#43 theoldmortuary ponders

©Gilly Bobber

Sunbay morning walk. Meeting and natterings with morning swimmers whilst we were snug and warm in the many layers that are required for an early morning dog walk. Knowing full well that this bright and beautiful morning will progress to an equally bright and beautiful sunset which is when we will plunge into the chilly waters of Firestone Bay for our weekend swim.

I suspect there was a frost this morning, the autumn leaves on the pavements looked a bit ravaged and damp when we set off. They still held a myriad of messages for the dogs to sniff and respond to, which slowed us down a good bit. As did searching for an autumn coloured dog poo ( or two) in the pile of leaves that was chosen for the morning elimination.

There is a new character hanging around in our changing area, taking in the sun while straddling a nail and a limpet shell.

Just how every super hero should spend a Sunday.

Pandemic Pondering #519

This may have been the best bowl of mussels, clams and cockles I have ever eaten. I love seafood but it doesn’t always love me. This never deters me, the occasional night of gastric turbulence is a risk I am always prepared to take. When it happens it is the fault of my fastidious gut, not the responsibility of the establishment serving the seafood.

This mornings wake up followed a night of a very peaceful, happy, belly. This raises the bar for the little bowl of seafood. It was the best I have ever eaten.

Pandemic Pondering #292

Some winter days start with promise and just keep giving. Today was a day for harvesting vitamin D.

Either end of the day were gloriously golden . The middle bit was filled with a happy Zoom meeting and some packing up and planning for our future fake Christmas. Date currently unknown. The freezer holds all sorts of festive foods and decorations are packed away, not for the usual year but for a shorter period.

As our days begin to stretch slightly at either end the sunshine is a great bonus.

Pandemic Pondering #255

A funny thing happened overnight on Thursday.

©Karen Mills

The picture above was taken at sunset. My Thursday evening started well, witnessing these amazing skies, but then took a more arduous turn when I joined in with a Zoom AGM. The meeting took serpiginous routes through regular business and decision making and lasted three hours. Not many important decisions were made and, as can happen at these things, some folk got on some high horses and rode the poor things into the ground. Thankfully I am not a chairman , I fear my finger may have inadvertantly grazed the mute button on more than one occasion.

Safe to say three hours prepped me very well for sleep. Not the restful sort though. I woke myself up reciting a poem, almost word perfect, that I had no idea was still stored in my brain.

Who could guess why such a volatile poem hijacked my sleep . Maybe that dramatic sky or maybe an AGM where raging and raving were bobbing just under the surface.

Do not go gentle into the night.

By Dylan Thomas

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,

Because their words had forked no lightning theyDo not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright

Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight

And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight

Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,

Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.

Do not go gentle into that good night.

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After all that nocturnal culture it was good to wake up to a calm morning.

©Clare Law

Moon, barge and sunrise.

An early morning drop off at Exeter Airport gave us the chance to go for an early morning walk at Topsham, the weather was all things bright and beautiful. The moon was still up when we started. Our only previous visits to Topsham were related to delivering or collecting students doing the Topsham 10. No mention ever, from them, of the amazing architecture.

Topsham is beautiful. The architecture is stunning. We accidentally walked the Topsham Goatwalk. At 7:30 we pretty much had it to ourselves.

A bit of googling on our return home and we discovered that in the 17 th century Topsham was the second busiest British port after London. Which explains the architecture.

Topsham took precedence over Exeter as a port because an assertive woman, Isabella de Fortibus built a partial weir in 1290, on the River Exe to run her mills and cut off Exeter as a navigable port direct from the sea. In 1300 a local landowner Hugh De Courtney added to the effect of the weir by felling trees and chaining them together to further block the navigable river to Exeter.

We were pretty surprised to see a Thames Barge resting up on a slipway. Even more surprised to discover that the barge, Vigilant had spent some time in the same relatively unknown area of North East Essex where half of theoldmortuary grew up.


The sun was rising as we approached the actual Goat walk, a raised path alongside the water. Loads of benches there for future memorial bench blogs.

We carried on walking into the sunrise and then followed footpaths and lanes back into the centre of town for a brew at Route 2 cafe.

Topsham is so worth a visit. If you can’t get there visit the links on this page.