Pandemic Pondering #84

This is quite the ponder. Yesterday I cleared out the studio for three reasons.

1. It was in a mighty pickle.

2 I needed to find the blackboard.

3 We needed a garden gathering space for inclement weather.

None of these inspired a blog but like all good things, the accidental find is the most interesting. This is the story of my life. My working life would not exist without X-rays, one of histories great accidental finds. The link below explains radiography alongside 9 other valuable accidents. But I digress.

https://www.mnn.com/leaderboard/stories/10-accidental-inventions-that-changed-the-world

My accidental find in the studio was a Disco glitter ball. It’s big and used to live in a cupboard for eleven months of the year and then hang disco style from the decorative finial thingy that hung down from the bottom of a newel post on my landing.

It came into my family life by accident . We walked past Next one Christmas Eve as the shop was closing. Window dressers were stripping the festive window and prepping for the sales. We were gifted this ball straight out of the window.

Since acquiring a studio the glitter ball has given year round pleasure. Twinkling in the sunshine.

I felt like dropping into the Google rabbit hole chasing glitterballs for information for the blog.

A mirror ball hanging over the Louisiana Five in 1919.

The first mention, in literature, of a glitter ball was in Boston in 1897. The first patent was issued to Louis Bernard Woeste. He patented it as the Myriad Reflector , his trade name for it, he did not patent it as the inventor. It was reproduced by his company, and sold to ballrooms, jazz clubs and dance halls. His promotional material claimed.

The newest novelty is one that will change a hall into a brilliant fairyland of flashing, changing, living colors – a place of a million-colored sparks, darting and dancing, chasing one another into every nook and corner – filling the hall with dancing fireflies of a thousand hues.”

Mirror balls became hugely popular in dancehalls in the 1920’s . I met them in the 70’s starting with the School Disco at Margaret Tabor Secondary Modern School in Braitree, Essex. Then The Viking nightclub in Castle Headingham and then finally the bright lights and dark nights of living and working in London and Brighton. Here in the 21st century the Strictly Come Dancing global franchise brings glitterballs into countless homes worldwide that have no notion of nightclubs.

Glitterball imagery is iconic in the music industry. The Grateful Dead, Yes, Madonna, Pink Floyd have used it extensively.

The Bee Gees soundtrack for Saturday Night Fever crosses the glitterball path between music and film. Film has a similarly iconic love affair with twinkly balls. Velvet Goldmine, Casablanca in 1942, Dirty Dancing all love a twinkly ball.

In the U.S there is one manufacturer who supplies 90% of glitterballs in the US, according to Google.
http://www.omeganationalproducts.com/

But it would seem pretty strange if China hasn’t taken a big part of the market. I don’t know where my glitterball was created I know where it is now. The mortuary part of our house has slightly odd proportions for a domestic property. All the ceilings are very high. We bought a light fitting a few years ago that was sold for large-proportion bars or cafes. with just a little modification to this lightfitting the glitterball has a new home.

Dark Grey Walls

It’s been 6 weeks since the humans @theoldmortuary joined the gym. It was never the intention to become gym bores on here telling you about our reps/ sets/weights achievements. So as usual this is a ponder. We’ve even made a gym friend who has called in @theoldmortuary and noticed that the gym and @theoldmortuary have walls painted the exact same shade of very dark grey. We chose dark grey @theoldmortuary because it makes a small dark cottage seem larger and brighter. Quite why a gym would choose the same colour is beyond me but it’s all new and recently refurbished so there has to be a reason.The grey walls are significant to my static adventures on a bike. Every visit I knock out 10k always accompanied by a Podcast and this wall.This sweaty wall is the blank canvas to my imagination that is boosted by podcasts.It was an entirely appropriate backdrop to my sweaty, teary experience of Desert Island Discs with Ian Wright on the BBC Sounds app.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000fdxw
Thankfully not all podcasts have the same effect so often I can just relax and enjoy the sweaty drips on the wall.

Brixton East.

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Brixton East is a former furniture warehouse in Brixton. It was my favourite venue for art exhibitions. Sadly it is closed now but I’ve got some lovely photographs from previous exhibitions.

Brixton East was a beautifully designed multi use space. The owner had a flat cleverly located to the rear at first floor level.

It was a very trendy place , used for weddings, photoshoots and product launches, after parties for musicians playing at the nearby Brixton Academy.

It was a great location and venue, I loved it for the textures of the building.

In part the beauty of the building brought people in to exhibitions. Stewarding at this venue was always stimulating , the most intriguing people popped in to see the art and have a natter.

While fact checking for this blog I’ve discovered that it has reopened under a new name.

https://www.100barringtonroad.com/

Hugo learning to be an art critic.

