Pandemic Pondering #123

100 WordPress readers for the blog. I know it’s nothing compared to hugely popular blogs, but 100 people who are happy to read along on the pondering journey of someone insignificant, who just enjoys writing and connecting, is thrilling!
I was pondering the longevity of Pandemic Ponderings when I remembered one of my favourite books, ‘The Long Weekend’ by Robert Graves. It is a social history of the interwar years.

I wonder if we are entering a Pandemic ‘Long Weekend’ in Britain. Restrictions of the draconian type are being lifted and bits of life are returning to some form of normal. @theoldmortuary lives a more resticted life than the government suggests whilst still connecting with family and friends. We are mindful of the Second Wave of the pandemic which could start anytime between August or October depending on who you talk to.
So I will ponder on through the Pandemic ‘long weekend’ and into the second wave taking at least 100 of you with me.

On with the Sunday blog.
Two quotes landed in my social media feed today. They are properly robust pieces of secular writing with not a hint of whimsy, new agedness or religion.

I love them both. They need no explanation, but I would say they represent quite accurately my attitude to life.

Time to catch up on 3 regular topics in the blog.

The first dahlia of Pandemic Pondering #120 is the only Dahlia still. This morning he was looking gorgeous but as you can see from the photo, protecting him from slugs and bugs comes at a cost. He cannot live out in the green areas of the garden but has to live on the decking area where domestic life happens. Here he is this morning amongst the drying washing.

This evening he is still wide awake at sunset.

Our fitness regime, at home with Joe Wicks on YouTube continues, and has often had a mention blogwise but after more than 18 weeks of exercising at home we are addicted to having a velvet cushion for our aching knees. Surely all gyms could provide such comfort.

And finally we did our regular walk around Sutton harbour and the Barbican in Plymouth. Our regular haunt of Jacka Bakery was enhanced today by having some of our lovely family in it.

Sunday pondering, a little bit deep, a little bit superficial. Thanks for being 1 in 100 xxx

Pandemic Pondering #116

Reflections on the first beer and other unplanned activities post lockdown.

Today’s walk was a familiar one to us, and to regular blog readers.

At weekends parking is free, in places, on Commercial Street. Giving the perfect opportunity for a circular walk. We do it so many times , and in particular in lockdown that it often gets a blog mention. Today, beyond the walk, we had no plans, we had VV with us so it was pretty much serendipity predicated by the whims of a 20 month old.

As usual, with a weekend visit to Plymouth, the first good coffee of the weekend was purchased at Hutong Cafe. Currently based at The Lord High Admiral.
https://www.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/
https://m.facebook.com/thelhaplymouth/

Energised by a smooth Oat Milk Flat White we set off from Commercial Street.

Normally it is a two coffee walk with a call in at Jacka Bakery for coffee number two.
https://m.facebook.com/JackaBakery/

Today though we walked closer to the harbour of the Barbican.

Serendipity showed us an empty table outside the Maritime Inn. Time for the first beer since Christmas.
https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/Pub/Barbican-Maritime-Inn-1375656692678932/

It was all the better for being unplanned. We carried on our walk, essential dog walking training is taking place.

Then serendipity struck again, Suphas, a Street Food Cafe also had a seat available out in the sun. Suphas has been on our radar for a while but time and a pandemic have made this our first chance for a visit.

Our drinks, snacks and the environment were vivid in every way.

One of life’s coincidences. Juice of the Day, Watermelon, exactly matched VV’s drinking bottle.

http://www.suphas.co.uk/

In addition to these visually vivid comestibles we also ordered Spicy Fruit Salad . As vivid in flavour as these pictures are vivid.

Three hours well spent wandering familiar paths .A Sunday walk in the sunshine.

Pandemic Ponderings #22

Unadulterated Coffee Porn. With the occasional tea.
We know how fortunate we are @theoldmortuary. The trivial nature of these pandemic blogs is just a small moment of inconsequential pondering amidst a sea of serious stuff. Things come and go in the ponderings one of them is tiny obsessions with something we can’t have. In truth of course we can easily have a coffee, or tea, and a piece of cake at home. But it’s not the same. Coffee and Cake is our guilty pleasure, artisanal, independent, skilful, visually beautiful and quirky are the basic requirements.Shallow, pretentiousness, maybe twatty , yes all of those things but supporting local businesses and taking pleasure in something simple is no bad thing.I popped the word coffee into the search bar of my image archive. I had not expected it to serve quite so much…This blog will be longer. than I thought and I’ve only chosen the best pictures.April was always going to be tricksy in our coffee world. Hutong Cafe,just outside Royal William Yard in Plymouth, our most regular coffee house is closed for refurbishment.

https://m.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Hugo inspecting Hutong light box

Similarly another regular spot, Koffehuis at Sutton Harbour was closing for good as the owner was returning to Holland.

Koffehuis A board

That leaves us with Jacka, the countries oldest working bakery on The Barbican.

https://m.facebook.com/JackaBakery/

Coffee at Jacka

and the diminutive but bursting with great cake. Cakewhole on Wilton Street in Plymouth.

