One Shiny Day

With Sarah on the Shining Shore, 20th January 2016.

With Sarah on the Shining Shore, 20th January 2016.

So far this year here in the North of England that picture could only have been taken on one day, yesterday. A day that also happened to be my birthday.

So we got well wrapped up and went on our favourite walk.

So we got well wrapped up and went on our favourite walk.

Here at Thurstaston in West Wirral.

Here at Thurstaston in West Wirral.

Very little left in the hedgerows now.

Very little left in the hedgerows now.

Lovely shadows on the sandstone walls.

Lovely shadows on the sandstone walls.

And first stop and sit of the day in St Bartholomew's church yard.

And first stop and sit of the day in St Bartholomew’s church yard.

Noticing things.

Noticing things.

The chimney more obvious for being framed against the deep blue sky.

The chimney more obvious for being framed against the deep blue sky.

The chisel marks in the stone.

The mason’s chisel marks in the stone.

And thinking of the passing time in my life.

And thinking of the passing time in my life.

On this day I’ve become 62 years old and I reflect on becoming more aware than ever of the value of time and how much I treasure my days. A while back I wrote a whole series of posts on here about living with the idea that each year might be my last. And I live like that all the time now. Judging all of the work I take on and the time I spend by whether I’d do it if I thought I only had a year to live. This has caused a great simplification of my life and a slowing down and a treasuring of the things that I do. Because I will only do things if I judge that they really matter. Like this walk, with Sarah, on this lovely day. And the work I’d done the day before in Homebaked. And the day after in Granby. Very close to my heart and tenderly loved.

Like the springtime to come, gently announced by the snowdrops.

Like the springtime to come, gently announced by the snowdrops. ‘Thy will be done”

Closely photographed by Sarah.

Closely photographed by Sarah.

Here's her picture.

Here’s her picture.

Up the hill next for our first view of the Dee Estuary and the Welsh Hills, some snow topped.

Up the hill next for our first view of the Dee Estuary and the Welsh Hills, some snow topped.

The May Bush always with us.

The May Bush always with us.

down through the boggy Dungeon.

Down through the boggy Dungeon.

The deep ravine.

The deep ravine.

The steep steps

The steep steps.

A lovely parish boundary post.

A lovely parish boundary post.

Along seriously muddy lanes.

Along seriously muddy lanes.

The whole of Heswall Fields as boggy as we’ve ever seen it from regularly doing this walk these past eight years now.

The boots did well though. Four dry feet.

The boots did well though. Four dry feet.

Being my birthday we've pushed the boat out and brought posh biscuits.

Being my birthday we’ve pushed the boat out and brought posh biscuits.

Though our model refuses to have her photo taken eating one.

Though our model refuses to have her photo taken eating one.

But resumes her bird watching.

But resumes her bird watching of the curlews on the estuary.

Walking down onto the shore we notice this perfect tideline.

Walking down onto the shore we notice this perfect tideline.

And many other things I'm about to show you.

And many other things I’m about to show you.

Yes, many.

Yes, many.

Particularly about these boulder clay cliffs.

Particularly about these boulder clay cliffs.

When Wirral Sarah first showed me these around 25 years ago, they looked like proud yellow cliffs, around about 11,000 years old. But over particularly the past 5 years they’ve been eroded dramatically. And mostly from the land behind them leaking out so much water that the sodden clay collapses and the formerly sandy beach fills up with the glacial stones the clay formerly contained.

Like this large boulder that will probably be on the beach next time wo come here.

Like this large boulder that will probably be on the beach next time we come here.

Eroding dramatically now.

Eroding dramatically now.

Even bits of old gateposts coming down from the cliff tops.

Even bits of old gateposts coming down from the cliff tops.

The bits that still look like cliffs are exceptional now.

The bits that still look like cliffs are exceptional now.

And Sarah tells me the increasing mossiness of these stones we usually sit on is clear evidence of the amount of fresh water that's now running down onto the normally salty beach.

And Sarah tells me the increasing mossiness of these stones we usually sit on is clear evidence of the amount of fresh water that’s now running down onto the normally salty beach.

We sit down anyway for this special birthday photo.

We sit down anyway for this special birthday photo.

Sarah’s brought a small tripod with her so she can do this and we have many goes at setting the timer and getting it right. The photo you see is of course our first attempt.

She carried on photographing me as I think.

She carries on photographing me as I think.

I’ve thought a great deal about David Bowie this last week, though I haven’t been able to do any new writing about him on here yet. Though I never met him, when I read he’d died I wasn’t surprised that I broke down and cried. He has meant so much to me. And not just his music, though that has been so much of the soundtrack of my life. I think, like many others have said this last week, that how he always was has always encouraged me to be myself, however unusual that’s meant I’ve had to be at times. Him turning up was the encouragement I needed to be strange. And has been a continual reminder through the years of the value and necessity for me to keep on being myself, to stay strange, to be other, to be slightly outside. I’d thought I was doing it all without him now, now I’m all grown up and 62. But when he died I realised how much I’ll miss him and the possibilities of him.

