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 One

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

I haven’t done this for ages. Come out from the house on a bright blue day and let my camera take me for a walk. Making no plans about where I’ll go, I’ll see where my feet and my camera take me.

Across Grant Avenue and into The Mystery first. The great big sloping field close to our house. Emerging from the terraced streets into the open blue sky on a cold late winter’s day. Continue reading “Emerging from Winter/Part One”

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”

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”

In Liverpool: Late summer walking

DSC05691As August draws to a sunny close I spend the day on a slow circular walk to the river and home again. If you’ve been reading the blog for a long time now you’ll have been on this walk with me before. But a walk is never the same twice. Things change as well as the seasons, so let’s go.

Down the far end of Penny Lane.
Down the far end of Penny Lane.
Beatles tourists being told Beatles stories by the Penny Lane sign.
Beatles tourists being told Beatles stories by the Penny Lane sign.

I know most of the stories too and I nearly started a Beatles business once. I’m really glad I didn’t as their music is once again brightening my life with its fresh beauty. Continue reading “In Liverpool: Late summer walking”

Good Day Sunshine

DSC05078

“I need to laugh and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about”

My last post on here was no laughing matter. ‘Shadow Days’ was written at the beginning of what turned out to be the best part of a week of fairly deep depression. A depression that has now lifted and that I was much helped out of by the many comments and good wishes from readers of this blog. So thank you all so much. And to several very close friends too.

So after doing some things I needed to do to deal with the depression I decided I’d take this Friday completely off work. Early on Twitter was telling me it’s 50 years today since ‘Revolver’ came out. So I decided to go into town and celebrate this by getting a copy.

On a sunny blue day.
On a sunny blue day.
Down sunny Bold Street.
Down sunny Bold Street.

Feeling a lightnesss in my step and my heart that’s been missing lately. Continue reading “Good Day Sunshine”

Wandering About: Down to the River

Aimlessly 3 - 52
A day of reflections.

Having walked a fair bit of North Liverpool then South Liverpool in the last two days it didn’t take a genius or even me to work out today’s ‘Walking About’ route, the middle. Roughly from here in Wavertree, through L7 and L1 to the River. Let’s go.

Out across the Mystery.
Out across the Mystery.

Reflecting as I start out on a third walk in three days that there are some times when I need a lot of time on my own. Not in a melancholy way, but I don’t want to be inside and I have an elemental need to walk, alone.

The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.
The inbound London train crosses a 79D bus on Picton Road.

Continue reading “Wandering About: Down to the River”

For the Beauty of the Leaves

DSC07929Feeling mildly down for no particualr reason, perhaps the darkening of the year or perhaps not, I decided to take a day completely off from working. It’s a privilege of being self-employed. The work will still get done, just not today. Today I walked around Liverpool. For the comfort and joy that always gives me, and for the beauty of the leaves.

I began by walking through The Mystery.DSC07930 DSC07934Then across Smithdown where the Ullet Roadworks are still going. Continue reading “For the Beauty of the Leaves”

Inspecting Liverpool, July 2015

Inspecting Liverpool - 87I’ve done this before on here, walking round the North and the South of the city taking photographs to roughly see how it’s doing on an ‘ordinary’ day. Meaning not some great holiday or special events day, but one where the streets and the people are just going about their business much like they always do. My favourite kind of day.

In fact I’ve been doing this ‘inspecting’ for years, since long before this blog. Reasoning partly that someone’s got to and it might as well be me, and also simply out of love for the place where I live. This particular week I’d been mostly working in London and so felt a particular urge to see how Liverpool was doing once I returned.

Off the bus in Catharine Street.
Off the bus in Catharine Street.
By St Philip Neri.
By St Philip Neri.

Continue reading “Inspecting Liverpool, July 2015”