Pandemic Pondering #250

How to celebrate #250, maybe by a good old ponder that links some random thoughts and pictures.  Yesterday’s blog about my volunteer shift at The Box confirmed to my own rules of blogging about volunteering at the new Museum and Art gallery. Namely that I would only talk about the spaces as I experienced them, and got to know them well enough to natter usefully.

Steps and stairs at The Box

Small stairs rather than big steps. Illustrated here by the entrance to the all important shop. I like to know what I’m pondering about and it introduces the museum to the blog in bitesize chunks as I learn. There are some tough subjects in some of the galleries.

I was an avid attender of the old museum and art gallery and had some lovely times there with my children and also with my parents when they visited from Essex. I had a tiny moment of sadness yesterday when I saw this door furniture; all shiny, retro and, to many people, insignificant.

This door furniture would have been used by everyone who ever left the old museum. My dad would have used this handle to  proudly hold the door open while I manhandled, or woman handled, the pushchair holding his precious grandchildren, after visits to the museum on rainy days. Hannah’s parents would have visited and used this door on many occasions. I miss them all and wish we could share this new experience with them . I’m only pondering this sad connection because so many people I spoke to yesterday felt the same about the restored old parts of the museum. Many got glassy- eyed when talking about their love for the old building , reminiscing about past visits with families, now deceased. The magnificence and quality of the restoration inspired some lovely stories.

I suppose this blog is about the insignificant textures of a building and their importance. The bar at The Box has a beautiful texture and it was lovely to see small people touching it with such evident pleasure yesterday, even if in these Covid-19 times it is not to be encouraged. I hope visitors love this new museum as much as the old one was and that it too becomes entwined in collective family memories.

Pandemic Ponderings #68

Some days are harder than others to distil down into a blog , on those days I often dig out a topic or theme and ponder on. But today deserves its moment in the sun.its just a struggle to find the right words.

We, like many others have been deprived of seeing our families . Today and tomorrow we have arranged to meet a small part of our small family, respecting government guidelines.

Obviously meeting loved ones has been looked forward to and anticipated with pleasure .

Lockdown is known to mess with most people’s heads . There are the obvious things like worry, insomnia, depression, grief . The serious proper head messes. I’ve had some of those but a few times I’ve had a curious little head mess that puzzles rather than worries me, and although you might think it is sad it doesn’t sadden me. It occurs in the Limnal spaces of my thoughts or when I’m waking or dropping off to sleep.

Sometimes imagining meeting with my actual living family after so many days of lockdown and self isolation gets complicated.

In these moments there are other people at these family gatherings. People like my parents or father-in- law who have been dead a very long while or Hannah’s parents who have crossed into the other realm more recently. I don’t put them in my thoughts they just appear and seeing them,after a gap of more than 30 years in some cases, feels as natural and normal as seeing the living people after only 3 months. The closest thing I can use to describe the sensation is Magical Realism.

https://bookriot.com/2018/02/08/what-is-magical-realism/

My entirely normal family is not going to be a powerful tool against political regimes any time soon, but my head, albeit briefly, sees nothing incongruous about me meeting my granddaughter in the presence of many dead relations. It seems to be entirely normal and quite unworrisome.

I’m really not sure where these thoughts are coming from.

Today , far away from Limnal spaces none of the deceased put in an appearance. The beach at Harlyn bay just held the live family members that I’ve missed so greatly. There was plenty of room for the others, they just didn’t put in an appearance.

Minds and thoughts are complex at the best of times, how much other strange and intriguing stuff will this curious period of our lives give us to ponder over.

Pandemic Pondering #51

A complex image with a lot going on.

Pondering now and yearning for the ‘New Normal’

This reflects our minds at the moment @theoldmortuary. It’s Saturday, a day before the Government presents the new roadmap of British Life in Lockdown.

That’s one roadmap to consider then, there is our personal new roadmap to think about and the roadmaps of those we hold dear. That’s a lot of roadmaps to keep twirling. We keep busy and we work hard physically but sometimes in this pandemic those two things are not enough to keep us asleep at night.

What we all need are our friends and family, close enough to hug, squeeze, weep on and snuggle into. We are all denied that. We are touchers, I hadn’t realised quite how much we touch our friends and family. I miss you all physically, emotionally and desperately.

