#345 theoldmortuary ponders

It’s complicated. As Britain packs away the Cosplay outfits for a few months, what happens next? When I took the photo of the purple, illuminated, entrance of The Royal William Yard in Plymouth I hadn’t planned to include the contemporary A-frame table but when superimposed on a shot of the dawn of a new day it looks pleasingly optimistic. The future of Britain will be resolved around tables like this one. People will sit at benches like this, cardboard coffee cups in hand and informally exchange ideas. The big decisions may well be made in grander or more formal surroundings, but tables like this are where the magic happens.

If the architecture looks familiar after 10 days of news bulletins from London, there is a reason. The same architect John Rennie, who built the Royal William Yard, was part of a partnership, with his brother J and G Rennie. They also built Waterloo Bridge, Southwark Bridge and London Bridge.

How affronted would J and G Rennie be if they had known that the, imagined, structural failure of one of their bridges was the code name for the Queen’s death?

“London Bridge has fallen down”

The bridge did not, actually, fall down and the sun rose so all is well.

#281 theoldmortuary ponders

My almost daily commute for three weeks is a ten minute walk from home. It covers the same paths that my normal daily dog walks take. Without the dogs, who are disinterested, for the most part, in a print exhibition, the familiar walk can be enhanced by taking a slightly different route. These stairs are just off my normally beaten path, but of no interest to the noses of my dogs.

Today was bin day and the big communal bins live in an old military building that has not yet been ‘improved’. The dogs would have loved to be with me as refuse bins and a hot summer day is a heady mix of flavours but I just nipped in to take this lovely old window in a grubby and unbuffed state.

Another love of mine is to see scarring on paintwork from regular use. Although that regular use stopped nearly 30 years ago.

And then there is the redundant heavy duty equipment with warnings , of limitations to men of my grandfathers generation.

Men for whom these numbers on doors had some significance.

I just love them as reminders of slightly archaic fonts.

I will leave you with two of my favourite doors.

One is an old storeroom and the other leads to a suite of artists studios. They are both at the end of the, currently empty, gallery space.

#273 theoldmortuary ponders

So whilst I am languishing about like an overcooked parsnip, being Covid Positive, in a record heatwave. The print exhibition that I have been planning for months went and made a success of itself without me. An amazing curatorial and hanging team set it all up on Monday.

They worked incredibly hard, all day, in the blistering heat.

Today was the first day of being open fully to the public. Stewarded by volunteers, there will always be someone on hand to chatter about all things print related.

Thursday evening, this week, the 21st of July, between 6pm and 8pm we are holding our Private View. There will be fizz and singing. Everyone who is able to attend is welcome to the Private View, or of course, any other time over the next 3 weeks.

#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.