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.
Wandering 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.
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.
And round the lake where last Summer’s boats for hire seem to have disappeared, I leave the park and find something surprising.
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.
Through the renewed subway, then into lovely Otterspool Park.
The raised levee constructed from the rocks excavated from under the Mersey, when the Mersey Tunnel was being built in the early 1930s.
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.
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.
Along a path down the side of a station and into Belgrave Road, where in a street of terraced houses we find this curiosity.
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.)
Back into Sefton Park, heading for home.
And then home, after a pleasant day’s dawdle.