#238 theoldmortuary ponders

Finally, yesterday I was ready to ditch any form of wetsuit and just swim. Unencumbered by a lengthy dressing and undressing process. Summer has arrived in my swimming life. The day had been a collection of small domestic positives, admin and chores achieved and dog walks in the sun. One of my walks located some old friends, the white cows who normally sit on the green are having a rest and possibly a spruce up in one of the local secret gardens.

A small tin has also arrived. A reward to myself for selling a few pictures recently. The topics of the exhibitions I am entering later in the year need a more earthy feel than recent works, so I bought some earthy colour watercolours hand made from natural minerals in Pennsylvania just to start off my thinking process.

One of my evening swimming companions took a fabulous panoramic shot of Firestone Bay. The colours in my little tin would also work quite well if I attempted a sketch here one evening.

#165 theoldmortuary ponders.

Quite the command on my early morning walk. Our usual, quiet, morning walk was enlivened by the arrival of many vendors for the monthly food and craft market. This coffee shop got our business later in the day. The sun was super bright, but the temperature was only just above zero. Beyond a dog walk I was also up early to catch some mussels in the sharply angled sunshine.

Mission accomplished.

#144 theoldmortuary ponders

Work in progress.

Most artists work in isolation, myself included. Today was quite different, 12 artists from Drawn to the Valley got together in a cafe to natter and get to know each other. Most of us were unknown to one another or had not been in contact for a long period. We plan to meet regularly from now on, once a month, in the same location, Ocean Studios Cafe in the Royal William Yard, Plymouth.

Ocean Studios

Some of us brought small projects to work on, others just brought themselves and fabulous conversations.

I wondered if it was possible to paint a meditative mind map whilst in the company of others and it turns out that I could. Depicting the flavour flooding out of my herbal tea and mingling with the intriguing topics of conversation that were surrounding me. It is currently unfinished because I also talked a lot, no surprises there. But I am further along than when I took this picture.

#44 theoldmortuary ponders

I had known for a little while that this particular blog was going to be about illumination because I had tickets to attend an illumination festival in the Royal William Yard.What I hadn’t expected was that the sunset over our evening swim would be quite so spectacular. Just a tiny tweak on the saturation of this image brought out all these gorgeous colours.

After drying off and warming up we set off to visit the area around Ocean Studios which was the location of Illuminate.

Like lots of things this event has been postponed a few times.

Many of the illuminations were similar to previous years but a new one was a fabulous, luminescent squid called Bobby Dazzler by Kate Crawford and Beth Munro. Visitors were invited to add embelishment to Bobby with fingertips dabbed in luminescent paint.

Outside we could write on a graffiti wall. My rookie error was to seek out a clear piece of wall to advertise this blog without checking the appropriateness of the surrounding marks.

Also new to Illuminate were the thousands of bugs and moths fluttering in the breeze to remind us that we must protect biodiversity and species around the world. There was also the luxury of a cafe serving decent quality late night coffee, always a bonus!

The architecture of the Grade 1 listed buildings lends added texture to projected videos.

And although I failed to record a video the musical pipes and interactive lights were fascinating. Although not particularly musical in our hands.

Returning just for a final comment and illumination to our sunset swim. Here I am wearing my night swimming hat which was a birthday gift last week.

©Gilly Bobber

#31 theoldmortuaryponders

It has been complicated. In truth not much has gone on in the last 36 hours apart from wallpapering or thinking about wallpapering. Almost no time to ponder really, especially in daytime hours when natural light was essential to our pattern matching. The new-to-us house is built almost at the top of a hill and runs down the hill northwards and westwards. Such was the diligence of Georgian builders, that to gain the appearance of symmetry and regular shaped rooms some very odd wall angles and floor levels disguise the almost 30 degree slopes in two directions. This does not make wallpapering easy. Dog walking has, of course, continued and, thank goodness for this blog, the night walk is illuminated and interesting. The window above overlooks the green where the dogs like to snuffle, overlooked by model cows and fairy lights..

The cows are a reminder that the whole of the Royal William Yard was a factory for stocking up Royal Navy ships for long voyages at sea. The green, where we walk the dogs, was used by livestock that had recently been delivered, live by sea,and would soon pass through the slaughtehouse to be processed and packed onto ships. The view below is the one taken from the tunnel that leads onto the green.

The green is also well stocked with deck chairs. A reminder of pre-Covid times when we could come here to watch Open Air Cinema, Live Theatre or live streamed sports events.

On the other side of the yard we walk along the side of the River Tamar and Stonehouse Creek. A business and industrial area that is always lit up at night.

The path we take runs along the length of the Royal William Yard. As luck would have it I took a photo of this side of the yard last week from the Tuesday river cruise.

There are many different routes for us to take each evening, although winter walks stick to the areas that are well lit and dry underfoot, most evenings on the route home we see the same message. Which works just as well for the end of todays blog.

Pandemic Pondering #527

The sun was out yesterday. I was out yesterday. All was well with the world. Have a wonderful Sunday.

