Pandemic Pondering #13

Blogging in general is much in mind as I approach the end of March. Blogging through a pandemic is just an added puzzlement.

@theoldmortuary in its current form exists because I attended a blogging course at Spitalfields Townhouse, run by The Gentle Author. It was a hugely supportive and encouraging course with the most delicious blend of course members. We were encouraged to find our blogging style in a way that we could manage and sustain regularly.
https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Ever the nerd, I decided to follow the example of The Gentle Author and blog daily. It must be irritating to regular readers that my grammar is, at times, patchy and the narrative can be rambling. I am never going to have the eloquence or fascinating topics created seemingly so effortlessly by The Gentle Author. I do have cute photos though, a saving grace on days when my content quality wavers.

The deal on the first course was that I would publish a blog every day regardless of how finished or polished it is. This is a bigger deal than I imagined . Serendipity hand in hand with planning is the Key.

Be flexible like Water is useful little mantra.

Having been taught so well by The Gentle Author, it is very apparent that ‘ effortless’ is not a descriptive that fits with the creation of his genuinely lovely blog that has thousands of regular readers. I am completely in awe.

Soon after the November course I registered for the advanced course, being run over a couple of weekends in February and March 2020. After the advanced course I planned to look afresh at the blog to define its future.

Coronovirus leaves me needing that final twinkle of blog polish. As yet the date for the next course is unknown so for the time being the blog will remain what it has become. A daily pondering on something that peaks my interest. My terms of reference on a daily basis are much more limited with Social Isolation and yet even that is not strictly true. Today I looked at a post box I drive past many times a week. I had never realised it was a new design.

Todays local long walk took us down the hill about half a mile to Forder Village. Past this post box.

The tide was out and the sun was up. Hugo and Lola needed to be kept on a lead, this much mud and sunshine would make them giddy with excitement and not responsible for their actions. They do not look or smell at all good after a romp through this stuff.

Who can possibly guess where Coronovirus will take this blog. Where it won’t go is to the Advanced Level, like most things that is on hold.

Pandemic Ponderings #9

Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday was bittersweet. The weather was beautiful but in reality too many people forgot about Social Distancing and enjoyed too much Fresh Air and exercise. Mount Snowden had its busiest Sunday ever , and it’s been around a long time. I wasn’t there but it was pretty mad. The Government got cross and said people were selfish. I agree and that’s a big thing to say because if I were a stick of rock, the word Conservative does not run though me.

@theoldmortuary we took a Social Distance walk around the uncrowded but very sunshiny and uplifting Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour. Enjoying a take out coffee from Jacka Bakery, completely ignoring the baked goods on offer. A good sign that we are not hooked on Bakery Porn, or any other sort for that matter

Two lovely things arrived in the evening. Chocolates from the beautiful J and a lovely WhatsApp message from S.

Not in any way eclipsing these two lovely gestures on Mother’s day. Hugo and Lola has been making free with someone’s debit card and this card had arrived during the week.

The two mother’s Day sentiments are different yet the same. My adult children are far from the days when their elimination is my problem. My dog children will never move on from me not only having responsibility for their poo but treasuring it by sealing it in a bag and sometimes carrying it for miles.

Hugo is a private pooer , when I approach him, for accuracy of collection, he gives me a disdainful hard stare that dissolves into something pitiful as he skips and kicks his way through the post defecation victory dance. Lola is a more artistic dog, she likes to choose a grassy tussock on which to balance the canine equivalent of rock stacking.

She knows that her little pile might be a thing of beauty and waits until she is well out of the way before embarking on the Defacation Dance.

I, of course, demonstrate to both of them how precious their bottom offerings are and gather them into a special little bag .

So Mother’s Day 2020 a mixed bag, you could say.

Lovely adult children being kind from a distance because that’s what the guidelines said we should do. I always think Mother’s Day is as much about paying the love back. My two make me happy and proud, they are lovely people.

The fluffs, of course, had no idea about Mother’s Day but as of tonight the country is in lockdown, they will be my constant companions and in a strange switch of fate will have more freedoms regarding socialising than me. And that is absolutely fine, I really will never have the need to sniff a stranger’s bum or genitals. Pandemic or no pandemic.

Pandemic Ponderings #7

Wonderful, wonderful Wembury.

This picture is from a previous visit to Wembury when a cup of tea overlooking the sea was just every day life. Wembury was my destination yesterday. Hugo and Lola needed their regular hair cut at their dog groomers.
https://www.nataliesdoggrooming.co.uk/

Wembury is a regular visit for this exact reason.

The hours between dirty dog delivery and pampered pooch collection are spent doing Plymouth based jobs or enjoying the beach or coast. The charity shops of Modbury are also an irregular treat.

The beauty of Wembury beach is the sand. It doesn’t cling so even freshly clean dogs come off as clean as they went on it.

These shots make it look like we were the only people there. Nothing could be further from the truth, I would like to say we are really good at socially isolating but I think I just got lucky with photographs. It was pretty chilly so many people were hunkered down against the rocks with flasks of coffee. The coast path was probably very busy but that involves mud and we don’t do mud on grooming days.

The National Trust giving free access to much of their land during the pandemic is very generous and public spirited . The car park was as full as on a hot summers day. Even after only 5 days of keeping ourselves isolated fresh air and a walk was like drinking fresh lemonade.

Pandemic Ponderings #5

Hannah the other human @theoldmortuary has succumbed to a virus, not The Virus.

