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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
A beautiful day. Random, only lightly planned. Perfect.
Talking with another friend about his new book, being launched here this coming week.
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.
Now we see why. Much like was done in the Culture Year of 2008, we’re ‘making nice’ for an international event:
I call into the Library.
Not like last week when the big Cunard liner was in port.
While 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.
Tom here, with son, is 45 today. So celebrates his birthday by buying himself a bunch of the flowers Rosa has made.
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. Find the rest of these posts by searching on ‘A year to live’ in the Search box above right.