Pandemic Pondering #236

The  link below takes you to an excellent article published in the Guardian today.

Pandemic Ponderings has covered most of the topics mentioned but the whole lot, covered by a proper newspaper, makes for a less whimsical read. Even before this article appeared, today, other people’s writing was going to inform this blog.

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2020/sep/25/top-10-locals-guide-to-plymouth-mayflower-400-anniversary?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other

This is the book,randomly chosen, for the September choice of my book club. By a huge coincidence a character in this novel visits Plymouth . A couple of comments in the book reminded me of things I have not yet pondered about . Given that this blog is about Plymouth, I will just share the Plymouth based one today. But before that an aside.

An hour or so before this blog was due to be published I finished this book. Further curious and serendipitous connections come to light. I love the book for many reasons, including its locations. It is based geographically in places I know intimately, Cornwall and the area around St Pauls Cathedral in the City of London.

Just as I sit through the rolling credits of films, I also read the acknowledgements in books. This one dealt a huge dollop of serendipity. The author, Sarah Winman writes ” Thank you to The Gentle Author and the community that has grown around the Spitaldfelds Life Blog- you are a constant reminder of why we do what we do”

Spitaldfelds Life is the Gold Standard that drives my writing @theoldmortuary . The Gentle Author guided and encouraged me, and many other blog writers to simply write. The surprise to see him mentioned at the back of this novel gave me such a warm and welcome boost. He really is the loveliest of men , the courses he runs are inspirational.

Returning to talking about the pondering the book inspired. In,A Year of Marvellous Ways, a sexual awakening and affaire de coeur is marked by the gift of a penny which is significant to the location of the entwinement. To illustrate this I need to rummage a bit.

It didn’t take long to find an old penny. Significantly this one would have been used in the Plymouth Area. It was designed by Leonard Charles Wyon an adaptation of a design by his father William Wyon for earlier pennies.

1967 British Penny ©theoldmortuary

The lighthouse, which can just be glimpsed behind Britannia is Smeatons Tower. Plymouths Iconic Landmark. Imaged on the coin in its original position on the Eddystone Rocks. 9 miles south west of Rame Head in Cornwall. Despite being closest to Cornwall the rocks are within the City limits of Plymouth and therefore considered to be within Devon.

Another blog that shaped its own destiny. Not the journey I planned but the journey that happened whilst I was planning.

Pandemic Pondering #214

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.

A weekend with Milly

A weekend of giving Aunt Milly some love and attention is enhanced by sunshine. I have a pile of books to keep me occupied and a view to distract me.

IMG_1032I popped into the Royal William Yard to buy some bakery provisions at The Ocean Studios. A home made Pork Pie somehow slipped into my shopping bag. Cue a bit of bakery porn, posing in the old clome oven, giving me the chance to use the term ‘Crumbshot’  which I have stolen from memoirsofabaker.

IMG_1021.JPGMy reading for this weekend if the sunshine and the views don’t distract me is:-

How To Write About Contemporary Art by Gilda Williams.

Recommended by my art writers group. So far I’ve only dipped but it seems like an easier read than I had imagined.

 

 

Long Live Great Bardfield: The Autobiography of Tirzah Garwood.

Edited by Anne Ullman. My entire gene pool comes from the Bardfield area and I know very little about the village. Coupled with the narrative of a female artist, this will suit me very well.

 

 

Cant Stand Up For Sitting Down by Jo Brand.

A friend gave me this after I took a shockingly bad selection of books on my holiday. She thought this would chear me up literarywise. She was right. Living near Jo in South London, being grey haired and inclined towards curviness, I am often asked if I am her sister by shopkeepers. I think she would make a fabulous sister but the answer really is NO but if you insist I will sign your till receipt.

 

The Saturday Guardian,.

Regardless of the general opinion of our newspapers the arts stuff is well written and I enjoy reading it over the weekend.

 

Living Etc:

A style magazine that offers interior design that can be modified for normal living.

 

Cornwall Today: July. The Poldark Edition.

Colin and Diana had a copy of this ,when we met them at The Sorting Office Coffee Shop at St Agnes, yesterday. I’m more of a Winston Graham Poldark fan than a BBC fan . I read all the books in my early teens, I’m intrigued to see how Poldark is reimagined within real Cornwall.

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Evening Standard Magazine: 07.07.17 London United Edition.

My love affair with London never fades, I voraciously read other people’s stories about their feelings for our capital city.

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