#369 theoldmortuary ponders

Yesterday was our swan song as live- in helpful Nana and Nona to our new granddaughter. For now we have absented ourselves so another set of grandparents can enjoy cuddles and snuggles and disturbed sleep. We flew south to Arundel for a few days so a whole new location for pondering. Somewhere for us to reflect on a whirlwind past two weeks.

Arundel is going to be a fabulous spot to blog from, the dogs have done a preliminary walk round.

Hoping that this is not our actual swan song…

#368 theoldmortuary ponders

Re-use, re-imagine, recycle. A succulent use for your old, soft balls.

This was a lovely surprise today. We did a street walk with the dogs around Southfields this morning. Coffee at a coffee shop called Drop Shot…

Hard to avoid the tennis connections of this bustling High Street.

More charity shop bargains and some healthy food shopping all before lunchtime. To be honest we are at our grand-parenting best in the mornings. Up before the lark or even the sun with not much to do but admire these small feet while her parents sleep and catch up with box sets on the T. V.

#367 theoldmortuary ponders.

©Sue Rigg Instagram @sdrigg38

Our days in Wimbledon are a blur of activity and stasis. Our adult timetable rescheduled to the needs and desires of a two-week-old baby. Her timetable runs on four hourly shifts, adult activity continues on our 24-hour night and day schedule. The two do not run in an entirely compatible format and the one that shifts is the adult one. Slowly we are gaining more adult achievements. Walks to coffee shops, supermarket visits, a farmers market and yesterday an art exhibition. Charging my phone is one of the adult activities that sometimes gets out of synchronisation, so my apologies to Worple Art Group, I didn’t capture every artist in my hour long visit of a fabulous exhibition.

©Jeanette Carr

There was a good crowd of visitors when we called in and some of the artists were there to talk with. The great thing about visiting a group art exhibition that is completely unknown is the anticipation of what you might see. Not all Art groups are capable of putting on a great show but the Worple Group were showing some really interesting work. The group consists of 20 artists of which 14 were exhibiting.

©Kevin Williams

Kevin was the artist I spent most time talking to, although being an artist in Wimbledon, just 6 miles from central London is a very different proposition from the rural/ urban mix of the Tamar Valley where I live and create art. He expressed the same changes and challenges of being an artist in the Covid and post-Covid world as The Tamar Valley Artists have experienced in Devon and Cornwall.

From being a plein-aire artist he was forced to paint indoors. His subject matter became what he dug out of his garden.

©Kevin Williams
©Kevin Williams

We are a very small family, our other portion of family live in Hong Kong so the painting below caught my eye too.

©Mark F Lodge

Far too soon the needs of our small family member and my lack of a camera battery drove us out into the streets of Wimbledon but I will be sure to be back in time for the next exhibition.

#363 theoldmortuary ponders.

On Reflection. One single sentence brought me up with a jolt yesterday. I was settling down for a quiet hour with the leftovers of the weekends newspapers. The sun was streaming in through the windows and I had just returned from a satisfying walk on the common. I had gathered cushions and was feeling pretty comfortable.

” This makes me feel like the Queen”

A sentence that is no longer relatable. Unless of course I was cosied up in a lead box. Just like the rest of the world, feeling rather special should, now, correctly be ” Feeling like a Queen”

A friends mum, who married in the same year as the Queen, died last week at the age of 96 having been pre deceased by a beloved husband. Achieving a rather unusual imitation of a life imitating a life.

I have been lucky enough to rehome some of my friends parents collection of coloured glass. Such a practical way to reflect and remember lovely people, as we use these glasses nearly every day.

#361 theoldmortuary ponders

There are many different ways of marking time with a new baby. The traditional ones of time, meals or sleep, slip their responsibilities and shape-shift into tiny fragments of moments or infinitely extended versions of themselves. From the generosity of others there are new markers like flower arranging or cake eating and tea making. Gifts to be unpacked and WhatsApp groups to be kept informed, photographs to be taken and shared. The familiar world takes on a temporary and unusual shape. Bewilderingly everything looks the same and yet feels very different.

We do still have one unchanged routine; dog walking, which was done yesterday in Canizzaro Park where this sculpture is the centrepiece of a fountain, commissioned to mark the millennium. I’m not aware of the brief for the sculptor when this was commissioned, but in our break-out from the baby bubble, it seemed like a great metaphor for our days. The soft shape and multi handled, multi spouted form really resonates with our current daily routine. Punctuated as they are by the need to rehydrate, welcome, comfort or recover with a cup of tea (other drinks are available )

As luck would have it a fresh cup of coffee is just being served to me, and I am in no position to do anything useful.

I can research the sculptors motivation and vision for his Millennial Fountain. For me though it is about these, current, shape shifting sensations of newborn baby days. Welcoming, homely and slightly surreal.

There will be a PS later in the day…

Here is the somewhat disappointing PS. It seems impossible to find the original brief for the Richard Hope sculpture in Canizzaro Park. Costing £50,000 pounds in 2001 it attracted mixed reviews, of course it did!

What it had failed to do on Google is attract any half decent photos of it with the water turned on that isn’t copyrighted. I will go back on a sunny day and do one myself. Below is one from the Guardian and some links for further reading.

©The Guardian



#359 theoldmortuary ponders

I may be biased but a crisp London autumn is hard to beat. The combination of early morning dew makes some wonderful jewels on the fallen leaves.

Days like this are a fizzy boost, and long walks on Wimbledon common are a real wellbeing tonic. My next picture is a vivid natural emerald twinkling on the pavement.

