, Good Friday and we are embarking on another strange Easter. Yesterday my list of jobs included finishing the Christmas present wrapping. Not a usual deadline for early April but these are not usual times.

I don’t fully understand the movement of Easter dates but it must be around this early part of April quite often as my Facebook Memories page for today has lots of photographs of us specifically doing family stuff on the 2nd April. The dogs also appear to always be well groomed around now. Ready to charm relations into cuddles and tasty nibbles.

Miss Lola posing for best dog of the week.

In contrast, like many people this Easter, Hugo is looking rugged.

Motorways also seem to play a big part in memories of past April 2nds. The M25 and the M3 have their own mentions on Facebook . The M3 is recorded as being more like a car park than a motorway. 11 years ago we were heading to Southampton to visit a family member in Southampton and then travelling on to Cornwall We were stuck somewhere on the M25 and could see our friend Suzannah in a car next too us. She was also travelling between London and Devon. We managed a twenty minute catch up before the traffic moved!

Food is also a big part of any Easter and 10 years ago despite an over-full fridge and many Easter eggs we felt the need to visit Pattiserie Valerie and stock up on fancy calories.

In a previous iteration of record keeping there is also a lot of mentions of visiting comedy clubs or venues in early April. We trailed all over London for comedy but our ‘home’ pitch for laughter was the East Dulwich Comedy Club.Based either at the East Dulwich Tavern or The Hob in Forest Hill. We are never hecklers but we do often fall for being the victims of witty banter.

One Easter 6 years ago myself, Hannah and Hannahs mum had the mammoth task of sorting a mountain of Lego and Silvanian Families. It was a production line of cleaning and packing away for future family members.

In the middle of the task we were stopped by a phone call from Japan. Sam, my son, and his friend Martin had managed, in a drunken state, to upset members of the Japanese mafia, the Yakuza and were being chased around a city by them. Silvanian families and Lego were put aside as we nattered to a loquacious Sam who was hiding in a doorway.

Family, friends, travel, food, laughter and memories. The stories of Easters of the past .

Fingers crossed for next year.

Pandemic Pondering #314

This slightly tatty perfume bottle has a story to tell. For a time it lived in my work bag and the fragrance perked me up at low points in 24 hour shifts.

Tom Ford fragrances were introduced to me by a work colleague, Haji. Haji always wafted into my work area on a cloud of fragrance, no matter what the time of day or night. His subtle perfume and his smile arrived slightly ahead of the man himself. Sometimes I would have to guess which particular version he was wearing. When a new one came out he would encourage me to go and try it in Selfridges on the way home. Maybe not his best idea, anyone who does massive shifts in the NHS knows the error of ‘reward’ shopping after a gruelling night of work.

My lovely friend and colleague Haji has died of Covid-19 his Janazeh, funeral prayer, was held yesterday.

A man who was such a valuable part of a place that was called The Heart Hospital when we worked together.

Social media is the hub of communual mourning now and the comments all mention how much people enjoyed working with him.

I’ve stolen and paraphrased another friends comment.

David said “I loved the football banter”

Haji, I loved the perfume banter.

Pandemic Pondering #282

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.

Southside Street, The Barbican, Plymouth.

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.

Cranberry Sauce 2020

Pandemic Pondering #279

The shortest day has lost daylight and quite frankly the few hours of daylight were of pretty poor quality in our part of the world.

Hugo and Lola tolerated another day of dog walks planned around the rejigging of Festive Logistics @theoldmortuary . Nothing on our walks was inspirational enough to illustrate this blog so the Christmas tree has stepped in, rather camply, to shine a light in the darkness. Apart from fog and rain it was a successful day, the last of the Christmas gifts were wrapped and sorted for collection. All the gifts for our family, marooned so suddenly in London and the South East, have gone off in the post or with a kind friend who was driving up to the city today.

The shortest day is always a day of optimism that from here days start to lengthen and we can begin to look forward to Spring. This year the feelings have extra significance given the mental and physical load that everyone is carrying during the Pandemic.

So now concentration must turn to creating a festive season for two people and two dogs. This could be tricksy, we have never catered for such low numbers over Christmas.

I wonder if a quiet year will give us the chance to think about all the amazing people we have shared the festivus with in past years . There is also a chance that for once the TV might actually be turned on but if the weather is good that is unlikely.

Pandemic Pondering #235

Daily pondering is a lovely habit. It doesn’t always go to plan. As I write this it is the evening of Remembrance Sunday and this morning it seemed entirely appropriate to just post a simple picture of one of our poppies.We should have harvested more Poppy pictures today for the Monday blog but that didn’t happen. Never mind, a ready-made subject for 11.11.20. Meanwhile the day took its own path. Loads and loads of walking, some coffee and some 2:1 government approved socialising outdoors. Next week a painting commission from last month’s exhibition has to be started. It is a little too wintery in the garden studio so the table in the actual old mortuary has been cleared ready for action.

I’ve been experimenting with some new paints this weekend. I didn’t get quite as much done as I had hoped but anything more will have to wait until the commission is finished.

To avoid temptation all the experimental stuff has been tidied away. This Lockdown has a project!

Pandemic Pondering #198

October started @theoldmortuary with a touch of socialising with our Covid friends that we first met in Pandemic Pondering #44 on the 2nd May. A chance meeting in a coffee queue at Hutong, Plymouth, has led to a summer of meeting and exploring various locations in Devon and Cornwall. Again quite by chance we were both staying near the Cotswolds town of Burford. Given the location of our meeting it would have been uncivilised not to have met up for a coffee. Covid friends know the area well as they lived in Burford for a while. For us Burford is somewhere we pass through but never stop because it is always somewhat crowded with tourists. One of the bonuses of the pandemic is less tourists, so today was a good day to stop and have a wander. Burford is hugely picturesque and my photography is never going to be as good as the images you could find on the internet, so Google Burford to find all the gorgeous images and information that others have provided.

Cotswold Stone

The morning colours of Burford were amazing. It helped that October arrived wearing sunshine first thing in the morning. There was still dew in the nooks and crannies of the churchyard.

We also found a petulant cherub on a grave. She/he looks like the sort of toddler to avoid rather than a second order angel to spend eternity with. She/he may be unhappy because someone has dressed her/him with her/his wings under her/his chin. Speaking as someone who recently put a hoody on the wrong way round, I understand the grumpiness. It’s hard to be effective with either thing on back to front.

Effectiveness is the key word for this blog. @theoldmortuary has more things to do than the time available for a couple of days. Blogs will be brief but hopefully not dull. Link below to properly explore Burford.

https://www.cotswolds.com/plan-your-trip/towns-and-villages/burford-p720323

And the Churchyard where these pictures were taken.

https://www.burfordchurch.org/