Disdain and Apricity on the Hoe.

Sir Frances Drake. Pirate, Slave Trader, Explorer and Naval Captain.

Airstrike on the 3rd of January 2020, not the sort that makes world news.

Sir Francis Drake, Statue on Plymouth Hoe

theoldmortuary took a walk in the sunshine yesterday around Plymouth. Number 2 in Condè Nast best holiday destinations. We would have visited Number 1 but no busses went there from home.
https://www.cntraveller.com/gallery/best-holiday-destinations-2020

Apart from the small and acurate act of seagull disdain on Drake, Plymouth was looking pretty good.

We basked in the winter sun, protected from the wind by the Collonades above Tinside pool.

Hugo and Lola took to basking in Winter very quickly.

The required 10, 000 steps were broken up by nearly an hour of basking and drinking coffee.

It was all as you might expect from a Number 2 holiday destination.

A red wreath and red cars added a late festive flourish.

As always with theoldmortuary walks we found a nice example of rust.

Another Plymouth blog

https://theoldmortuary.design/2019/11/16/plymouth-quietly-having-a-moment/

Advent#17

This week the Festival of Light has been supplied by the sun in the early morning. Rust is one of my favourite textures, coupled with winter sun the effect is dramatic.

These photographs were taken at Queen Anne’s Battery in Plymouth. They are all bits of fishing gear that were being stored on the harbourside.

The manhole covers were also getting in on the act.

Advent#16

Christmas comestibles.

Today the long walk in the sunshine took us back to the location of Advent #1
https://theoldmortuary.design/2019/12/01/advent-1/

Our visit to Jacka today was enhanced by festive baking. We weren’t exactly early birds, but were lucky enough to get there in time to get the last available slice of Stolen and one of their lusciously deep mince pies. Coffee drinking at Jacka this morning was hugely sociable . The coffee hounds Hugo and Lola were treated to snippets of delicious bacon from a generous benefactor while everyone at the various tables were talking to one another.

As this is a second Advent visit to Jacka I thought I would share some of the bakeries history . Gleaned from a 1985 published article displayed on the café wall .

Dated currently back to 1597, Jacka is the oldest working Bakery in Britain. It is said that it supplied Ships Biscuits to the Mayflower in 1620. Ships biscuits from this bakery were still famous worldwide well into the twentieth century.

Todays festive bakes were tastier than any Ships biscuit. Time to roll out the the word ‘ moist’ . The festive season is known for its traditional foods. In Britain moistness is demanded of Christmas cakes and Turkey. Today we added a third moist festive eating experience.

Bakery made Stollen , as far removed from the supermarket stuff as it is possible to be. A generous core of deep yellow marzipan surrounded by jewel fruited,doughy loveliness , gently dusted with icing sugar. The mince pie, no less lovely, had a deep, golden pastry case filled with dried fruits, quenched to plumpness and topped with a pastry star.

The coffee, as is usual at Jacka was made with great beans by a skillful barrista.

This may not be our last Advent visit.

Advent #2

Tree of memory Xavi Bové Studio and Onionlab

https://illuminate-festival.co.uk/

Illuminate 2019

Iluminate 2019’s first night was scheduled for United States Thanksgiving Day, the 4th Thursday of November. It was also the first public event linked to Mayflower 400 in Plymouth.This was the the third Illuminate event to be hosted in the City. The previous two were held exclusively at the Royal William Yard. 2019 saw the action shared with Mount Edgcumbe and the Barbican. I am interested to see if this was considered a successful idea.

Illuminate is a festival of light based art installations, projections and interactive displays. Local, national and International artists take part.

Regeneration Nathaniel J Hall

theoldmortuary made two evening dog walks more interesting by visiting two of the locations. The Royal William Yard was a great experience. The Barbican less so.

Atmosphere is a magic ingredient, organisers do their very best to create by delivering spectacular content and experience, it’s the publics reaction to the artwork that makes the fizz and energy of a successful event. The buzz at the Royal William Yard on Thursday must have been everything the organisers wanted. Plenty of happy people enjoying contemporary art in dry winter weather. Lovely street food, great coffee and live music.

The Art was spectacular in every way.

