Pandemic Ponder #105

Some blogs just write themselves. I warned that blogs written this week would probably be composed sitting, in comfort, on a sofa whilst watching recordings of Glastonbury Festivals of the past.

Three pieces of serendipity have mapped this blog.

1. It is being written on a Wednesday, which as you can see from an old poem suggests that “Wednesdays child is full of woe” ( I am not a Wednesdays child)

2. It follows PP#104 which is about the word desolate which is officially inclined towards woeful.

3. Mark Radcliffe, the DJ presenter of the BBC’s archival coverage for Glastonbury 2020 introduced me to a new word.

Kenopsia- The forlorn atmosphere of a place that is normally bustling with people but is now abandoned.

One word that completely describes Worthy Farm in June 2020.
https://glastonburyfestivals.co.uk/

Researching Kenopsia took me to this article from the Independent Newspaper.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/the-top-ten-obscure-sorrows-10506971.html

Follow the link for the full ten. I’ve cherry- picked the ones that resonate with @theoldmortuary.

The Independent took their ten from the early workings of a book that is soon to be published.

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.
https://www.dictionaryofobscuresorrows.com/

I’ve delved into the same material and come up with some words that slip perfectly into future Ponders. For now I present my current woeful favourites.

Anticipointment. The realisation that the excitement and expectation of an event are greater than the reality.

This word is a true slap-down for an optomist, she wrote, pessimistically.

Monachopsis. Subtle maladaption. The sense that you are not quite in the right place.

Like a seal mum who lumbers onto land to endure the discomfort of birth and its after-effects in an environment that makes her clumsy and not quite in control.

Knowing that she will become graceful and confident again when she and her pup can glide back into the sea.

Zenosine. The sense that time keeps going faster.

I can only add Zenosine+P

Where exactly did Pandemic Ponderings #1 to #105 go.

July 1st already, utter madness.

Thanks to the BBC and Mark Radcliffe for fueling this blog with a new word used in their Glastonbury coverage.

The research for the blog has taken me to some intriguing places and gave me the perfect ending to blog PP#105.

Diligence and the internet led me to someone called the ‘ Disappointed Optimist’. Fact checking for accuracy got me this far.

Pandemic Pondering #101

@theoldmortuary had a bit of a Sunday snooze .Having a guest author for PP#100 was a great chance to step back and have a think. As many parts of the world ease out of Lockdown it could have been a good place to stop but the virus is still out there with no sign of a vaccine. The pandemic is not over so neither is the pondering.

Better later than never this little blog is about a sailor from World War 1. The sea being a bit of a theme on the cusp of PP#100
I found a plaque recording his story at the Lost Gardens of Heligan today. Charles Dyer was one of twenty gardeners who had worked at Heligan before WW1 who ultimately lost their lives as a consequence of that conflict.

https://www.heligan.com/

Charles’ story is a little more complicated than many. This plaque tells his story.

In 1918 Charles was hospitalised at Chatham Naval Dockyard. One day he put on his uniform and walked out of the Dockyard never to be seen again. He was listed as a deserter and his family were shamed and deprived of a pension.

2 years later a body was found in a wood close to the dockyard. It was identified as Charles by his wedding ring. He was taken off the deserters list, his family granted a pension and his body was returned to Mevagissy Cemetery and given a Commonwealth War Grave headstone.

I’ve aged some photographs I took today to illustrate this desolate tale.

Pandemic Pondering #94

Northern hemisphere Summer Solstice 2020 and in Britain Stonehenge is all closed up and guarded by security.

Gathering in numbers is still illegal, although on our evening walk there were larger gatherings,than permitted, out and about but pretty nasty rain would have dispersed them. So the longest day will still pass without being marked in a communal way.

Trawling the archive seemed the right way to mark a solstice like no other.

For interest sake I researched the days either side of the solstice.

Without too much trouble it was easy to see some themes and maybe a little bit of Midsummer Madness.

1. People

Today @theoldmortuary spent time with our daughter and granddaughter.

In past years we’ve spent time with Brenda our mother-in-law. Who in this picture was captured by a sunbeam. We will also see her again today, who knows if she will bring the sunbeam again.

Breakfast in Southampton with Uncle Mohammed and Aunty Margaret who live in Canada but were passing through.

2. My fascination with street signs.

3. A fascination with stairs.

4. Flowers

5. Aberdeen , Hong Kong

6. Cups

7. Dogs , ending with a sunset on the longest day.

Pandemic Pondering#92

This image of Hugo pretty much sums up my lifelong indifference to one of Britain’s favourite sports, football or soccer. As a blog that very loosely charts social history it seemed wrong not to mention the return of competitive sport to England.

