Announcing: The Mystery Literary Festival

We’re piecing it together now, The Mystery Literary Festival I wrote about on here a few weeks ago. A group of us have met and a couple of us in the group have then gone about talking to people. So we know when it will be now and soon we’ll be able to tell you other things, like where it will take place, what it might be about and how you can join in.

In the meantime we’re sorting out the sort of details you need when setting up something like this, its own presence if you like.

So soon The Mystery Literary Festival will have its own website. But in the meantime I’ll be adding information to this page, now and soon. Continue reading “Announcing: The Mystery Literary Festival”

For The Fun Of It?

I’ve always had an uneasy relationship with the word ‘fun.’ Although my general aim in life has always been to make the world a better, fairer and kinder place if I could, the talking up of ‘fun’ that often goes on amongst people with apparently similar aims has often looked like no fun at all.

The forced joining in at social events, for example, has always mildly terrified me and sent me looking for the nearest place to hide. Start up fancy dressing, the conga or that game where lines of adults pass balloons along between them without them touching the floor and I’m gone. Hiding in the kitchen or out the door and on my way home. “It’s just a bit of fun” I get told by people who are obviously a different sort of human from me.

I’m not and never have been one of life’s joiners in.

Then related to the party games fun is its dread corporate relation ‘the away day.’ Continue reading “For The Fun Of It?”

The Mystery Literary Festival: Soon

There is magic all around us. Stories waiting to be told. In every park & street the future is waiting. Listen, while I tell you a story called “The Mystery Literary Festival.”

In Liverpool there is a park called The Mystery. No map will tell you where it is but everyone knows it’s called The Mystery. And in 2018 they know it’s where the first Mystery Literary Festival happened.

Listen, I’m telling you a story, a mystery story.

The idea came from The Beautiful Parks Project in the autumn of 2017 when a woman with the grown up daughter said ‘Why is there no Mystery Literary Festival?’ And so there was. Once two passing strangers, one of whom was also me, stuck up their hands and said ‘If no one else wants to run it then we’ll do our best, having never done such a thing before. It will be a laugh and a story in itself.’ 

Listen, I’m telling you a story, a mystery story.

So it was announced, and here I am announcing it, that The Mystery Literary Festival would be for everyone who likes a story. And that would be more or less everyone, right? Continue reading “The Mystery Literary Festival: Soon”

Wood Works for Women

Next Wood Works for Women at Make Liverpool, 19th November, book here.

One of the things I love doing best is walking around Liverpool discovering people who are doing interesting things that are adding to the sum total of human happiness and fairness round here. I’ve always written about these in a haphazard kind of way, but now that I’ve decided how much I like doing so as a core part of what I do you might expect to see more of what might be subtitled ‘good ideas from interesting people.’ Anyway, here’s the first.

Introducing Aleksandra Ola Rug.

I met Ola recently when she turned up at a couple of the events I’ve been helping to run for the Beautiful Parks Project. She came along with strong opinions and a track record in market gardening. And I’d suspect some of her ideas will feature in whatever happens next or soon in Liverpool’s parks and open spaces. But this post isn’t about market gardening. Like most interesting people Ola’s got more than one idea, and this one’s about wood and women. Over to her. Continue reading “Wood Works for Women”

Walking round Birkenhead

Photographs by Jane MacNeil


I’ve spent much of this last week walking round Birkenhead with my friend the photographer Jane MacNeil. Our walks have been part of the Wirral Ideas Festival, part of helping local people create and develop ideas for new enterprises in Birkenhead. The Festival finishes this evening, Thursday, with an Expo of all the ideas and what’s happened at the various events over the week. After which you’ll no doubt hear more from organisers The Beautiful Ideas Co and then the ideas themselves as they develop.

But on here and for now I just want to quietly celebrate Jane MacNeil’s beautiful photos, along with celebrating Birkenhead itself. A beautiful place with so much potential. Let’s walk. Continue reading “Walking round Birkenhead”

Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral

Beginning this Sunday, 23rd April, a week of events to get you thinking and get you started on that new enterprise idea you know you’ve got. Including coming for walks with me to talk things through and see some places where you might get going.
Over the week from Sunday 23rd April I’ll be part of this with my friends from The Beautiful Ideas Co who have this to say about it all:

“We’re working with Wirral to reignite its long history of ideas and innovation in this spring’s inaugural Festival of Beautiful Ideas.
We’re looking for potential viable ideas that can have an impact on making Birkenhead and Woodside a great place to live and work.
And not only are we looking for ideas, but we’re looking for people who’re willing to offer opportunities and challenges to be met by our entrepreneurs – or can support them in any way.

Focusing inspiration and energy on Birkenhead and Woodside, the week-long festival sees a series of events and ‘hack days’, taking place around the area. They’re an opportunity for people to talk about ideas, share opportunities and get inspired.
Each event taps into the opportunities highlighted for Festival of Beautiful Ideas, including music and events; food and drink; making and manufacturing and places and spaces, to show people with bright ideas some of Wirral’s unique – and under-utilised – spaces. It’s about cultural potential; reclaiming Wirral’s industrial heritage; pop-ups and meanwhile spaces.

We’re looking for people who’re passionate and enthusiastic; people who want to change perceptions, make a difference and try something new.”

Continue reading “Festival of Beautiful Ideas: Wirral”


Listen to this blog post on BBC Radio Merseyside here.

Home, the place where you can grow up happily, knowing it’s always going to be your home. Welcome home this little one from us at Coming Home Liverpool.No apologies at all for not having written much on here lately, Jayne Lawless and I have been busy. As the two partners in Coming Home Liverpool we’ve been busy creating our first home for a family in North Liverpool. And now it’s done and they’re all moved in. On a fair rent and a permanent tenancy.Yesterday there was a celebration at the house. A celebration you can listen to from the links at the top and the foot of this post. Continue reading “Home”

Thinking About TenStreets: At Liverpool North Docks

No apologies, this is a big blog post about a big subject. The continuing revival, reuse, regeneration and renewal of a large area of North Liverpool, down by the docks.

It’s also where Sarah and I have the idea of walking to Leeds along the canal.dsc08213

Having been involved in what’s going on down here for the last year or so I got myself invited to a corporate launch thing last Thursday morning. At which and after which people naturally started asking me what I thought of it all?

I said “I don’t know. It’s complicated. I’ll need to have a think about it and get back to you.”

So I’ve been for a think, a walk, the same thing, and here it all is. Me and Sarah meandering round the North Docks, TenStreets if you will, on a sunny Sunday afternoon.dsc08289-1 Continue reading “Thinking About TenStreets: At Liverpool North Docks”

Coming Home: Our First Home

'Coming Home' by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.
‘Coming Home’ by my Granddaughter Ellie Melhuish.

We are going on site. Keys to our first home will be handed to builders later this week, ready to start work on turning a house that’s been empty for two years back into a home.

Though I haven’t written about Coming Home for some time on here we have been very busy getting everything going. Lots of time on legalities, practical preparations, working with Liverpool City Council’s Empty Homes team and with much help and publicity from BBC Radio Merseyside thank you, so that now we are ready, ready to start work on our first home.

Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.
Jayne Lawless of Coming Home, centre, working on our branding (coming soon) with Hayley Oldfield and Fiona Shaw.

Continue reading “Coming Home: Our First Home”