#244 theoldmortuary ponders

Sunshine and showers was the weather serving for this weekend. Not exactly bittersweet but certainly two sides of the same coin.

Much like Fathers Day, which was for many, the focus point of the weekend. As an outside observer to many traditional family gatherings I wonder if living through a pandemic has sharpened the focus on marking significant days with family and friends. There seems to be less marketing of these events and more gathering together, less gifts more visits. We had a lovely family visit, despite not being able to offer the inducements of any fathers or grandfathers. Just a father on the horizon and an actual one,for one of our number, across the river in Cornwall. Enough to make the weekend have a little buzz of purpose. Three of us, unable to visit father’s in the other realm or in another country had an unhurried afternoon of wandering around the shops with no great schedule or aim in place. Possibly many people’s idea of hell, but for us, something to be enjoyed, not so much because we were shopping but because sometimes it is really comforting just to hang out together doing something mundane and nattering about it. Most unusually we were on the search for some fast fashion. Not something I really approve of but its hard not to get caught up in the constant fiesta of fashion fun that stores like Primark, New Look and H and M create. I did also break my own rules of reuse, repurpose or recycle and bought myself a fabulous string shopping bag in bright orange.

Social Media plays a huge part in the celebration of Fathers Day. Through it I get a sense of community with those of us without fathers or grandfathers to celebrate in person for whatever reason. It certainly helps to be aware of the many others there are, who are feeling a twinge, or more, of sadness on such days. The enormous positive of Fathers Day on Social Media is that people actively introduce you to their fathers or father figures on line. So Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of truly wonderful role models, representing many generations of paternalistic love.

After 36 hours of delicious busyness we were back down to just the two of us and two dogs. The weather had taken a turn for the worse but our evening walk was enlivened by stone skimming and stone hunting something both humans and dogs take very seriously. All good prep for the week ahead.

#208 theoldmortuary ponders

Some mornings the only cure for a busy, overwhelmed head is a cup of black coffee and some fresh air. Yesterday was such a day. I didn’t get out of the wrong side of the bed exactly, two very entitled dogs make that an impossibility, but my head was unproductively busy. Later in the day a friend described such thoughts as ” Like a murmuration of Starlings or a shoal of fish turning in the sea.”

As I had predicted the coffee, some conversations with neighbours and a small pastry set me right.

Greek Yogurt lemon Pastry

An in- person meeting with a colleague provided more mind nurturing in the form of freshly picked mint tea and a take away bunch of mint to grow my own.

And actually who wouldn’t be smoothed out by such a gorgeous napkin!

Things were all falling into place quite nicely. Hugo had even taken on the role of P A for a while to keep me on schedule.

Although there were times when he was definitely blocking productivity.

With or, probably without, Hugo’s assistance all the jobs got done and some order returned to my mind. But I am left with the lovely images of thoughts being like murmurations of Starlings.

Or shoals of fish.

Two lovely videos to start a chilled out Saturday with.

#199 theoldmortuary ponders

Sometimes it is hard to know quite how to tie everything together for a blog. Today is one of those days and thank goodness I have this gorgeous rope, found at Delamore Arts earlier in the week, to tie things together.

Today was a huge red letter day for a good friend of ours who went to Buckingham Palace to collect an MBE from the Princess Royal.

On a far less significant scale we got a lovely Whatsapp message saying how much a family member has enjoyed yesterdays blog about St Just in Roseland.

Such a lovely thing to say.

And finally in this odd little blog the dogs had a red letter day because I had a contretemps with a bus on the way to work this morning. Minding my own business in a traffic queue a bus approached from behind and attempted to underpass me in the bus lane and ripped off my wing mirror with an enormous bang. The bus did not pull in or stop. No harm to me at all but I was so cross with myself because I had nothing to hand to take down the bus registration. I vowed to follow it but then a traffic light got between me and my target. This kind of stuff just requires so much admin to resolve and it put me in a grumpy mood. So grumpy that I couldn’t be bothered to pull on my wetsuit to go for the Wednesday evening bob. But that is where the dogs got their red letter day. I decided to take them to the sea for their evening walk while the bobbers were doing their thing. The dogs never usually come with us. I calmed my grumpy soul by sitting on the steps that lead into the sea and the dogs looked on as the bobbers bobbed.