But I have loved hearing him all over the place this past week.

Walking on.

Walking on.

Even the drainage pipes in the cliffs have collapsed.

Even the drainage pipes in the cliffs have collapsed.

What a beautiful place.

What a beautiful place.

Idyllic Shaw Cottage.

Idyllic Shore Cottage.

A beautiful walk that's always different.

A beautiful walk that’s always different.

Now I’ve pretty well stopped driving (we’ve come in Sarah’s car today, I haven’t got one) I’ve not been coming here so much as usual. I came with our friend Jayne on the bus a few months ago, so the changes since then seem very dramatic. And they are.

The walking was heavy and muddy today though. And despite those chocolate biscuits we’re both really hungry.

So we come to Claremont Farm for a late lunch.

So we come to Claremont Farm for a late lunch.

Too late, as it happens. Five past three and ‘we’ve stopped serving.’

Sod that then, we'll head back home where that sort of thing just doesn't happen.

Sod that then, we’ll head back home where that sort of thing just doesn’t happen.

And have us a feast of small plates at the Pen Factory.

And have us a feast of small plates at the Pen Factory.

Sorry we'd ever contemplated going anywhere else Paddy!

Sorry we’d ever contemplated going anywhere else Paddy!

And back home there are my birthday present to be played. All four of them!

Never did have them all on LPs. Now I have.

Never did have them all on LPs. Now I have.

A big David Bowie favourite too as I know from the radio recently, Scott Walker. Someone else who’s spent his whole life becoming more and more like himself.

Thanks for the lovely day, to Sarah, the sun and the Shining Shore.

10 thoughts on “One Shiny Day

  1. Aigburth Liz

    🎵🎵Happy happy Birthday Ronnie 🎵🎵 x thanks for the wonderful words and great photos above as always! x Lovely to see a photo of you and Sarah together! What a fabulous gift,the Scott LPs! My fave – Scott 2, best track in my humble opinion – The Amorous Humphrey Plugg! Fantastic song and have you ever heard of a better song title?
    Keep celebrating the whole weekend long!
    Ps i’ m Aigburth Liz now,no longer Gambier Liz,tho i miss the amazing Gambo Terrace X!

    Reply
  2. Aigburth Liz

    It was really difficult but sometimes the best thing to do is also the hardest to do.
    I just remembered,Plastic Palace People is on Scott 2! Even better than Humphrey.and yes Copenhagen is genius….they all are,like you said.
    🎉🎉🎉 Party on Dude! 🎉🎉🎉

    Reply
  3. Jeff

    Lovely blog Ronnie. Belated birthday greetings to you. Nice words on Bowie. I cried too when I heard the news on 6 Music. As an 80s boy, all the artists I loved when I first started to ‘get’ music were David Bowie’s children; Numan, OMD, Human League, Ultravox, Japan. It didn’t take me and my friends long to follow the trail of breadcrumbs back to their influences, Roxy Music, Scott W, Kraftwerk, Can & Neu, and above all, David Bowie.
    As obsessed with ‘electronic music’ as me and my friends were in 1980, it was natural that our first stop was his Berlin-era work. The run of albums from Station To Station to Lodger gave all our post-punk/new romantic heroes a clear template to work from. But his genius transcended mere genre, and we were soon listening to his take on soul, glam rock, acoustic folk, music hall, prog, what-have-you! Thinking back now, Bowie is probably responsible for encouraging me and my friends to step outside of the narrow musical parameters we’d set for ourselves when you’re young and tribal, and the music you like and the clothes you wear define who you are.
    I was glad it was my favourite radio station that broke the news to me, the station and it’s DJs understood what it meant to us, what HE meant to us, and to them. They helped us through the day, and vice-versa. My Twitter-mates and I comforted each other. My mum rang me to make sure I was ok, because she remembered me going to see him in Milton Keynes in 1983. I think a lot of us have shed quite a few tears watching and listening to the subsequent coverage of his life, his work, and his death. We’re really going to miss him.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Thanks Jeff, for the birthday wishes and for your words from a generation after me on David Bowie. BBC 6 Music really have done us all a great service this past 2 weeks haven’t they. Music from the chart hits to the Freakier Zone and so much talk. Take your protein pills and put your helmet on – we are all so much the richer for his work and influence and how he was.

      Reply
  4. Steve Hoffman

    Happy Birthday! I love your posts and all the wonderful photos of Liverpool. They are so
    wonderfully done!

    Reply
  5. The Accidental Amazon

    Happy Belated Birthday, Ronnie! I’m right behind you. My 62 is coming up in April! So glad you and Sarah had a sunny, lovely day. Can’t even believe David Bowie is gone. Back in the day, I had a short, asymmetrical haircut, with a flop of long fringe falling toward one side, and a red enamel safety pin in one ear. I was told I looked like a female David Bowie. I took that as high praise. xoxo, Kathi

    Reply

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