The dogs have a new beach of choice for one of their daily walks. It is a river beach that lies on the Devon side of the Hamoaze , a sort of watery border area, the sort known as 4 corners in some parts of the world. To the west is Cornwall, the east is Devon, north is the Tamar River and to the south the Atlantic, or Pymouth Sound. For the dogs the beach is a collection of freshly changed fascinating smells. At high tide the beach doesn’t exist but at mid tide a treasure trove of smells for them and treasure for their human companions is there for anyone to pick over. It is hard not to be fascinated by little pieces of sea glass and pottery. This handful was gathered in about ten minutes
The dogs love the area because even the most time conscious human loses all sense of time while picking up treasure. This allows them to sniff and track all manner of fascinating fragrances without interruption by a human anxious to get home. We go there so often I have created an indoor collection of ‘treasure’ that has definite boudaries. A box lid that can only contain a finite amount of bits. As new and more colourful bits are added, less interesting ones must be returned to the beach to continue their journeys.
So far this system has worked, only time can tell if discipline or hoarding will ultimately win.
Funny to start an early morning blog with a sunset but this one is a pointer to the next day, which is today.
Yesterday was a day of dreadful mists and traditional West Country Greige.Until this gloriously over the top sunset arrived, better late than never! The whole day had been an impenetratable colour and sensation of meh. My actual day was hardly any more enlightened with dull, domestic tasks and my relaxed moments filled with a book I had no wish to read. Over Christmas a small pile of lovely new books has appeared. I have yet to start any of them due to other reading commitments. In the greatest piece of bad luck, this months book group book is by a new- to- me author that I have a tiny bit of history with. I will name no names but the author is a well known T.V. presenter whose books, apparently, are both breathtaking and on many lists of bestsellers. Prior to Christmas,and probably against my better judgement I downloaded one of her literary mistresspieces. Having read one chapter I returned it, the prose being not quite to my taste. Flimsy would be my best description. Imagine my horror when the book club book for January was by the same author. I decided to adopt the cold water swimming approach and just get straight into it. I dedicated all of my reading time over two days plus some extra to get it done so that I could start on my Christmas pile.
Was my one chapter and out behaviour the correct approach? Mostly yes, but the plot of the book club,book choice, was really quite clever and deserved much better, deeper writing than the celebrity author had bothered with. Surprising really as she is not a foolish woman and has a wide breadth of life experiences. The editor also had an off day, some of the inaccuracies were absolute howlers that had me reading them several times to try and make some sense of them. There was no sense to them!
So, bad weather and bad book was yesterday and so far I have no idea what today will bring, but my, very cold, early morning walk shows promise.
The dawn sky was as good as last nights sunset. There is a millionaire parked up in the Sound.
I think I might have chosen somewhere a little warmer to park my $250 million super yacht in January. Presumably the owner of both the Dallas Cowboys and this boat has his reasons.
More heart warming than a Super Yacht was this bouquet of flowers on a bench. The bench is dedicated to someone, now deceased, who loved this area.
The dew that had formed at dawn created a poignant reminder of the tears we all have for the people and moments that we have lost forever.
And an even more powerful reminder to push on through the greige days because the sun always returns, eventually.
Sunrise over Plymouth Sound on Armistice Day. Both my great uncle and grandfather sailed to war several times from Devonport Naval Dockyard. My great uncle as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces in World War 1 and my grandfather in a submarine in World War II. It is funny to think of them as young men spending their last nights ashore on Union Street. A nearby street famed world-wide for night life. Certainly a world away from their rural upbringings in Essex and Cambridgeshire or in the case of my recently migrated Great Uncle, rural Ontario. I hope their heads were not too sore as they sailed past Drakes Island.
Same view this morning and a completely different reason for looking. Usually I am most interested in the stretch of water between the shore and the swimming buoys. Today my interest lies between the swimming buoys and the island. Later on today I am going on a Tamar River Cruise, not a booze cruise or a tourist cruise but a cruise to see sights of special scientific interest, historic interest and industrial heritage interest. A fact finding cruise on the challenges and projects that working in an area of outstanding natural beauty presents. For now though I am only bothered about the sea sickness quota that Plymouth Sound will serve me.
Looking to the east I’m feeling pretty confident that I will only see breakfast once today. This is a good thing in my opinion. Looking to the west no judgement could be made as everything was shrouded in mist but I am very confident that if the east looks good then the west will be in exactly the same mood. Who knows what shape tomorrows blog will take after an actual cruise, albeit 5 hours rather than days or weeks. For now though another view looking to the east, almost Mediterranean!
The Bobbers were out and about around Plymouth Sound last night, watching rather than swimming.
The British National Fireworks Championships are held in Plymouth every August. After a Coronovirus hiatus last year there was some doubt if the event would happen this year after the recent murders in Plymouth. It was decided the competition would go ahead with the two evenings events dedicated to those whose lives were taken. A minutes silence with a torch vigil, ended by heart shaped fireworks took place 15 minutes before the main event.
There were hundreds of small boats out in the Sound twinkling while they waited for the fireworks. Paddle borders too were illuminated.
Then the fireworks started and boats on the water were transformed into silhouettes.
We spent the evening at Tranquility Bay the normal location for Bobbers. Not quite such grandstand images but only five minutes walk from home.
Hearts and conversations are very much at the centre of everything in Plymouth right now. Snatches of the same conversations are heard wherever people gather, as the city tries to comprehend the events of last week. Catching a heart in the sky seemed quite fitting.
Yesterday England took a partial step out of Covid Lockdown. Among other changes non essential shops opened and food and drink suppliers could serve customers in outdoor seated areas. The media this morning are reporting a Monday like no other, ever, with people queueing to enjoy retail therapy and socialising, after a very long period of restrictions.
Not much changed @theoldmortuary. Our lockdown routine will probably only change with small incremental adaptations. Our swimming, ‘ bobbing’ life changed immediately though . The scone and landscape picture at the top of the blog represents absent friends, who were unable to swim last night because they were free to travel and stay away. Or had work commitments that were no longer screen based or as flexible as they have been during lockdown.
Not only were there less ‘ Bobbers’ last night, there were less swimmers in general. The Firestone Bay seal had huge portions of the sea to himself. He/she is the small dot in line diagonal with the two bouys.
The second scone picture of the day sums this transitional period up. There is some certainty and clarity in the immediate foreground but we can’t clearly see the outline of the future.
Today is an unusual pondering, not because it comes a day after the death of Prince Phillip, The Duke of Edinburgh. Although that fact is in some ways central to this blog. It is unusual because I can mention the great diarist Samuel Pepys for reasons other than his diary.
We did one of our usual dog walks near the coastal part of Plymouth Sound. Plymouth, being a naval city, was one of the locations of the 41 gun salute to mark the passing of the Queens husband. There is always something intriguing about witnessing something that has happened in the same location for many centuries, to mark significant events.
Gun Salutes started in the late Middle ages. Fixed odd number salutes of 21 and 41 were formalised as an economy measure by Samuel Pepys when he was a Naval adminstrator .
Another thing that was different today was that when HMS Westminster sailed out of Plymouth just after the Gun Salute the flag on her Jack Mast, the one at the back, was flying at half-mast.
Gun salutes are a complex old business. The link below will take you to a website with more information should you require it.