The Winter Trees

Winter trees - 22The day before this walk we’d all watched in horror as much of the north of England was flooded after days of the heavy rain we’re becoming used to as our climate changes. Thinking about this and after my standard but understandable rant about our useless govermnent, it’s failures on climate change and its fawning over backwards to moneyed interests, I remembered something George Monbiot has written about many times over the past few years, the importance of reforresting our uplands, the importance of trees and their contribution to slowing down the speed with which our denuded sheep farming hills flash off the rainwater which is then sent gushing down into the streets of Appleby, of Whalley, of York, of Hebden Bridge, of Mytholmroyd and then turn the Kirkstall Road in Leeds into a new river.

Anyway, and fortunately for us all up here, today dawned bright, dry and blue so Sarah and I went out for a walk around our relatively dry neighbourhood in Liverpool.

Along Penny Lane.
Along Penny Lane.
Past Eleanor Rathbone's house.
Past Eleanor Rathbone’s house.

Continue reading “The Winter Trees”

I remember you: For Rachel


Today a very personal post from my partner Sarah about her best friend Rachel, who died three years ago.

When Sarah was diagnosed with breast cancer eight years ago now, she fairly soon wanted to find her sisters. Other women who’d shared some of her experiences and ‘been in some of the same rooms’ as we always described those places and days of rapid diagnosis, treatment decisions and prognosis. Other women she could really talk to.

Well finding these sisters took a while, a great while. But eventually, through social media, into her life they came. Americans for the most part, and an Australian living in the States in one very particular, opinionated and lovable case. Rachel from New Jersey.

Their friendship was brief, as you’ll hear, but deep and intensely joyous. Their regular Skypes changed the sound of our house. And Rachel’s love brought the sparkle back into Sarah’s eyes. A spark and a sparkle the eventually ebbing grief of these past three years has never subsequently extinguished.

And of course Rachel and these years since changed my life too. Made me value the living of it more than ever before. But you’ll know about that already if you’ve read my ‘Year to live’ posts.

So here is Sarah, remembering Rachel. Continue reading “I remember you: For Rachel”