I seem to be feeling more than a bit reflective today, helped by the springtime. The trees turning that green they only get around about now, but which does happen each year. The reassurance of the new. That spring will come, whatever else we do, spring will come.
And this spring day was a particular gem. Up and out early I was meeting a friend, and we were going to be ending up at Granby Street Market. But that was a couple of hours away, so we thought we’d have a sit and some coffee and see how each of our worlds were doing until then. Well, we were too early for the cafés to have woken and so it was a long walk and a short bus ride before we got finally sat down.
Still early too on the perfect spring day when we got to Granby Street on what was clearly going to be one of those Street Markets. The best kind. Blue sky, a full street, steady talk, taps on the elbow, so pleased to see each other, to hear our stories. Music here, poetry there, bikes being fixed already, talking with Luca while he sets up Fritto, the Winter Garden Model proudly displayed on the Community Land Trust stall:
“It’s round the corner now. You can go and see it.”
I was meeting some people. LJMU students I’ve been working with on their ‘Cities, Culture and Creativity’ MA, about the doing of all this. We’ve talked theory, practice and whether it might work elsewhere, been to Homebaked, been to Kitty’s and now we’re here.
So we walked round and I told them the story of what’s happened, just the basic outline since World War II and what the people of here did about it all. No doubt contributing to my later feelings and reflections. And then we went to visit the part of the dream that’s just opened. We went to the Winter Garden.
Talking with Andrea and Eleanor in there. About the plants, the building, the getting to here and what’s next. People and pigeons turning up at the door while we spoke, full of curiosity and, in the case of the pigeons:
“We’ve been living in there for years, what are you lot doing here?
Then out into the crowded market, seeing everyone, queuing for lunch, then sat eating it at one of the tables in Cairns Street, where we used to sit in the early days. Making our plans, dreaming our dreams.
Reflecting, while I sat there, that this was the day we used to dream of. Back when no one gave us much chance of getting to where we wanted, except ourselves. This was exactly the day we used to dream of. When the Market would have moved out onto Granby Street, most of the houses would be done or on the way, and the future would have started. The future we were so earnestly being advised neither us nor the houses were going to get.
Well that future was there today, all around me. Children running up and down the street, families having their first look around, and us lot. Who’ve been here through all this, with the wider us lot who’ve also been here. From Homebaked and Kitty’s and Squash and the Welsh Streets and the more besides I tell you about on here. Doing this community led thing.
It was that kind of a day, that kind of a Market. Every Market being special, the happening of each one being no small miracle and well done Theresa and Joe for that. But today seemed like a special kind of special. A day once dreamed of, like I keep saying.
All of us well and doing well – hope the back’s feeling better Joe? – being there together, sharing the ‘where we’re up to’ stories, Squash and Homebaked up for their BBC awards, Kitty’s well on the way, the Winter Gardens open now and all the other things that wait to be told:
“At the next Street Market…”
This centre of things, our place, this time.
Later on walking over to Squash for a cup of tea before closing. Then home through the Welsh Streets and Princes Park. The trees that perfect green in the late afternoon sunlight.
The green they only get around about now.
Then sat in the back yard writing this. On the evening of one of my best days.