Saturday 11th September 2021. I woke up this morning with a surprise realisation. It is 20 years since 9/11. Obviously there have been documentaries and news articles swirling around this week. The simple difference between how the U.S and the U.K write dates down in short form gives the annual anniversary a lack of specificity. Here the anniversary of 9/11 occurs on 11/9. This simple difference spins my head around. I have mild disnumerancy and have to work hard with numbers. Because of this 9/11 represents not just a day but a whole season of memories. 20 years ago I had just started University as a mature student studying Fine Art, something I should have done long before I became mature. I was creating digital art for established musicians and I was a busy working mother. I had no personal involvement with the events of 9/11. The consequences of it changed my life.
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.
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.
The Art Group word, or words in this case, is Tuesday Treats. Hmmmm, not so sure that these are Tuesday specific treats and one of them is distinctly guilty of oversharing but here we go . These treats are mostly blog inspired. This is a bit of a classic meandering ponder.
The first one was a travel treat.
Teignmouth was completely unknown to us. What a gorgeous treat it was, amazing architecture, red sands and only a little tarnished with the usual seaside tat that Britain specialises in. We are going to go back with more time to explore so no more on the town but here we go with the oversharing.
The public loos were of a good standard . We were camping on a simple camp site with no facilities. Our van has toilet facilities but we observe strict rules which is why occasionally we visit a public loo. We popped in to perform the morning rituals not permitted in the van. Teignmouth Public Loos have a quite surprising soundtrack.
How staggeringly appropriate to hear at such a high volume Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple.
Smoke on the water,
Fire in the Sky
Smoke on the water.
I suppose the lyrics resonated at some level with the action to be performed.
The volume certainly resonated through the Municipal porcelain setting up a micro reverberation. Quite Unusual.
Thank you Teignmouth, unforgettable!
No more oversharing but another warning. Pandemic Pondering # 201 shared the spoken word One Hit Wonder Desiderata. A regular blog reader shared Baz Luhrmans spoken word song Sunscreen in response. Written by Mary Smith it also became a One Hit Wonder. Like Teignmouth it was unknown to me until Saturday , it is quite a treat. Some of you may wish never to hear it again, call it the Desiderata effect.
Link to the Lyrics
Link to Youtube
This portion of the Lyrics feeds nicely into my final treat. Another Saturday gift, a quote from Tim Rice’s biography from my fabulously wordy friend Dai, who wrote Pandemic Pondering #100.
Unlike Dai, who was a good sportsman and team person, as well as being a word nerd. I was not a good sportsperson, just a word nerd and never picked for sports teams. I always dreaded that ghastly experience when team captains were nominated and then allowed to choose from the gathered throng their teams, taking it in turn to pick the brightest and the best. I knew all too well that I would be left until the end, self- consciously checking the integrity of my plimsolls in a diligent way to prove how disinterested in the whole thing I was.
I’m sure Dai has shoe boxes full of team photos where his youthful face beams out. I however have the Primary School photo to share.
I have no idea why my face composed itself in such a toothless gurn, from memory these things took a little while to set up.
I’m with Tim Rice though on this, my life story from this measurable point has been about getting older. How lucky am I that life continues to take me on a journey of discoveries, not all of them welcome, but all of them leading me on to become that little bit older every day. Some of the children in this picture have already stopped their journey and I’ve forgotten the names of most of them but every one is a precious vessel of their own story.
Tuesday Treats, a sharing of Saturdays Surprises.
I first met Mrs Marvellous at a Drawing Day, in the Autumn, organised by Drawn To The Valley, an art group based and inspired by the Tamar Valley. The Tamar, running North to South, forms the boundary between Devon and Cornwall. We arranged to meet again but work and life commitments got in the way until today.
This is not the blog I had expected to write but like all the best conversations at theoldmortuary it swirled and grew organically taking us in many directions, some of them sad but mostly hugely positive.
Mrs Marvellous uses appliqué, embroidery and quilting to create memorial quilts or pillows and dementia friendly aprons or lap quilts.
” I take the material fragments that embody the most priceless of times- the milestones, the adventures, the hurdles conquered- and stitch them into something magical to preserve memories”
Mrs Marvellous likes to meet the families who commission her quilts or aprons, just receiving a bag of anonymous fabrics wouldn’t feed the creative process for her at all . Engaging with families or friends who have lost someone to death or dementia must be tough, there are often tears but also pleasure in sharing stories. I know that when I have been sad and grieving Mrs Marvellous and her magical stitchery would have been just the uplift I would have needed to shed a little light into the gloom. After consultation, the families or friends collect clothes and textiles together for their bespoke item. All washed by the family they are delivered to Mrs Marvellous.
” Every parcel has its own fragrance, in part a vestigia of the person to be commemorated but also the fragrance of their washing products and home”
So much more than stitchery goes into every creation. Mrs Marvellous has had personal experience of both dementia and loss, but beyond that she is involved with Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance. She says Plymouth is a hotspot of dementia innovation and research. She advocates the need for protection of pride, respect and dignity for those living with dementia. Her lap quilts and aprons are designed to keep people warm and engaged, with pockets, textures, familiar fabrics, perhaps samples that are representational of their old life and loves. A brilliant techy addition to the magic of the creations is a tag sewn into its own pocket.
The tag activates recordings of favourite music or voice messages.
Three images of a dementia lap quilt. All completely washable. This is a man’s lap quilt. Apparently keys are hugely significant to men , equivalent to a woman’s handbag. Who knew?
The bottom image explains just a tiny proportion of the memories, textures and love sewn into this quilt.
I guess that’s more or less the blog I thought I’d write .
You just never know when you meet someone new how a conversation will flow. This one travelled like the Severn Bore. It surged in places, gently rolled in others and quietly crept where appropriate. Appropriate really as Mrs Marvellous grew up.in Clevedon, and played in the grounds of Clevedon Court.
We found people we knew in common, many that we didn’t. Talked at length about Drawn To The Valley, the art group we both belong to. Podcasts, Social media, Saltash all took a turn in our nattering. Finally. Finally! We ended with my Ice Breaking Questions. Clearly no Ice to break with Mrs M.
Mrs Marvellous favourite place in the Tamar Valley.
Mount Edgecumbe by the Folly overlooking Plymouth. Especially when fog hangs near the water, snaking up the river.
Mrs Marvellous best place to take friends.
The footpath walk along the river at Newbridge near Callington.
( I have to add a note of caution. Otters have been seen here. Good. My dogs love to roll in Otter poop. Bad)
Mrs Marvellous Sunny Day Outing
Devils Point Plymouth with a packed lunch.
( Another warning, don’t try this at night.)
Mrs Marvellous Rainy Day Outing.
Not one to share.
Her bedroom overlooking the Tamar through massive windows. Great accoustics with rain clattering on Velux windows and properly cosy apparently.
Mrs Marvellous best cafe.
Away from the Tamar for this one.
Inkies Cafe at Golitha Falls.