#524 theoldmortuary ponders

Bobbing has not had many mentions in March. Today was my third dip of the month and the most photogenic by a very long way. The sea temperature has risen a bit to 9.4 after last week’s 8 degrees. Just a brisk there and back in the bay this morning followed by some excellent quality chatting and a Tim Hortons coffee to warm me up. I think I have cracked swimming year-round without a wet suit. Last year I gave up my wetsuit in April and made myself feel very poorly. I then went back to wearing the wet suit and didn’t get out of it until late May. Anxious not to go down a similar path again, I have cut down on my time in the water but stayed just in a swimsuit since last May. There have been two dippings without the swimsuit and I decided a skinny dip a month is the new target for 2023. These events may not make it into the blog.

The sunshine today is gorgeous, as demonstrated by the plant convalescence corner in our dining room.

I’m not sure these plants will ever move to other places in the house. They exude happiness from every leaf and frond.

Happiness also exuded from the dogs when their afternoon adventure took them to just the other side of the water from home, for a walk, and they got Mount Wise park to themselves and could do chasing and wild running on a grassy hillside, unbothered or interrupted by any other dogs or humans.

Their human companions were not so lively. Our morning swim was fabulous but sometimes swimming in these cold temperatures produces severe lethargy a few hours later. Even caffeine in the afternoon didn’t give us the required fizz to do anything more than a circuit of the park with a few stops to admire the view. It was important to make the most of the day though, the weather forecast for the rest of the week is dire.These blue skies and blue seas are unlikely to be back until April.

©Debs Bobber

#517 theoldmortuary ponders

The first day of Spring washed in on a wave of persistent, penetrative rain.

Drips were the tiny gems of the day hanging around waiting to catch the sunbeams that resolutely failed to arrive.

Raindrops when gathered together turn into puddles. So one puddle two ways is the endpoint of this blog. It is a puddle we have been to before, but the alternative, a variety of shots of room settings at Ikea is one step too far for a blog that has no problem celebrating the mundane. IKEA is almost a global experience, all around the world people were sat in IKEA cafes, at the exact same time as me, pondering on their various domestic needs. Ours were simple and we managed the, almost impossible, task of getting out with only one extra item. A tool to fish spaghetti out of bowls or saucepans.

The first day of Spring, raindrops, puddles and IKEA.

#505 theoldmortuary ponders

A big day yesterday. After 5 years with my trusty smart phone it was time to move on. Just like me the phone was getting a little cranky. It had not had the best of starts. Almost on day one I had dropped it and the back had crazed like a windscreen. But as luck would have it the silicone cover I had ordered arrived on the same day and the injury was largely unseen and forgotten until recently, when things started to get a little loose. Charging became a bit hit and miss and sometimes the touch sensitivity was just a little off. Under normal circumstances I would have just upgraded, but Huawei no longer sell phones in Europe. So here I am, the first blog on a new phone. A lot to learn so only small pondering. The top picture was generated by Google Photos and shows the location of an International Womens Day gathering that I attended yesterday. There was a lot of cake.

There were also fabulous books, clothes and bric a brac to exchange.I returned home with less than I took, which is a positive, and full of good food and lovely anecdotes from everyone I met there. Donations were made to the Disasters Relief Fund and the total raised will be divided between the ongoing work in Turkey and Ukraine.

And so, first time to push the publish button on my new phone.

#489 theoldmortuary ponders.

I have been having a bit of a fiddle superimposing photographs with watercolour washes. This is not the look I was aiming for, even in digital art happy accidents happen. I love the coppery tones that a splash of watercolour brings to this sunrise. Suddenly a real photograph becomes fantastical. More like a stormy sunset but facing in the wrong direction. This is absolute serendipity, I could never have planned this but accidents happen.

#463 theoldmortuary ponders


Yesterday I pondered on the difficulty of painting a sea picture in January. Compared to May, for instance. Two months both 31 days long and yet nothing alike. January for me is a month to be filled with stuff to do. Which is just as well as January features 31 days of the, mentally, longest days of the year, so plenty can be done, but not necessarily thrillingly done. January is a month to be endured and got through. Lightness and brightness are savoured and celebrated like small victories.

January is the under-painting for the rest of the year. The last Friday of January is a double joy day. The end point of the official working week and the last Friday of the longest month.

Shuang Xi ( Double Joy)

Happy last Friday in January.

P. S The header image was created in 3 stages.

An original snippet of a water colour. Added to

A back lit photo of beach pickings. Added to
Shuang Xi ( Double Happiness)

#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.

#417 theoldmortuary ponders

2019 at the actual old mortuary.

Full disclosure. I am not certain that all these images are new to the pondering but in the spirit of Advent+ 2022 but they do illustrate this pondering rather well. As yet I have not really done the festive decorating for 2022.

