Pandemic Pondering #248

These were harvested from a friend’s garden yesterday. The vibrancy of my harvestings is a reflection of the wonderful weather we’ve had in Cornwall throughout the Pandemic, that, and the green fingers of my friends Ed and Mel who are currently in Turkey, Lotus eating.

Lotus Eating fascinated me as a child, there was a TV programme, broadcast in 1972 , the story evolved around expats living on Crete. I was too young to take in the nuances of the plot, but watching the programme from a small Essex market town, I was enchanted and the glamour of Crete wormed its way into my head and has never left me.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lotus_Eaters_(TV_series)

The link above takes you to the Wikipedia page of the TV Series.

Lotus Eating has been a life long escape for me. For a long while the bookish Essex Girl that I was and am only did it with imagination. Then foreign travel became easier, and my diligent reading of books gave me a career that could facilitate actual Lotus eating. Just as my childish imagination had shaped it permanently in my head. Lotus Eating in this Essex woman’s head requires travel to anywhere in Greece or Turkey, hopefully not too touristy . Sunshine and swimming are the two essentials that the location needs to provide, I will bring a mountain of books and painting materials.

The reality of becoming my own version of a Lotus Eater has shaped me. I spend way more time imagining myself as a Lotus Eater, particularly in the brutally wet Cornish winters than I ever do actually basking in Mediterranean sunshine.

Our interior design and storage is influenced.

The whole extended family yearns to be owners of goats.

My love of rust and palimpsest probably started with that TV programme. Both are more vivid in sunshine and better preserved in a Mediterranean climate.

Lotus Eating is not, of course, expats living a hedonistic lifestyle or me reading in the sun. In fact it was only ever a myth. See link below to a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lotos-Eaters

But the fantasy and holidays in the sun make it real, often enough, for it to be as tangible as reality, and for everything else there is memories.

Pandemic Pondering #49

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Or preserve them, a couple of years ago we had a lemon grove attached to a holiday villa in Greece. We preserved a litre and a half of lemons , brought them home and they’ve lasted until now.

Gathering lemons in Greek sunshine to the accompaniment of goat bells and in the company of leathery faced women wearing black is not a chore.

It was not a particular chore to buy unwaxed lemons at Lidl but it does have zero romance. The sunshine today was pretty similar to Greece. No goats and the only leathery faced women were wearing fleeces, not the same at all.

Now preserving lemons is not a huge subject for a pondering but it saves you all from more hedge trimming Ponderings. The storms of yesterday disturbed the bits of hedge we had chopped but not been able to pull out. We’ve tweaked it to near parfection now.

I really believe this is the last time the hedge will get a mention.

Libraries and bookshops, journeys to somewhere else.

Saltash Library

All my reading life I’ve loved libraries, as I got older bookshops took over because library opening hours are not always convenient for working people. We always visit libraries whenever we travel to cities. Birmingham and Seoul stand out as two of the best. Yesterday I was in our local library doing some admin for a book group. Not planning to get anything for myself I had a quick wander around in case something irresistible caught my eye. Two books leapt out at me, not because they would take me on new journeys but because they reminded me of journeys already taken.

Alan Johnson’s In My Life will be the second Alan Johnson book I’ve read. The first one The Long and Winding Road was the third book of his memoirs. I have yet to read the first two parts. The Long and Winding Road was significant to me because during the period it covered we were neighbours, not close, but some of his roads were my roads and when his days of secure chauffeur driven cars were over we shared our regular commute into Victoria or London Bridge. Obviously like proper London commuters we never made eye contact.

Looking down Gipsy Hill

© theoldmortuary

Alan Johnson is not the only recognisable face seen on the platforms of Gipsy Hill Station.

One stands out as the ‘ most’ famous. Fanny, the Gipsy Hill Cat. Famous throughout London for her duty of care to the commuters of South London. She has her own station waiting room.

and is nearly always on hand for cuddles or ticket checking.

Spiri Tsintziras book Afternoons in Itheka is the second book that grabbed me and is the second based in Itheka that I have read.The first was North of Ithaka by Eleni Gage, a book that fueled a trip to Itheka last summer.

The trip to Ithaka was serendipitous and wonderful. It is such a peaceful island.

We had a huge rustic supper in a general store and occasional cafe.

Some of the artwork was surprising.

The food was everything you would expect of Greek hospitality. Comforting, delicious and never ending.

Reading is my favourite pastime, it gives me time and location travel. Sometimes backwards like these two books but often projecting me forward to adventures as yet unknown.

When did we stop washing our hands?

I love hot soapy water on my hands, I can’t quite believe that people need to be encouraged to wash their hands. It’s such a refreshing task. Alcohol gel is nothing like as satisfying . I also have a funny habit of photographing sinks. So now hand washing is the new big thing, cue Julie Andrews

” Here are a few of my favourite sinks.”

@theoldmortuary

@QE11 Block St Bartholomew’s Hospital ( demolished)

@Aesop

Greek outdoor sink

Boston Tea Party, Plymouth

@Brixton East

Advent#27

Extending my Advent to include Yule has brought such pleasure. During my ponderings I discovered the Yuletide Goat. This thrills me because I have a fascination for goats . They are the highlight of Greek holidays, and a recurring source of pleasure.

Before today my knowledge of all things Yule extended to logs, both the chocolate and massively woody sort. Yuletide , the time around Christmas, originally of Pagan origin.

The Yule Goat is a revelation. He is a Christmas tradition of Northern Europe with Pagan origins. He was in some traditions the giver of gifts , a precursor to Father Christmas . As traditions have matured and altered he has become the creature that Father Christmas rides to deliver gifts or even the animal that pulls the sleigh. This is all hugely confusing in Britain where our traditions are either created or improved by first the Victorians and secondly the USA. Goats do not play a part .

Imagine the complexity of the Santa App if it had to cope with Reindeers being taken out of harness over Scandinavia to be replaced by goats or even Santa going Solo and just casually swinging a leg over a solitary goat to hit the hard to reach places.

The Goat is significant in Poland. Particularly vexatious for me as I’m writing this on Boxing Day and I spent the day with Polish relations who could have explained Goatish things to me.

As an aside I spent yesterday with American relations and had to explain Boxing Day.

Trust me Advent 2020 will be much more Goaty. I will research goats, I will photograph goats . I will find more utterly gorgeous Goat illustrations like this one from Buccifolio.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/buccifolio

I remembered a festive goat from Hong Kong a couple of years ago at PMQ. Created for the Chinese New Year. Not exactly a Yule Goat but certainly proof that theoldmortuary loves a Goaty photo.

http://www.pmq.org.hk/?lang=ch

Bliss #developingyoureye

IMG_1357Bliss is a big subject

Bliss is the subject of my current on-line blogging masterclass.

Blissful , even the word gives a frisson of pleasure.

Bliss..

Big subject and,for me ,this photograph represents just one of the crazy things that can produce momentary Bliss.

The serendipity of texture alongside incredulity at a sudden misplacement of items. In this case a beautifully crafted piece of wedding jewellery with some plastic roses.

Bliss is also my favourite cafe in Crystal Palace

IMG_9094

Bliss is also Saltash on a sunny day.b104-adef-f6b5-29a1