Pandemic Pondering #543

Devon pretended to be Greece again today. Even mythical creatures were looking gorgeous in the sun.

Leviathan in the sun

Chocolate croissants were also looking tasty near the harbour.

And a lonely swan was looking arty among squiggling reflections.

All this loveliness doesnt get the jobs done though so after a longish walk in the sunshine we returned home to perform domestic diligence. Domestic diligence does not a fascinating blog make, but with full disclosure we have lovely clean windows, energy efficient light bulbs in every chandelier ( I know!) And non slip foam applied to 20 slats on a bed. Meanwhile in Hong Kong half of our family was celebrating the Autumn Moon festival, which makes better pictures than domestic diligence.

We had planned a moonlight swim for the last full moon of the summer but the moon didn’t put in an appearance. The sunset was pretty though and the sea was kind to us

Fingers crossed for more Grecian weather tomorrow.

Pandemic Pondering #508

©Ricky Fenn Mazie Shalders

Last week a favourite piece of Plymouth Street Art got a sad addition and at 11 this morning there will be a Silence held across the country to remember and reflect on the events of last Thursday.

©Hutong

Yesterday evening nature also marked some time in Plymouth. A dense sea fog briefly cloaked the city making everything grey and a little more silent.

Overlooking Plymouth from Down Thomas. ©Kevin Lindsey

Pandemic Pondering #504

©Leonor Antunes – The Box, Sequences, Invertions and Permutations

Today was a serendipitous colour concatenation. I spent some time peacefully in the beautiful space that is St Lukes, part of The Box museum. My two periods working in this space had moments with no visitors.

©Leonor Antunes

This particular installation will be leaving the museum soon so I took the chance and took some photos with no people about. I also took some close up photographs of the glass lights.

Imagine my happiness when a friend posted the picture below of Compass Jelly Fish captured briefly in a blue bucket.

© Jess Rippengale. Compass Jellyfish at Portwrinkle

The colours are identical. That’s this blog done. Colour happiness.

Pandemic Pondering #483

When does Bobbing become swimming? Probably when we stop chattering. At its least active bobbing is just about being submerged in the sea and chattering. Any bobbing session contains a variety of distances and topics covered by Bobbers. Last night 4 Bobbers bobbed away from our usual bay, just to the left of the iconic Tinside Lido, pictured above. It wasn’t a traditional Bob because the target activity was actually getting a fish and chip supper, but when we are this close to the water it would be rude not to, and there is nothing tastier than fish and chips after exercise.

The sea swimming portion alongside the Lido is in the process of being refurbished so it wasn’t most scenic location to bob but it was a lovely place to get an easy bob without the tricksy currents that are a feature of our usual location. The Fish and Chip Bob was in fact the second of the day.

Earlier,in our usual location, the nearby tidal pool was getting a wash and brush up. Making our swimming water a little murky further down the coast.

The empty pool was an almost exact colour match for the sails of a sailing school.

©Melinda Waugh

Very little wind and the tricksy currents mentioned earlier led to these novice seafarers being rescued moments later by their instructor in a motorised rib. Vivid green was also a feature of this lovely window on our walk away from the beach.

©Debs Bobber

Pandemic Pondering#433

Plenty of sunshine and a lovely bit of misogyny.

A sunny Bank Holiday weekend has brought many moments of mirth and pleasure. I took this comment from our towns community page on Facebook. I too think the mowing of the wildflowers is a dreadful shame. In the portion of the graveyard that we overlook, the graves  are so old that they are extremely rarely visited. The wild flowers make the area calm and contemplative. Pollenators love it. Never could the author of the comment have imagined she would get such a delicious example of misogyny as a response. Alan R is quite the man for going off at a tangent, in unexpected ways. In other churchyard news the poppies are  really showing off.

Planted to mark 100 years since the end of World War 1, this their third year is their most glorious.

Despite spending over a year walking every inch of our local area we discovered a new viewpoint yesterday. High up, ovelooking Plymouth Sound. There is a tarmac viewpoint just behind the old Marine Biology building on the Hoe.