Diva Thomas Voillaume Apache Creation with Jeremy Oury for Video Mapping

Friday night saw us walking the dogs to the Barbican. Curiously quiet for a Friday, there were almost more event volunteers than art lovers.The harbour in front of The Ship pub was the location of a beautiful installation.called Baitball by The Media Workshop. A video projection onto mist.

Sardines swirled and shapeshifted in the mist just above the surface of the water. The work was mesmerising.

Not so great was Her Voices also by The Media Workshop. Located in the Elizabethan Garden.

The installation was broken in some way and no effort was being made to make a repair. Disappointing in many respects particularly as it must have been one of the premier locations, of the festival. Not really good enough.

Curio- Trigger Stuff by Savinder Bual and Elena Blanco was intriguing . A series of doors with letter boxes that allowed the viewer to peep into tiny interiors that showed artifacts that hinted at local people’s ideas of home. I wasn’t convinced that this was in any way more interesting by being illuminated but maybe the complete lack of atmosphere on the Barbican had jaded my artistic edge.

On a positive note for the Barbican, Sunday night saw the Christmas lights turned on in addition to Illuminate . I’m sure the magic more than made up for Friday.

Saturday Walking at Kingsand and Cawsand

Kingsand and Cawsand are coastal villages in the ‘forgotten’ corner of South East Cornwall. Every bit as beautiful as other, more famous, villages in Cornwall they remain largely undiscovered . They were a big part of our lives when we rowed for the local gig racing team. Our walk on Saturday took on a familiar pattern. The beaches are available for dog walking now the summer season is over. This was our primary reason for going as well as a birthday lunch. Gig rowing reared its head, or more accurately its bum almost the minute we arrived in the village. We stopped just by the Rame Gig sheds and a familiar voice shouted out. ” Look who it is, we were only talking about you a week or two ago when we were at Port Isaac ” We stopped gig rowing ten years ago so it must have been something memorable. ” We were at Port Isaac and talked about the time you had terrible trouble with your bum” Not for us the glamour of a memorable race, cleaving through heaving surf, oh no, memorable because a nasty blister gained in a 23 mile London River Race had impacted, in all senses of the word, on a performance more than ten years ago at Port Isaac. Obviously this was all said with love and humour. After hugging sweaty rowers fresh from a training session we moved on to the first of the days beaches.

http://www.ramegigclub.com/

Cawsand beach, where the Rame gigs are launched.

Hugo and Lola love this beach, twenty minutes of scampering and eliminating and they are ready for a walk. Quickly up The Bound past the gig shed with no further mention of bottoms.

Rame Gig shed

We followed Garrett Street keeping the Sea to our right. Beautiful coastal cottages line the street as we climbed a gentle hill.

This lovely gateway gives the perfect opportunity to look back over Cawsand.

Our destination today is The Devonport Inn on The Cleave , Kingsand. This portion of the Cornish coast overlooks Plymouth Sound. Devonport is the location of Plymouths Naval Dockyard it is also the name of one of the original towns that were merged to create modern Plymouth.

http://visitrame.org.uk/

We were a little early for our booked table so the dogs got another scampering session on the second beach of the day.

Now this is not a food blog but today’s destination was chosen because the food served at The Devonport Inn is fabulous. We had Skate Wings and mussels both served with super chunky chips deep fried in beef dripping. All properly lovely. The Devonport Inn is an unfussy but really comfy place to enjoy food and drink.

http://www.devonportinn.com

A cosy corner

Replete with good food and conversation we retraced our steps towards Cawsand, one more beautiful sunshine shot to complete our afternoon.

Plymouth, quietly, having a moment.