Ironically during Lockdown we have gained some new friends and many of our neighbours have certainly raised in status to aquaintances. The epic week working on the Cornish Hedge outside the oldmortuary gained many regular friends and quite a few offers of contracts to tidy up other people’s gardens. A new friend, S, has suggested we call our business “The Lady Gardeners”. Seriously our skill level is way below a name of that Calibre. We swap calories with S, containers of baked and cooked goods find their way from one house to the other whilst maintaining social distance. Those foods are then shared a third way with MLR who is isolating completely, she in turn provides our grandchild’s plush pig with crocheted super hero clothes.

We work on the theory that shared calories don’t count and obviously all super heroes wear crochet.

We’ve never met MLR or indeed M who is part of the food share and lives with S. But we have seen him on a balcony. This all goes to prove you create friends that you don’t touch or even get closer than 2 metres and even don’t really know.

Friendship is an organic thing.

Other 2 metre friends, A and K were first met last week in two different social distancing queues. By the power of Facebook we met them in a queue again today and then spent some moments sitting in the sun 3 metres apart enjoying a take out breakfast.

Then we took the dogs for a walk to a favourite ‘pop up’ social distancing coffee shop and met two of the owners who we’ve known as customers for three years and usually greet with a hug.

Then outside Lockdown, there is the infinite variety of our longstanding friends and family that exist ‘out there’ that we cannot see face to face or talk to without using technology.

Friends and family come in all shapes and sizes with varying longevity we are missing you all, we’ve added some strangers to the mix while we’ve been apart.

New Normal cannot get here fast enough. Someone find us the roadmap. We are desperate.

Pandemic Pondering #28

The inevitable has happened, a friend, who I loved bumping into, has died, not of Coronovirus but something that had got its claws into her long ago. It was undeserved as most deaths are and the world has lost a fabulous ball of energy. Not for me the excoriating grief of close friends or family, more a sort of dull acceptance of the inevitability of an inevitable event.

I suppose I’m describing the loss of someone to whom I was not close close but whose company I really valued when our busy lives coincided.

Our last such meeting was serendipitous, one of her favourite words and one that I stole soon after I met her.

My little town was briefly brought to a standstill by hundreds of motorcycling Santa’s.

I had ‘popped’ out to collect keys from an estate agent,a job that should have taken 10 minutes, two hours later I was using an unusual route to find my car which I had left down by the river.

My friend and I met, I was hugely surprised, not only because she was already terminally ill but because she lived 5 miles away and our little town is never going to be on anyone’s bucket list of things to do before you die.

We hugged and made one another laugh, caught up on each others news and shared snippets of information about our friends in- common that either of us had met recently.

She has never had ‘ an Elephant in the room’ . Her Cancer story was never hidden and her progress, or not ,with it was well known. We shared an update.

” It’s bloody everywhere now”

” That is such a bugger, bastard thing”

We agreed to catch up with some other friends ‘ In the Spring’ . She caught her bus and I walked down a 45 degree hill to find my car.

As usual meeting her had lifted my heart and soul , maybe some sadness but primarily she had, as usual, shone optimism and happiness into our conversation and we had luxuriated in sharing the use of the word Serendipitous, as we always did.

So here I am in April , she has died. Coronovirus and it’s social restrictions have cancelled Spring meetings, even if Cancer hadn’t already done it’s bit to blight our springtime meeting. Coronovirus has shaped and impacted the way us second tier mourners do mourning. I can’t go round to our shared friends and give them a hug, drink tea and wallow in reminiscing, love and happy memories. Hugging is the thing that wordlessly both links and restores us, it feels inhuman to endure bereavement without them. Hugging saves us saying too much or too little and making the misery worse. It also offers the opportunity of sorting out leaking eyes or a snotty nose behind someone’s back.

Not for anyone in the second tier of connection to her and many in the first the chance to gather together to celebrate and mourn the loss of a veritable power house of a woman.

It all feels kind of blunt really. Dreadfull sadness with no ability to hug or share seems to take on a previously unimaginable direction and poignancy.

The power of Hugging, I miss it.

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.

Advent#20

Nearly Home Trees- watercolour by Juliet Cornell

The Nearly Home Trees.

Cookworthy Knapp. 140 Beech trees, planted 120 years ago near Lifton on the border of Devon and Cornwall. Clearly seen from the A30. They have become a sign to many returners and travellers that they are ‘nearly home’ or ‘ nearly there’

This coming weekend will see the highest volume of road traffic, of the year, on the A30 and A38 . Those who travel on the A30 in daylight hours will see the familiar mound of trees on the hill and feel a whole kalaidoscope of emotions . Love being the most significant in all its nuances, textures and intensities.