The sea worked its magic, my grumpies left and the dogs had the excitement of welcoming the bobbers back in after a long and challenging swim.

Three very different stories all tied up with a beautiful knot.

#161 theoldmortuary ponders

Blogwise it is going to be a quiet patch for the next few days.

Lola has had a hysterectomy and is advised to take life gently for the next two weeks. No walks longer than ten to fifteen minutes. No giddy excitements. This was a planned procedure so I had stored up quite a few non exciting projects to be completed at home.

This morning I bought some mackerel, mackerel models if you like, for a longstanding commission and a portrait exhibition later in the year.

Plymouth Market has an excellent fishmonger with gorgeous fish straight from the fish market.

I had no qualms asking for three of the prettiest mackerel for posing reasons. The mackerel pose, not me.

I also asked for fish heads to paint actual fish face portraits but I need to go back later in the day for that.

Obviously for continuity of dog care it was a very quick nip into the market but even a quick nip created a ponder, one created entirely from my own ignorance.

I love a market, but snobbishly or for whatever reason, foreign or London markets really float my boat. Meanwhile my local market gets barely a thought. Well more fool me. I do know that Plymouth Market is an architectural gem and I do go there reasonably often but I have never noticed these two pieces of wall art before.

The bottom one even features by name one of my favourite London Markets. Spitalfields.

Now of course I need to return to the market and research the artist!

So for my next visit, fish heads and Art History, who knew caring for a post surgery dog could be quite so stimulating!

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning wanderings, naked toes for the first time this year and a proper ponder. Dorothea Ltd is a very unusual name for a historic piece of cast iron street furniture. I had a lot of time to ponder some odd things on my walk today. The dogs took the business of sniffing out other dogs peemail messages very seriously, so there was lots of time for pondering the small stuff. Dorothea Ltd turn out to be pondering golddust. Please follow link.

https://www.dorothearestorations.com/about-us/history

Have dogs, will stand still a lot, is the motto of my day. Fortunately I had pre planned some supplies to keep me fortified on the walk.

Sunrise reflected as a Pain au Chocolat

The walk was one I have shared many times on the blog but these highlights are purely generated by prolonged sniffing locations.

Fabulous reflections on The Barbican, Plymouth.
A cafe sign has been removed showing a more nautically focussed business from the past.

What more strange things have my dogs given me to share with you?

A doorway into the sky.
A very complicated image that curiously mimics the random Union Jack on the next building.
Bold Primary Colours in morning sunlight.

So there we are, my visual notes from early morning, prolonged dog stops. I have no idea what information they gathered this morning. Information gathering exhausted them. Both fast asleep for hours on our return.

#135 theoldmortuary ponders

Still shamelessly using the weekend sun to illustrate the blog, even though we are already on Wednesday. Significantly we are also still under a blanket of West Country greige, which sucks the soul a bit and makes any adventure outside a damp affair.

I had my first large meeting, in person experience, last night. Two years on from the first, long, Covid lockdown. Because life has changed in unimaginable ways, this meetings topics, location and reasons for being were unknown to me two years ago. There was something very comforting in realising that non professional/ business meetings have not changed a jot. However Zoom meetings with the ability to mute for a good giggle or rant off screen have made my meeting/social/skills a bit slack. I worried that I might burst when the generic, entitled, white, male got up to speak. Struggling to get his, ill-informed views across because of the plums in his mouth. Note to self- always sit at the back in future!

For reference I have included a Youtube clip of The Vicar of Dibley in case you too have forgotten the way of meetings.

We took the dogs with us. Hugo is a very entitled, white male. Sensibly, apart from one brief woof, he kept his opinions to himself. Lola, being female listened intently. Fully aware that at any moment she might be asked to take notes.

