It’s Warm In and Out

A day comes, even in these climate mess years of the long cold springs, when all is still and blue and you need to be out in it. Walking along, well me anyway, singing the long loved Lotus Eaters ode to springtime as I leave the house:

‘It’s warm in and out
The call for sacred hours…’

Everything ditched, all work left behind, you can’t get this day back tomorrow when the winds and clouds might be back.

Just walk.

Good news on the fence of The Mystery, the secret way between Smithdown and the railway tracks then out along Lawrence Road with the girls and infants at the Church of St Bridget. Continue reading “It’s Warm In and Out”

The Story of Coming Home: So far

For some time now I’ve been thinking of writing something on here about Coming Home. For many reasons, some of which I’ll explain, the time’s never seemed quite right. But stories need telling, otherwise how do they become stories? So here goes, the Story of Coming Home:

Chapter 1

Photograph by Jane MacNeil

Whatever kind of maker you are, a maker of things, tools, songs, stories, poems or paintings, the most difficult thing to do is to get going. So many of us are full of the big even beautiful ideas, aren’t we? But how many of them ever amount to something you can show or use or put in a story, let alone live in?

I’ve been thinking about this, this getting going, as some friends and I from The Beautiful Ideas Co have been talking about what Coming Home does next. And as I’ve also been reading a novel by Colm Toíbín called ‘The South.’ I love Colm Toíbín’s writing. He’s a near contemporary and I often find valuable thoughts about life and the living of it from reading his books.

In ‘The South’ I’ve found a particularly relevant gem. It’s in his afterword, where he writes about how hard he’d had to search for the answer to how to get this, his first novel, going.

Being a story he’d wanted to move around Ireland and Catalonia, abstractedly painting their emotional and historical landscapes he talked to an Irish artist, Barrie Cooke, about how he did beginnings:

“You make a mark” he said, as he gestured the making of an almost random mark with an imaginary paint-brush.

Well at Coming Home we’ve definitely made a mark. Continue reading “The Story of Coming Home: So far”

Home

Listen to this blog post on BBC Radio Merseyside here.

Home, the place where you can grow up happily, knowing it’s always going to be your home. Welcome home this little one from us at Coming Home Liverpool.No apologies at all for not having written much on here lately, Jayne Lawless and I have been busy. As the two partners in Coming Home Liverpool we’ve been busy creating our first home for a family in North Liverpool. And now it’s done and they’re all moved in. On a fair rent and a permanent tenancy.Yesterday there was a celebration at the house. A celebration you can listen to from the links at the top and the foot of this post. Continue reading “Home”

Coming Home: Big Issue North

Coming Home Liverpool is in the Big Issue North.

“Jayne Lawless and Coming Home Liverpool co-founder Ronnie Hughes are in a jovial mood, surrounded by the green and grey walls of their adopted property – the first, they hope, of many empty houses they are going to convert into affordable homes.

There are around 600,000 empty properties in the country, and 9,000 in Liverpool. Often the owners cannot afford to bring them back into use. Yet Liverpool, like the rest of the country, faces an acute shortage of homes.

This house, on City Road in Walton, is owned by Clare Kinsella, who had inherited it from her late father. She could not afford to do it up, especially because she had been ripped off for £20,000 by previous builders. So she faced either going into further debt to refurbish it or selling it for less than market value.

But when she met Hughes at a social housing conference – he first worked in housing 40 years ago and was recently involved in the Granby 4 Streets redevelopment for which the architects won the Turner Prize – Coming Home Liverpool had found its first homeowner.”

Continue reading “Coming Home: Big Issue North”

Coming Home: Working with Jane MacNeil

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This has been a really good week for us at Coming Home Liverpool. We’ve met a lot of interesting people in our search for empty homes to work on, work is going well at the home in City Road Walton where we’re on site and, well, we’re enjoying ourselves getting our new idea going.

And a particular thing we’re both enjoying is working with our friend, Liverpool street photographer Jane MacNeil. We’ve commissioned Jane to spend some days with us and see what she gets. None of us know precisely what we’ll do with Jane’s photographs, but we will do something creative over time, so I don’t want to use up too many of them on here.

Jayne Lawless by Jane MacNeil.
Jayne Lawless by Jane MacNeil.

Continue reading “Coming Home: Working with Jane MacNeil”

One Special Day

All days are special, especially this one. So I decide I’ll walk around and photograph it, as I tend to do.

Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.
Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.

Friday 20th January, 2017. Yes, the day the world gets a chauvinist thug as President of the USA.

Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.
Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.

And deciding the day is too special and beautiful to spoil it with any more thoughts of him.

Me and an urban goal.
Me and an urban goal.

Continue reading “One Special Day”

Coming Home in the Liverpool Echo

There’s something about being in an actual printed newspaper that confirms an ideas existence more than anything digital can. And this week Coming Home’s existence has been confirmed by the Liverpool Echo.

The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.
The Coming Home team on site. Me, Jayne Lawless and Steve Ross of Penny Lane Builders.

Knowing though that many of this blog’s readers don’t live around Liverpool or even in England I thought I’d reproduce Echo journalist Josh Parry’s article about us on here. So here it is.

How one affordable housing scheme is transforming Liverpool’s empty properties. 

‘Coming Home’ team tackling both housing shortage and empty homes problem. Continue reading “Coming Home in the Liverpool Echo”

Coming Home: Our First Home

'Coming Home' by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.
‘Coming Home’ by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.

We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.

Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.

Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.
Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.

Continue reading “Coming Home: Our First Home”