Happiness

It’s the greatest thing that we possess, you know? But what does it look like and feel like? Well here goes.

For my screen saver at the moment I’m using all the photographs of Granby that Nick Hedges took for Shelter around 1969. Because they’re some of the best photographs I’ve ever seen and because day in day out, at quiet moments, they remind me of how bad life can get and also how good. Like the day the people of Jermyn Street got Ken Dodd to come and visit.

A perfect picture of happiness from a long ago Granby to get us going then.

Now if you’ve been around this blog for a while you’ll know that I have a tendency to be depressed from time to time. Continue reading “Happiness”

Nine Thousand Evenings

In the evening of the day, all work done, we sit down and we talk.

Maybe it’s because we’re in the dark time of the year, when the evening seems to last for half the day, that’s made me so conscious of evenings? Or maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a book? A bit of both probably.

Anyway, have you ever thought about how many evenings you’ve spent talking with the significant person or people in your life? Or about how much all the conversations you’ve had over all of those evenings with these people have contributed to who you are and the life you’re living? Well I have, and ‘a lot’ is the answer to both of these questions.

Evenings are the focus of my thinking and the title of what I’m writing here because they’re the time my significant person and I mostly spend together, our different jobs of work done for the day. We’ve been together, Sarah and I, for 25 years or so now and, minus time spent away working and on a few separate holidays, sea kayaking for example, that all multiplies up to about nine thousand evenings we’ve spent together.

Nine thousand evening of conversation. Continue reading “Nine Thousand Evenings”

Arriving at Burnley: Walking to Leeds Section 9

Resuming our complete walk of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, by the end of this walk we’ll be very conscious that we are now walking through the heartland of the industrial history of the north of England. Burnley, as you’ll see from this post and the next one, is a fantastic place that is a privilege to walk through

These walks also mark the end of our doing each canal section as a separate day trip. We’re now too far from home for that, so have booked ourselves a long weekend away in Barnoldswick. A place so far into East Lancashire that it feels just like Yorkshire.

Barnoldswick, quietly lovely.

A friendly pub that we go to and a café that we don’t call their place ‘Barlick.’ so maybe all the locals do? We wouldn’t presume to know.

Naturally on our evening of arrival we stroll down to see that we think of as ‘our’ canal. It’s yours too of course.

We’re not expecting to reach Barnoldswick itself on this weekend’s visit, but definitely will next time we come to stay. Continue reading “Arriving at Burnley: Walking to Leeds Section 9”

Springwatch in Stanley Park

Stanley Park - 29Walking in the park on an early spring morning

A few weeks ago I had a walk round Stanley Park with my friend Rachael O’Byrne one winter’s morning. Well today we walked there again, with some other friends, because spring is on its way and we’re going to watch it carefully as it turns up in our lovely Stanley Park.

A cold bright morning turning off Priory Road into the park.
A cold bright morning turning off Priory Road into the park.
Walking across...
Walking across…
To the other side.
To the other side.
We met at the Isla Gladstone.
We met at the Isla Gladstone.
And set off walking. Jan, Rachael, Ros, Pat and me.
And set off walking. Jan, Rachael, Ros, Pat and me.

Continue reading “Springwatch in Stanley Park”

In North Liverpool: At Rotunda

When I told a friend I’d been to Rotunda he’d never heard of them. “What is it?” he said “What do they do?” I took a deep breath and said roughly this:

“Basically they’re a community led place that’s there to improvise whatever help’s needed around whoever comes through their Kirkdale door. Alternative education for the young, adult education, counselling, legal advice, loads of community stuff, a business centre, a café that’s also a history resource, a nursery, a gorgeous garden round the side & a big space out the front for events – plus advocacy for the future of North Liverpool. From a beautiful row of Georgian houses on Great Mersey Street. Oh and they’ve also got their own folly.”

In case you know as much about Rotunda as my friend I’ll tell you how to get there.

You could get the 27 like me to the bottom of Everton Valley.
You could get the 27 bus  like me to the bottom of Everton Valley.

Continue reading “In North Liverpool: At Rotunda”

Stanley Park: A Liverpool Treasure

Stanley Park - 1I’ve walked through Stanley Park occasionally on this blog when I’ve been doing one of my general inspections of Liverpool but I’ve never stayed long enough to write a whole post about the place. In the bright winter sunshine of yesterday I decided to put that right.

I was born just along there by Everton's ground.
I was born just along there by Everton’s ground.
So Stanly Park was the first park I was ever brought to.
So Stanley Park was the first park I was ever brought to.

Later on I’d also walk across it frequently when, as a 12 year old, I began regularly going to Liverpool FC matches, usually on my own (it was a different world then). Continue reading “Stanley Park: A Liverpool Treasure”

Quiet Days in West Cork

Quiet Days - 1Writing this on the Ianrød Eirann train from Kent Station, Cork to Heuston Station in Dublin, after a week of quiet days in West Cork. Well mostly quiet and mostly West Cork, though we began and ended with nights in a hostel in Cork City. Bunk beds and excitable young voices in there, us taking refuge those evenings in the city’s pubs. The Sin É for the music, the history and the new out last year Rising Sons beer, brewed all of 800 meteres away. And the Shelbourne Bar for rare whiskeys we’d never afford and food you could send out for from the local cafés, such a civilised idea.Quiet Days - 2 Quiet Days - 3

Mostly though quieter days of quieter thoughts far along the Beara Peninsula in furthest West Cork, hanging right out into the Atlantic Ocean.Quiet Days - 4

The train here full of Cork voices. Continue reading “Quiet Days in West Cork”

Walking in Bath: Just peace

Bath_45‘Busy doing nothing’ but actually doing rather a lot. My partner Sarah Horton takes us to a Lido in Stroud and to pretty well everywhere in Bath – with added opinions. Take it away Sarah!

My ‘weekend in Bath’ actually begins in nearby Stroud. I am visiting my dear friend Gemma here, and she has found a monkey puzzle tree for my Monkey Map project. It’s in Stratford Park and we visit it on our way to the pool.

Bath_01And the pool here is no ordinary municipal swimming pool. No, it’s an open air swimming pool, or a lido.

Bath_05

Through the ancient turnstiles, and into the pool.

Bath_06

Fabulous. And freezing. Even the staff seem mildly amused that we are actually going to swim in this. Continue reading “Walking in Bath: Just peace”