A year to live: One week

I haven’t written about this lately, but I’m still living as if this is my final year. To see what that does and to record what that feels like. I started it early last October and since then my work has simplified and our house has emptied out.

So I thought, to continue this, I’d record an ‘ordinary’ week in this year. No big personal events, no major decisions taken, but how is it all going for me? Are these the things I’d do if I had a year to live?

This

This week takes place nearly a hundred years after the start of the Great War.

And I’m very conscious of this. I’m recently back in tentative touch with my long estranged family. Including my now 86 year old dad, whose own father was taken prisoner after being gassed, in the final push in late 1918, after which he was hardly able to work again, and was never cared for by the Army or compensated, like so many of his surviving comrades.

So me and my wife Sarah begin this week in Clitheroe. Not particularly to remember the First World War, though as soon as we get there we do.

This whole hill, in the centre of the town, is their memorial to the fallen.

This whole hill, in the centre of the town, is their memorial to the fallen.

We’re here for a day out. A deliberate day to ourselves. The necessary sort of day Sarah needs now she’s spending her weeks helping families organise the funerals of their loved ones.

She photographs Monkey Puzzle trees.

She photographs Monkey Puzzle trees for her own blog.

And we sit and talk and watch there world go by.

We sit, with tea and scones, and watch the world go by.

And it’s a perfect day. The sort of day you just do. You don’t plan. It’s afterwards you look back and think you wouldn’t have done it otherwise. It’s afterwards I think this was the afternoon of one of my best days.

After the weekend I start running. There will be three runs during this week. I love running. Around where we live. Noticing who’s been born.

Proudly born on the path around the lake.

Proudly born, on the path around the lake in Sefton Park.

No idea why they do this, but the geese were doing it at this very place a few weeks ago. Now it’s the swans.

Look what we've made.

Look what we’ve made.

One more Spring, Eight babies.

One more Spring. Eight babies.

And then?

Time to get on the bus.

Time to get on the bus.

Time for a walking conversation I’ve been having for a couple of years now. With a friend who’s working out what’s next for him and the social business he runs?

Through the tunnel.

Through the tunnel.

For lunch on the Sandstone Trail.

For lunch on the Sandstone Trail.

And a day walking in Little Switzerland.

And a day walking in Little Switzerland.

Working things out works better when you walk.

Working things out works better while walking.

Through ancient Wilderness...

Through ancient wilderness…

To what's next?

To whatever is next?

A beautiful day. Random, only lightly planned. Perfect.

Next?

A quiet day in Liverpool.

A quiet day in Liverpool.

Talking with another friend about his new book, being launched here this coming week.

Then a walk breaks out.

Then another walk breaks out.

One of my great joys in this ‘Year to live’ is taking responsibility for inspecting Liverpool. As I always say, someone’s got to.

So, a couple of weeks ago, I noticed long empty buildings in Lime Street were being covered up.

Tidied away.

Tidied away.

Now we see why. Much like was done in the Culture Year of 2008, we’re ‘making nice’ for an international event:

Yes, coming soon is the International Festival

Yes, coming this week is the International Festival for Business.

So everything's an 'opportunity'

Welcoming investors?

Walking past St George's Hall, noticing things.

Walking past St George’s Hall, noticing things.

Like the cobbles outside the hall here, being done in the same pattern as the tiled floor inside.

Like the cobbles outside the hall here, being done in the same pattern as the tiled floor inside.

This vintage Fiat, no doubt here because this place is a popular filming location these days.

This vintage Fiat, no doubt here because this place is a popular filming location these days.

I call into the Library.

One of my regular places now.

One of my regular places now.

Then down past Oriel chambers to the river.

Then down past Oriel Chambers to the river.

A quiet day.

A quiet day.

Not like last week when the big Cunard liner was in port.

Past our oldest dock still in use, the Canning Graving Dock.

Past our oldest dock still in use, the Canning Graving Dock.

Still irritated by these things. But time will eventually clear them out of the way.

Still irritated by these things. But time will eventually clear them out of the way.

Up Bold Street for lunch in Bold Street coffee.

Up Bold Street for lunch in Bold Street coffee.

FeralWhile I’m in there, reading this book Sarah had told me about, which I’ve just bought in News from Nowhere.

I don’t usually buy books any more as I get what I want from the libraries. But this one seemed to call out to me. Wanting to be read today. About rewilding the land, the sea and human life.

Beautifully, intelligently and passionately written. In two days I read the whole thing and know that it will soon leave me and go elsewhere. To continue with its wild business.

As one of the book’s reviewers says ‘Let the wild rumpus start.’

Talking of which. On Saturday morning it’s time for the Granby 4 Streets market.

Except it isn't. Rained off.

Except it isn’t. Rained off.

Though some would be stall-holders have turned up anyway.

Though some would be stall-holders have turned up anyway.

Tom here, with son, is 45 today. So celebrates his birthday by buying himself a bunch of the flowers Rosa has made.

No bikes get repaired today.

No bikes get repaired today.

But still a few of us sit round, drink tea and talk about life. Much as we would have done anyway. The market’s a social thing as much as it’s anything.

So this ‘one week’ is a sitting around talking with friends kind of a week. Which is how I decided I would want to spend my time if I had a year left to live. All striving let go of now. Gentle reflections and walking around for the simple pleasure of doing so. Some conversations about making the world a better place, sure. But some about the quality of the scones. The pleasures of being alive.

And during this week it had been D-Day. The final gathering of the remaining veterans of the Normandy Landings 70 years ago. So while I’m outside St George’s Hall I stand for a few minutes at our Cenotaph and I think about them. Grateful beyond words for a life lived in peace.One week32 One week33Find the rest of these posts by searching on ‘A year to live’ in the Search box above right.

7 thoughts on “A year to live: One week

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Mags. Don’t worry this all took place over a week. Clitheroe, the Sandstone Trail and all that Liverpool and Granby stuff in one day would finish me off, never mind give me a year to live!

      Reply
  1. stan cotter

    More cracking pictures Ron, I love them mate. Can you tell me where the pub, your lunchstop on the Sandstone Trail is please?

    Reply
  2. Lucy

    More fascinating stuff just a stonesthrow away. I would never have noticed the pattern of the cobbles being the same outside as inside St George’s Hall. I’m ashamed to say I’ve yet to visit the newly refurbished library. My friend and I used to spend so much time down that way. We would even go and sit on the museum steps in the early hours after a night out

    Reply

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