Home

Coffee and Cake at Cakewhole

My final piece of Plymouth Coffee Porn comes from Ocean Studios , inside the Royal William Yard.

https://www.oceanstudios.org.uk/

Coffee and Cake at Ocean Studios

Column Bakehouse who run the cafe at Ocean Studios also have a great cafe at their Bakery, coincidentally another Old Mortuary. At Devonport Guildhall.

https://m.facebook.com/ColumnBakehouse/

Coffee and Pastry at Column Bakehouse

Other great coffee places happen in Plymouth, I just don’t have photographic evidence.Good Coffee HQ in Ebrington Street is one.Black Sheep Brew in nearby Tavistock sells the mythical Monmouth Coffee from London’s Borough Market.

https://m.facebook.com/GoodCoffeeHeadquarters/https

://www.blacksheepbrew.uk/https://www.monmouthcoffee.co.uk/

Monmouth at Borough Market

Let’s be honest Plymouth is also the home of some shocking coffee, not all sold by chains, although they do account for a lot of crimes against the bean.South East Cornwall is not a friend to great coffee. My only happy coffee photo comes from The Canteen at Maker.

Coffee at Canteen at Maker

Liberty Coffee at Launceston is well worth the trip when world wakes up again.

Liberty Coffee , Launceston

Coffee Porn @theoldmortuary is off on a little travelogue now. As luck would have it there is a great cup of coffee as we leave the SouthWest.Otter Valley Ice Cream on the A30 does a lot more than Ice Cream.

Lola at Otter Valley Ice Cream

Lynnwood Coffee in Lechlade features heavily, not only because they do great coffee but our friends love to send us Coffee Porn from there. A lot of Coffee Porn.

Many Coffees and comestibles at Lynwood

Further afield in England we found this gem in Bury-St-Edmunds in Suffolk. Paddy and Scott’s

Paddy and Scotts

A regular favourite in London, even though it has become quite a big chain is Gail’s Dulwich Village. Cheese straws by which all others are judged.

Gail’s, Dulwich Village

Finally a curious place for coffee, a butchers shop in Southampton, famed quite rightly for their breakfasts the coffee was great too.http://www.uptonsbutchers.co.uk/

Upton’s of Bassett

In no particular order here is a tiny world tour of coffee houses we have loved.

Uncle Sam’s Pancakes

Breakfast in South Korea, we stayed in an Airbnb in an untouristy suburb of Seoul, Yongsun-gu. Uncle Sam’s Pancake was our closest cafe. This next image was my birthday breakfast also in Yongsun-Gu.

Anonymous in Seoul

Havana in Cuba gave great everything, it is a wonderful country.Coffee here is represented by art. A sculpture made from old and damaged Stove-top Espresso pots.

Coffee Pot Sculpture, Havana

Toronto in Canada gave us a lot of coffee action. I had a bad knee injury and we were ‘forced’ to rest often in coffee shops.https://www.hotblack-coffee.com/

HotBlackCoffee

HotBlackCoffee Queen Street, Toronto.

Kobrick, NY, NY

Kobrick Coffee, amazing vintage coffee house serving great coffee and wonderful Jazz in the Meatpacking District.https://www.kobricks.com/A reward after a blisteringly hot walk on The High-Line, my favourite park in the world.https://www.thehighline.org/Although it’s landscaping did cause the knee injury that forced so much coffee drinking in New York.It is only a tiny tour, bringing up the rear is Hong Kong. Birthplace of both Hannah and our lovely VV.

Coffee Academics , Hong Kong

Hong Kong also gave us two lovely coffee quotes. From the stools at Coffee Academics.

My last picture comes from Hoi An, I’ve used it before in blogs but it represents, for me, the current situation and a hope that nattering in coffee shops will become normal again.This pillow rests on a bench in a tea house , that also serves great coffee, where noise and conversation is discouraged always.

Reaching Out Tea House, Hoi An

What a difference the sun makes.

I make an irregular, regular trip into Plymouth a couple of times a month. The irregularity is regulated by the Sourdough levels in my freezer. About a year ago I discovered the wonder that is Jacka Bakery , 38 Southside Street, Plymouth.IMG_9198I’ve been a sourdough hunter for years. Always on a quest for perfection. Easy enough when I lived in London where the population can support any number of Artisan bakers, not so easy elsewhere. Don’t even start me on supermarket sourdough or the debacle that was making my own. Imagine the pleasure I get from knowing this fabulous bakery is within easy reach ; the bread freezes and defrosts easily ,remaining in perfect condition.

Bread is not their only output , they make the best chocolate croissants and have a Cakes of the Day selection. There are also a few tables for coffee to accompany the cake. I’ve not tried the coffee .

The Coffee addict at theoldmortuary.design is away in Cheltenham, instagramming the coffee shops and bakeries of Gloucestershire.

Anyway I digress , my last visit to Jacka prompted a vibrant painting of bright daylight reflected in the Barbican Harbour. The painting was created using the imagery of several photographs of oil, paint and some litter floating on the surface in a corner of the harbour.IMG_9082.JPGIt was a jewel bright day but bitterly cold as I took a series of photos that became this painting.

This morning, a much more typical Plymouth day, the view could not be more different.IMG_9196

That is pretty yucky and hasn’t inspired me to crack open the paints. However as I returned from the bakery a man was fishing out all the debris and detritus to make the Barbican look pretty again. It’s Pirate Weekend , a historically inaccurate , festival of all things piratey and plundery. ( I say historically inaccurate simply because it is unimaginable that Plymothians, back in the day , concentrated on getting litter out of the harbour in preparation for imminent Pirate arrival)

I however would have made sure my bread supplies were up to scratch, you never know who might pop in for toast .

IMG_7953

So there you have it , goodness knows how many WordPress training  topics I’ve covered there . Thank you for your patience , I’m off to hashtag now and then I’m done.