#248 theoldmortuary ponders

Look at these vivid flowers, they just revealed themselves near a local roundabout. Another revelation yesterday was Kate Bush doing an interview on Radio 4. She was discussing her surprise elevation to the top of the music charts in Britain and America with the single Running up that Hill ( A deal with God).44 years after it was first released. The single is part of the soundtrack for Stranger Things. A TV drama featuring teenagers and supernatural events and curious government behaviour in a mundane Indiana location.

What struck me as unusual in the interview by Emma Barnett and the preview piece by Caitlin Moran was that at no point did anyone discuss Kate’s looks or her fabled allure to men. How refreshing to just talk about music, life and gardening.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0018gqv?partner=uk.co.bbc&origin=share-mobile

I realise that BBC sounds does not play everywhere so I have included a newspaper report of the interview.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2022/jun/22/the-whole-worlds-gone-mad-kate-bush-on-running-up-that-hills-success?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

The fact that this interview struck me as both unusual and refreshing is a symptom of how women are still judged differently to men. This may seem like an odd kind of theme for a blog but it struck a chord.

Earlier this week while I was swimming up and down the wide part of the Lido I had to regularly pass 5 young men playing with a ball, something I would probably not have done in my entire life for fear of the ribald or sexist comments. Confident that age has made me almost invisible I pressed on. But no, my crime as a woman, this time, was to be ‘ too old’ to be a threat to them.

#245 theoldmortuary ponders

This was a day with an unexpected ending. Today was a yardening day. Almost a year since we exchanged an exposed but fertile country garden for a coastal, white painted, stone yard.  Yardening has been a huge surprise. Today the plan was to weed and tame the jungle that the yard has become, unexpectedly fertile too.

All went to plan, but with the temperature at 23 degrees it was quite the labour of love. A sea swim was suggested but the tide was not our friend. Then we planned a swim in a local outdoor pool. The website was decidedly wonky and ultimately we couldn’t book a session.  The alternative, an ice cream and some sunbathing was a good enough plan. Until we got too hot. Retreat into the house was timely in two ways. We really were too hot, but the curious twist was an email from the cranky website that said we had managed to book a swimming session.

We were very certain we hadn’t , but a cooling swim was exactly what we needed. Arrival at the pool confirmed the crankiness of the website. Apparently everyone who visited the webpage had been given swim sessions without payment. The pool was far from full so we did that old fashioned thing of buying two tickets and prepared for a dip.

Tinside Lido

This pool is probably very familiar to anyone in Britain who watches the BBC. This image is one of the regular infills between TV programmes. As you can see it was not very busy at all and we had a wonderful swim in the historic pool.

There was another lovely bonus, bright sunshine and recently cleaned 1930’s glass bricks in the shower area gave the most wonderful distorted, abstracted views of the pool.

A fine end to a busy day.

#219 theoldmortuary ponders

Sunflowers in Cuba

Todays blog is a little late due to holiday travel. Not mine, for certain, as I am still without a passport. But it did give me the chance to share one of my favourite holiday photographs. This morning I dropped some friends to the airport for their holidays and by coincidence several friends and family are travelling to Europe for weddings this weekend which makes my whatsapp notifications bright with happy holiday images.

©Debs Bobber

All of my adult life I have taken foreign travel for granted. Covid and now an inept passport office have kept my feet very firmly on United Kingdom soil for nearly three years. This has made me appreciate the similarities and pleasures of Britain that I previously would, perhaps, have not even noticed. After the drive to the airport this morning I went to Sutton Harbour area to have new tyres fitted. I heard a sound that would be well known to anyone who has spent time in the Mediterranean . A handbell being rung from the window of a white van carrying food items. Today was not freshly caught fish or locally grown vegetables but the humble pasty!

So, I am a little envious of my nearest and dearest sampling foreign sights and sounds. The minute a passport lands in my hands, foreign adventures will be planned. But today I walked past scenic lobster pots with a baguette under my arm, only the weather proved to me that I was not, currently, somewhere more exotic.

#202 theoldmortuary ponders

Lurid dreams, reflux, and Wordle. Where could this possibly be going ?

Just one of those nights I suppose. A busy day was followed by a late supper and the evening dog walk amongst Pirates on the Barbican.

Pirate weekend is a big thing in Plymouth by 7pm it was a little ragged around the edges but it was obvious that after a two year break, everyone was anxious to bring out their inner Corsair.

Our favourite Saltash Pirate had been out and about earlier in the day.

