#461 theoldmortuary ponders

Tranquility creeps up on me in surprising places. Our evening dog walk coincided with the exact point when the sea was still. High tide before the tide started to ebb away. There have been a few tranquil moments in recent days. These steps, leading to a soft sandy beach, showed signs of immense human and dog traffic but they were from the day before, preserved by neap tides and calm weather. Looking out at the beach there was no-one to be seen.

Similarly in this very complex photo from the Barbara Hepworth exhibition at Tate St Ives there was not another person in my eyeline.

Tranquility, even the word makes me want to relax. I looked up an on- line Thesaurus to check other similar words and reciting this list would have me nodding off in moments.

Should you feel the same I have one last picture to fit the mood. Glass bricks at Tate St Ives.

#459 theoldmortuary ponders

Stepping softly into another week. January is a funny month. Not one that I ever feel particularly warm towards, but a weekend of crisp bright days has made me feel quite perky. Our trip to St Ives was 100% sunshine so we walked and basked as much as possible, turning our winter faces to the sun, like Sunflowers in August. We were staying on a tiny lane called The Didgy but our kitchen overlooked Virgin Lane and this beautiful door.

Both evocative of a different age. The beauty of being in Cornish fishing towns in January is the closeness, that it is possible to feel, to the history of these places. There are not so many people about and the sounds and smells of the town are just as they would have been centuries ago, minus perhaps body odour and poor sanitation. The first building on Virgin Lane was a bakery, it swung into action at about 7am in the morning. Bread, pasties and baked goods delivered from an out of town industrial unit. The romantic smell of baking created by modern warming ovens pressed against its 16th Century walls. However the smells are created, the effect was the same. 21st century people, wearing fishermen’s sweaters flocked to the bakery drawn out of their cottages by the smell wafted into every home in the vicinity. After shopping many of them then took a turn to the harbour where eager Seagulls hover in the hope of stealing a beakful of baked goods.

Coffee in hand, bread under one arm. 21st Century people, in fishermen’s sweaters, look out at resting fishing boats. Sunshine and peace makes romantics of us all.

#458 theoldmortuary ponders

Some blogs are slow burning, ripening slowly over many days, weeks or months. Others present themselves in a moment. This one is a hybrid, the Pondering has been bubbling away for a couple of months, the moment today, was perhaps 60 seconds of decision making. That moment is the top picture. After a small amount of walking, the coastal path at St Ives, we came upon this idyllic beach. After a moments paddling the decision was made to throw caution to the wind and strip off completely for a swim. Confident that my weekly sea swims, or bobs, as they are known, have equipped me with the ability to quickly submerge in any chilly sea temperature.

It would not do to fanny about, frightening fellow walkers, with my nakedness. The long, slow, ponderous part of this blog has its inspiration from a comment made by a fellow course member at a blogging course.

” Your blog would be better with more of you in it”

Since November I have tried putting a little more of me into the blog. In truth I have always been there, peeping from behind words or hiding in pictures. Trying to find my voice, or style, while nattering on about not very much. I wonder, sometimes, if anyone has noticed the slight changes since November.

Ten or so minutes of swimming in a cold sea, off the North Cornwall coast was just fabulous this morning. I could be evangelical about the benefits of cold water immersion, likewise the buzz of not giving a moments thought to just taking my clothes off in a public space. Put the two together and the skills of fully clothed camera- wielding friends and the blog gets all of me for one time only.


I got a life boosting, energy creating, moment. Fizzy as a firework, giddy as the giddiest goat, happy as a human hippo. Naked, cold and loving life. All time stood still, the sun was out and I was feeling elemental.

#457 theoldmortuary ponders

A January weekend in St Ives, the streets and the beaches are empty. Plenty of space for dogs to think that they own the world and humans to be the only people in the pub, apart from the faces looking down from the walls.

Hugo tried being masterful with the waves and the waves won.

We, the humans, knew the waves would always win and were not tempted in for a swim, as yet. But for now just staring at the sea and pondering the massive changes the last 100 years have seen in this beautiful coastal town while the sea remains unchanged. History of St Ives below.

P.s we may have found the perfect art studio, overlooking the beach.

