Remembering Munich: Manchester United 1958

This is one of my earliest memories from when I’m, just, four years old.

It’s a Friday morning, 7th February 1958, when I come down our stairs in Liverpool thinking I’m the only one up this early. Not this time though. As I open the door my Dad’s already sat at the breakfast table. Not upright and cheerful, which is his usual way. But slumped, and for the first time I’ve ever seen, crying with the paper open in front of him.

‘They’re dead, nearly all of them. All the team. I think Bobby Charlton’s alive and they don’t know about Duncan Edwards but the rest of them, nearly all dead.’

Then he sits me on his knee and tells me about the Munich Air disaster. Continue reading “Remembering Munich: Manchester United 1958”

Growing up in North Liverpool

In the early days of this blog we had a look round Liverpool in 1953, the place I was about to get born into. In this follow up to that one we’re going to come in a bit closer. Having spent much of my life with no early photographs of my early days, I’ve recently gathered up a few, courtesy of my Dad. And they’ve got a story to tell.

But before I arrive, of course, my parents have to meet.

My Dad, Joe Hughes, with his sister Terry.
My Dad, Joe Hughes, with his sister Terry.

In this lovely picture Joe is eight and Terry four. Meaning it’s 1936. They are living in North Liverpool down by the Dock Road.

“Even at that age, in those days, we were allowed to roam wherever we liked and I was trusted to look after Terry’ Joe says now. ‘We’d go to church on our own and then go off wandering around the docks and streets and even into town. I remember me and Terry being in town together even after it had gone dark. We had a much bigger Liverpool to play in than children seem to be allowed now. It was great.”

When the war comes three years later Joe is still too young to join the forces. Continue reading “Growing up in North Liverpool”

Of Time and the Season

A question from a friend and then writing all this brings me to the realisation that I’m perfectly fine with Christmas. A harmless old tradition that brings people together around sparkly lights and a warm fire. It’s the shopping I can’t and won’t abide.

This morning my friend Barry threw a question out to the social media world that brought the ghosts of many Christmases past crowding into my thoughts:

“Asked to think of something I might want for Christmas to ease the shopping burden on family. I have about 20 unread books on my shelf and access to more music than I could listen to in one lifetime. What else could I ever need?”

Before my memories crowded out his question my instincts sent him this simple answer it had taken me years of my life to arrive at:


I’ve thought about this a lot & in the end time is the gift I ask for & the gift I give myself. Time to listen, read & be with those I love.”

This instinctive statement being qualified shortly afterwards by  this realisation that I do, very occasionally, give people actual presents: Continue reading “Of Time and the Season”

Walking Home: A meditation


In a troubled world the freedom to walk home & know it will be there is not to be taken lightly.

It will soon be Christmas Day and many people are thinking of home. Walking home, sailing home, even flying home. Getting home come what may. So I’d already decided that for my Sunday walk this week I’d get on a random bus, get off miles away from here and then walk home. Simple and always a joy to do.

Then just as I’m about to walk round to the bus stop Cerys Matthews plays a song on her BBC6 programme that’s so beautiful it stays with me all day on my walk. It’s called ‘Bound for Lampedusa’ by The Gentle Good and is about being driven out of your home and setting off for a new one you may never find. It’s for everyone waiting to walk out of Aleppo into uncertainty, through the meltdown of human decency and kindness that is Syria this Christmas. Maybe you’d like to listen to the song as you read the rest of this walking meditation about home: Continue reading “Walking Home: A meditation”

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”

‘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’”

The Cranes of Anfield

16.03.07 Anfield - 14What a beautiful day this Monday 7th March has been here in Liverpool? The kind of a day when a camera simply can’t go unused, even if just walking past things I’ve sort of got used to. Like the humungous new stand Liverpool FC are building between Walton Breck Road and Anfield Road.

I’ve arrived deliberately early for a meeting I’m having with the Beautiful Ideas Co. Partly so I can take some pictures, but also allowing time for me to call in at Homebaked. Where its good to see Cathy Alderson, usually just in for match days and street markets. And also good to have a Mushroom Stroganoff pie for my healthy social enterprise lunch! Lunch over I go outside to take the pictures.

Now normally I have some concerned words to say about Liverpool FC. Words like prevaricating, blighting and exploitation. But today we’ll let all that temporarily alone, because I’m here to rejoice in the engineering.

As you’ll know if you’ve been around this blog for a while I’m a big fan of giant cranes. So today I’m in for a treat. Continue reading “The Cranes of Anfield”

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”