A Sunday Walk

Roughly following the route of my regular 10k run, on a pleasant Bank Holiday Sunday, I set off for an amble around my wider neighbourhood. I run this route in about 50 minutes. But with stops for photographs, reading, lunch and talking to people I meet, walking the route today takes me four or five amiable hours.

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In our terraced street, Ivy Leaved Toadflax. Came here from Italy in cracks in statues. Now thriving in cracks in walls.

At the end of our road, and all over the place, a host of golden dandelions.
At the end of our road, and all over the place, a host of golden dandelions.

penny-lane21Wandering along Penny Lane I call in on the Gallery there to see how Christine is doing. And she gives me the sad news that she’ll be closing up at the end of May. The Gallery’s done well in its eighteen months at giving first exhibitions and generating sales for artists, but in these austere times it’s just not paying its way. It’ll continue as an online shop, but if you want to have a close up look at all the art works and Beatles and Liverpool related art and photography in there, well it’ll need to be in the next four weeks.Sunday walk03 Sunday walk04

So, well done Christine. Your Gallery graced and brightened our Lane for the time it was here, and you’ll be missed. Best of luck with what comes next for you.

Along Ibbotson's, one of Liverpool's ancient lanes

Along Ibbotson’s, one of Liverpool’s ancient lanes.

Sunday walk06

Herb Robert.

Sunday walk07

More Dandelions.

Into Sefton Park, Dingly Dell.

Into Sefton Park, Dingly Dell.

A clutch of Bupleurum in the sunshine.

A clutch of Bupleurum in the sunshine.

And round the lake where last Summer’s boats for hire seem to have disappeared, I leave the park and find something surprising.

The subway under Aigburth Vale, has become...

The subway under Aigburth Vale, has become…

An Art Gallery.

An Art Gallery!

So, as one Gallery closes, another – albeit free one – opens in the unlikeliest of places. Led by local artist Nicola Taggart, people from the local community have turned a grim but necessary passageway into a place of beauty and interest, with paintings of local and Liverpool places, current and past.Sunday walk12 Sunday walk13 Sunday walk14 Sunday walk15

Through the renewed subway, then into lovely Otterspool Park.

My favourite running place.

My favourite running place.

Not so manicured as other Liverpool parks. Here the daisies get a chance to grow.

Not so manicured as other Liverpool parks. Here the daisies get a chance to grow.

To Otterspool Prom, or Liverpool Beach as I call it.

To Otterspool Prom, or Liverpool Beach as I call it.

The raised levee constructed from the rocks excavated from under the Mersey, when the Mersey Tunnel was being built in the early 1930s.

There's a display board about what's happened here.

There’s a display board about what’s happened here.

Including this picture of the works being done.

Including this picture of the works being done.

Most of the constructed land is now neatly landscaped. But not all of it. Unobserved by most of the people promenading along the front, there is this large area of Liverpool wilderness through a gap in a fence.

Clearly consisting of dumped materials settling now through the years.

Clearly consisting of dumped materials settling now through the years.

A precious and almost secret part of Liverpool, missed off all maps.

A precious and almost secret part of Liverpool, missed off all maps.

I run here, almost always alone.

Next into Festival Gardens, the newish, non-municipal park on part of the old International Garden Festival site.

Last year when the Park opened there was a quirky café here, running out of a double-decker bus. Gone now, another austerity victim? As I’m walking along I hear a mother consoling her weeping child with the promise of ‘The ice cream’s this way.’ ‘Oh no it isn’t’ I don’t have the heart to tell her.Sunday walk23

Saxifrage in the Festival Gardens.

Saxifrage in the Festival Gardens.

Across to St Michael's Wood, constructed as an entry feature for the 1984 International Garden Festival from the grounds of two large houses. One formerly owned by the Melly family.

Across to St Michael’s Wood, constructed as an entry feature for the 1984 International Garden Festival from the grounds of two large houses. One formerly owned by the Melly family.

The symbol of the Garden Festival, still preserved in the tarmac outside St Michael's Station.

The symbol of the Garden Festival, still preserved in the tarmac outside St Michael’s Station.

The station was renovated and re-opened for the Festival after many years of disuse.

The station was renovated and re-opened for the Festival after many years of disuse.

