Pandemic Pondering #406

Our second Mayday weekend of the Pandemic has passed. In many ways that seems more something to reflect on than Easter weekend. Mayday is associated with joyous events in our corner of the world. @theoldmortuary there is no particular pattern or traditional behaviours. Locally we have a May Fair, a rare event in our locality to wander the main street and bump into people that we know. In comparison to other May Day events it is no great shakes so we are not always faithful to it. The picture above is of a local gentleman who is always there and always dresses up in a meticulous costume to bring a smile to peoples faces.

One Mayday we hired Mr Blue Sky as a belated birthday gift, we all have birthday s around Christmas so belated gifts are not unusual. Mr Blue Sky took us to the Gower Peninsular, for happy, but chilly, camping.

Last May Day the world was reeling from the realised impact of the Pandemic and @theoldmortuary we were reeling from various life changing events that were landing on us to add to the burden of Pandemic angst. Life felt a bit like this safety sign for the quiet lanes nearby, where horse riding and cars share the space.

The sadness and difficulty of this time last year have given us all a push in new and unexpected directions. We have to see the world through the lens of our communal and personal losses and experiences of the last year.

In my experience all things tend to follow Newtons 3rd Law of Physics.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

The things that made last May Day and the surrounding period of life quite shitty have altered the world and each persons perception and lived experience of this May Day, and all days.

A year ago @theoldmortuary would not have considered sea swimming to be a natural part of life and yet this year it couldn’t be more natural than to take a dip in the sea and feel utterly captivated and joyous about it.

We’ve bonded with some lovely people over the last 6 months in chill sea and the socially distanced warm up after.

Also last year or any previous year a trip to Ikea would not have been on our acceptable activities list. But yesterday we made a small list and joined a Disney length queue to get into our local, Exeter, store.

Because of Covid restrictions the store was not packed with people but it was packed with texture and colours and smells. The stand out smell was the carpet department, just delicious!

Sadly no meatball lunch as indoor eating is still not permitted. But looking through our altered lens the trip to Ikea on a Bank Holiday weekend was an absolute pleasure not a chore.

It unexpectedly lit up our life.

Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Sometimes you just have to look for it.

Pandemic Pondering #404

Today we took a trip to Totnes. The last time we took a trip deeper into Devon it was 6 months ago when we also went to Totnes to do Christmas shopping for the Christmas that never was.

By coincidence we recieved this traditional May Day gift of Lily of the valley from a friend who lives in France this morning, she and I have worked, danced and laughed together in Totnes and Brighton long before real life and children tamed us.

Totnes is an alternative type of place with a firm sense of the importance of traditional and Pagan festivals. Ordinarily a trip to Totnes on Beltane/Mayday would be a whirling,  psychedelic , Maypole dancing festival of alternative experiences. Only partially out of Lockdown, today was never going to be as vibrant as normal but our visit today was still vivid in a low key way. Just to celebrate Beltane in its Phallic/ Fertility glory I captured an appropriate shadow.

Accidental because the reason for the photograph was this lost earring, preserved, for its owner to find on top of a bollard that has been many different colours in the past.

Other bollards dressed up for the occasion.

Totnes is a rich source of Street Art. Some featuring Tom of Finland . Quite appropriate for a festival kind of day.

And some just near some spiral stairs which is about as close to a Maypole as we got in 2021.

The smells from Street food and Coffee from the many independent cafes can’t be reproduced with words. Neither can the sounds of music in the streets,  layered together , sometimes with a fusion no one would ever plan ( Prog Rock and Church bells) and other times with a mellifluence that was hard to walk away from ( Harp and Violin). Totnes made us smile today.

Beltane wouldn’t be Beltane without the leafy face of the Green Man.

Awaiting the arrival and union with a Goddess.

Accompanied by Mythic men.

And chariot driving , wise women.

The brightest of Beltane wishes to all.

Pandemic Pondering#43

May Day Ponderings start with a mosaic of flowers I’ve captured during Lockdown.

MayDay is pretty significant in Cornwall , usually, with Fairs and Parades.

In Essex where I grew up it was less significant, I remember watching, on TV, parades of military hardware in Communist Countries.

For no particular reason my primary school set up Maypole dancing classes. A riot of tangled ribbons where badly behaved boys sabotaged the less than accurate danced weavings of the girls. I think there was the promise of us doing a demonstration dance somewhere. I don’t think the Manor Street Primary School Maypole team was ever called into active service.

Here I am in Cornwall on one of its favourite festive days and I have nothing to report,but I can share a last image of pale blooms until next year.

May Day 2021, lets all get as giddy as Maypole dancers and hug each other until our bones hurt. It’s a date.


If you enjoyed Pandemic Pondering#18 about loo rolls , I’ve just read a fabulous blog written on 28th April 2020 about the history of toilet rolls.

Follow this link for enlightenment.