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”
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.
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?
There’s an organisation I really admire in Liverpool, called PLACED. Stands for PLACE EDUCATION. I’ve worked with them in the recent past and been friends with their founder Jo Harrop for a good long time.
Today just off Bold Street they launched their Better Places Together programme and their special new friend, Ed the camper van.
So a few words from Ed and Jo:
“PLACED is an award-winning social enterprise that engages and involves people of all ages and backgrounds in architecture, planning and design and enables them to shape their built environment.”
And Better Places Together?
“This is a project that will invite local people to explore ideas for how to improve spaces and places across the city.
We have refurbished a camper van, named Ed, which has become a unique, mobile workspace touring the city. We’ll be running mini-workshops, hands-on activities and facilitating discussion which tackles topics around the built environment.
From the city centre to further afield, we will be inviting you to join us. So we hope you can join the debate.”
This has now evolved into a tradition for me. Not every year, because that would be annoying, but every now and then I like to walk round the centre of Liverpool on the one day in the year when all the shops are shut and there are hardly any people around.
As you’ll know if you read this blog sometimes I feel a considerable amount of responsibility for Liverpool. So looking around it on its quietest day is like me being the curator of an empty gallery or a minister in a great cathedral before the congregation arrive, checking everything’s all right while I have the place more or less to myself. Let’s have a look round then.
“I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about”
My last post on here was no laughing matter. ‘Shadow Days’ was written at the beginning of what turned out to be the best part of a week of fairly deep depression. A depression that has now lifted and that I was much helped out of by the many comments and good wishes from readers of this blog. So thank you all so much. And to several very close friends too.
So after doing some things I needed to do to deal with the depression I decided I’d take this Friday completely off work. Early on Twitter was telling me it’s 50 years today since ‘Revolver’ came out. So I decided to go into town and celebrate this by getting a copy.
We had a meeting yesterday, Friday, the Granby ‘legal team’ of Tracey Gore and me, in her office at Steve Biko Housing. And did eventually get to talk about organising the sale of some of the Community Land Trust houses as we’d planned.
But not at first and not for a while. While waiting for others to arrive, for a good while we talked about Prince. Of all the times Tracey has seen him and of how lucky we’ve both been to be alive as his glorious music and uncompromising career have enriched our days and lives.
Walking away later I surprised myself by thinking of these lines from Hamlet:
“Good-night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”
A 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.
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.
Or ‘Seaport: A Life in a Book’This book came out originally in 1964 when I was ten years old. And though I had my adult-side library ticket by then it must have been a reference only book, as I have no memory of bringing it home. Instead I would sit in the North Liverpool library of my childhood and pore over it for hours. Fascinated by such a gorgeous book about the place that, even then, I considered myself lucky to have been born in. Much of which I hadn’t yet seen. My Liverpool was a Ribble bus to County Road and Stanley Park, near where I’d first lived, or all the way into town, with occasional rides on the ferry, back and forth, back and forth.
My parents, having lived through the war years in Vauxhall and Bootle next to the decimated docks, had been glad to move their little family out to the new northern suburbs where everything was new and life could only get better. And Maghull back then was a fascinating place to grow up in. Between our house and the library there was still a farm where you could watch the great big sow suckling her piglets. And the surrounding streets as they got built filled up with footballers from Everton and Liverpool who we would constantly pester for autographs. But also, of course, by 1964 the Beatles were among us and together with this book only added to my fasciation with the place I was actually from, my Liverpool.
So I would sit there in Maghull branch library, gazing at places I hadn’t yet seen and dreaming of finding them. Then over the decades that came I would find the book occasionally in the Liverpool libraries I by then lived near, and notice that in a way, the book and those early dreams were shaping my life.
Eventually a copy of the 1993 reprint of the book entered my life. The father of my partner Sarah, Frank Horton, was dying of lung cancer. And having seen how often I would look through ‘Seaport’ while visiting him, tenderly passed the book over to me, saying “I think it’ll be more use to you than me now.”