Tag Archives: a year to live

An ordinary Liverpool Saturday?

Sun out, camera in my hands, off out to photograph an ordinary Liverpool Saturday, conscious that it’s been ages since I did this. Having said last week that in future I’d only write about things I’d write about if I only had a year to live this is definitely one of them. Walking around where I live and seeing how it’s doing on an ordinary day. Something that’s very special to me.

Out into our street in Wavertree.

And down the hill onto Smithdown.

Yes, it’s very ordinary photograph of a bus at a bus stop. But will Arriva always run the buses here and will looking like this bus one day date it as ‘how buses looked in the years just before 2020?

Time changes everything, even the things we only notice when we look back at old photographs. Today I’m out taking old photographs. Continue reading

Through reading glasses

Long ago, it seems now, I was entranced by a Paul Simon song called ‘Proof.’ It’s 1990 and I listen to his ‘Rhythm of the Saints’ album over and over again on my brand new first CD player, particularly to hear this song about ageing:

“It’s true, the tools of love wear down
Time passes
A mind wanders
It seems mindless, but it does
Sometimes I see your face
As if through reading glasses
And your smile, it seems softer than it was”

I’m in the middle of being thirty something at the time so this song, curiously beguiling as it is, feels like a message from a distant country which I can’t yet imagine visiting.

Nowadays I see everything I read and write through reading glasses.My previous blog post on here was a reflection on living as if I have a year left to go. Hoping I have many more but, at 63, knowing it would be a misguided conceit to carry on calling myself middle aged. In that post I wrote that all posts from now on would have to pass the test of ‘Would I bother writing this if I thought I had  year to live?’ Since then I’ve wondered ‘Well what exactly am I going to write about?’

I know there’s going to be a lot more Liverpool than there’s been on here lately. Not because it’s necessarily any more special than where you live but because it’s my home,  where I’ve chosen to live the whole of my life. There’ll also be more about people I know or meet who are doing good things that I want more people to know about, because I like helping out people I judge to be making their corner of the world into a kinder place.

Beyond these, well what? Continue reading

A year to live: Slow reflections

Almost four years ago I began writing a sequence of blog posts on here about living as if I only had a year to go. My thinking being that one day this day will certainly arrive for all of us, but we’ll rarely know it when that day comes. So I decided to live for a year as if it were my last and write about how I felt as the year happened.

It was a reasonably popular series of posts, even gathering up its own podcast along the way. Then at the end of the year, so three years ago, I summed up what I’d found in a succinct top ten thoughts:

  1. You truly never know the day
  2. You know that stuff about the ‘Present moment?’ It’s all true.
  3. There has been a definite and seemingly permanent slowing down of the rage to succeed.
  4. I don’t have the time to ‘fix things’ – I would rather be happy than right.
  5. I am glad to be older.
  6. I am happy where I am.
  7. My camera and my writing give me great joy.
  8. Most stuff is useless or worse.
  9. Music matters deeply to me still. But not all music.
  10. All you need is love, really.

So there, and most of them I’d still pretty much agree with. Don’t worry though, it’s not my intention here to go tediously through that list, as if there’s something definitive about it, and review how it all feels now. Continue reading

Early Morning Mystery

I woke up early and got up early this morning. And on a beautiful blue day was soon out with my camera in The Mystery. Sounds dramatically philosophical, but it’s actually what we all call the park near to our house.

The Mystery.

The Mystery.

Wavertree, L15.

Wavertree, L15.

It’s a gently sloping hill and near the top of it is a patch of wildflowers.

With bees in the thistles.

With bees in the thistles.

Though many of the flowers are turning to seeds now.

Though many of the flowers are turning to seeds now.

One of these dropped gently into our back yard yesterday evening while Sarah and I were sitting out there in the evening quiet. Continue reading

Walking to The Egg

Walking to The Egg - 10A work meeting for 11:30 in the morning is called off because someone’s sick (get well soon Ann Marie x). So what to do? Shall I fill in the time before my next appointment at 2 in the afternoon with other work or shall I go for a walk in the early spring sunshine? Easy choice, I put my boots on and set off.

My eventual destination will be The Egg in Newington.

My eventual destination will be The Egg in Newington.

So I walk in that general direction, with detours.

Days and sudden spare time like this don’t occur so often that they can be ignored. Living, as I still do, with the attitude of what would I choose to do if I had a year left to live? For all of 2014 I wrote a series of blog posts about this and it quietly changed my life. Read my main conclusions here if you like.

These tiny narcissi in the corner of Greenbank Park only visit for a short time around about now each year.

These tiny narcissi in the corner of Greenbank Park only visit for a short time around about now each year.

Continue reading

A Year in 12 Photographs

Now that 2014 is over, here’s an attempt to sum up my own past year in 12 photographs.

Over the year there were 160 new blog posts and most of them contained new photographs as I wandered around, mostly, Liverpool with my camera clutched permanently in my right hand. Here’s what I saw.

The 472 to Heswall.

The 472 to Heswall.

This was the year of ‘Great Bus Journeys of the World’ all made possible, or at least cheaper, by me being awarded the freedom of my City and beyond, by way of a bus pass. So as soon as I got it, late in January, I began a new kind of exploring. Here I’ve made my first ever trip through the Mersey Tunnel on a bus. Getting on at Cook Street, where the 472 starts, to make sure I can get the front seat upstairs and get the best views through the tunnel and across the Wirral. As thrilled as any child.

The view from Ward 7Y.

The view from Ward 7Y.

I spent the early part of the year being tested and diagnosed with a relatively rare blood disorder, polycythaemia, most likely caused by a genetic defect. This included regular visits to the Royal Hospital where dedicated staff perform their daily miracles in an architectural monstrosity – with great views. Continue reading

A sense of place? Thinking about home

It was an instinctive reaction to a post on Twitter. A photograph of somewhere else that made me think about Liverpool.

Napoli in 1953.

Napoli in 1953.

A sequence of posts in Italian had finally arrived in Liverpool translated as:

“Naples is magical – a capital city without a country.”

“I know how that feels’ was my immediate and instinctive response. ‘I like England and Britain’ I went on to explain. ‘But I am from and of Liverpool.”

Waking up early this morning still thinking of what I might be on about I remembered something I’d written a few weeks ago in my final post in the ‘Year to live’ sequence:

“Years ago I would say that if you cut me open it would say ‘Liverpool’ in my bones. Now there’s no need to cut me open, any reasonable geologist could identify me as Liverpool on sight.”

Finally returning me to the central question of these last twenty and more years of my life. A sense of place, what’s that all about? Continue reading