A Plymouth Mackerel- Juliet CornellPlymouth was quietly having a bit of a moment in the National Media this week. Firstly the Eddystone Lighthouse was a google doodle. Strangely to mark its 321st anniversary of the first time it was lit.https://www.google.com/doodles/321st-anniversary-of-the-first-lighting-of-eddystone-lighthouseThen The Guardian ran an article about the city centre being designated as a conservation area.https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2019/nov/16/plymouth-city-centre-designated-conservation-area?CMP=share_btn_linkThis could be a coincidence or a sign that the City PR team are ramping up the pressure now Mayflower 400 is just edging into view. Commemorating a 400 year shared history with what is now the USA and the sailing of the Mayflower , Mayflower 400 is a multi location celebration. Plymouth was the port the Mayflower successfully set sail from to reach America.https://www.mayflower400uk.org/2020 also sees the opening of The Box, a long awaited reincarnation of the Museum and Art gallery. Reimagined and re-engineered to bring contemporary, world class exhibition space to the West Country.A Hard-Hat tour of The Boxhttps://plymhearts.org/thebox/An earlier article in the Guardian puts into perspective the struggle the city is overcoming to grab some headlines. The actual amount of war time damage was so shrouded in secrecy that it is rarely mentioned in the way London or Coventry are. Without proper mention of the damage it is difficult to then applaud the regeneration.https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/11/post-industrial-plymouth-business-social-enterprise?CMP=share_btn_linkIt’s good to see Plymouth getting some well deserved positive press.Time Out , the London listings magazine is even getting in on the Plymouth Love, featuring Illuminate as a ” Great Escape”

Sewing Bee

This is the year of refreshing old skills. Sewing , like watercolour has been long abandoned. My mum was a brilliant seamstress and made fantastic clothes and costumes throughout the sixties and seventies. I learnt loads from her but never really used the skills and ended up just about competent to turn a hem. In time her wonderful, but heavy, 70’s Brother machine, found its way to the tip. A couple of years ago my ex- husband bought me a lightweight, new Brother. Nothing like as swanky as the old one, but how much tech do you need to turn up hems?

Sewing Bee came on the TV, originally, when I was still working stupid hours in London, then early this year it was announced that it would return in the late winter after a gap of a couple of years. No longer having erratic hours and on-call as an excuse, I enrolled on a sewing course to gain some Sewing Bee chutzpah.

https://www.makeat140.co.uk/ is a gorgeous fabric and sewing stuff store at the Royal William Yard. Lizzie Evans the happiest of haberdashers, ran a successful business from an old mortuary in the Barbican area of Plymouth. Old Mortuaries are a bit of a thing around here, there’s us, Lizzies previous incarnation, a bakery and a bar running in old mortuaries locally. Anyway I digress.

Links to other old mortuary businesses in Plymouth

https://www.theoldmorgue.co.uk/

https://columnbakehouse.org/

Make at 140 moved to its new location recently and now has the fabulous spaces at Ocean Studios in which Lizzie can run her courses.

I did the beginners course. Our course was taught by Jackie, an enthusiastic teacher with five years experience of home sewing. My group of novices were a group of women ranging in sizes and ages. We were all pretty focussed on producing the two items being created during our five week course. The first, a tote bag, taught us basic pattern use and sewing machine skills. The first class also covered the anatomy and physiology of a sewing machine and the tools needed for a basic sewing kit.After the Tote bag we quickly progressed onto making an actual garment. We were really well supported by Jackie, who is endlessly patient and encouraging. Lizzie was also there every Tuesday , sometimes supporting other groups or classes but always there to make half time beverages, comestibles and to share her sewing wisdom. At the end of week five I had a strong and useful tote bag and a top that actually fitted me.

There are loads of follow-on courses to join but I decided to take some time out and make some mistakes at home before returning for advanced stuff later in the year.

First up in my mistake plan list was a Merchant and Mills pattern, euphemistically called 101 Trousers. 101, has come to represent basic, simple or easy, but my take on 101 has always been more about George Orwell’s torture chamber in his novel 1984. As it turns out the trousers straddled these two meanings rather effectively. My big error was buying a fabric that was the same on both sides. Hannah my partner chose a lovely botanical fabric with a plain reverse side, she had a much easier time of it. My choice gave me ample experience using an unpicker.

On reflection the pattern probably was foolproof but we just took foolish to higher levels than it could accommodate. Eventually after using a months supply of the f**k word, copious tea and YouTube gazing we produced two lovely pairs of trousers, with pockets, that we will wear with pride in full daylight amongst people we know. That is high praise because we are a fussy pair.

https://merchantandmills.com/

I’m already planning my next garment on the mistake plan. I’m confident that my new found basic/ beginners skills will ease me towards less mistakes and more confident seamstressing and then on to the next course at Make at 140. For everything else there is YouTube .

Home made pattern weight using recycled fabric swatches and ribbon from Christmas gifts.

https://www.professorpincushion.com/