People With Jobs Looking for Free Work?

Further comments now added to the discussion

Yesterday evening, a Sunday, in one of the quiet hours in between World Cup matches, a friend responded to something on Twitter about self-employed people getting pressurised into doing free work with this thought of their own:

Oxfam do the same. Ask young artists to work on festivals for the experience whilst raising money for them who are, of course, paid.

Which got me thinking about a new blog post, and I said so:

‘Seriously contemplating a blog post called ‘People with jobs’. Especially where they work for reasonable organisations they increasingly expect lots of us lot to work for little or nothing & then get paid late if at all because they’re ‘a good thing’. There’s the blog post!’

Another friend responded immediately, triggering off the following conversation between several of us which carried on disgruntingly through the rest of the evening.

(In what follows my friends are in italics and I’m in inverted commas. I’ve removed their names, by the way, to protect them all from any vindictive job-holders out there. As if?) Continue reading “People With Jobs Looking for Free Work?”

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 Artist’s House

Visiting the home of a friend, who’s also a working artist.

It could reasonably be said that we all love a nose around other people’s houses. To see how they live. Maybe get to get to know them better? Wonder what exactly possessed them to put THAT there? Or, like in the case of artist Emma Rushton’s house, for sheer inspiration.

Let’s have that nose then.

Emma’s lived here for around four years:

‘And in that time I’ve scraped pretty much every inch of the place. It remains a work in progress but it’s definitely a home now.’

A lived in and living home for Emma and her children.

Scraping the place back to see what she’d got and keeping everything she could Emma has carefully created the artist’s house of today. Bringing all her experience as an internationally exhibiting artist into this place of her own. Continue reading “The Artist’s House”

Wood Works for Women

Next Wood Works for Women at Make Liverpool, 19th November, book here.

One of the things I love doing best is walking around Liverpool discovering people who are doing interesting things that are adding to the sum total of human happiness and fairness round here. I’ve always written about these in a haphazard kind of way, but now that I’ve decided how much I like doing so as a core part of what I do you might expect to see more of what might be subtitled ‘good ideas from interesting people.’ Anyway, here’s the first.

Introducing Aleksandra Ola Rug.

I met Ola recently when she turned up at a couple of the events I’ve been helping to run for the Beautiful Parks Project. She came along with strong opinions and a track record in market gardening. And I’d suspect some of her ideas will feature in whatever happens next or soon in Liverpool’s parks and open spaces. But this post isn’t about market gardening. Like most interesting people Ola’s got more than one idea, and this one’s about wood and women. Over to her. Continue reading “Wood Works for Women”

My Day in Funeral Land

Sarah, in case you didn’t know, has been working as an Independent Funeral Celebrant for four years now. Here she takes us through one of her days. A fascinating and gently observant account of helping three families through what will happen to us all one day.

“Here’s my day.

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8.30am. Breakfast in my car in Anfield Cemetery. Seems strange? Well not for me as I often spend parts of my day in places that are close to crematoria, because I work in the funeral industry, as a funeral celebrant. I create and deliver individual funeral services for families and friends. It is a huge privilege. Today I have three services in three different crematoria.

6 April_05This is my trusty A to Z which is falling apart but is my navigation tool of choice. My regular crematoria are marked L (Landican on the Wirral), S (Springwood, south Liverpool), A (Anfield, north Liverpool), T (Thornton), S (Southport) and H (St Helens).

Driving along Queens Drive this morning I notice that the blossom on the weeping trees is beginning and remember how much I want to tell my friend Rachel every year when I see spring start to arrive. She died in February 2012, I miss her. These strange small trees are really unremarkable for the rest of the year, but for a brief period are in blossom, and are lovely. Do look out for them if you are in Liverpool.

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Image from Google – Queens Drive, April 2015, near Larkhill Place.

I am then up at Anfield Cemetery in good time for my service and take some time here. I love it here. Continue reading “My Day in Funeral Land”

The Big Circle

As the rain was pouring down from a leaden sky today, Sarah made a special request that we have a day out in the countryside. Somewhere not very far away…


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Today, at my suggestion, we went to Rivington, to find the terraced gardens. I had never heard of this place until very recently when someone sent me a photo of some monkey puzzle trees there, which are featured on my Monkey Map blog – here. Named as one of Britain’s Best Lost Gardens in 2014 (by Countryfile), they were financed by Lord Leverhulme, founder of Lever Brothers, and begun in 1900. I was intrigued. So off we went. In the rain.

We arrived at the car park, as directed from the Rivington Trust website. Only to find no evidence of any signs or directions to the gardens. Ronnie asks a friendly local who says they are ‘just over there’, along the footpath. We set off, constantly being reminded that we are on land that is owned by United Utilities, which of course immediately sets the tone for our conversation which starts with, ‘How can you sell the rain?’ Continue reading “The Big Circle”

Competing with Loneliness

HCT - 1Most of this week and much of this year I’ve been working with a bus company. No ordinary bus company, though. Rather one that can state confidently and clearly that “We are the world’s leading transport social enterprise.” More importantly, they say this:

“Outside of our explicitly commercial contracts, our competitors are not other bus companies. Our competitors are social exclusion, loneliness and social isolation.”

Having spent time with HCT Group’s front line staff in Bristol and in Leeds, this week we arrived in Hackney, where the organisation was born as Hackney Community Transport in 1982.

Now Hackney Community transport has grown into a much bigger operation.
Now Hackney Community Transport has grown into a much bigger operation.

And I’m here at Ash Grove in Hackney having a look round with bus drivers and other HCT Group people from London, Bristol, Leeds, Wakefield and the Channel Islands. Though as you’ll hear later we come from many more places than that in reality. Continue reading “Competing with Loneliness”

Taking Tea with the Lord Mayor

Three proud citizens of Liverpool. Sarah Horton, Erica Kemp, Lord Mayor and Ronnie Hughes.
Three proud citizens of Liverpool. Sarah Horton, Erica Kemp, Lord Mayor and Ronnie Hughes.

It’s not every year that your allotment neighbour is the Lord Mayor of Liverpool. But this past year that has been so. And Sarah and I were delighted to get an invitation to come into our Town Hall and visit our friend Erica as she nears the end of her term of office.

Along Castle Street we walk.
Along Castle Street we walk.
Ready to go in.
Ready to go in.

Sarah’s never been in here before, and me not for a long time. Continue reading “Taking Tea with the Lord Mayor”