It would not be an exaggeration to say our house is always handwash central and we’ve only become more obsessed in the last few weeks.

But we have a VV, a toddler who shares everything with her Nanna and Nonna and clearly sneaked this one in under the new regime.It’s like being given cheap sliced bread when you were anticipating artisanal sourdough.

Hugo and Lola are putting in the hours caring in their usual cuddle style. Historically one of their other mother’s has been inclined towards the occasional hangover or broken heart. Hugo in particular has a whole repertoir of tired and emotional cuddles that involve him wrapping himself theatrically around the affected person. Lola is more practical and curls around chilly feet.

The messages they leave for their doggy friends probably reflect their disappointment in us for not catching the famous one.

I’ve never particularly envied them their news gathering system of sniffing recently delivered piss but it works no matter what the disaster. The same cannot be said for our current increasing reliance on techy solutions to this pandemic. I am only one phone charge away from near total isolation at the moment.

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.
https://www.whatsapp.com/

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.
https://zoom.us/

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.

Leap Year

What to do with the extra day in 2020.

©Hong Kong Ballet

Obviously after just one lesson we are fizzing to leap around on Leap Day, but this young man does it so much better .

February always needs more red.

Leap Year attracts flimsiness and fun, see my efforts above, or read Guardian flimsiness.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2020/feb/29/leap-year-day-how-you-could-and-should-celebrate-29-february

But it exists to keep us all ticking along nicely in time. Introduced by Julius Caesar over 2000 years ago.

Leap day recalibrates and corrects time keeping because every year is actually 365 days and 6 hours long (one complete earth orbit of the sun) so once every four years those extra 6 hours are gathered together to make an extra day.

29 pictures in red to fill your extra day.

Red car Plymouth Hoe
Miss VV
Tywardreath rail crossing
Crystal Palace Rail Station
VV and Mum talk Rothko
Posters Devonport Playhouse
Redcurrants Butler’s Cottage
Red vase @theoldmortuary
Poppies @theoldmortuary
Jewel Salad @theoldmortuary
100 Homes Project, Plymouth
Chinese New Year , Hong Kong
Bowls South Korea
Hugo and Lola hit the Red Carpet
Gipsy Hill Brewery at The Lord High Admiral , Plymouth
Nasturtiums
Detail of painting
Street Art Haggerston
Chilli lights and cook books
Welsh Guards
Autumn Leaf Dulwich Picture Gallery
Beach plastic, Portwrinkle
Croxted Road, Dulwich
Detail from painting
Street Art, New York
Dodging the spray, Niagara Falls, Canada
Post Box, Barnes
Brixton Market
Hoi An

Party Night at theoldmortuary

©The British Hedgehog Society

https://www.britishhedgehogs.org.uk/the-basic-facts-2/

Last night, unknown to the humans at theoldmortuary, was party night. Our resident hedgehog got up early . I’m not even sure he’s been asleep all that long . All the signs were there during the day, both dogs doing excessive tracking in the garden , following tiny complicated tracks obsessively suggesting hedgehog activity the previous night. Quite how the actual wake up party is announced I don’t know, maybe Hedgehog annoints himself in a particular smell for party night. Toad and slug body spray is entirely likely in this garden. By midnight the party was in full swing, Hugo and Lola paid 6 different visits to the the garden. Despite their excitement they just like to look at hedgehog as he does his thing. I’m pretty sure the canapé provision in our garden is deplorable in February so we provided cold snacks of cat food once the wake up was official. The probable reason for the early wake up, storms Ciara and Dennis,was marked by the guest appearance of Hedgehog Stormzy an old friend from their South London days.

This morning it is quite a different story.

Lola back in her own Hibernacula

Advent#33

De-rig day. The cables of Christmas. The trees are down and currently the fairy lights are orderly, boxed away ready for next year.

December 2020, in theory, will see them brought out of their boxes ready to be unwound onto the trees of the next decade effortlessly. In my dreams. In truth inside their boxes squirming will occur, serpiginous and tricksy they will weave knots of such complexity that several hours of sorting out will be required. There will be swearing.

Baubles on the other hand are well behaved. Boxed up and away in the cupboard nothing changes over the next eleven months.

Meanwhile the dogs adopted their favourite pose of disinterest. Chasing baubles is exhilarating but the hoovering of the resulting damage is dull, better to sleep and pretend nothing happened.

Advent#3

December Sunset at Churchtown Farm. This works in two ways , it is a brilliant December image for Advent and the location fits nicely into the Memorial Bench category. This bench is not the one that inspired my memorial bench writings but it is the one that I see the most often as it’s on my regular dog walk. It often gets a mention on the Churchtown Farm Facebook page, because people get such peace and solace from perching here. It is placed overlooking a beautifully peaceful stretch of the River Lynher. Jupiter Point, part of HMS Raleigh is the silver twinkles at the far left of this image. Beyond the Navy the water here is pretty quiet, troubled only by sailing boats and the occasional gig from Caradon Pilot Gig Club based in Saltash.A17EB3BB-A74D-4FD2-8A4D-713A9B76BE6C

This bench is unusual because it is so solid and the commemoration is carved into the wood, it’s solidity increases the sense of its permanence in the landscape. The location is so beautiful and the seat so comfy it’s hard to walk past . Not necessarily efficient dog walking but perfect for pondering. It’s what3words location is react.sometime.breeze

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