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

Pandemic Pondering #287

Its been a funny old festive season @theoldmortuary . We have a smallish family circle and a larger circle of friends. We are very lucky. One Christmas lost to being decent citizens, who stuck to the rules, is not actually a ‘ lost’ Christmas just a diminished one without all our treasured people around us.

Pyjamas @theoldmortuary

Today it is 360 days until Christmas 2021. Our strange distorted world will look very different.

Anish Kapoor at Pitzhanger Museum and Art Gallery

And while it can never turn the full 360 degrees to return us to our pre-pandemic normal. ( We can’t ever turn back the clocks.) Things will look and feel very different 360 days from now.

Less

A feature of a cleaning cupboard at The Box

And more.

The tunnel at Royal William Yard during Illuminate 2019

Pandemic Pondering #272

Twilight dog walk.

One week from the shortest day in the Northern Hemisphere. These three photos were taken within the space of about ten minutes and all within the same geographical location at either end of the tunnel that leads to the sea from the Royal William Yard, in Plymouth.

It had been a very grey day but just at the last moment some colour grazed the sky. The photo above does have a filter applied and the other two are artificially lit but the vivid colours brightened up the end of the day.

These last few short days of December are my least favourite time of year. I completely understand why many cultures and religions choose to throw a festival into the schedule to perk things up a little. Two of the three daily walks get closer together as I try to catch the best of the day at either end of the available daylight.

Left to their own devices Hugo and Lola would not choose to interrupt quality sleeping time with scheduled walks at this time of year. They accompany me out of love not neccesity. To be honest I feel the same but we have never discussed it. Perhaps we should…

P.S This 10 year old post just popped up on Facebook, nothing changes!

Pandemic Pondering #239

Week 1 of Lockdown #2 completed. I have lower expectations of myself this time around. Managing expectations has turned out to be quite simple. If I have none they require no management and everything achieved is a bonus.

This sign in my favourite coffee shop is a beautiful example of managing expectations. If a complete apocalypse occured and this poster was discovered even in 100 years time it would still express optimism. I spotted it yesterday on my daily fresh air and exercise expedition.

Shamefully my exercise yesterday did not include a sea swim in Firestone Bay. But it would have been impossible to get a tranquil photo of the tidal Pool because it is busy most of the time in daylight hours now sea swimming has become so popular.

My bonus of yesterday was the exact opposite of a cold crisp swim. The link below shows you a video that will give you a flavour of the Thursday Bonus.

https://fb.watch/1Jbkuw3n3E/

A chocolatier has opened a tiny shop in The Royal William Yard. In truth we went for coffee but the offer of a brownie, especially when the word Caramac was used completely loosened any pretence of good behaviour. Unctuously decadent .

https://www.domeafavourchocolate.co.uk/

The experience was further enhanced by having the Brownie served warm. Nothing could be further from a cold crisp swim and unlike sea swimming in winter it required no special clothes or planning. It is entirely possible to just accidentally have a slightly warmed brownie in regular clothes while looking at a fabulous view.

Week 1 done!

Pandemic Pondering #169

Life took @theoldmortuary to a cemetery this morning. The weather was shocking for September and a dense fog filled every nook and cranny . Taking the dogs for a scenic walk was pointless so we took a walk in a cemetery that began its existence to accommodate the dead from a different sort of Public Health Crisis

The Plymouth, Devonport and Stonehouse Cemetery was set up to alleviate overcrowding in church graveyards. 400 victims of the Cholera outbreak of 1848 are buried there.

This morning it was atmospheric to say the least and I did find a grave of the Baskerville family. Probably no coincidence that Stonehouse GP Arthur Conan Doyle used that wonderful surname in the title of his novel The Hound of the Baskerville’s, set in nearby Dartmoor.

Actual or literary Baskerville’s aside the morning had an aura of Victorian drama.

Ford Park Cemetery as it is now known needs continued burials to enable it to stay viable.

Prepaying gets you the sort of receipt that would be hard to tuck into a pocket or wallet.