The picture I can’t share with you is the epitome of urban cafe culture, which I witnessed last night. An urban fox returning with a large intact slice of cake.

#258 theoldmortuary ponders

©Lauren Webb

Yesterday was all about watching family members doing sporty things. The weather was kind to everyone. Hannah and friends Emily and Becky swam to Drakes Island and back.

Just once a year swimmers are allowed to swim across the deep water channel entrance to Devonport Dockyard between Devils Point and Drakes Island. The swim was sponsored to raise money for the Chestnut Appeal, an organisation that raises money for research into Prostate Cancer. A disease that is close to our hearts and minds as far too many men have lives blighted by this disease. When I say close to our hearts the comment is emotional not anatomical. The prostate gland actually lives just below a mans bladder and surrounds the urethra just after it leaves the bladder. Clearly nowhere near a woman’s actual heart! It is the size of a walnut or chestnut. The prostate is a busy thing making the juice that sperm swim in, but in engineering terms it is badly designed for longevity. My dad described it as having ‘built in obsolescence’ . As men age it swells and becomes thickened, which is benign disease, and makes men wee a lot at night, sadly it is also the site of a very common cancer.

The swim was a little delayed because a big ship needed to pass.

But soon enough the swimmers were off.

And 30 minutes later back again.

Rewarded by coffee provided by their very attentive support team.

My second stint of watching involved the TV, our family had tickets for Wimbledon and while on an outside court had front row seats. Unfortunately the BBC overlayed the exact spot they were sitting with a score checker.

When they were in court 1 they were just tiny dots of pink and blue.

Never in the history of @theoldmortuary has a blog had so many people in it! The dogs were there, at swimming, not Wimbledon, too.

So after a day of watching other people do stuff I felt duty bound to take a little dip in the sea. The crowds were smaller and reaching the island positively not allowed.

#153 theoldmortuary ponders

The morning after the weekend before. Birthdays and Vernal Equinoxes in Pangbourne.

It was all going on this weekend, living our best life by going to an actual party, eating and drinking a little too much, dancing on carpet and finding new friends amongst the old.

The dogs had a sleep over in Wimbledon with an actual Womble.

The dawn of the Vernal Equinox, and also the morning after the party, found me sharing nature within a pastoral scene of a Thameside, water meadow, with a gentleman who was finishing off his night before. He was anxious to share his love of nature with me I was anxious not to reciprocate. Not quite the mellow meditative experience I had planned when waking in our campervan to a glorious dawn chorus. But Plein Air meditative painters do not always have the world to themselves, even at 6:30 in the morning. My other companion was definately perkier but no less inquisitive.

Fortunately my quick, abstract sketch/ colour note was of no interest to either of them, the swan honked a bit and wandered off, all too aware the sketch was inedible. The befuddled gentleman had no understanding of my visual Venn diagram, believing I think, that his inebriation was a good deal worse than he could have imagined. He was unaware he was not welcome in my picture and certainly not on my bench! The Venn Diagram was explicit, I thought.

Sketch finished I unwound myself from the slightly frozen pose I had been adopting. As I thawed out I realised a scamper back to civilisation was required as a wee made itself known and I was all too aware that I was not alone in the countryside for any more informal seeking of comfort.

Happy Days.

Pandemic Pondering #533

Some more hot, September days, this weekend spent criss crossing Wimbledon Common. The early morning dog walk also took in a fair bit of the common, inadvertantly, when I took a track to avoid a nasty sounding dog altercation and failed even a tenderfoot forest navigation.

I found more Womble summer camps.

Discarded and empty now all good Wombles are back on the job of caring for the Common.


I managed to get some perspective on post industrial heritage.

And found a memorial rose to a long dead tennis player.

All before breakfast.

Pandemic Pondering #436

Mornings here are very bright this week.

In some exciting news, a sign of loosening of Pandemic Restrictions I’ve just booked a Cheap Day Return ticket to go to a party in the City of London with old work colleagues. Home again by 5:15 in the morning , exactly like old times. The relevance of this to Pandemic Pondering is that the last time I saw any of this group of people was Pandemic Pondering # -24 . A blog that didnt exist but possibly should have. We had a wonderful weekend seeing friends and family. @theoldmortuary had what was assumed to be a very nasty cold and was a bit under the weather. There are very few photographs of the weekend.

This typewriter is the only interesting picture. I love old typewriters.

The rest of my pictures are really interesting to me but hardly represent the usual pictures of London.

Fanny, one of the famous London ‘ Station Cats’

Then another Gipsy Hill Blue Plaque.

Annie Besant swapped Gipsy Hill for India and California. I walked Hugo and Lola past her house every day before work. Gipsy Hill not California, sadly.

Annie Besant was a British socialist, theosophist, women’s rights activist, writer, orator, educationist, and philanthropist. Regarded as a champion of human freedom, she was an ardent supporter of both Irish and Indian self-rule. She was a prolific author with over three hundred books and pamphlets to her credit. © Wikipedia

Annie Besant https://g.co/kgs/FN1G5h

She founded what is now known as The Besant Hill School of Happy Valley. Kaffe Fassett was educated there, his autobiography lives in my colour theory book pile.

One last underwhelming image of London is this street sign.

Time for another googling moment dear readers. Orinoco is not only a river but a Womble who cares for Wimbledon common.

The Wombles https://g.co/kgs/ojkBNK

Orinoco Womble © eBay

A pre pandemic pondering ponder on the strange links of life. Inspired by a train ticket.