A November day

We are getting some beautiful days here in the north of England at the moment. Beautiful but ever shorter. It’s gone suddenly colder too. So, late this morning as I stepped out I had on one more layer than even yesterday, out on the marsh.

This was to be a Liverpool day though. And just along Smithdown from where we live I turned into a road with its own song. A song as tuney in its own way as ‘Penny Lane’ by you know who. It’s ‘Greenbank Drive’ by the Liverpool band of mostly brothers The Christians.

‘I feel so alive…

…Walking Greenbank Drive.’

The leaves were falling on me as I walked. As many leaves on the ground as on the trees now.

Along Greenbank Drive I reach my destination for now.

The Secret Gate.

And a short phone call later I’m let in.

I have arrived at the allotment.

This is where we will find Plot 44. Where Sarah has been gardening for the past eleven years. Joined for this last one by her friend Gemma Jerome. I do visit, and even help out. But I haven’t been for a while.

The Shed at Plot 44.

As I arrive Sarah’s just having her breakfast. No, she doesn’t actually live here. It’s just that this morning she didn’t feel like eating straightaway when she got up. So came here instead.

I’m offered some slices of pear.

And a cup of tea.

Chamomile and spiced apple, which I drink out of the red ‘Orkney’ mug Sarah bought there years ago. I’m always given the red mug, obviously.

Then Sarah shows me around.

The two friends have been working steadily lately, clearing the late summer-early autumn die back.

The leaves have nearly all gone from the dogwood hedge. Opening up the view to all the neighbouring allotments and the tower block beyond.

We continue.

Through the archway.

The last of the sweet peas.

A rose from Gemma’s Mum’s garden in Bury.


So much…



So much…


It’s about taking the time to look. Taking the time back. From wherever it is that time goes.

Taking the time to be still.

And in the stillness winter will come and springtime will follow. The garden is already getting ready.

Flower buds on the magnolia…

Seed heads everywhere.

The garden is still, yet still moving.

I sit.

And with a second cup of tea read my current book for a while. Regional variations in five-bar gates, regional time lapses in the enclosure of common land, how allotments came about. Why I’m sitting where I’m sitting.

Mid-afternoon, the light already fading, we clear up and leave Plot 44. Briefly visiting the top end of town.

’69a’ on Renshaw Street.

One of Sarah’s favourite treasure troves.

Where she meets Daryl, who works here, and is also Sarah’s Tai-chi teacher.

And also buys this little 1930s Japanese saucer, to be part of Plot 44’s hospitality kit.

Next we go to Bold Street, have some lunch at our favourite independent Bold Street Coffee. Then to Rennie’s.

Sarah’s favourite arts and crafts supplies shop.

Where Sarah looks at candidates for the next blank book for the continuing Plot 44 Journal she and now Gemma have been keeping since 2001.

She doesn’t find it in Rennie’s today. But they’re not desperate. There will be more days.

But this one is darkling now.

A November day winding down. Time to go home.

See and read much more about Plot 44, here at its own blog. You can also see some films about its history here. And I’m gradually and carefully making a new film, where the two urban gardening friends talk about Plot 44 and the importance of borrowing it and caring for it in their lives.

And Sarah’s also done a post about this same day, with more photographs by me ‘Intimate details.’

4 thoughts on “A November day

  1. Jan Baird Hasak

    I love that name Bold Street. I’d love to have coffee on a street like that. What a saga. You are so gifted, Ronnie. I could look at those photos all day and never tire of them. xo

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Jan, so glad the photos are colouring in the day for you xx

      Sarah’s also done a post about the day here.

      And yes, what a great name and such a great street. Full of so much that’s best about Liverpool. Sadly the ‘Bold’ it’s named after was a slave trader.

  2. stan cotter

    Cracking photos as always Ronnie, I used to work in Renshaw Street in the store room of Robert Kellys tool shop packing parcels for post all day. I got sacked. They said I had no interest in the job and they were right! Keep it up mate.


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