In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April

If these were the only three sunny days we get they were great weren’t they? So I thought I’d write them down so I can remember them, later on. When the weather goes back to seeming like it’s colder than it used to be and it rains most days.

It’s Saturday evening as I’m writing, going dark now but the daytimes here in Liverpool have been sunny since Thursday. Warm days of less clothes and crowds in the parks. Though not yet in The Mystery as I set out for the day. Continue reading “In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April”

The Writer’s House

After I wrote about my friend the artist Emma Rushton’s house a couple of weeks ago, some other friends suggested I might like to do a series where I look around some other people’s houses. They thought this could be an interesting development from other writings and work I’ve done on, oh, the meaning of life and home as a human right. They also thought it would be a good nose.

Thanks ‘some other friends!’

So to try out the idea, and because it’s only fair, I’ve decided to follow up the post on Emma’s house with one about where I live. And since I’m writing this and it’s what I do a lot of, here’s ‘The Writer’s House’.

I moved in here with my daughter Clare in September 1991. A three bed terraced house in Wavertree, much like thousands of others in Liverpool. Continue reading “The Writer’s House”

The High Street: How’s it doing, really?

A closely observed walk along a local hight street here in Liverpool, with statistics, to see and feel how it’s doing.

Our high streets are in trouble. Some blame austerity politics, others supermarkets and more still the passage of time, saying we shop differently now. What’s in less doubt than these various causes is the importance of a good high street to how happy we are with the places where we live.

Elsewhere on this blog I’m starting to look at the insides of people’s houses, looking at how we live and the necessity, a human right I call it, of us all having a secure and properly affordable place we can call home.

But we don’t only live inside of our homes do we? The quality of our lives has a lot to do with what else is around us, including the high streets of shops that run through and bind our neighbourhoods and, often as not, give them their names. So in Liverpool we have areas of Walton generally called County Road and Walton Vale, for example. In Anfield a place called ’round Priory Road’ and in Aigburth one called, well, ‘Aigburth Road’. High streets whose general health is an important part of how their neighbourhoods are doing. Continue reading “The High Street: How’s it doing, really?”

The Preston Model and other questions?

Preston, here in North West England, is having a bit of a moment. A moment about doing things for itself. Obvious things, in some ways, but a combination of obvious things that no one else is doing in quite the same ways. Economic things, social things, using your own resources and imagination kinds of things that are getting it a good deal of curious attention. So I’ve decided to come and have a look, and a listen.

Though Preston is fairly close to Liverpool it’s a London journalist, Aditya Chackrabortty, who’s brought what’s happening here to my attention in his new series about alternative approaches to the economics of running our places. And it’s Aditya who’ll be leading this night’s ‘Guardian Live’ discussion. First though, a look round. Continue reading “The Preston Model and other questions?”

In Liverpool: One Sunday Morning

Sunday morning always seems like such a special time to me. An in-between sort of time with nothing in particular to do, so you can do anything. No one’s likely to ring or email and there’s definitely nothing in my diary, so I begin the day by enthusiastically doing nothing at all. I’m good at that.

Before long ‘nothing at all’ turns into turning on the radio, which delights me by playing a couple of 13th century favourites, both of them about warmer days to come. Making me realise I’ve once again not turned the central heating on, for the severalth day running. Summer’s not yet ‘icumen in’ as the second of the songs claims, but spring is.

Book packed and camera charged up I go out.

Into Greenbank Park and along Greenbank Lane spring is poking its many coloured heads towards the sun. Though its obvious from the soil on their stems and leaves and more than a few battered petals that our new visitors have had a harsh time with the unexpected snowfalls this past week. Anyway, you are all welcome here. It always makes my heart glad to see you bringing in another spring. Continue reading “In Liverpool: One Sunday Morning”

In Liverpool: One Saturday

This day didn’t turn out the way I’d roughly intended it to. Though it was clearly going to be grey and at least partially rainy I felt like having one of my walking round Liverpool with a camera days. The sort that sometimes turn into blog posts. Well in the event I didn’t do much walking but here’s the blog post.

I’d always intended to start the day’s walking at the Tate, where I’d been told someone I knew was involved in, well you’ll see what, and then I’d walk on. As it turned out I walked into the gallery shortly after twelve, got involved, and carried on my walking three hours later. Here’s the story.

Those big names from the photos above, together with several more you will probably have heard of are somewhere around the Tate today, but I’m not here for them. I’m here to see some new work and also art being made up in the same gallery. Let’s go. Continue reading “In Liverpool: One Saturday”

In Praise of Patience & Democracy

I first published this ‘Patience’ post early in March this year. Now, here in mid-April, I’m publishing this revised edition for two good reasons: To update you on how the garden is going, and because, while gardening, I’ve been thinking about democracy.

I’ve never been a particularly patient person, quite the opposite in fact. Often acting as if there is a virtue in getting things finished over and done with as soon as possible, if not sooner. Other people will often irritate me with such half hearted promises that they’ll try and do such and such a thing by some time soon that I’ll be driven into doing whatever it might be, in a storm of impatience, before they’ve even had the chance to start. Driven, that’s been me for a lot of my life.

Recently though I’ve been learning some patience in a place that simply refuses to be driven, on Sarah’s allotment.

I’ve been helping her to restructure her place for a few months now. Clearing, demolishing, burning, building and, particularly, digging up long overgrown grasses she’d decided to be rid of. I’ve written about some of this on here before and most of them are gone now. Except for the cordyline. Continue reading “In Praise of Patience & Democracy”

Walking Into the Light

Since resuming my interrupted practice of walking around Liverpool last weekend, published on here as two linked posts called ‘Emerging from Winter’ I’ve continued to walk. Back into Winter as it’s turned out, but into the gathering light of what feels like brighter days to come. The brighter days of soon coming spring time of course and, well, brighter days.

Like the days of good light these have been this week. Good, sharp, clear days to look up into and walk around in thinking about what’s next? What new things will get made up soon, what ideas are yet to be thought of, yet to be walked into being? Continue reading “Walking Into the Light”

Emerging from Winter/Part Two

The second of two linked posts, walking round the neighbourhoods where I live. Part One here.

This Sunday in late February arrives just as blue and just as cold as yesterday. Perfect then for another day of trying to walk my cold off around the streets of the neighbourhood. Starting by walking across to The Mystery, like yesterday, but after that who knows?

Under the London-line railway bridges and along to the Ullet Road/Smithdown crossroads. Past social venues old and new including a personal favourite, Naked Lunch. A co-op café and if there’s a friendlier place in Liverpool I don’t know it yet. Continue reading “Emerging from Winter/Part Two”

Emerging from Winter/Part One

The first of two linked posts, walking round the neighbourhoods where I live. Part Two here.

I haven’t done this for ages. Come out from the house on a bright blue day and let my camera take me for a walk. Making no plans about where I’ll go, I’ll see where my feet and my camera take me.

Across Grant Avenue and into The Mystery first. The great big sloping field close to our house. Emerging from the terraced streets into the open blue sky on a cold late winter’s day. Continue reading “Emerging from Winter/Part One”