In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April

If these were the only three sunny days we get they were great weren’t they? So I thought I’d write them down so I can remember them, later on. When the weather goes back to seeming like it’s colder than it used to be and it rains most days.

It’s Saturday evening as I’m writing, going dark now but the daytimes here in Liverpool have been sunny since Thursday. Warm days of less clothes and crowds in the parks. Though not yet in The Mystery as I set out for the day. Continue reading “In Liverpool: Those Three Sunny Days in April”

For the Love of Record Shops: Defend Vinyl

As Record Store Day 2018 approaches this weekend, an appreciation.

I’m keen on high streets, as you may have noticed, reasoning they’re not only essential  for the well-being of our neighbourhoods but also in defining who we are and where we’re from. As in:

‘I’m Ronnie Hughes, I live just off Smithdown Road in Liverpool, and these days its such a great high street it’s even got a record shop’.

It’s called Defend Vinyl and I featured it on here eighteen months ago, not long after it opened.

Well here it is again, not only going stronger than ever but also about to host Record Store Day this coming Saturday, April 21st.

Record Store Day, in case you’ve never heard of it, is about encouraging people to visit their local record shops. Simple as that. After a precipitous drop in numbers record shops are returning to our high streets for the simple reason that enough of us want them to. So Record Store Day is a day to celebrate record shops everywhere by visiting one.

Let’s do that then? Continue reading “For the Love of Record Shops: Defend Vinyl”

The High Street: How’s it doing, really?

A closely observed walk along a local hight street here in Liverpool, with statistics, to see and feel how it’s doing.

Our high streets are in trouble. Some blame austerity politics, others supermarkets and more still the passage of time, saying we shop differently now. What’s in less doubt than these various causes is the importance of a good high street to how happy we are with the places where we live.

Elsewhere on this blog I’m starting to look at the insides of people’s houses, looking at how we live and the necessity, a human right I call it, of us all having a secure and properly affordable place we can call home.

But we don’t only live inside of our homes do we? The quality of our lives has a lot to do with what else is around us, including the high streets of shops that run through and bind our neighbourhoods and, often as not, give them their names. So in Liverpool we have areas of Walton generally called County Road and Walton Vale, for example. In Anfield a place called ’round Priory Road’ and in Aigburth one called, well, ‘Aigburth Road’. High streets whose general health is an important part of how their neighbourhoods are doing. Continue reading “The High Street: How’s it doing, really?”

Emerging from Winter/Part Two

The second of two linked posts, walking round the neighbourhoods where I live. Part One here.

This Sunday in late February arrives just as blue and just as cold as yesterday. Perfect then for another day of trying to walk my cold off around the streets of the neighbourhood. Starting by walking across to The Mystery, like yesterday, but after that who knows?

Under the London-line railway bridges and along to the Ullet Road/Smithdown crossroads. Past social venues old and new including a personal favourite, Naked Lunch. A co-op café and if there’s a friendlier place in Liverpool I don’t know it yet. Continue reading “Emerging from Winter/Part Two”

Love and Happiness: A moment

It’s late on a Saturday afternoon, it’s yesterday, already dark and already shading into evening, now we are in late November, when I witness this moment of the purest love and happiness.

I am walking along Smithdown Road in Liverpool, not long before I’ll be turning left up my own street, when I see them all. Five figures in an undulating line across the pavement, walking towards me. Apart from the Mum figure nearest the road they look like they’re walking in age formation, the youngest holding her hand, then in steadily increasing ages towards the eldest, no more than ten years old I’d say, walking next to the wall, nearest to the shops.

From a distance they all seem to be talking at once. But as we pass, the Mum contracting the line of them slightly to let me through on the outside, the notes of their conversation separate into this moment of the purest love and happiness: Continue reading “Love and Happiness: A moment”

An ordinary Liverpool Saturday?

Sun out, camera in my hands, off out to photograph an ordinary Liverpool Saturday, conscious that it’s been ages since I did this. Having said last week that in future I’d only write about things I’d write about if I only had a year to live this is definitely one of them. Walking around where I live and seeing how it’s doing on an ordinary day. Something that’s very special to me.

Out into our street in Wavertree.
And down the hill onto Smithdown.

Yes, it’s very ordinary photograph of a bus at a bus stop. But will Arriva always run the buses here and will looking like this bus one day date it as ‘how buses looked in the years just before 2020?

Time changes everything, even the things we only notice when we look back at old photographs. Today I’m out taking old photographs. Continue reading “An ordinary Liverpool Saturday?”

One Special Day

All days are special, especially this one. So I decide I’ll walk around and photograph it, as I tend to do.

Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.
Walking to work in fact on a gorgeous blue day.

Friday 20th January, 2017. Yes, the day the world gets a chauvinist thug as President of the USA.

Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.
Thinking about this as I walk into The Mystery.

And deciding the day is too special and beautiful to spoil it with any more thoughts of him.

Me and an urban goal.
Me and an urban goal.

Continue reading “One Special Day”

A Saturday Smithdown Stroll

dsc07535“Just off for a Saturday Smithdown Stroll” I say to Sarah as I’m leaving the house. “Oh that means records then” she perceptively replies. “It might?” I mutter, and as you can see it does. But more of that later.

We are in the days of dwindling light now.
We are in the days of dwindling light now.
When the sun is barely bothering to rise.
When the sun is barely bothering to rise.
And so I'm grateful for the Wavertree Christian Fellowship's twinkling tree.
And so I’m grateful for the Wavertree Christian Fellowship’s twinkling tree.

With Coming Home dominating my weeks, now I’ve stepped back from pretty much everything else I was involved in, I like to spend my weekends doing hardly anything beyond  walking around, reading, listening to music – and quietly observing life, as I will today.  Continue reading “A Saturday Smithdown Stroll”

On Smithdown: Defend Vinyl

dsc07103Defend vinyl? Of course I do. Since I returned to buying LPs several years ago many of my happiest hours have been spent in record shops and charity shops doing the ‘flicking through LPs’ thing I’d thought I’d left long behind me.

But until recently there hadn’t been a proper record shop I could go to anywhere near where I live. Then around a month ago Defend opens here on Smithdown Road and becomes an immediate and regular part of my Saturday morning walks around the neighbourhood.

It's a proper record shop.
It’s a proper record shop.

With a proper and knowledgeable bloke behind the counter. Continue reading “On Smithdown: Defend Vinyl”

The Tram Lines

September 14th 1957
September 14th 1957

When Liverpool’s last tram paraded along Lord Street for the last time in 1957 I was there, crying. I loved the trams and was broken hearted to see them leaving so early in my life, as I was only 3. Ever since, I’ve missed them and lamented their absence. And I suppose I’d assumed most of the tram lines had been dug up by now. But not so, as a walk along Penny Lane at the weekend showed me.dsc05889

The Smithdown end of Penny Lane is closed at the moment as the Ullet and Smithdown roadworks proceed slowly along to wherever they’re going to stop.

So we're seeing a lot of notices like these.
So we’re seeing a lot of notices like these.
And scenes like this.
And scenes like this.

Continue reading “The Tram Lines”