Alone in Silence

Sarah has gone away, sea kayaking this time, and I’m alone again. Not lonely though. I find I rarely get lonely. Which is just as well as I find myself alone a lot.

Usually I’m alone here in this peaceful house. This house where I’ve lived for twenty six years, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. A typical Liverpool three bedroomed terraced house that I’m appreciating so much while there’s only me here to keep it company. Bay windows top and bottom at the front, no carpets, sparsely furnished, gently coloured and a small yard at the back leading on to the entry, alleygated in recent years.

Sarah moved into the house a couple of years after me, so I never think of it as mine and have few memories left now of the brief time I lived here on my own. Though I do have the feeling that I was lonely here then but for the twice weekly stays of my young daughter Clare. Memories when Clare wasn’t here of cold evenings, with nothing much to do when my dishes were washed up after tea.

It’s been a good house though, and I’ve been happy here. Continue reading “Alone in Silence”

Wake up and love more: Kate Tempest


“The myth of the individual
Has left us disconnected lost and pitiful”

I had no idea when I wrote this post that Kate Tempest was up for the Mercury Prize, but she was and I’m glad to see it bringing her so much more renown, followers and, I hope, sales.

If you’re listening much to the radio at the moment, well ok if you’re listening much to BBC Radio 6 Music, you might be hearing Kate Tempest’s current single ‘Tunnel Vision’ fairly regularly. It’s the one that starts:

“Indigeonous apocalypse
decimated forests
The winter of our discontent’s upon us”

And continues to take the likes of me, the older generation, to task for a catalogue of ills because:

“This is the future you left us”

At which point you might well think “Give us a break” and turn your ears away until something more positive comes on. Well I’m writing this to suggest that you don’t turn away. To suggest that you listen carefully and perhaps appreciatively to this thoughtful and opinionated woman who might well surprise you. Like she surprised me. Let’s step back a year or two. Continue reading “Wake up and love more: Kate Tempest”

Walking Home: A meditation


In a troubled world the freedom to walk home & know it will be there is not to be taken lightly.

It will soon be Christmas Day and many people are thinking of home. Walking home, sailing home, even flying home. Getting home come what may. So I’d already decided that for my Sunday walk this week I’d get on a random bus, get off miles away from here and then walk home. Simple and always a joy to do.

Then just as I’m about to walk round to the bus stop Cerys Matthews plays a song on her BBC6 programme that’s so beautiful it stays with me all day on my walk. It’s called ‘Bound for Lampedusa’ by The Gentle Good and is about being driven out of your home and setting off for a new one you may never find. It’s for everyone waiting to walk out of Aleppo into uncertainty, through the meltdown of human decency and kindness that is Syria this Christmas. Maybe you’d like to listen to the song as you read the rest of this walking meditation about home: Continue reading “Walking Home: A meditation”

In the kitchen

In the kitchen01It’s been a busy week for me. Much talking in cafés. Partly work, partly friendship and what’s the difference anyway? Much riding round on buses of course. Then yesterday in London talking buses, people and mentoring once again at social enterprise HCT. Then I’m working tomorrow, Saturday too. Doing a conference about housing and health at The Bluecoat.

So being a Friday, as is my habit, I’d really like to go out for a walk. Particularly as I need to test out some new memory in my camera.

But all morning it's been raining.
But all morning it’s been raining.
And not just the light, showery rain its a pleasure to walk through.
And not just the light, showery rain its a pleasure to walk through.
But relentless.
But relentless.

Still, I need to make sure this camera’s ok. So I’d better take some pictures here. I decide to take about ‘a roll’. Continue reading “In the kitchen”

Walking down to the Royal Infirmary

A blog post from a little over three years ago here, where I looked at how our major hospitals are woven into the life and death fabric of our lives. And wondered whether Carillion would be up to the job.

My opinion now is that the people and companies of Liverpool should be finishing the building of our own hospital ourselves. It’s life and death and jobs and it matters.

Anyway, back to my walk down to the Royal Infirmary in October 2014.

Yes I know the Royal in Liverpool isn’t called that any more. But I’m calling it that because it sounds more like a song. You know, ‘St James Infirmary’ and all that classic jazz and blues and country stuff. And, Sunday though it is, I’m shortly off to walk to Liverpool’s biggest and ugliest hospital.

But I wanted to start all this with music. Because I’m delighted to report that my life is currently full of it. After several months of semi-deafness I’m suddenly hearing out of both sides of my head. And my joy is unconfined.

Hank and other treasures not really appreciated until now.
Hank and other treasures not really appreciated until now.

Last night, for example, I played my new-to-me 1950s Hank Williams LP three times on the run for the sheer joy of being able to hear it. This was made easier by Sarah being away at the moment. Obviously, with human company, playing anything three times on the run would be hard to get away with. But on your own? It’s my life, my LP and besides – in the months of hardness of hearing it’s one of a good few LPs I’ve barely heard at all. Until now.

Then this morning, that weird once a year long Sunday morning when the clocks have gone back and you feel all luxurious about time, I’m partly reading. But mostly putting the book down so it won’t interrupt the music. Because Cerys is on and, again, it feels like months since I’ve heard her properly. Cerys Matthews that is. And we’ve even had a short exchange, very, about how delighted I am to hear her and her Zouk and Turkish and Bowie and Dust Bowl Sunday Roast selection.


So what’s the word? Happiness, yes that’s it. About music and about feeling well after several months of sensory deprivation. Even as I write Cerys is playing Richard Burton reading ‘Under Milkwood’ to an instrumental ‘Under Dubwood’ reggae backing. Deep joy.

So why am I about to walk down to the Royal Infirmary for a CT scan as the newly shortened day no doubt darkens? Continue reading “Walking down to the Royal Infirmary”

“Let us then try what love will do”

In town today I picked up my copy of a new magazine I’d been looking forward to seeing and decided to find somewhere quiet to go and look through it. Thinking of ‘quiet’ reminded me that the Liverpool Quakers have just opened a café in Liverpool One, near to The Bluecoat. So that’s where I went.

In School Lane.
In School Lane.

Quaker02As well as being quiet it is a gently welcoming place, as you’d expect of people with these principles: Continue reading ““Let us then try what love will do””