There was a surprise tulip waiting for me when I arrived at the allotment for PhD writing this morning. Though Sarah and I had planted two hundred bulbs around the place and been expecting them to all be brightening our springtime by now, we’ve been quite disappointed so far. Hence my surprise this morning at the tulip waiting for me in a bed by the polytunnel we’d all but given up on. Looking as gnarled and forlorn as the rest of the failed bulbs around it when I’d left the allotment last night, and now look.
Anyway I did do some writing, but soon after the tulip discovery I decided to go for a walk. Using the weak excuse of picking up a book I needed from the University library, but really because I just wanted to walk. Walks happen like that sometimes. From a vague desire to see what happens.
Which was first of all that I saw the walls being set up at Sefton Park for the Covid-experiment of a music event that will be happening there this coming Sunday. The experiment being to see if 5,000 people can yet be safely gathered behind that wall for a day. I won’t be going, though to be fair I wouldn’t go anyway, Covid or not my time in crowds is over.
Then I walked on, From Sefton through to Princes Park and the planted up wildflower meadows that will make the place even more beautiful than it already is in a month or two.
Well done Scouseflowerhouse and everyone else credited on that notice up there. Princes Park is a gem.
Out onto the Avenue I promised myself a visit to Granby on the way back, but walked on for now through Canning to the University library.
And so lovely to be out and walking around on a springtime Monday. A joy never to be underestimated or taken for granted.
Arriving here at the University Library the book I need for my work was click and collected by a friendly library person getting it off a shelf for me. A book that I used to have on my own shelves years ago. About a racism inquiry in Liverpool in the late 1980s.
I was one of the many witnesses who spoke at the Inquiry when it was held at the Liverpool 8 Law Centre on Princes Avenue. Concluding back then that Liverpool and its principal institutions were institutionally racist, it still reads as depressingly current, when I sit down outside the library and open several of its pages at random today. Like this one.
And then another page, where a witness says:
“Your Inquiry, whatever it does, it must break down the divisions between us. I think we have got two years to save Granby…”Gifford Report p64
Immediately after which the report’s authors themselves say “We saw much with our own eyes to justify this gloomy picture.”
I walked on.
Along Sandon Street and through Falkner Square, where I used to work for a housing association back in the Gifford Inquiry days.
Along to Granby, which was mostly not saved, in fact, except for these last four streets. And that took a lot of us a lot more than two years.
Then again one of the last four original streets isn’t saved yet, Ducie Street. Supposedly in the hands of a developer now, though I’d heard there’d been a fire in the too long empty houses there over the weekend.
While I was walking around a local person I’d not met for a few years asked me when all the work on the Four Streets, the corner shops as well as Ducie Street here, will be finished? And of course I don’t know the answer any more than he does. But I reminded him of a piece of graffiti that used to be one one of the corners there many years ago, back before we managed to get most of the houses lived in again. This is what it said.
“Never give up” we agreed with each other on parting. Even if it’s thirty two years now since the Gifford Report and five years since the majority of the houses were turned back into homes, never give up.
Sometimes the future, like a good aimless walk, can surprise you.