My partner Sarah’s just had a birthday, one due to be spent doing something she loves, being out in her beloved sea kayak off the coast of Wales. Well as you’ll read, that didn’t happen. Instead she spent two happily quiet days walking on a beach, gardening and reflecting on life and death.
‘The fact that I work with death informs me with an urgency and impatience which does not compel me to rush, it compels me to slow down – even more. To be happier with less. Not more.’
A birthday reflection. By understanding the meaning of death, we shall come to appreciate fully the meaning of this life – which is unrepeatable and so to be treasured above all else.
If I were to simply share this photo then the viewer might (correctly) assume that I had been to a beach for my birthday. And yes, that it true, but – for me – it doesn’t fully tell the story behind the photo and also the reflections that birthdays bring.Continue reading “Life is short: Happy Birthday to me”
I needed the the time off and away I’ve just had, here in late August 2018. As back here in Liverpool I’ve returned to a new time in my life. A few weeks away from taking up my place at the University of Liverpool, with the balance of everything shifting.
From knowing I’d be starting at the University but still mostly doing all the things I usually do and write about on here, to the other way round. Where it’s the university work first and then any other work fitting around it.
For the last few months I’ve been thinking about this. What difference will starting my MA and then PhD make to my life? Which things I do, for work and otherwise, are coming with me into this newly shaped life and are there some I might not have the time for soon? Continue reading “A Sense of Time and Place: Some thoughts”
More of Sarah’s kayaking adventures, where she realises that her kayak is in fact a way for her to really explore her favourite bit of the world – the littoral.
I’ve been looking forward to this weekend in July, it’s ‘Exploring Marine Diversity by kayak’ with Sea Kayaking Wales. Two days of, well, exploring marine diversity – the ecology of the marine/terrestrial boundary, or as I call it, the littoral. The littoral is the place I have always been at my happiest, spending hours exploring the seashore and rock pools.
So, over 50 years later, I am now discovering that my kayak is an excellent way for me to get in to the littoral.
I love new print. It’s not so all pervasive as it once was, but I was delighted this morning when my new business cards arrived. Neatly packaged in two elegantly square boxes. A hundred photographic messages to, well, who exactly?
These days business cards aren’t all they used to be, certainly not as necessary. I ran out of my last lot a couple of months ago and I’ve done fine with my phone, messaging and DM-ing contact details when I’ve needed to. Fine and practical, but hardly beautiful.
Which is why I designed and ordered another supply of cards. Cared about messages I can leave with people if we meet and decide we want to be in touch. Only polite? Well I think so as I kind of like polite.
Here they are then. Four short stories, four photographs of home.
Today I want to tell you about something else that’s going to be happening in the former Georg Henry Lee building in the middle of Liverpool. Along with the now open Independents Biennial that I told you about the other day, in a few weeks time the much beloved building will also become Ed’s Place.
‘What’s that then?’ I can already hear you wondering.
Well that’s what the bulk of this blog post is about if you’d like to read on.
But in short it’s going to be one great big room in the former George Henry’s, the old Gifts Department in fact, where a whole load of us – including you if you want – will be able to dream, discuss, plan and debate what a greener and more vibrant future for our city centre would look like. Design sessions, talk sessions, displays, thoughts and stories of what might be possible, over the several weeks that we’ll have the use of part of the grand old building.
Fancy it? I do and that’s why I’m going to be one of the people taking part it it all.
I’m thinking a lot about time at the moment. How we made it up, how it works, how we see it in what people once did and in what we’re doing next.
Much more talk of time and places coming as my university work, reading and thinking at Sociology Liverpool gets going from now on.
Meanwhile I think of time as I’m walking around. The joy and the beauty of here and now. My feet on the ground of Liverpool as I walk. Like the early morning, earlier this week, as I walked from town to the North Docks, recognising the beauty of the place – hardly for the first time – and how happy I am to be here. In my time and in my place. Here in these few photographs of a sunny July morning, walking from the Town Hall and out through the business district to the Dock Road.
In her second sea kayaking post of June 2018 Sarah sea kayaks through the place that first inspired her to want do this, South Stack off Anglesey:
‘In June 2013 I looked down from these cliffs to see a group of kayaks in the sea and said, ‘I want to do that.
Many adventures have followed, and the frustrations of learning something new too…. but I knew that one day I would like to be in a kayak, paddling under the bridge past South Stack lighthouse. And – five years later – I am.’
Here then is the story of Sarah, paddling through and beyond her dreams and then out to the far islands where that beautiful red and white lighthouse is waiting.
I am back on a kayaking trip, this time on what I now think of as ‘my’ home paddling area – Anglesey. I have two days with coach Steve Miles. Conditions are very fair – no swell, and very light winds – so we have plenty of choice about where to go. We decide on ‘The Stacks’ for our first day.
Just out of Porth Dafarch and we meet Richard Janes on the water – one of the team from Sea Kayaking Wales. I will be out with them in July on their weekend ‘Exploring Marine Diversity by kayak’ . As usual we pause whilst kayaking banter is observed, and then we are on our way up the north coast – where I have not kayaked before, to South Stack and North Stack, or ‘The Stacks’. This north coast of Anglesey is particularly interesting from a geological point of view – and all I can do is be amazed, without the knowledge to describe what we can see here! Continue reading “Stacks and Skerries”
Once a year in a park not too far away, a village called Oyé appears. For two days it goes about its village business, and then it disappears on the second night of the two days, like it was never there. Until the mid-summer of the following year, when once again Oyé returns, as it has today.
I knew this would be the day of its return because I’ve been visiting the village now for twenty six years. Following it round the city and even across the water in its early days, before it settled in its home now, at the Lodge Lane end of Sefton Park.
Nevertheless a friend reminded me about it when I happened to see her the day before, because she’s a drummer and knew about a band from her home country I should get there in time to see.
So I walked into the park the next morning to find Oyé. Hearing it before I could see it.
Then here it was, across the field and between the vans, the Village of Oyé. Here like always, never quite the same but always both familiar and different.
A serious treat here for blog readers already following my partner Sarah’s sea kayaking adventures. Her story of three weeks in May and June, out in the Western Isles looking for what she found:
‘Here I have calm and deep peace. Time for me. Time to consider life. I have craved, needed, wanted this– so much. To give myself some perspective, to reflect that life is short. Too short to not do what gives you joy. Too short to get side-tracked by the diversions that don’t matter.
I have a craving for quiet. I find it here.’
Here then is Sarah’s beautiful story of ‘The Long Light and the Deep Quiet’
I have just returned from the land of the long light – having travelled the length of the Outer Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles) and up to the Summer Isles. From the islands sprinkled far out into the Atlantic Ocean to an archipelago in the North West Highlands.
My trip begins in Oban, where I am camping for the first time alone, and with my new tent. I send a photo to Ronnie who says it looks like a ‘tent brochure’! Little do I know that I am about to camp in a number of locations that could be the setting for tent brochures in some of the most stunning scenery, with few or no nearby tents.
Celebrating 47 years and counting of independent local news and opinions
Yesterday morning I spent a couple of hugely enjoyable hours in the office of, arguably, Liverpool’s most opinionated newspaper, talking about?
‘The power of local news in communities and the role Scottie Press has in the regeneration of north Liverpool’
Well so the paper’s newish editor later summed up our rambling conversation, which roamed all over the place, from my own time of first working in the area during the paper’s early days, to his own ideas about north Liverpool’s future and the potential importance of Scottie Press in helping to create it.
We had a great time and I came away with a role for me in the paper’s future, which I’ll tell you about in a bit.