The views are splendid.

On such a beautiful day it would have been impossible not to swim, or bob, in the sea. An evening bob with bobbers, friends and families was the perfect end to a gorgeous Monday.

Unexpectedly early, some of the bobbers took delivery of their new summer, post-bob, cover ups, this weekend.

All excitedly modelled on the Whatsapp group.

In other news my fabulous school friend Dai Pullen, an occasional contributor to Pandemic Ponderings has entered a short story competition. If you have the time please visit the facebook link below, read his entry and vote if his wordplay floats your boat.

Pandemic Pondering #381

Hugo and Lola went for a walk yesterday with their friend Grace. I tagged along to natter to her mum and drink coffee. Facebook Timehop gave me evidence of a curious coincidence.

Yesterday we walked in Victoria Park , Plymouth. Previously on the same day a few years ago Hannah and I had been walking and drinking coffee in Victoria Park in Hong Kong. A coincidence I am happily exploiting to inject an image of coffee, in a china cup, in a coffee shop, abroad!

Not that Victoria Park in Plymouth needs embellishing with interesting stuff from elsewhere. It has quite a lot of interest of its own.

JMW Turner painted there when the area was still a tidal pool at the head of Stonehouse Creek. At the time it was known as the Dead Pool.

Sometime, not long after Queen Victorias death it was drained and turned into a park. Not always known as the most salubrious of places at night it is the perfect place to walk dogs and coincidentally enjoy art.

©Plymouth Evening Herald

At the far end of the park ‘ Moor’ by Richard Deacon is both obvious and easily missed.

Luckily for me and for different reasons Hugo and Lola, Grace knew the exact location of some new Street art so we took a very sniffy walk up some steps towards North Road West. Goodness knows what creatures scamper up and down those magnificent stairways at night. Hugo and Lola took forever to fully investigate the odours. Sometimes they give me a very dissapointedly specific look as I try to move them on. Particularly in areas of historical interest. Yesterdays ‘ look’ said. ” We don’t need wall plaques to tell us historic facts. Turners dog did a wee here 250 years ago and she had just had sausages and ale for breakfast”

Regardless of their investigative sniffing we eventually moved on to the Street Art. There was so much I am only sharing one location and one artist in this blog.

©https://www.facebook.com/groups/310503822375100/?ref=share

https://www.facebook.com/groups/310503822375100/?ref=share

Isn’t it great to have Street Art and contemporary sculpture all within a few minutes walk of a favourite location of a Royal Academician ‘ Romantic’ painter.

Just to give even more texture to the walk Grace met her swimming coach and I met a fellow ‘Drawn to the Valley’ artist.

A walk worth pondering!

Pandemic Pandemic #367

Starting Thursday with Maritime Sunburst Lichen because the day has actually started with rain.

Yesterday evening though was graced with a lovely sunset and an increase in water temperature of 1 degree. We were giddy with the tropicality of our evening swim. Five months of winter swimming in the same location might seem a little dull and I suppose excitement at a tiny improvement in water temperature only enhances the dullness quota. Tranquility Bay is the lovely name of our swimming destination but it doesnt really describe the swimming conditions. Tranquility Bay is a beach on Devils Point opposite Drakes Island. Darwin set off on what was to be the voyage that inspired and informed his later work ‘A Theory of Evolution’ from Barn Pool a bay opposite both Devils Point and Drakes Island.

Drakes Island

The origin of the name Devils Point is uncertain but 7 currents converge nearby making this area of water dangerous to navigate.

Tranquility Bay is a little way from the convergence point of these currents but they still play a vital part in our regular swims.

When we arrive for our dip all bundled up in warm clothing we lean over the sea wall to assess the days swim. If any of us were beardy men there would be a lot of beard tugging as we sagely consider the quality and safety of our swim. In truth we never really know until we get in. Appearances are deceptive and knowing the tide times, wind direction and weather are helpful but cannot predict what is going on under the surface. Sometimes the most unappealing looking days turn out to be a delightful swim and the reverse can so easily be true.

