Getting Ready for Africa Oyé

DSC03663On this day every year I walk through Sefton Park to see it being made ready for our greatest cultural festival, Africa Oyé. Where we celebrate each other, our place, where we came from and where we’re going next.

Leaving a home currently being worked on by the builders of Coming Home Liverpool.

Leaving a home currently being worked on by the builders of Coming Home Liverpool.

And ultimately on my way to a meet up of the Coming Home board.

Here we are then.

Here we are then.

Appearing every mid-summer's days.

Appearing every mid-summer’s days.

The magical village of Oyé.

The magical village of Oyé.

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With its fun fair.

With its fun fair.

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And lots of food and drink.

And lots of food and drink.

I can hardly wait.

I can hardly wait.

I’ll be here all day today with my friends Jayne and Jen from Coming Home. The 24th Africa Oyé and the 24th I’ve been to as well. My own personal Christmas, my sacred festival of all that’s best about Liverpool.

Next it’s off downtown to meet the Coming Home board.

Past the new Bellerive school building.

Past the new Bellerive school building.

Poppies in Windermere Terrace.

Poppies in Windermere Terrace.

Through Princes Park.

Through Princes Park.

The wildflower meadow in Granby 4 Streets.

The wildflower meadow in Granby 4 Streets.

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Even the still empty houses are waiting for Africa Oyé.

Even the still empty houses are waiting for Africa Oyé.

And the mid-summer guerrilla gardens of Granby.

And the mid-summer guerrilla gardens of Granby.

And the newly restored houses.

And the newly restored houses.

Three for sale for £99,500 each. 185 applications received.

Three for sale for £99,500 each. 185 applications received.

Totally disproving the oft-heard Housing Market Renewal claim that ‘people no longer wish to live in places like this in houses like these.’ Oh yes we do.

While I’m here I meet my friend Bill Maynard, a member of Merseyside Buildings Preservation Trust, here to have a look at what we’ve all done these last few years in Granby.

And we talk about here.

And we talk about here.

The long empty Welsh Cathedral on Princes Boulevard.

The long empty Welsh Cathedral on Princes Boulevard.

And plans for its recovery.

And plans for its recovery.

As a church?

As a church?

As something for the local community?

As something for the local community?

I’ll talk more about it soon. As Bill and I have arranged to meet again and go inside for a look round. Wow.

Along Gibson Street, behind Princes Road.

Along Gibson Street, behind Princes Road.

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The exquisite detail of Huskisson Street.

The exquisite detail of Huskisson Street.

Along Back Canning Street.

Along Back Canning Street.

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Across beloved Falkner.

Across beloved Falkner.

Past the Unity Theatre.

Past the Unity Theatre.

Our feet in Liverpool, our hearts in Orlando.

Our feet in Liverpool, our hearts in Orlando.

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The bombed out church.

The bombed out church.

Cherished and used all these last years by Urban Strawberry Lunch. Now having to tender for their future occupation.

Good luck you and all who are helping you.

Good luck you and all who are helping you.

Down past the gorgeous rooftops of Bold Street.

Down past the gorgeous rooftops of Bold Street.

A sit and a drink in FACT to post the first half of this walk.

A sit and a drink in FACT to post the first half of this walk.

This ‘Getting Ready for Africa Oyé.

Then past Radio Merseyside to where we've been going all along.

Then past Radio Merseyside to where we’ve been going all along.

To the Liverpool Quaker's Friends Meeting House.

To the Liverpool Quaker’s Friends Meeting House.

To meet my friends. My Coming Home Liverpool friends.

We talk quietly, reflect silently and cherish these moments. Of being ready/

We talk quietly, reflect silently and cherish these moments. Of being ready.

Being ready to be Coming Home Liverpool.

Being ready to be Coming Home Liverpool.

Angela McKay, Jayne Lawless, Dr Dave Sinclair, Jennifer Graham, Miranda Forward, Lisa Hoyle, Terry May…

And me.

And me.

Missing from the photos are our national board members. Tracey Vickers, Tom Murtha and Jess Steele. But this is the first ever gathering of the complete Liverpool line-up. We are ready.

Meanwhile back home?

The plastering is nearly done.

The plastering is nearly done.

We are Coming Home.

And today me and Jayne and Jennifer will be sat together in Sefton Park at Africa Oyé. We would love to see you there too.

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