Initially I didn’t give the cancellation of sporting fixtures much thought, but sporting events are, at the very least, background noise in the cultural life of a country. Significant events mark the gentle climb out of winter hibernation because they get media attention. The Six Nations Rugby tournament, The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race and the Grand National are as much a sign of Spring in Britain as a Daffodil. Even if you pay them no attention they exist. Except this year they didn’t because of Covid-19.

I missed the sporting markers of Spring.

I must be one of the least capable people to contemplate writing a blog about sport. Pondering is exactly that sometimes . How does the return of professional football touch, however briefly, my Ponderings..

Words of course.

I do love intelligent conversation about any subject. In some ways it is relaxing to have no opinions on the subject being discussed.

Football my aural pleasure.

Quite a few years ago @theoldmortuary were in a Jamaican cafe, in East Dulwich. One of only two tables occupied.

The table behind us had three men on it talking animatedly but most importantly, intelligently, about football.

Obviously, we eavedropped a lot, our magical Harry Potter stretchy ears weaving invisibly onto the next table.

We remarked , once we had left, how great it was to hear football discussed so wisely. When we left we realised we had been listening to two retired players talking with the owner of the cafe. This was my late introduction to an interest in football talk and the seed of an idea to carry this blog.

Football is much in the news this week . Post lockdown the men’s professional teams have started playing matches in empty stadiums in order to complete their 2020 fixtures.

More importantly a 22 year old professional footballer, Marcus Rashford used social media to eloquently force the British government to perform a U-turn on policy regarding providing meal vouchers for the most vulnerable schoolchildren during the long summer vacation.

Thankfully podcasts have brought us as much intelligent football/sport chatter as we can handle since the ‘ East Dulwich Ear Incident.

Flintoff, Savage and the Ping Pong Guy accompany our long car journeys.
https://g.co/kgs/XiyDTW

Just this week I’ve caught two football podcasts.

Gary Neville applies Sports psychology to real life on Out to Lunch with Jay Rayner.A fascinating natter over simultaneous take away food about philanthropy and football. During the pandemic Out for Lunch has become, in for a takeaway, on your own with a lap top.

Lame joke me would have preferred it if his brother Phil had actually discussed the same topics.
https://castbox.fm/x/1FqhV

Then out of nowhere our favourite coffee shop launched their own football podcast.
https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=544048&refid=asa
https://m.facebook.com/TheHutongCafe/

Headphones replace Harry Potter Ears but the effect is just as pleasing.

Daisies growing in the penalty box lines on a disused football pitch.

So here’s the conundrum , we’ve really not missed sport itself in the last three months but it will be good to hear about it again,and for it to mark time through the seasons. For actual pleasure and also importsntly because Eating Podcasts have filled the void left by sport. That is not entirely a good thing.

Meanwhile Lola can also demonstrate sporting indifference every bit as well as Hugo.

This is not a football club bench!

This is not a sports blog.

Pandemic Pondering #82

Today @theoldmortuary attended the webcam funeral for a dear friend and regular reader of this blog. I think he would consider himself ordinary but actually he was one of the loveliest people you could hope to meet. There was so much love in St Petrocs Chapel it was easy to feel comfortable with this new way of celebrating and marking the passing of a life well lived.

The celebrant and family created a beautiful service that warmly evoked everything about our friend. Wonderful music had us dabbing at our eyes from almost the first note. Could this be a new way to mark the passing of someone when there are reasons that make actual attending of a funeral difficult.

For the first time ever , we travelled, digitally on this occasion,to the Crematorium at Bodmin. It was a beautiful day and the natural backdrop was perfect.

Is a daily blog, particularly in a pandemic, Social History ? Particularly in the hands of an ordinary person who just ponders and then writes about it.

I wondered about the appropriateness of mentioning a funeral in a blog, but it was an experience that has been altered by the Pandemic and this is our new normal for the foreseeable future. It may shape the future of mourning or it may just be for now.

If nothing else a daily blog is a way of recording the changes we are all experiencing.

Pandemic Pondering #76

Living in Lockdown and the accidental rise of Orange. Yesterday, Pandemic Pondering #75 was about serendipitous gifts. It was not my best blog as it had two threads which I failed to entwine as well as I might have done. One of the serendipitous gifts, of yesterday was a retro, wind-up alarm clock.