© Chris Wotton What’s on Plymouth

We were just a little late for all the full on Pirate antics but the soft evening light made the boats look good.

The Barbican itself was possibly looking more truly authentic than earlier in the day. There was an air of too much sunshine and booze but in a good way, the sense of a day well spent having fun and the promise of an evening with high heels on cobbles, some wobbly flesh and tears before bedtime.

© https://www.berylcookprints.co.uk/

Visit the website below to get a flavour of Plymouth with it’s going out mood on. Beryl Cook is a notable Plymouth artist.

https://www.berylcookprints.co.uk/

None of this really explains my opening sentence, but I had a shocking nights sleep last night. Mostly due to eating a lively Levantine soup too late at night, reflux and a vivid imagination kept me in and out of sleep and this morning I had my first Wordle fail.

Pirates are life disrupters.

© Anheuser-Busch InBev
Cerveceria Bucanero S.A. (CBSA)

#154 theoldmortuary ponders

Early morning wanderings, naked toes for the first time this year and a proper ponder. Dorothea Ltd is a very unusual name for a historic piece of cast iron street furniture. I had a lot of time to ponder some odd things on my walk today. The dogs took the business of sniffing out other dogs peemail messages very seriously, so there was lots of time for pondering the small stuff. Dorothea Ltd turn out to be pondering golddust. Please follow link.

https://www.dorothearestorations.com/about-us/history

Have dogs, will stand still a lot, is the motto of my day. Fortunately I had pre planned some supplies to keep me fortified on the walk.

Sunrise reflected as a Pain au Chocolat

The walk was one I have shared many times on the blog but these highlights are purely generated by prolonged sniffing locations.

Fabulous reflections on The Barbican, Plymouth.
A cafe sign has been removed showing a more nautically focussed business from the past.

What more strange things have my dogs given me to share with you?

A doorway into the sky.
A very complicated image that curiously mimics the random Union Jack on the next building.
Bold Primary Colours in morning sunlight.

So there we are, my visual notes from early morning, prolonged dog stops. I have no idea what information they gathered this morning. Information gathering exhausted them. Both fast asleep for hours on our return.

#139 theoldmortuary ponders

Blue Sunday, the sun is erratic today but when it is out it is OUT.

© Jenna Blake

Last night we went to some Cuban contemporary ballet. Just mind blowing and we were in the front row so the sweating and the heavy breathing of the dancers was very very real. In truth the raw energy of the performers made our evening.

The picture below is another blue example of raw energy and huge joy.

A rogue kite wrapping up our grand daughter in Honk Kong.

©Sam Blake

Finally in the theme of blue is the Plymouth Christmas lights, reprogrammed to show solidarity with Ukraine

Blue Sunday in three pictures.

#139 theoldmortuary ponders

Today was my last shift at The Box being a room steward for the Songlines Exhibition. There are still 4 more days to visit, for those of you who live locally, as the exhibition actually finishes on Sunday. Then all these wonderful paintings will be crated up for their journey to Berlin. I’ve pondered a good bit on what to write about this exhibition. Not feeling quite able to live up to the words of many very knowledgeable art critics or indeed the wise words of Dame Mary Beard, I’ve decided just to give my thumbnail response.

Songlines is a cross cultural tale, both ancient and modern, of womens care and responsibility to one another when faced with predatory male behaviour. It is a #metoo story handed down for thousands of years, woman to woman. The villain of these stories is a bad bad man. Songlines as presented here skims on some of the brutality and the accompanying texts are lighter in mood than the true depravity of the situations the women in the stories endured. All of the exhibition can be viewed by adults and children and enjoyed simply for the artwork, with or without,an age appropriate understanding of the story. But viewing all the paintings ,videos, and 3d sculptures leaves no one in any doubt of the way these stories unfold and that there will be no happy ending. For all that this collection of Australian indigenous art is a wonderful blast of colour and form, there is enough to keep most people occupied and interested for a whole day with appropriate rest and nattering stops. Throughout the exhibition the visitor is kept in touch with the artists who created the work and the portion of the exhibition which is held in the University gallery recreates the art hubs where these works were created.

Yesterday, among the hundreds of visitors, I pondered which piece of art I would miss most and came up with two choices that could easily be acommodated in my own home were I to become an International art thief. I don’t actually have the wall space for my favourite paintings.

Shape shifting vases.
Poker work Coolamon

Since I have zero talent for crime, no theft occured.