I’m not actually planning to stop there. Yesterday was full of lovely people and great art which I will share as the acceptable face of Saturday. Because nobody needs to see pictures of, or read about, my ranting on the subject of traffic blockages and crazy redirections. Or framers who haven’t framed. The pursuit of Art is not always comfy but it always repays with gorgeousness. Thanks to the artists of Drawn to the Valley for soothing a grumpy driver. The amazing print below exactly represents my head after more than two hours of road congestion. Except my busy head was not filled with such beauty.

©Beth Munro at Ocean Studios

Looking and talking about art is very soothing, by the end of the day the traffic and complexities of the day were all forgotten, my life view was much calmer!

©Melody James, at Isambard House, Saltash Station.

Pandemic Pondering #516

Hot on the heels of yesterdays morning blog is an evening blog of the same day, and two pictures from the exact same position with only a dog walk between them. Between yesterdays blog and this one lies the path of a day taken up by stuff, complicated by maintainance work on a local bridge. A normal 20 minute journey swelled to fill an hour and I missed an appointment. Rebooked for two hours later I filled my time with delivering brochures for an upcoming Open Studios event.

And took a trip to the supermarket. The appointment required me not to drive for two hours after so I was ‘forced’ to enjoy a late lunch in a friends garden and soak up the sun whilst my eyes returned to a normal, not blurry, way of life. Time then to head for home and get all the day jobs done. Before heading out for the evening dog walk which provided the two pictures that top and tail this blog. Since moving, our evening dog walk always takes in the area around the Royal William Yard, especially since the evenings have started to get darker. Royal William Yard is a collection of Military Buildings in Plymouth.

https://www.visitplymouth.co.uk/explore/areas-to-visit/royal-william-yard

Between the two photos we walked up to a meadow and the dogs chased each other inside the old, second world war gun emplacements of Devils Point.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/history/world-war-two-defences-you-2750611

I’m sure the longer we live here the more the history will soak into our bones but right now every slab of concrete is a complete mystery to us.

Returning to our original position, night was properly upon us.Time to turn our twelve feet for home.

Panemic Pondering #342

Fools Spring

If unseasonably sunny weather appears in any February, in Britain, the moment is known as Fools Spring. People usually flood the streets in lighter clothing and floral patterns. Sunshine on the weekend late in February 2021, after nearly a year of restricted Pandemic living was a recipe for quiet sartorial skittishness. The flood was replaced by a gentle trickle but along with floral patterns, shorts were worn and socks were abandoned so blue white toes could lay flacidly on the corky soles of Birkenstocks.

Colours took on a vivacity that lifted our spirits.

https://www.bistrotpierre.co.uk/locations/plymouth/

And even the moon put on a vivid show for the end of the day.

Foolish it might well have been but it felt like Spring was close.

Pandemic Pondering #330

At no time in the last week or so would we have chosen to stand in this location . A cold wind has been blowing in from the East, today it was gone and a watery sun suggested that a taste of Spring was the style of the day.

This visit was not a ‘ Bobbing’ visit but we very much regretted not having our swimming stuff with us. Progressive as Plymouth is trying really hard to be I doubt if skinny dipping from a prestigious tourist destination would go unnoticed. So walking and talking was the focus of the morning 10,000 steps. Conversations were wide ranging but centred for the most part on what the future holds for us after the Pandemic. You can read the serious stuff elsewhere but consider this. What happens when we share an actual exercise room with other people. Will they be willing to see us stretching and moving in our pyjamas? No sports bra keeping our bouncing parts under control. Pilates! Pilates is well known for being one of the more fart producing classes. Doing it on- line in your own sitting room allows a certain casualness about such things. After nearly a year of a looser bottom etiquette, at home , the first few communal sessions may be windier than our last weekend.

We did return later for a swim, appropriately dressed. The weak sun had changed and the currents were not too kind. A good ‘Bob’ was had but it started on our usual beach and finished further to the west.


The tunnel, later, had a different light but was still wind free. Maybe Spring is lurking.

Pandemic Pondering #299

The quiet observance of two resin ruminants. One of our regular and frequent walks on the Stonehouse Peninsular takes in part of the Southwest Coast Path, Hugo and Lola always like a sniff of these two quiet cows.

They ruminate on a green which would have been a historic walk from a tunnel where animals were unloaded to walk across the green to a slaughterhouse that was part of the Royal William Victualling Yard. The place where the Royal Navy loaded up ships with food, drink, and essentials to keep sailors fed and effective.

We did a couple of circuits of our usual walk once in each direction. A friend had told me she had seen a rare daffodil on New Years Eve . I didnt find it first time around so I put on more clothing, the wind was brutal, and walked back in the opposite direction. Success!

A single clump of Grand Primo Citronaire.

Identified by Kathy’s photograph from a Daffodil Identification Day.

©Kathy Lovell

10,000 steps, ruminating ruminants and Grand Primo Citronaire. What more could I possibly want from an hours exercise!

Grand Primo Citronaire