#122 theoldmortuary ponders

Harlyn Bay

Yesterday was all about avoiding a Storm that was battering the south coast of Devon and Cornwall. We had to go to Truro to collect my typewriter from its service and took a chance that the North Coast might not be so badly affected.

Typewriter collected, and that is a whole other blog, we called in at Strong Adolfo on the Atlantic Highway for coffee and some lunch.

©Strong Adolfos

Sartorial and comestible choices had uncanny similarities!

Lola and Hugo looked on, their doggy colour blindness giving them no clue why we thought this was so funny.

All they really wanted was to get to the beach and blow off some energy.

I’m not sure we exactly avoided the storm by travelling South to North, we just altered the direction that the rain hit us. The video below gives you a minute of wave action. We were not tempted to get in for a swim.

All in all a Sunday well spent, now its time to get on with the week.

#108 theoldmortuary ponders

There is nothing more exciting for our dogs than a beach that is slightly damp and yielding to the paws. A beach where they can build up speed and go a little crazy without human intervention. January is the perfect month for such adventures. This picture was taken at the very end of a long walk, the dog footprints are there just for the joy. The human footprints have determination and purpose. The human footprints are heading towards coffee and cake in a favourite cafe.

The cafe was closed for refurbishments. The dogs continued with joy and the humans made compromises. Ultimately everyone was happy.

Which is more than can be said for any lobster who casually wanders into a lobster pot looking for a snack.

#106 theoldmortuary ponders

Morning has broken in St Ives with the gorgeous colour of Cadbury Chocolate wrappers.

In truth not the most thrilling of sunrises but the clear sky was a sign that the day was going to be a bit of a colour sensation. Early morning duties were the pleasure of sharing the start of our day with Miss VV, our granddaughter in Hong Kong. Our early morning adventures with her via video call involved stories involving sand horses and naughty seagulls. For the rest of our day we had strict instructions on the photographs that needed to be taken to be sent to her for when she wakes up. Seagulls were top of her list.

This one is a bit of a visual joke as he had managed to poo on the reflection of his own head.

Another request was dogs on their holidays.

Miss VV did not request a piece of Barbara Hepworth sculpture but we took our own initiative and took one anyway.

Gifted in 1965 to the town she had adopted as her home.

We did a three hour coastal path walk and found some small and deeply personal sculptures. Love locks attached to a small metal fence on the sea side of the path. Stuck together and corroded by the salt spray of the Atlantic.

The thing we didn’t manage to capture was a dolphin feeding frenzy which we witnessed but luckily for the blog a more proficient photographer was about earlier in the week.

https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/cornwall-news/hundreds-dolphins-st-ives-bay-6519724

That’s enough St Ives for one day, more tomorrow.

#77 theoldmortuary ponders

Here we are. Christmas Eve. Time to reflect perhaps, or time to hit domestic admin with gusto and efficacy. Gusto and efficiency for the last 36 hours was going to be rewarded with some cheesy chips from a local seaside cafe. Imagine my disappointment when they were closed. A disappointment compounded by Miss Lola delivering her lunchtime poo into the heart of a teenage thistle. Teenage thistles are a lot like regular teenagers. They look quite cute, a mix of the child you loved and the adult you will come to love. But whoa! Looks can be deceiving those cute slightly downy leaves carry quite a spiky message. How Lola delivered a whole poo quite so deeply into this moody spikey plant is beyond my imagination. She appeared to deliver it with ease. I did not retrieve it with anything like ease, to be frank, I yelped, as she certainly deserved to. For my troubles I have a nasty and unusual Christmas scar, not the traditional forearm one from retrieving baked goods from the oven. A thistle scratch, slight but jagged and ridiculously sore.

To get over my trauma I devised a new reward for my Gusto and Efficiency. An hour or two of dabbling with watercolour, typing and paper. I had success and hit on a happy accident of a paper that responds really well to typing and water colour. Have a Happy Christmas.