All this is, I suppose, a long preamble to a description of my curious feeling during last nights swim. It was at sunset and the water temperature was 9.6 degrees so everything was pretty chilly. I was doing my usual paddle across the width of the bay. I was swimming towards the sunset and I had a strange sense of being somewhere else. The whole swim felt like the last swim of a much enjoyed holiday, just as it is on holiday, it was hard to get out of the water and break the magic of the moment.

I took this shot the moment I got out. Had this been a holiday I might be enjoying this view with a good coffee and a plate of seafood having barely bothered to dress

The reality in March in Plymouth was somewhat different. A flask of Horlicks and a square of chocolate while squeezing cold damp skin into warm layers of clothes. None of them quite layering correctly on imperfectly dried skin.

A good way to end a day though.

Pandemic Pondering #364

What a lot of miles we’ve walked this weekend. Sometimes on very familiar routes and other times on city roads hardly ever visited before. Always trying to avoid large numbers of people. There wasn’t really a plan blogwise, but as often happens a subject revealed itself. Random signs we’ve never noticed before.

So far this one resists quick research. Writing this blog will possibly inspire somone with a comment that points me in the right direction.The sign is near Millbay Dock in Plymouth. Named Millbay because tidal Mills were established here in the 12th century. Millbay is currently best known for being a ferry port. Not too far away we found St Demetrios & St Nikitas Greek Orthodox Church.

A sign that should inspire us to revisit the classroom , a coincidence as we were urged, yesterday, to visit our friends in Katerini and Upper Apple Tree Village as soon as travel is permitted.
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2862607387315359

Closer towards the city centre this Street art is new to us.

Plymouth is having a surge of thought provoking street art. Another new to us piece in the city centre are these two happy birds.

© None Here
https://www.stevemccrackenart.com/product/noneherenow2/

I’ve written about the work of None Here before, typically the transient nature of street art requires people to photograph and record it for many reasons. It can become a target for thieves and disappear overnight or become part of something bigger as others add to it or obliterate parts of the original work.

This sign is far from new but I’ve never noticed it before.

I’ve often pondered on how the Plymouth of the future will reconcile the true history of Francis Drake now he has toppled from the romantic and always false notion that he was a romantic and heroic buccaneer. Pirate and slave trader are much more difficult subjects to consider. Some others from the time can be more easily removed from the modern city by renaming streets or buildings but Francis Drakes name is all over the city like a rash.

Also all over the city like a rash are the links to the Armed Services. The last new sign is a tiny sticker.

Have a fabulous first Monday of Spring/Autumn depending on your hemisphere.

Pandemic pondering #355

If a picture paints a thousand words then this frame says it all about Lockdown 3. Usually this frame on a wall on The Barbican holds topical graffiti. Currently it stands empty…

A friends retro print, though, might be predicting our 2021 travel plans.

©Marianne Wood

Pictures are the theme of this blog, like many blogs serendipity chose the subject. We did manage a sea swim today. We were super cautious and the weather was not kind.


Really cold fingers after our swim produced this curious image. It looks like a photograph produced on a glass plate from the earliest years of photography. Same location as above.

The ‘ bobbers’ also today at the same location.

©Andy Cole

And finally one last picure, after the swim and the restorative hot drink my warmed fingers found the Silky Water Filter on the camera and the sun came out.

Pandemic Pondering #343

March 1st St Davids Day. Monday . The last full month of  Lockdown in Britain …

Meanwhile Fools Spring is still in full swing . To avoid too many people we set off for the beach early and were rewarded with a Mediterranean style morning coffee just west of Plymouths Ferry Port on wartime concrete set into the cliffs.

10,000 or so steps later we returned for an evening swim.

We are lucky, now, that we only have tide times and the weather to consider. Sunrise and Sunset have pushed back enough for them not to be a concern. The bright evening sunlight gave us an interesting moment. Is this the oldest Co-op shop in Britain?