It has been a giddy weekend. I have attended 2/3 of all the parties that I have been to since the pandemic started. I am not counting the gatherings in my own house.

The first party of this weekend was a works do, my first ever as a volunteer employee. Being a volunteer is a funny old business. The British class system is often bubbling under the surface of institutions and organisations in this country. Upper, middle and lower as categories can be swapped out to almost anything in our mad British need to ‘ find our place’ or be ‘put in our place’ by some sort of bonkers hierarchy. The works do is always a great place to observe this Great British Idiosyncrasy.

My second party was also a first. The first as a neighbour in Stonehouse. There was no Great British Idiosyncrasy at work, just extended natterings with lovely people. Since living here I have learnt never, ever to leave the house just in time to hit a deadline. Every journey no matter how small needs a ten minute buffer in case you meet someone you know or even don’t know very well. I call this buffer the Stonehouse 10 minutes. I learnt last night that some people call it the Durnford 10, using the name of the main street into the Peninsular. Last night I met more people who will certainly slow me down in 2023 and extended my conversation range to at least 20 minutes with many others. Warmed by good food, good conversation and Prosseco I set off, after the party, to walk the dogs. I met no one and arrived back home 10 minutes early.

#412 theoldmortuary ponders

We have entered the twilight zone of bobbing. Tide times and light are now the two main factors that control when we plan a bob. 4 pm was particularly kind to us yesterday. The water was a balmy 10 degrees and the outside temperature was 6. My personal dip was brief but effective. I think it took longer to drink my restorative cup of tea than my actual immersion time. Over tea the chat turned to Christmas Day. It has taken two years of Covid affected Christmases to establish a new tradition. A brief dip on Christmas morning with the ‘bobbers’ before we plunge headlong into whatever we would normally do with families and friends over the festive season. I can’t even remember what the restrictions were for Christmas 2020. I think we kept big distances between our ‘bubbles’ * and shouted happily to one another, marvelling at the madness of new friendships and the urge to swim in the sea in winter, when many of us had lived locally for many years and not bothered to swim much at all until a pandemic hit. 2021 we were cautiously closer to one another, wary of passing on Omicron but sharing individually wrapped snacks of chocolate and Christmas snacks, while we damply struggled into dry clothes. 2022 is likely to be giddy, there will be bubbles and huggles and maybe kisses on chilly cheeks. Thank goodness for Bubbles! In the spirit of Advent +2022 here is a previously unseen picture of bubbles over our swimming zone.

* Bubbles were legally acceptable indoor gatherings of no more than 6 adults during the lockdowns of 2020. This rule applied to everyone unless you were serving in the Conservative government who set the rules.For them bubbles were what they always were, a pleasant fizzy drink to be enjoyed while working, partying or indeed groping colleagues in the corridors of power.

#410 theoldmortuary ponders

Today is almost certainly the last day I will be able to harvest a red tomato 🍅 grown outside in the backyard. This is hugely significant for two reasons, I have never before achieved growing even one red tomato outdoors in any garden during my lifetime. This year our new location and probably the warmest year on record are the factors that have made this possible. Not newly sprouted green fingers on my own fair hands. The warm year had made our yard positively Mediterranean until late October. Since then the yard has grown a velvety carpet of mould. Like the set of Tolkiens’ ‘Middle Earth’ in the Lord of the Rings film franchise, everything is cloaked in green flock. The spring clear-up is almost certainly going to involve a pressure washer but maybe nature or the predicted cold snap will remove the green tinge in the next month or two. Today’s tomato is not a thing of beauty, I already know that, but in the spirit of Advent+2022 I can share a very pretty tomato from November, never before the subject of a pondering.

#407, theoldmortuary ponders

It was a shock, this morning, to look at a December calendar and realise how the days actually fall. I have been putting in our commitments without looking at the names of the days they fall on. Christmas day falls on a Saturday which means there are only three effective weekends in December and one of them is in two days time. I am not a festive catastrophist, nor a perfectionist, so this is not a worry, more an observation. Those of us, who can, will gather together and have a good time. I think this feeling of unease is just about the sensation. A month of normal, mundane weekend activities must be squeezed into three rather than the usual four. Months that give me five weekends equally give me concern. May is a good one to give me the jitters of over-commitment when it provides 5 weekends. That is usually 5 weekends of visits or visitors that are planned and never go wrong but nonetheless give me waking nights of cold chills when I imagine that I have overbooked myself. I think it is safe to say I am a four weekends to the month kind of person. You know where you are with four weekends. Three is definitely too few and five just makes me giddy .

Welcome December, here is some sea glass and fishing net picked off our local beach, and with that a theme for Advent+2022. A bit of a daily pondering including photographs that have never made it into the blog before. A sort of Advent+ Calendar of surprises.

Sea glass and fishing net from Stonehouse beaches.