In a gorgeous wake- up orange. It feels lovely to have a ticking clock in the house again. Something I hadn’t realised I’d missed until it was back.
As an Artist I’ve always loved orange , but in general non-arty life I am a little more cautious. I only have one piece of orange clothing. A bold, linen shirt from a market in Hong Kong. It doesn’t get a lot of wear as it feels a little shouty in the habitual grey weather of Cornwall but when the sun is out so is the shirt.
https://www.annglinen.com/

Early on in the pandemic lockdown I felt the urge to wear it. This was in April , not a month that usually sees this shirt out and about. Pre pandemic along with the shirt there were little pops of orange in our lives. This beautiful mug and the handbag hanging on the Newel post are by my elbow as I write.


https://www.repeatrepeat.co.uk/contemporary-bone-china-mugs/menagerie.html
https://www.mulberry.com/gb/shop/women/bags

Here is a snippet of orange in my art.

The arrival of the orange alarm clock made me consider my new fascination with the colour.During Lockdown the percentage of orange images in my archive has gone up 75% since the same time period last year. Fortunately I have two excellent colour theory books to read during the day before I finish this blog and maybe I can share some of my freshly harvested wisdom.

I wonder if subliminally orange is and has always been a secret pleasure. I have a favourite piece of Poole Pottery that I inherited from my parents. It has a prominent position in the same room as the newly acquired alarm clock.

With my newly attuned orange eye it completely fits the brief of a secret pleasure.

Edith Anderson Feisner in her book Colour, says” Orange is present in nature, in the setting sun, autumn leaves, fruit and flowers. It stands out well and creates a sense of warmth” From the same source Orange is a positive colour , it suggests warmth, fruitfulness, brightness,cheerfulness and spice. The only negatives are brashness and danger.
What came first the Orange or the colour?

Kassia St Clair,in her book The Secret Lives of Colour, is emphatic.Definitely the fruit,the fruit probably first cultivated in China but then quickly spread around the world attracting the name nãrang, nãranj,nãranga,nãranja,oranje and orange.

As a colour descriptive it only emerged in 1502 replacing the more cumbersome yellow-red. Kandinsky, a fellow synesthete, describes orange as a red brought closer to humanity by yellow.

A fellow blogger has told me that in Cornish the word Orange does not exist and it is still known as rudh- velyn , red-yellow. Thanks to Sandra , who writes a blog that I like to wallow in.
http://acornerofcornwall.com

None of this is particularly helpful in explaining why I’m attracted to orange in the middle of a pandemic. The internet is not helpful, it seems far more interested in the increased worldwide consumption of Orange juice. Perhaps I should be drinking it rather than looking at it.Time to share my little obsession.

A flat-lay in the garden. Flat lays are beloved by Instagram, I’m not very experienced in doing these and they can seem contrived and dull, lacking in creative individuality but done well they can be spectacular.
https://www.befunky.com/learn/flat-lay-photography/

Here is a little rust heart from the Love Tree. Pandemic Pondering #73

A Marigold from the garden.

The Orange Box Pandemic Pondering #38 and #23

The peony in a vase on the fireplace.

Our collection of early penguins.

A honey spoon on the coffee table. Pandemic Pondering #18

Oranges at Tate Modern. Pre Pandemic but only just. Contemporary art that we could eat.

Orange, I’m still not sure why.

Pandemic Pondering#75

It is a complete coincidence that #75 is occuring on the day that Lockdown restrictions are being eased in Britain.

I have pondered when exactly I would stop writing Pandemic Ponderings. If things were uncertain in Pandemic Pondering #1, there is no greater clarity as I reach #75. The uncertainties are different but not less. At #1 I wondered what would become of this country, led, as we are, by not particularly competent politicians. By #75 I no longer have to wonder because we are all pretty much in the dark. I do have to think very hard for myself about how and when I will ease my own lockdown and introduce myself back into a different world, because our government has not given me the confidence to think that they are capable of giving the best advice.

In consequence, pondering will continue until it feels right to stop. I am the best judge of this.

#75 is a significant number and, by serendipity, today really rose to the challenge of making a day memorable.

Memorable Moment #1

A friend shared this simple piece of text explaining one reason why we all need to be cautious about rushing out of Lockdown, for other people’s sake.

Thanks Tessa for the following message.

