While I spent this last sunny weekend doing the kind of walking you’d probably expect of me, around North Liverpool, Sarah was up to something entirely different. Fulfilling a big dream out on the sea waters around Anglesey for the first time. Fortunately for the rest of us her camera is waterproof.
“I arrive at 9am on Saturday morning with the list of kit we’ve been asked to bring, feeling as nervous as anyone on the first day of anything, let alone something as new and different as sea kayaking – Sea Kayaking Anglesey provide the essentials of wetsuit, cagoule, buoyancy aid and spray deck. (OK, I am not a complete novice as I have had a few hours experience as I’ve been kayaking with a local club, which has included me getting some of my own kit).
Our coach Stuart Leslie puts us all at ease and I meet my fellow kayakers – who are all complete novices, Martin, Steve, Dan and Vicky. After some initial discussions we’re off on our first voyage. We are in good spirits as we prepare to set off, wetsuits and general kayaking gear is donned, as well as lunches and cags stowed, and plenty of water and suncream. Stuart, our coach, asks if it’s OK to take photos…so many of these are by him… and so our day begins.
We are at Trearddur Bay, and it’s surprising really, we don’t look like complete beginners as we take to the water.
A work meeting for 11:30 in the morning is called off because someone’s sick (get well soon Ann Marie x). So what to do? Shall I fill in the time before my next appointment at 2 in the afternoon with other work or shall I go for a walk in the early spring sunshine? Easy choice, I put my boots on and set off.
So I walk in that general direction, with detours.
Days and sudden spare time like this don’t occur so often that they can be ignored. Living, as I still do, with the attitude of what would I choose to do if I had a year left to live? For all of 2014 I wrote a series of blog posts about this and it quietly changed my life. Read my main conclusions here if you like.
Sometimes in our lives, if we are lucky, we get to spend some time in somewhere that’s so beautiful that when we look back at our photos only two short weeks later, we can barely believe we were ever there. Today me and Sarah want to show you Ilnaculin, a tiny island in West Cork.
Writing 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.
Mostly though quieter days of quieter thoughts far along the Beara Peninsula in furthest West Cork, hanging right out into the Atlantic Ocean.
‘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.
And the pool here is no ordinary municipal swimming pool. No, it’s an open air swimming pool, or a lido.
Through the ancient turnstiles, and into the pool.
I love all of the days and times of the year, but particularly this one. The throw the doors open, let the light in, eat outside, springtime. Like the first time you heard ‘Up town top ranking’ or ‘One day like this’ it gets me every time. The upsurging joy of spring.
Some of it though is so fleeting or so tiny that you can easily miss moments and wildflowers if you’re not looking for them. I’ve been looking for them, together with Sarah. And here are a few our cameras have gathered in.
Like last night as it finally grew dark I went over to draw the curtains and saw this, in the Liverpool sky to my west.
Sarah tells me that in asronomy this is known as an ‘occultation.’ Aldebaran at the bottom there (the bright star 54 times the size of our own Sun) is either emerging from or about to be hidden behind our Moon. So there.
But even better is the not dark sky of the springtime Northern Hemisphere. So much more light every day that flowers are blooming everywhere you look.
If society as we know it ever starts to break down, and some would say it already has, then the work of urban farms like the Severn Project and inventive humans like Steve Glover will become even more essential to our wellbeing and survival than they already are. This week in Bristol I was privileged to be part of a group of us who went to talk with Steve and see him and his team at work. ‘Inspirational’ isn’t a strong enough word for what we found.
The Severn Project is a community interest company, a social enterprise. As in a real enterprise but one with a social purpose instead of shareholders:
“We produce high quality salad leaves and herbs at our urban farms in Bristol. But we do more than just grow food. We strongly believe that all business should have a positive social impact. This is why we support people who face significant barriers to the workplace to help run the project.”
This blog hasn’t done a site visit to Granby 4 Streets since early February, so I thought it was about time we did. Because things have been moving on.Three weeks ago now, at the beginning of March I come here late on in an afternoon.
Still soft-stripping the Community Land Trust houses at this stage, so this side of the mostly empty street relatively undisturbed.
In Herefordshire earlier this week it is still late wintertime as we set out walking on a mostly sunny day.We are staying near the village of Shobdon, halfway between Kington and Leominster, and set off on a circular walk Sarah has downloaded from the local village shop.
A Friday Walk then, in all but name, as it’s happening on a Saturday. And a walk done so many times it’s become a meditation now. The Shining Shore.Taking place in the lanes around Thurstaston on the far side of the Wirral, I’ve not been here since last March. Mostly urban walking in Liverpool since then. But we’re both off work today and it’s good to get out here together on holiday.