Living, Thinking, Looking: A day to myself

In Granby Street by now
The gazebos will be rising
Like smiles to meet the day

I’m up and out early looking forward to a day to myself, a day with no appointments of any kind to do exactly and only what I feel like. Mostly walking and reading then, but also calling in on my friends at the Street Market.

The market’s already getting busy, just after 10. Continue reading “Living, Thinking, Looking: A day to myself”

Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool


Kitty’s Kickstarter now done and well done, thanks to all who helped reach above and beyond the targets.

I want to tell you about Kitty’s Launderette, which is being opened by some friends later in the summer in North Liverpool and is one of the most interesting ideas I’ve heard in a long while.

But first, I need to tell you about Kitty Wilkinson.

In the Gardens below the Anglican Cathedral in Liverpool you can find this gravestone. It’s the grave of one Catherine Wilkinson who died in 1860, long before the Cathedral was built, at the age of 73. Even though she died so long ago the grave is rarely without a small bunch of flowers, in tribute to the woman buried here. Her inscription reads:

‘Indefatigable and self-denying , she was the widow’s friend; the support of the orphan, the fearless and unwearied nurse of the sick; the originator of baths and wash houses for the poor.’

In a time of disease and poverty Kitty Wilkinson did indeed invent the wash house, what we’d now call a launderette, making life better and healthier for thousands. She’s remembered in this stained glass window in the Cathedral and continues to be an inspiration to people doing good things to this day, as we’re about to find out. Continue reading “Kitty’s Launderette: Opening soon in North Liverpool”

Wirral West and its Shining Shore

Having spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening in Wirral West, as one of the many people there helping the local Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood get elected, I decide to go back to the constituency today, as I take a day off from all forms of working.

It’s such a beautiful place.
Always my favourite place for reflective, meditative walks.

Today I’m reflecting on my happiness that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters did such a good job and reintroduced ‘being yourself’ into a political system where that’s been thoroughly yet pointlessly discouraged for years.

It’s early summertime in the sandstone walls.

Continue reading “Wirral West and its Shining Shore”

Cathy’s Walk

dsc06588Commenting on the first of this week’s Cornwall blog posts, our friend Cathy Alderson had this to say:

“My family are all living down there and our treat is to walk from St Uny church to St Ives, stopping at the Carbis Bay hotel for coffee en route. It’s got us through some horrendous times and should be on the NHS!”

Well, what else could we do in response to such a recommendation but go on Cathy’s walk while we’re still down here.

This morning the sun has returned after a couple of grey days.
This morning the sun has returned to St Ives after a couple of grey days.


And we're off on the 17A to Lelant, to do the walk in the same direction as Cathy and her family would do it.
And we’re off on the 17A to Lelant, to do the walk back to St Ives in the same direction as Cathy and her family would do it.

Continue reading “Cathy’s Walk”

A halcyon summer’s day in Stanley Park

DSC05290An idyllic Sunday afternoon this in one of Liverpool’s loveliest places. When I was little Stanley Park was just ‘the park’ as we lived right next to the Walton side of it. And this past year I’ve been happy to renew my acquaintance with it as I’ve been spending so much time in North Liverpool.

Some of this time has been because my friend Rachael O’Byrne, as well as being a City Councillor, now has a job here where she’s doing all sorts of things to attract more people back into the beautifully restored park.

And last week Rachael told me about this.
And last week Rachael told me about this.

So here I am.

Glad to see several football matches being played as I walk across the fields.
Glad to see several football matches being played as I walk across the fields.

Continue reading “A halcyon summer’s day in Stanley Park”

Good-night, Sweet Prince

Prince Rogers Nelson.

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.DSC02399

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.”

Continue reading “Good-night, Sweet Prince”

One Beautiful Day: North Liverpool

One of a pair of blog posts about things I was involved in on Friday 8th April 2016. One beautiful day in North Liverpool.

Out to the North Docks early morning Friday, to the event I’ve been organising the past couple of weeks with the help of all my Beautiful Ideas friends who I’ve been telling you about for a while now.

This is the day our ideas go public and we’ve invited lots of politicians, business leaders, entrepreneurs, academics, general friends – oh and two football clubs – to come and discuss them with us and how we’ll be using them as part of creating a new and alternative economy in North Liverpool.


The invite to the day says this will be:

“One day with people who are doing social and economic change differently, to talk about how we could all do it even more differently and effectively in North Liverpool.

Taking place on Friday 8th April in a new maker space being opened up and renovated in Liverpool’s North Docks. So taking place inside a Beautiful Idea in the making.

This will not be a day of power points and presentations but of linked discussions and debate about ideas, needs, opportunities and possibilities here in North Liverpool, now and for the future.

How we are going about creating an economy for everyone who lives and works here not by simply waiting for investments from elsewhere, but by investing ourselves, our skills and our imaginations in the future of our place.

Makers, bakers, bikers, creators, engineers, gardeners, fixers, builders, artists, actors, organisers, thinkers, dreamers and doers. Working together on a new economy, here in our North Liverpool.”

Continue reading “One Beautiful Day: North Liverpool”

‘Without These Walls’

A film and a ghost mural telling the story of Granton Road, North Liverpool.

“We kept hearing the word ‘units’ about us. When these were not ‘units’ – they were people’s homes!” Jayne Lawless – Granton Road artist and story teller.

The telling of the truth begins.
The telling of the truth begins.

In two linked posts about one day, Friday 8th April, I’m going to write about the future of the place that occupies most of my time now. North Liverpool. First the story of a film and its accompanying mural of a lost place, Granton Road L5, which was just opposite Liverpool FC’s ground.

Walking up from the North Docks.
Walking up from the North Docks.

I’ve spent the day so far being part of an amazing event down at Make Liverpool, working on the Beautiful Ideas I’ve been telling you about for a while now. On this day the ideas have gone public and all the invited guests are telling us how exciting North Liverpool is feeling to them. More on this in the post which will link to this one.

Now, as evening falls, I walk up Boundary Street and along Walton Breck Road to Homebaked.

Where the new film will be shown for the first time tonight.
Where the new film will be shown for the first time tonight.

Continue reading “‘Without These Walls’”

In Blackpool: On The Left Coast

Blackpool - 38It doesn’t look like that early on this March afternoon as I arrive in Blackpool.

It's raining from a grey sky on a grey sea.
It’s raining from a grey sky on a grey sea.
In a decidedly out of season place.
In a decidedly out of season place.

But it’s still so very Blackpool though. Even on a damp Tuesday afternoon. Full of the memories of coming here all my life. Early days on the X61 Ribble Bus, before the 1965 blue Cortina arrived to bring us all here in style. Later still all of us from the Corpy Housing Department coming to ‘see the lights’ on a fleet of Corpy buses. Messing about in the Fun House then getting ourselves tucked into a very large pub and taking no notice of the illuminations at all. Golden days! Continue reading “In Blackpool: On The Left Coast”