#120 theoldmortuary ponders

A different perspective. Two hours before I took this photograph I was doing the pre-swim dog walk in the area very close to the orange arrow in this photograph. The weather was the polar opposite of this bright blue scene. Literally, ice cold needles of rain were penetrating my warm clothing and the dogs were super grumpy, actually they needed a poo but were both not prepared to spin and then stand still in such disgusting weather. I was absolutely not feeling the love for the morning bob. The grumpy dogs did eventually complete their eliminations and I could return home to the ritual of pouring myself into a damp wet suit. Rumpling chubby bits into neoprene with some degree of speed never improves my state of mind. Achieving a relatively quick turn around I was shocked to discover that the area below the orange arrow had taken a better turn and the water that awaited me looked like this. The bob was absolutely wonderful, and the post bob snacks of afternoon tea cakes,bought by Kim Bobber, gave the morning a proper boost.

Swimming/ bobbing achieved we had another quick turn around and drove off to Mountbatten which is where the top photograph was taken along with the following ones.

Plymouth Barbican and Sutton Harbour from Mountbatten
The Citadel and the Hoe from Mountbatten

Fired up by the sugar hit from Kim’s cakes I decided to do a longish but quick walk around the Mountbatten peninsular. I found some very curiously marked bollards. I was late for a planned meeting time so I was unable to unearth their significance or reason for being. But for now I can use them as a Saturday warning to all.

Re arranged for effect, of course .

#119 theoldmortuary ponders

©Patsy Wilis

This old theatre poster has some relevance, but before the relevance comes some pondering. I’ve had a busy two days attending actual meetings, with real people, in indoor spaces. I’ve achieved in two days what I could never have achieved in a month of zooming.

The meetings were not held in committee rooms or other closed off spaces. By coincidence, both days were spent in large old industrial spaces that have been converted into co-working areas. So a bit like the above poster, a big space with lots of people doing their own thing in their own box, be it virtual, plugged into a computer or real world isolation of sitting at separate tables.

At the beginning of the working week I had one thing to achieve and had I been zooming I like to think that one thing could have been successfully achieved. In co-working spaces, though, going about your business is not a shut off activity, people walk past you. Maybe they slightly recognise you. There is a nod or a smile, or even a brief introduction. This week I have found that one succesful meeting led to two more informal but equally significant meeting of minds. Because of the one planned and succesful meeting I had to arrange another meeting in a different shared space again succesful and again leading to another unplanned and very interesting interaction. Two days of really positive collaborative thought quite blew my mind. After the last interaction I stepped across the road and took shelter under an old theatre canopy while I gathered my thoughts. Which brings us, in a roundabout way to the poster.

The Palace Theatre in Plymouth was the last place Laurel and Hardy performed on stage together, as top of the bill variety artists. On May 17th 1954 Oliver Hardy had a heart attack during their performance of Birds of a Feather. This brass plaque, of one of the shows posters, marks this seminal moment in the careers of the two men. There is no explanation anywhere near the plaque. Dr Google filled in the gaps. The sketch was cut short and Hardy spent the rest of their time in Plymouth recuperating in a local hotel. For the remainder of the run Stan Laurel collaborated with and supported the other entertainers who were performing in the show. The last ever performances, on stage, of a very famous entertainer were spent supporting other people on a stage in the theatre where I was sheltering. A very uplifting thought after two days of good outcomes from collaborative work. A real post- covid moment.

#45 theoldmortuary ponders

Todays blog was knocked off the front page by another story of bobbing. This is how tranquil the area was when we went for a dip last night. But what lies underneath?

A playful seal! Spearmint the seal joined the two distance swimmers at the furthest buoy and swam back with them to one of the other swimmers. They calmly warned her that they were not alone. Not trusting them at all she disbelieved them. Calm, was not, in truth, how any of them were feeling . An onlooker who was alerted by their excited chatter said she had never seen anyone swim back to the shore so fast. On arrival back in Tranquility bay Spearmint played around with two other bobbers before noticing that the others were getting out, she joined them in a rush for the beach and the video that follows was her being calm with a background soundtrack of excited chatter.

©Teresa

Teresa, the quick thinking onlooker who filmed this also had a video of Spearmint having her supper.

©Teresa
©Teresa

I think it is safe to say that the whole encounter was a lot more exciting for the humans, Miss Spearmint just takes the whole thing very much in her stride.

©Teresa

Soon after she returned to the sea the water if not the ‘ bobbers’ was entirely tranquil.