Category Archives: Reflections

Pathfinding to Burnley: Walking to Leeds Section 9

Resuming our complete walk of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, by the end of this walk we’ll be very conscious that we are now walking through the heartland of the industrial history of the north of England. Burnley, as you’ll see from this post and the next one, is a fantastic place it is a privilege to walk through.

These walks also mark the end of our doing each canal section as a separate day trip. We’re now too far from home for that, so have booked ourselves a long weekend away in Barnoldswick. A place so far into East Lancashire that it feels just like Yorkshire.

Barnoldswick, quietly lovely.

A friendly pub that we go to and a café that we don’t call their place ‘Barlick.’ so maybe all the locals do? We wouldn’t presume to know.

Naturally on our evening of arrival we stroll down to see that we think of as ‘our’ canal. It’s yours too of course.

We’re not expecting to reach Barnoldswick itself on this weekend’s visit, but definitely will next time we come to stay. Continue reading

Ten Things We’ve Learned: From walking the Leeds Liverpool

Now we’re precisely half way to Leeds and taking a weekend’s break from canal walking, Sarah and I have done a bit of reflecting on the eight walks we’ve done so far and a few things we think in general. So here they are.

1 Canal time is different

Now we’re far from home it’s been taking us a good while to get to the canal to start each walk where we finished the last one. But once we get there and slip onto the tow path we enter a very different place, where we’ve never walked before and yet it feels like we’ve never been away. Like setting off from the Harry Potter platform into our own magical world. A slow world too, where us and the occasional canal boat all move along at pretty much the same pace. Except we have the freedom to stop frequently, smell the flowers and gaze at, well, all the beauties and leftovers and canalscapes we’ve been showing you this year.

Losing track of the time and even of the century, because canal time is different.

2 Bikes are a problem

It pains me to say this, though I’ll say it anyway, because most of my best friends are enthusiastic bike riders. But bikes on the canal path are a nuisance. Not all of them of course, but too many of their riders to be comfortable with think us walkers are in their way. We might get an imperious ‘Get out of my way’ ring of a bell, but we pretty well never get a thank you. Two ‘thank yous’ I’d say we’ve had.

Local authorities themselves might be part of the problem here, including stretches of the canal in things like ‘The Chorley Trail’ to encourage bikes onto the tow path. But it means that particularly around towns, and because we’re walking at the weekends, we’re walking in single file to the side of the main path because of the bikes. Which are in turn, by the way, turning much of the main path into a narrow rutted groove of a path by their over use of it.

So, Canal and Rivers Trust, maybe a better quality path with a line down the middle if bikes must use the canal? End of rant. Continue reading

Half Way There: Walking to Leeds Section 8

One last day trip from home before we do the rest of our canal walk from stops along the way. (Yes, I know we said last week’s was the last day trip. but we couldn’t resist another.)

One last day trip to get us to the half way point between Liverpool and Leeds.

Early on, our walks all used local public transport to get to and from each walk. But since we got beyond the reach of local Liverpool transport we’ve done what we do today.

Drive to where we plan to finish the day’s walk.

Then walk to the nearest train station or bus stop.

In today’s case walking along the canal itself for a while.

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A week to myself

IMG_0107IMG_0082This week I’m away from Liverpool, at Laugharne in South Wales. A week on my own, away from my work and my laptop. To walk, read, maybe write and on the whole do not much of anything. A retreat. I’ve brought some music, some poetry, some t-shirts and not much else.

As the week goes by I’ll add some words and photos to this blog of my week.

Before I leave some time with my family at Africa Oyé in Sefton Park. Then I finish packing, and leave home early Monday morning.

My daughter Clare Melhuish with 2 of her children, Finn and Ellie.

 

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Wirral West and its Shining Shore

Having spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening in Wirral West, as one of the many people there helping the local Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood get elected, I decide to go back to the constituency today, as I take a day off from all forms of working.

It’s such a beautiful place.

Always my favourite place for reflective, meditative walks.

Today I’m reflecting on my happiness that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters did such a good job and reintroduced ‘being yourself’ into a political system where that’s been thoroughly yet pointlessly discouraged for years.

It’s early summertime in the sandstone walls.

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Walking Free: Liverpool

Walking free
In the centre of my city
On such a sunny day
In such an awful week
Is not to be taken lightly or for granted.

The freedom to get the bus to town
To buy my lunch
And find a quiet place to eat it
Getting lost in a wonderful book while I do
Not to be taken lightly or for granted at all.

Buying a long awaited new record
The day it comes out
Then riding home upstairs on the bus
Free to be full of opinions about all I then see
On such a sunny day
In such an awful week
Is not to be taken lightly or for granted
Not to be taken lightly or for granted at all.

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“For the many, not the few” – Vote Labour

American Talk Show host Jimmy Dore talks up the Labour Party Manifesto.

Jimmy Dore, US Talk Show host.

So here’s the thing. Jayne Lawless and I are talking politics during a brief gap in talking about Coming Home Liverpool, which we run together. And Jayne is enthusing about something by someone called Jimmy Dore that’s been doing the rounds on Facebook. But which she can’t send to me because of my outright refusal to have anything to do with Facebook.

“You’ve got to see it Ronnie, you’ve absolutely got to see it. Go home, find it on your computer, find it anywhere and watch it!”

So I do and it’s brilliant. A point by point discussion on the brilliance and straightforwardness of the UK Labour Party’s Manifesto. An unexpected delight, coming as it does from the United States, but a delight nonetheless.

Except its 21 minutes long.

“It would make a great Labour Party political broadcast if it could be edited down to much, much shorter” I tell Jayne.

“So ask him. Ask Jimmy if he minds you doing an edit?”

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