Plymouth Bloggers- an evening out

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Being a Thursday child I’ve been about a bit. However for nearly thirty years Plymouth has been my nearest City and the area that I return to even after long sojourns. My relationship with the city is mixed, initially I was a little ashamed to say I came from Plymouth. My reasons were complex then but I’ve grown to love the city and really want the best for it. Aditya Chakrabortty wrote a brilliant piece in The Guardian, recently,that reflects where the city is at right now.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/post-industrial-plymouth-business-social-enterprise?CMP=share_btn_link

A group of Bloggers were invited to the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth to meet with some of the people and organisations who are keen to promote Plymouth and its increasingly vibrant cultural and creative life.

If anyone is in any doubt that Plymouth is on the up then curiously the Crowne Plaza is a good place to start.

Big organisations are wise when investing large chunks of money, they do their research. Crowne Plaza has invested 5 million pounds in reimagining the old Holiday Inn. It is a remarkable transformation. 30 years ago my very first night in Plymouth was spent there, the only thing that lifted my heart at the time was the view from the room hosting the breakfast buffet. That same room is now the latest iteration of the Marco Pierre White group of restaurants. Beautiful, louche, photographs of the eponymous chef fill the entrance.

Once inside the place is so stylish and glossy with those amazing views it’s hard to think that you are in Plymouth rather than a world renowned iconic city. (Iconic City is of course exactly what Plymouth wants to be) Anyway I digress. My point is that Crowne Plaza have invested in their Plymouth Hotel because they believe that Plymouth is going to become pretty amazing.

The Bloggers event was held in one of the meeting rooms. In common with the whole interior of the Hotel the room had some pretty interesting artwork. Inky Blue is the signature colour of this hotel.

Usually when Plymouth Bloggers meet we eat and talk, last night there was talking to be followed by cocktails and canapés. Luckily the quality of the talking took our minds off this unusual turn of events. Sally from Onshore Media introduced us to the movers and shakers of the Plymouth P R machine. I imagine there is no such thing as an effective, yet lack lustre PR, I was impressed that Plymouth has such engaging and dynamic representatives , vividly explaining where this, somewhat overlooked, Port goes next.The point of this initial meeting was to explore where blogging and PR merge and how they can be mutually supportive. I find this whole thing really interesting, finding things in Plymouth that fit naturally into the general theme of my blog will be fascinating.

www.visitplymouth.co.uk

www.crowneplaza.com/plymouthuk

www.mpwrestaurants.co.uk

https:madeinplymouth.org/

www.weareonshore.com

Cocktails and canapés, beautiful views of a great city, nothing more needs to be said.

Thanks to Lauren Rogers from Crowne Plaza for hosting, the bar has been raised for future meetings.

Festive Wreathing written for Made in Plymouth

Festive Wreaths with Miranda Hackett Flowers

By Juliet Cornell

Miranda Hackett Flowers

Day courses are a fantastic way to get a taste of a new creative interest. A good course is one that builds on the initial interest and gives attendees the opportunity to take home a competently produced finished product. The very best, enable you to not only create something lovely on the day, but also equips you with the skills to reproduce beautiful items in your own home, building and developing a new talent with confidence.

Festive wreath making with Miranda Hackett is definitely the latter of those options. Meeting Miranda is like meeting a force of nature; creativity and confidence crackle in the air as she talks about her passion for Artisanal Floristry. She moved to the South West from Berkshire a year ago and brought her creative floristry business with her. With a portfolio of London and Home Counties commissions, she has also spent three years creating floral beauty in Slovakia, the universal Latin language of flowers helped enormously with the inevitable language difficulties.

Miranda has already done a turn at The Makers Table at Ocean Studios and loves the beautiful, historic buildings and the fantastic creative buzz the Ocean Studios generates. On 8th December she will return to Ocean to teach Festive Wreathing, this time in the light filled Making Spaces; rooms designed specifically for creative courses.

Miranda Hackett Flowers

Miranda Hackett Flowers

What I personally loved about Miranda’s attitude to floristry was her adaptive approach. She was as enthusiastic about foraging for materials as she was about producing large, highly prestigious commissions. Enthusiasm for her craft just bubbles out of every conversation.

Miranda’s style is loose and flowing, organic in development with seasonality in the locally produced blooms and foliage at the heart of her creations. In her new home here in Devon she now has the space to develop her own nursery to grow native blooms for her future work. Since her arrival in the west country, she has developed a great working relationship with many local producers and growers and has found suppliers from Devon and Cornwall far more open, flexible and innovative in business dealings than she has previously experienced – a little of the west country friendliness we’re so famous for.

If you need any more convincing then last years Festive Wreathing course was held at Heston Blumenthal’s Michelin Starred Restaurant in Bray and a review from that event says everything.

“ I just wanted to say a big thank you for the superb wreath making…it was a wonderfully inspiring day, your ideas were incredible and the quality of your greenery and products were really top class. It was so enjoyable to be in your workshop with like-minded people. Your instruction was so good, I will be enrolling again on your next course”

Booking for the upcoming Ocean Studio event can be made direct with Miranda via her website or by telephoning 07789553921, the workshop cost is £55 and runs from 10.30am.

