#92 theoldmortuary ponders

A photograph never lies. Digital photography is certainly a big liar and analogue photography was not so squeaky clean either. Check out dead child Victorian photography to see how photographers altered the truth.


Less macabre but also deceitfully the Cottingly Fairies were also a photographic hoax.


No deliberate deception is intended by my window picture but one quick glance might suggest now is a good time for the early morning elimination walk for the dogs. It is not a good time, the rain is blowing sideways and no amount of the ‘ right’ clothing is going to make any walk this morning a pleasure. Maybe the dogs are cleverer than I think, they got me up at 5 this morning for a quick comfort break in the back yard.

None of this is actually the point of this blog. This house is surrounded on three sides by the sea. The fish in our window are swimming in the only direction that would take them to dry land. Having only just realised this I feel compelled to turn them around. Having done that I now wonder if they were always fleeing predators.

Pandemic Pondering #201

We’ve had a shockingly wet weekend, tasks that would normally be difficult have been made difficult and uncomfortable. Just before the rain set in I snapped this picture. It seemed like a metaphor for the current Pandemic, although I think the dark alley might have a bit of a way to go yet. I’m not sure what the ladder represents, maybe a vaccine, as yet undeveloped. currently however as much use as a ladder laying on its side.

We went to a cafe in Burford , we met our Covid Friends there. The cafe is situated within a church building. It is a warm welcoming cafe with a soft buttery/ creamy interior and the smell.of good coffee and smiling people within it. There was a striking image of a hug just as you walk in.

The Prodigal Son by Charlie Mackesy

1 Church Ln, Burford OX18 4RY


The painting represents the return of the prodigal son, but just like the alleyway it takes on a different meaning in our current situation when hugs of this intensity are denied us in almost all circumstances. This weekend however hugs with either of us would have been damp affairs. A planned weekend of business away from home but in the pouring rain has depleted our small supply of clothes packed into overnight rucksacks. The saying ” There is no such thing as the wrong weather, you just need the right clothes” exactly sums up this weekend. Luckily beyond rain we were also showered with the company of friends and family who were very lucky not to have to hug us but who made onerous tasks easier and more joyful with their presence.

Pandemic Pondering #130

Pondering on a Sunday is not always relaxing. This picture was taken when the day was very fresh. Ripe you might say , but as I write this the rain splatters regularly on the roof and the day is blowing out grey and grumpy. I never quite know how I feel about summer rain especially on a day that showed such early promise.Today I’m pondering the ineffectual way the English language has for describing the actual lived experience of summer rain. On the whole it has whimsicle or romantic descriptives.Soft, Shower, Precipitation.For a start there is the disappointment that it’s happening at all, no summer activity ever was enhanced by rain and yet there is no negative word for its arrival or its effect on life.Storms, Gales, Tempests, Hurricanes are all words for rainy weather in the three other seasons. But they don’t work in the summer. Squalls sort of fit the summer rain brief but there is no energy in that word to reflect my anymosity to the wet stuff in summer.It’s a limp word that gets no sympathy.” How was the summer fete?”” A complete wash out, there were squally showers”There is no dynamism in that statement.” How was the summer fete?”” A complete wash out, there was a tempest!”So much more impactful but who would ever say that.So there we are a blog without end. A feeling of frustration that no English word quite sums up the annoyance of summer rain.


Kings, candles, cheese, chocolates and a flood.

I have a very dear friend who wears the cloak of eccentricity throughout life. In the summer it’s gauzy, flimsy and scuds gently behind her like a cloud. In winter, it’s a different thing, cumbersome and dank, it holds her back and can be overwhelming. Over the years, we have developed little strategies to lighten its load.

The Christmas shopping adventure is one such thing. It involves shopping not exactly locally but within the confines of Cornwall. There are rules… We only buy from businesses that are on farms or that started on farms.

As individuals, we navigate on completely different systems, hers is innate, puzzling and mostly effective. She leans forward on the steering wheel her nose twitching like a wise matriarchal badger, sensing the direction we should travel. Mine is Google based but impaired by too much talking and the erratic nature of mapping in Cornwall. What could possibly go wrong?

Spoiler Alert- There was a lot of rain.

Cheese first up. Google gets us to within a mile and then the badger takes over, ignoring me completely she takes a road. “This road doesn’t even bloody exist” I protest. We press on.

Blue cheese of two sorts, goat and cow are loaded into the car. Beautiful round ‘wheels’ of cheese, festively wrapped in tin foil and bundled into a carrier bag.

The next part of the journey brings the unexpected. Google aided we head off to St Eval.

Behold a King! That’s a fine festive sentence. In this case however, the last ever cornish King whose death is marked on a quiet Cornish road at the site of an ancient crossroad. The poor chap met a watery end and drowned. More than that is not explained but on this very wet day on Bodmin moor it is not inconceivable that you might drown by simply wandering off to commune with nature. I take a very wet photograph of his spot, King Donierts Stone and the information board and jump back into the car.

This is what we learnt…

King Dungarth (Doniert) of Cerniu ( Cornwall) drowned in the River Fowey in 875. His death is marked by these remnants of carved stone crosses on Bodmin Moor. The river Fowey runs near to this site.

Google got us to St Eval first stop Kernow Chocolate. Admittedly no longer on the family farm but that’s where it started. Chocolate Stollen and a cup of tea warmed us up for the serious business of choosing chocolate. The Stollen was moist if anyone is interested. Gifts occured.

Then off to St Eval Candle Company, courtesy of Google, still based on a farm. Fabulous smells and many candles, we learnt that to reset our noses we just needed to sink our noses into a pot of coffee beans. Gifts occured.


This had all been achieved a little quicker than planned. The excellent coffee and cake at Strong Adolphos called us and if we got a wiggle on we could get there before the 4pm closing time.

Google planned us a route that got us there with 15 minutes to spare. The badger twitched a bit at the quality of the grass running up the middle of the roads we were using , the depth of the first puddle shocked us both. Unwittingly we had entered the Bermuda Triangle of Cornwall. The next puddle was bigger and the Googler ( me) offered to test the water with my Welly depth . The water won. The next puddle was the same, no rec alibration of the wellie gauge was needed , water flooded in. It was both impassable and impossible to go in either direction. Of the three roads we could use all had deep ponds of chocolate coloured water. Strong Adolfo’s was not going to happen. The badger decided to drive back through the puddle we had safely conquered twenty minutes ago . She was right , we created an impressive wave and headed for the hills. Happy to have survived the Cornish water in better shape than King Doniert.