The fog filled nearly the whole day but by 4pm the sun finally chased it away and by sunset I managed an entirely more cheery photo of a bird, in contrast to the morning bird of gloom.

The Seagull was perched on the perimeter of The Royal William Yard which was completed just 15 years before the Cholera outbreak in Plymouth. Plymouth , in common with many other cities had a growing population in the mid 19th Century and became overcrowded Cholera is caused by water born bacteria. People in overcrowded areas drinking water that is contaminated by a cocktail of filth both biological and industrial are highly susceptible.

Residents and workers at the Royal William Yard would be safer and luckier than other Plymouth inhabitants, because the Royal William Yard had its own reservoir for fresh water. The Western Kings Reservoir.

So in a wonderful coincidence my two pictures of birds taken today demonstrate rather nicely the benefits of safe drinking water.

Which leads me serendipitously to an article in The Guardian.

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/01/cholera-and-coronavirus-why-we-must-not-repeat-the-same-mistakes?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

In contrast to the drear of the morning the evening took vivid to heart. Pessimism to Optimism in 12 hours.

Aqua Menthe, Lush Lava, Phantom Blue

© Shutterstock
It will be no surprise to regular readers or viewers of the blog that I love a deeply saturated colour almost as much as I love black and white.Any ‘colour of the year’ headline grabs my attention. Coupled with lovely descriptive words Shutterstock have analysed their way to a great trio of colours.
https://www.shutterstock.com/blog/trends/2020-color-trends
Synesthesia is always part of my life, I’ve had to learn to override it but these three colours make my heart and head thrill with their energy.
https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html My own collection of images is lacking Aqua Menthe and Phantom Blue but Lush Lava plays a big part. I’ve set myself a side project of finding more of those colours this year.A trawl through my collection earlier today has found these.Lush Lava
Flowers on a memorial bench. Devils Point Plymouth
An image I created to show a curving corridor entrance to a dark room.
Red Currants at Butler’s Cottage
Aqua Menthe
Detail from one of my paintings . From the collection of UltraCardiac
Boat at Port Wrinkle
Nightclub on the Barbican, featuring Jules and Lola
Phantom Blue
The Levellers at Minack Theatre.
Mediterranean Biome at Eden Project
A phone box at Royal William Yard during Illuminate Festival
All three colours in an abstract.The cover picture or frontispiece of this blog is a play on words. The shallow pool is at The Scarlet Hotel, Cornwall. The strip of red simply had to be done. I’ve slightly re- edited it to also be the Endpiece.

Advent#31

December 31st 2019, the last day of a decade. The blog has grown into itself. Pondering has become the driving word for narrative and visual creations. All thanks to a writing course with The Gentle Author of Spitalfields life.

https://spitalfieldslife.com/

Pondering the past year, I grabbed one picture for each month from my smartphone. There was no theme. No images of dogs or family or friends. In reality I ponder my friends, family and dogs often in the moments of these images. Taking you all into the next decade is the best gift imaginable.

Time to gently close the door on 2019 and lift the latch on the one marked 2020.

@theoldmortuary , pondering 2019 one month at a time.

Portwrinkle, Cornwall. January 2019

Portwrinkle again. Shells on a rusty GPO box. February 2019

https://gailsbread.co.uk/bakeries/dulwich-village/

Cheese straws. Gail’s Bakery, Dulwich Village. March 2019

https://www.porteliot.co.uk/

Wild Garlic, Port Eliot, St Germans, Cornwall. April 2019

Spring Flowers, Trematon Castle, Saltash. May 2019.

Hong Kong. June 2019

https://www.vam.ac.uk/

Shadows at the Dior Exhibition. V and A, Kensington July 2019

Rusty watering can rose and geranium. @theoldmortuary.August2019

https://kelly-house.co.uk/

Quick sketch of a 90 year old theatrical crown. Kelly House, Kelly. September 2019

Spider web, Waterside, Saltash October 2019

Corrugated cardboard rolled. St Ives, Cornwall. November 2019

Scavenged Festive wreath @theoldmortuary December 31st 2019.

https://www.oceanstudios.org.uk/

See you there …

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.