If the 8th December doesn’t suit but you’re eager to get your hands on a little of Miranda’s enthusiasm then there are two more workshops before Christmas held at The Oyster Shack, Bigbury on Wed 6th and Saturday 9th December, again starting at 10:30am, the course fee of £90 includes a two course lunch and a glass of wine. Booking for these two dates is via The Oyster Shack 01548 810876 bigbury@oystershack.co.uk.

theoldmortuary- real life interior design.

IMG_1468Nate Berkus a US interior designer has many of the same philosophies that we are adopting at theoldmortuary. As we have mentioned before we are sadly depleted of relations the generation above us. We have a pretty large archive of ‘stuff’  from deceased relatives , it needs to be curated or we would be accused of being hoarders and that has never been a stylish look.

Tea sets are a tricksy one , reasonably unfashionable for day to day living .We must have had five sets that were nostalgic to the point of being impossible to send to the charity shop. We’ve found a compromise.

This one , a simple classic that suits our style lives on the Cornish Range in our Kitchen.IMG_1467Denby Manor Green Stoneware was produced from the 1940’s until the 70’s,our collection holds pieces from every decade and has been inherited or gifted from family and friends. I can’t say we use it often but it looks good on the range and is really comforting to use , especially in winter. The bowl shape of the cups is perfect to hold between chilly hands and the plates have a bit of a lip that is great for retaining the melted butter that oozes from hot crumpets.

We have a few bone China plates that we have kept from a variety of manufacturers and sources that spark interest when Cake is required , the quality of the pieces spans Woolworths to Crown Derby. We’ve also kept 4 bone China cups and saucers that we serve deserts in. Beyond that the bone china has gone to charity shops, it takes up too much storage space and flies of shelves if you brush past it. You don’t need an eight person setting to prompt a memory when a single plate will do.

 

Travelling with a Coffee Addict

For a variety of reasons we are doing a lot of travelling this year. Good coffee is the fuel that gets Hannah around the world. In an effort to make mornings more calm regardless of our location. I bought this little device from China

Smugly , I relaxed on our latest outing. Happy in the knowledge that a hand grinder was in the case. What I had not checked was that the beans were packed. Thank goodness that on this occasion we had only travelled to the depths of Crystal Palace. Once again the morning plans developed with a central coffee searching scenario.

IMG_0704Crystal Palace , thank goodness, is not a coffee shop free zone. Quite the reverse.

Dalhousie had recently followed theoldmortuary.design on Instagram so with an embarrassment of choice on the Triangle we hastened to them to “wake up and smell the coffee” and in fact buy the beans.

Dalhousie is super stylish , the coffee is great as are the cakes. Furry coffee hounds are also welcome.

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The Dog ( Crown and Greyhound)

IMG_0459Ten years ago when we left Cornwall , Dulwich Village became our London home. Serendipity took us here and we have stayed within a couple of miles and have home and family here now. For the last couple of years the local pub has been closed for refurbishment and the addition of hotel rooms. The Crown and Greyhound is named after an amalgamation of two former Dulwich pubs and was built in 1900. Known locally as The Dog it has been greatly missed during its closure. Much has been written about the charm of London pubs, and as the grandchild of publicans I am particularly charmed. I have a love of pub aesthetics and the smell of them that I can’t really put into words. I’m all about the place rather than the drinking .

As an aside, in my mind, the bar mentioned in ‘Shape of You’ by Ed Sheeran is exactly the ‘shape’ of The Crown and Greyhound in Dulwich Village.

Trepidation was, I suppose, the feeling I felt on walking in to The Crown and Greyhound on my first visit in June as it re-opened.

The refurbishment of the Crown and Greyhound is a triumph. All my favourite corners and spaces seem unchanged and the parts that were formerly a little awkward have been reworked into great spaces that look every bit as genuine as the original. A new bar and bar-b-que area in the garden is a great addition

I didn’t stray into the hotel area on my first visit. We had lunch, the food was fabulous as it has always been. Despite being very busy it was served promptly by very attentive staff.

On a lovely Saturday lunchtime the pub was heaving with people having a great time.

In common with many pubs in this area the Crown and Greyhound suffers, a little, from irresponsible families imagining that the pub is an informal play school and buggy park with a bar. Just a few feral children can be a big pain in the arse , ruining everyone’s enjoyment . Especially the families who have busy happy children who are a pleasure to share the space with. I’m sure this is a tricksy problem to resolve.

http://www.thecrownandgreyhound.co.uk/

Congratulations to the team at the Crown and Greyhound for a job well done.

 

 

 

Daylesford Day Out

IMG_0582Yesterday the stylehounds of theoldmortuary. design went to the new extension at Daylesford Organics in Moreton- on-the-marsh. For me and the hounds it was a first although I regularly visited the Marylebone branch. However whilst working in Cheltenham and living in Gloucestershire Hannah had hunted down the rural base in search of coffee and decided we should all visit. IMG_0572.JPGWhat a feast for the eyes. Daylesford Farm Shop takes pretty to a whole new level. There was texture and colour, perfume and chatter. We came away inspired and happy.