Walking and Talking

Two of my favourite activities in one blog post. We’ll get to talking at a place called the Hive in Dalston later, but first a Sunday walk. Let’s go.Walking and Talking - 1Having spent the Saturday of this weekend when the clocks went back working in London, I was glad to get out walking with Sarah on the Sunday, making the best of the now dwindling hours of daylight.

We drove over to Thurstaston to our favourite, meditative and much repeated short walk ‘The Shining Shore.’ Not in fact a much repeated walk lately as we’ve been without a car since Sarah was run into by a 40 ton truck back at the beginning of June. But Sarah’s now decided to have a car again, principally for her work as a funeral celebrant, and so we celebrated its arrival this week by driving over to the Dee Estuary.

Where of course autumn is well underway.

Where of course autumn is well underway.

A particularly good year for berries and fruit.

It’s been a particularly good year for berries and fruit.

For some reason.

For some reason.

A good firethorn display here.

A good firethorn display here.

When we got to St Bartholomew’s church it was busy with cars outside and we could hear the organ from within. Showing us that we’d never done this walk on a Sunday morning before.

A picture perfect church.

A picture perfect church.

These look like berries on the yew in the churchyard, but they're not.

These look like berries on the yew in the churchyard, but they’re not.

The yew, you see, is a gymnosperm and bears its seeds on the outside. Only partly concealed in these red fleshy coverings called arils. Lovely as they look don’t ever be tempted to eat these though because the seeds you can see there are highly toxic and, Sarah tells me, will cause death in a few hours. “It’s why you never see sheep grazing in churchyards where there are yews.” So now you know.

The other side of St Batholomews. Just as picture perfect as the front.

The other side of St Batholomews. Just as picture perfect as the front.

In the lanes the autumn dieback is beginning.

In the lanes the autumn dieback is beginning.

Passing a field of asparagus.

Passing a field of asparagus.

Next we came across that rare thing, a horticultural joke.

Berries on a gorse bush?

Berries on a gorse bush?

Well no, some wit has clearly plucked these sloe from a nearby blackthorn and pinned them to the gorse’s thorns. Stopped us in our tracks for a few seconds though!

We walk on through lanes still lush with end of summer growth.

We walked on through lanes still lush with end of summer growth.

Then after walking downhill at the side of the marshy Dungeon ravine, Sarah stopped.

To look at the view.

To look at the view.

This view.

This view.

And focus pulled to this.

And focus pulled to this.

We sat on the bench here, overlooking the Estuary, and had our lunch.Walking and Talking - 17

Here on this glorious hillside, topped by that perfect tree.

Here on this glorious hillside, topped by that perfect tree.

Afterwards, walking down towards the beach, we heard a familiar autumn sound approaching in the sky.

The Canada Geese are arriving.

The Geese are arriving.

Possibly come from Northern Russia this lot, Sarah suspects. As she tells two other walkers about how they swap leaders and side formations as they travel, so no one gets too tired. Good idea.

Down at the Estuary the marshing up is continuing steadily.

Down at the Estuary the marshing up is continuing steadily.

Some of the marsh being edible, samphire here.

Some of the marsh being edible, samphire here.

A Shelduck out in the Estuary.

A Shelduck out in the Estuary.

Though Sarah and I hadn’t been here together since early this year, I”d come over on the bus with a friend a couple of weeks ago, so knew what I was about to show Sarah.

That most of the boulder clay cliffs can't really be called cliffs any more.

That most of the boulder clay cliffs can’t really be called cliffs any more.

We’ve watched and photographed the erosion of these for some years and they’re going quickly now, grassing over as they crumble and flatten.

A couple of the remaining cliff faces looking very fragile now.

A couple of the remaining cliff faces looking very fragile now.

I used to unthinkingly blame this on ‘global warming’ but I think that’s probably too glib on its own. Equally responsible is likely to be the shortage of trees on the Wirral uplands now to drink up the excessively heavy rainfalls we’ve been getting in recent years. The hillside pictured above is only one narrow wooded ravine in what’s largely an upland given over to open farmland. Resulting in Heswall Fields, just behind these former cliffs being often spongy and sodden with water from the uplands now, water that drains out through the cliffs and has largely brought them to the ground.

Sarah cheered herself up chucking stones out onto the mud.

Sarah cheered herself up chucking stones out onto the mud.

Our Shining Shore.

Our Shining Shore.

Our precious place.

Our precious place.

We never get tired of standing here looking at this beauty.

We never get tired of standing here looking at this beauty.

Or of going along to Parkgate afterwards for the world's best ice cream from Nicholl's.

Or of going along to Parkgate afterwards for the world’s best ice cream from Nicholl’s.

A good day.

And what of the Saturday in London? Well I’d been asked by an organisation called the Hive in Dalston to come and speak at this.conferenceflyerLisa from the Hive met me at Old Street and we walked through Hackney into Dalston. Having been to Granby, Lisa knows I’m a big fan of street markets.

So we had to walk through this one.

So we had to walk through this one.

The City of London down there at the far end of the street.

The City of London down there at the far end of the street.

As we walked we talked about the creeping gentrification of Hoxton and how you might go about stopping that so places stay real enough for all sorts of people to still be able to afford to live in them.

So we talked about the importance of local people having permanent stakes in the houses and shops of the place where they live.

So we talked about the importance of local people having permanent stakes in the houses and shops of the place where they live.

So they’re not forced out by expensively trendy bars and hipster’s cereal shops the next time their leases come up for renewal.

And their social landlords stay social. Not clearing them out to 'realise the value' of homes they call 'assets.'

And their social landlords stay social. Not clearing them out to ‘realise the value’ of homes they call ‘assets.’

Righteously energised we arrived at the Hive.

Righteously energised we arrived at the Hive.

Hive Dalston is ‘meanwhile space.’ Where the developer who owns the building is allowing it to be used by the local community until, well, it’s used for something else. While I was there I met the owner, a friendly man called Michael Gerrard. He’s from generations of Dalston people and I suspect would love nothing more than to find a way of making this place work permanently as a community resource. And who knows? It’s certainly bursting with life and creativity now the Hive are in there.

They’re using it for art, dancing, yoga, other gatherings and of course a place for thinking and talking about how real people can survive and continue in the over-heated property vortex that is London now.

Inside the Hive.

Inside the Hive.

Setting up for some kind of art event and market that night.

Setting up for some kind of art event and market that night.

Intriguingly inventive.

Intriguingly inventive.

And upstairs Fleur Disney - top name - is getting the next session of their conference going.

And upstairs Fleur Disney – top name – is getting ready for the next session of their conference.

Where I spoke about Granby 4 Streets, as I guess you’d know I would. But also about how our do it yourself, break it down, work collaboratively and take some ownership approach might just be the beginning of something that might work for lots of other people and their places. A frighteningly enquiring audience, who gave all the other speakers a hard time by the way, enthusiastically agreed with me.

So thanks for that. It’s always a joy when people think you’re doing the right things!

Then it was the train back to Lime Street and when we got up this morning the clocks had gone back.

Which is why we decided to spend the precious hours of our daylight in our shining place.

Which is why we decided to spend the precious hours of our daylight in our shining place.

A good day. Two good days.

2 thoughts on “Walking and Talking

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Depends where the walk is Carol and if Sarah’s with me. On my own I never do, but if we’re somewhere well away from heavy traffic fumes and pollution, like in the lanes around Ness, then we’ll do some foraging.

      Reply

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s