#131 theoldmortuary ponders

My apologies for the blogs being more than usually peppered with art stuff. I am in the midst of an on-line art course called Finding Your Colour Voice. I am trying to complete the course initially in a little over the ten working days and two weekends. My plan is to do each day’s tutorial and weekend projects as soon as I can after they drop onto the website. After that I have another 4 months when the content is available to me to study more at depth. Precious Pondering time is mostly colour related at the moment.

My project yesterday was to create colour charts from a huge variety of sources. I made a start by producing 4 colour charts of places from memory. I’m going to share two of them as they are my short term memory efforts. Unsurprisingly they are of places close to home and easily visited to check out how accurate my memory is. I also have recent photographs to share my thoughts. On reviewing yesterday’s work, I am immediately struck that with these two I have very specifically created a winter colour palate. The other two places I completed are clearly less season specific, I haven’t visited either of them since the pandemic started.

I am particularly pleased with the Cornish colours, I wanted to show the softness of the county. Something that is less obvious in the brashness of summer. Something that doesn’t show well in the photograph is the greigeness that cloaks the county frequently.

Stonehouse is altogether ‘harder’ despite being geographically not far away. It does however share the greige and that colour,or indeed sensation is much better depicted on the Stonehouse colour chart.

A tremendous exercise, many more charts to paint…

UK-based visual artist

#110 theoldmortuary ponders.

In the creamy early morning light of St Ives it would be easy to miss the stone balancing on Lambeth Walk Beach.

Just like tourists there are less of them in January and they are not so tall or flamboyant. In this instance less is definitely more. These modest but skillfully created piles gently look out to sea, barely changing the appearance of the beach, they contemplatively slow everything down just that little bit. Encouraging the viewer to be still longer and breath deeper.

#109 theoldmortuary ponders

Here is another gorgeous doorway from St Ives. Once again I am using a door as a way of introducing a topic that would only provide very poor visual content. The gate is open which is a fine excuse to open up about my latest addiction. Like many addictions someone introduced me to this new pleasure. It was almost a throw away comment as he left the house.

“Have you tried Wordle?”


I doubt he had even got to the end of the street before I had found Wordle, done a Wordle and needed more Wordles!

I texted frantically asking how I could get the next one.

He replied that I would have to wait until tomorrow.

Who in their right mind introduces anyone to something they can only access once a day for pleasure?

Well , me actually. You won’t regret it.


#105 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday did not go as planned. But I knew the best laid plans had failed by 6pm the night before so a different plan was hatched. Serendipity stepped up to take the place of forward planning and for the first time in just over two years we got a seat in our favourite and now local coffee shop, so the birthday fairies were not totally having a bad day. First World problems and all that but it was lovely to have coffee in a cup sat at a table indoors. The surprise element of the birthday outing still happened but not in the way it was meant to be. A pair of pyjamas in a carrier bag does not have the same impact as pyjamas served in a biscuit tin which depicts the destination of the next couple of days. The irony is not lost on me that 6 months ago we moved out of a Cornish cottage and yet I had booked our first break away in a Cornish cottage. To be fair to me my search area for a cottage was anywhere between Penzance and Bristol. I had four search parameters.

1- Price

2- Dog friendly

3- Plenty of walking with no need to use the car for three days

4-A homely cottage, not cute and absolutely not decorated in blue and white, with beach huts, seagulls or fish as decorative features.

Number 4 turned out to be the deciding factor.

When we moved from a non touristy part of Cornwall to a very touristy part of Devon we moved our decorative fish with us but beyond that one detail we prefer a more organic style of interior design. Stuff gleaned from ebay, skips or dumpster, charity shops or friends and neighbours discarded or unneeded items.

After a sunshine filled hour or two in Truro, we took the road to St Ives.

Truro Cathedral

We arrived after dark and just like short stay tourists everywhere we trundled our little suitcases the ten minute walk from a car park to our destination.

Comfy cottage.

More irony as we settled down with a cup of tea. A programme about Cornwall was on the TV as we settled in.

We did not eat spider crab last night, but fish and chips and sausages for dogs filled us up ready for today’s walking.

Not a beach hut, Seagull or fish in sight.


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.


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


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


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

Spring Flowers, Trematon Castle, Saltash. May 2019.

Hong Kong. June 2019


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

Rusty watering can rose and geranium. @theoldmortuary.August2019


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.


See you there …