A quick lesson about autoimmune diseases. It is a disease where instead of your white blood cells protecting your body from invaders, they turn around and attack your cells, tissues and organs. Chronic fatigue is a symptom. It is not a cold or the flu, you will never get better, and even a nap will not help. Just eating a salad and hitting the gym won’t slim your face or get the pounds off. Sleeping 10 hours doesn’t leave you well rested, ever. The last minute changes in plans because that “just got ran over” feeling never makes appointments, it just walks in whenever you aren’t ready. Painful joints, muscles and bones, dry skin, breaking hair, hair loss, mood swings, and depression are just the tip of the iceberg. You are also prone to having multiple autoimmune diseases, they typically come in pairs of two. You easily catch viral and bacterial infections. Currently Covid 19 is the worry. You have days where no matter how hard you try, you just can’t smile for anyone.
I urge you to think twice before passing judgment and thinking our nation is overreacting to the extra measures being taken to curb the spread of this virus. YOU might be able to recover from it no problem however, carry it to SOMEONE WITH AN AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE and that individual won’t be as lucky. A list , maybe not exhaustive, of Auto immune diseases.All of them exhausting!
Severe Asthma, Addison’s disease, Endometriosis, M.E, Rheumatoid Arthritis, POTS, sarcoidosis, MCAD, Sjogren’s, Scleroderma, Hashimoto Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia, Lupus, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitis, Raynauld’s Syndrome, Diabetes, Mould Illness, Celiac, CROHN’S, Ulcerative Colitis, Pemphigus, SPS, MS, PBC, Psoriatic Arthritis, CIDP, MMN, GPA , CRPS

Memorable Moment #2

A neighbour, Gil, popped a recipe through the door for a low carb no dairy supper. If we avoid the New Potatoes. Thanks Gil.

Memorable Moment #3

These beautiful earrings arrived from a friend, currently caring for her parents in Canada. They represent our shared love of Daffodils with the beautiful Citrine beads.

Thanks Kathy

Memorable Moment #4

There is something wonderful about seeing people for the first time after lockdown. My bookclub has been having a regular, monthly, WhatsApp chat about books. For the first time today 5 of us used the video mode, it was lovely to see such happy familiar faces. Thanks Bookworms.

Memorable Moment #5

A friend gave us this orange retro alarm clock today. It is living in the actual old mortuary @theoldmortuary. I think the time has come to write an orange blog.

Thanks Jeannie

Memorable Moment#6

Three generations standing in the flisvos of the retreating tide.

Thanks Sam and VV and the beauty of the Greek language.

Pandemic Ponderings #45

Sunday takes a similar shape to any other day in the pandemic lock-down but there are accessories to the day which make it different. Sunday permits laziness in the hours that would normally be spent with family and friends. The dogs get walked , books and newspapers get read. There is always cake. Cake in a Pandemic is a serious business, there is nothing flimsy about our pandemic cakes. They are always home- made and are described as having ‘heft’.Everything about our cake choices is hefty. The flavours are strong, Guinness, Cocoa, Strong Coffee and the textures are extreme. Super moist brownie, deep black dense texture or richly golden crumble.

We seem to be adopting bold colours and bold flavours during this lockdown. I wonder if it’s because the world seems brighter when we are allowed out so our indoor life has to get brighter and bolder too.

The tulips in the house are feeling pretty bold too. Or are they hefty?

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.

P.S

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.
https://www.bloglovin.com/blogs/londonist-792557/toilet-roll-in-london-a-feculent-history-7444378015

Pandemic Pondering #42

I’m not normally a lover of alliterative phrases linked to days of the week or names of the month, although I do quite like cleverer, less trite, alliteration. Today though #ThrowbackThursday, works for me, as the glasses featured are very retro.

Today the weather in Cornwall is strange. It’s been windy and stormy overnight and the heavy rain of the early morning, interspersed with bright glorious sunshine, was at one point replaced by icy hail. I realise that this scenario is just local to us and it set me thinking.

It is said about Covid- 19, Coronovirus that we are all in the same boat in the storm.

But we are not all in the same boat , we are not even all in the same storm.

We all share a storm in common, but we also all have our own storms and boats that determine how we cope with the shared storm.

In common with many, we are cooking a lot more, remembering dreams more vividly and are craving coffee and curiously bright colours.

Which brings me to the point of this pondering. I got caught in the Hail storm this morning whilst walking the dogs, it’s not what I expected in late April, but I also didn’t expect a sharp bright shaft of sunlight to give me such pleasure this morning.

We’ve been using some 1960’s or 70’s glasses to brighten up our water drinking during the lock-down. They were a gift from our friend Steph who gave them to us as a keepsake from her parents house.

They go in the dishwasher just like any other glasses. When I got in from the hailstone walk, sunlight was pouring through the window and then onto these freshly clean glasses. The Abstract patterns that illustrate this blog were created on the work surface for about five minutes between showers and absolutely illustrate why a slightly quixotic decision was a good one.

We are not all in the same boat

Or even the exact same storm

Surprising things will happen

Sometimes fresh out of the dishwasher.