I lived around here and would often pass the 'ghost' station on my walks.

I lived around here and would often pass the ‘ghost’ station on my walks.

Along a path down the side of a station and into Belgrave Road, where in a street of terraced houses we find this curiosity.

St Michael's Church Rooms and Sunday School. You can almost smell the chalk and the victorian Hymn books.

St Michael’s Church Rooms and Sunday School. You can almost smell the chalk and the Victorian Hymn books.

UnknownSt Michael’s is a grand and famous church a couple of streets away and I think these rooms are still in some use, though quiet this afternoon.

Next, it’s up to Aigburth Road and across to Lark Lane. All the bars busy today, not just because it’s a Bank Holiday Sunday, but also because just a few miles away Liverpool are playing Everton. All the way around the walk I’ve heard radios tuned to the game. Now I hear the groans and cheers of television watchers as I pass. (The game sounds exciting, but will end 0-0 all the same.)Sunday walk30

On my own today. One against nature?

On my own today. One against nature?

Back into Sefton Park, heading for home.

Even the grasses are in flower. Nature has thrived in the light and the comparative warmth of the past week.

Even the grasses are in flower. Nature has thrived in the light and the comparative warmth of the past week.

Sunday walk33

Out along Greenbank Drive. There used to be houses here. You can tell by all the gates in the fence. But only one of them opens now. We are visiting Sarah at Plot 44.

Out along Greenbank Drive. There used to be houses here. You can tell by all the gates in the fence. But only one of them opens now. We are visiting Sarah at Plot 44.

Where she is having a tulip festival.

Where she is having a tulip festival.

Sunday walk36

Alium too.

Alium too.

Forget Me Nots.

Forget Me Nots.

The Bluebells have arrived.

The Bluebells have arrived.

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These tiny ones are Species Tulip, the original that arrived from Turkey and caused tulip-mania in Holland in the seventeenth century.

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Sunday walk40

The garden is starting to look like summer.

Beautiful. Ferns in the evening light.

Beautiful. Ferns in the evening light.

And then home, after a pleasant day’s dawdle.

10 thoughts on “A Sunday Walk

  1. stan cotter

    Another lovely walk Ronnie and sure signs that summer is on its way in.

    We went on our own trip today (by car) to a little village called Moore , between Runcorn and Warrington, there we had our Sunday lunch in the Red Lion a real old country village pub. The thing that surprised me was something I have never seen outside a pub anywhere, a small (quite small) paddock where a rider put his horse while he had a pint. Now this is country yes ?

    Reply
  2. lindsay53

    Gorgeous photos, Ronnie. Amazing how the same places can look so different as the seasons change. A little bit of warmth and things race to grow as fast as they can! Super abundance over here too, after a couple of days of summer-like weather. I see the pesky herb robert gets everywhere!! It would take over here if I didn’t contain it a bit! Lindsayx

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Weeds or wild flowers? They all seem so pleased to have managed to grow at all after the winter we thought might never end, I’m pleased to see them all!

      Reply
  3. Stephen Roberts

    Absolutely superb: perhaps your most beautiful and sensitive post yet. It almost reduces me to tears – we see Liverpool in a totally different light and feel your deep affinity with your home town. I think this kind of thing offers us a way ahead: just imagine how different the world would be if we all had such a profound sense of place – how much more the Earth’s surface would be treasured and protected by its dwellers if we all loved our little patches as much as you love yours.

    Reply
  4. cheethamlib

    Yet another glorious look at Spring and those wonderful glimpses of Liverpool. I was fascinated by the piece of forgotten land perhaps transforming diggings from the tunnel.

    As for Sarah’s tulips, well I’m just speechless to see them growing so vigorously. Beautiful! Thank you so much

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Sarah brought one of those big pink tulips home. And all the pinch-faced, shop-bought, chemically-forced tulips I’d brought into the house, cowered like lap-dogs before a wolf. Wild, as ever, is best.

      Reply
  5. D. Woods

    Yeah farout i used to run all over the place too, before i joined the forces, as a schoolboy i used to handle unexploded bombs courtesy of the town hall office and paid too, i wonder if 44, penny lane still exists as it was haunted? You can phone me on 07743098672, please send a text if you know that 44 penny lane is still in existence,. Im from anfield. Dave woods.

    Reply

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