A Wirral Meditation

I tell myself I’ve come here to think something through. Something I’ve been thinking about that could do with a walk to get it straight. But as soon as I arrive I know the place isn’t going to put up with that. Because the place itself wants to be noticed. And in the noticing my nagging thoughts melt away. Which is probably what I’ve really come here for anyway.

I’m on the Shining Shore, the walk around Thurstaston that’s been one of my main meditation places, alone and with Sarah, for many years now.

It’s a grey day.
But it’s Springtime anyway.

I’m in the middle of my week and a half of not working and I’ve come for an afternoon out on the Wirral. Some walking, some reading and my lunch is in my bag. Continue reading “A Wirral Meditation”

The Winter Trees and The Flock of Curlews

dsc07926Two days after Christmas it is cold but still and a good day for walking. So Sarah and I drive over to the far side of the Wirral and do our favourite walk, our favourite meditation. It’s The Shining Shore walk and I’ve written about it many times on here before. So today I won’t write about the walk so much as a few observations on the way round. And some more pictures of those curlews.

Setting off late morning more or less in silence.
Setting off late morning more or less in silence in our familiar place.
We gather some company along the way.
We gather some company along the way.

Continue reading “The Winter Trees and The Flock of Curlews”

Breathing Free: On the Shining Shore

After Saturday’s revealing walk around the poor selection of breathing spaces in Liverpool City Centre, on Sunday we headed across the river to one of our favourite places for walking, sitting and just being, Wirral’s Shining Shore around Thurstaston. So as the working week here in the city gets underway, here’s how things are just a few miles away, where springtime is starting.

Setting off inland from where the railway station used to be.
Setting off inland from where the railway station used to be.
Leucojeum, or Summer Snowdrop.
Leucojum, or Summer Snowdrop.
Hawthorn coming into leaf.
Hawthorn coming into leaf.

Continue reading “Breathing Free: On the Shining Shore”

Walking and Talking

Two of my favourite activities in one blog post. We’ll get to talking at a place called the Hive in Dalston later, but first a Sunday walk. Let’s go.Walking and Talking - 1Having spent the Saturday of this weekend when the clocks went back working in London, I was glad to get out walking with Sarah on the Sunday, making the best of the now dwindling hours of daylight.

We drove over to Thurstaston to our favourite, meditative and much repeated short walk ‘The Shining Shore.’ Not in fact a much repeated walk lately as we’ve been without a car since Sarah was run into by a 40 ton truck back at the beginning of June. But Sarah’s now decided to have a car again, principally for her work as a funeral celebrant, and so we celebrated its arrival this week by driving over to the Dee Estuary.

Where of course autumn is well underway.
Where of course autumn is well underway.
A particularly good year for berries and fruit.
It’s been a particularly good year for berries and fruit.

Continue reading “Walking and Talking”

A Year in 12 Photographs

Now that 2014 is over, here’s an attempt to sum up my own past year in 12 photographs.

Over the year there were 160 new blog posts and most of them contained new photographs as I wandered around, mostly, Liverpool with my camera clutched permanently in my right hand. Here’s what I saw.

The 472 to Heswall.
The 472 to Heswall.

This was the year of ‘Great Bus Journeys of the World’ all made possible, or at least cheaper, by me being awarded the freedom of my City and beyond, by way of a bus pass. So as soon as I got it, late in January, I began a new kind of exploring. Here I’ve made my first ever trip through the Mersey Tunnel on a bus. Getting on at Cook Street, where the 472 starts, to make sure I can get the front seat upstairs and get the best views through the tunnel and across the Wirral. As thrilled as any child.

The view from Ward 7Y.
The view from Ward 7Y.

I spent the early part of the year being tested and diagnosed with a relatively rare blood disorder, polycythaemia, most likely caused by a genetic defect. This included regular visits to the Royal Hospital where dedicated staff perform their daily miracles in an architectural monstrosity – with great views. Continue reading “A Year in 12 Photographs”

Wildflowers and pirates: Our day on the Wirral

If you’ve been around here for a while you’ll recall the practical help offered by ‘The Wirral: A guide for Liverpool people.’ That provided useful instructions on how to get to a place where many Liverpool people have simply never been. And then some handy hints about what to do when you get there. View this as Part 2. More information about the delights of the Wirral. And further handy hints about what Liverpool people can get up to over there.

The imposing sea wall at Harrison Drive on the Wirral. Like a Mark Rothko painting.
The imposing sea wall at Harrison Drive on the Wirral. Like a Mark Rothko painting.

All of this guidance put together by us two Liverpool people in one day, yesterday. Sarah has a brief gap in her funeral work and I, as ever, am always keen on walking about rather than working. Continue reading “Wildflowers and pirates: Our day on the Wirral”

The still and silent Shining Shore

Our ‘home’ walk, our meditation. Though over two months since we last walked it. But taking advantage of the lighter afternoons and the fact that Sarah has time to spare from her funeral work, we arrive at Thurstaston in the middle of a mid-March Thursday.

All is still and silent.
All is still and silent.

The heavy mist blankets everything. Wetting hair and branches and leaves. Deadening distant sounds, so nearby birdsongs, footsteps and water tricklings appear louder.

During the winter the long hedge on Station Road has been decisively cut back.
During the winter the long hedge on Station Road has been decisively cut back.
So we can see over the top of it into the misty middle distance.
So we can see over the top of it into the misty middle distance.

The day is cold, walking through the mist. And looks like we’re back in mid-winter. Continue reading “The still and silent Shining Shore”

The Wirral – A guide for Liverpool people

Wirral18I’ve long stopped being amazed by the number of Liverpool people who don’t go to the Wirral Peninsula. A good number of my fellow citizens are reasonably intrigued by the Friday Walks I go on every week. But when they find that many of them take place ‘on the Wirral’ it immediately prompts questions like ‘How do you know where to walk?’ and ‘Is it good over there?’ Many a Liverpool person has a better working knowledge of Barcelona or Ibiza than of the treasures so close to home on the opposite bank of the Mersey.

And that’s just not right. So here’s a quick guide to some of what you might be missing.

Beginning with how to get there. Now obviously you could get on a ferry or a train. But recognising that you might be a bit nervous if it’s your first time ‘over there’ and want to feel like you could make a quick getaway, I’ll show you how to get there in a car. These pictures are from Friday last week when, for the first time in ages, Sarah was able to come with me on a Friday Walk, and so take the pictures while I drove.

First you’ll need to find a tunnel. There is one close to the middle of town, but we mostly use the ‘new’ tunnel on Scotland Road.

Get yourself in the right lane.
Get yourself in the right lane.

It says ‘Walsy Tunnel’ – this stands for ‘Wallasey.’ It’s a place on the Wirral. Continue reading “The Wirral – A guide for Liverpool people”

The erosion at Thurstaston

The cliffs at Thurstaston are a thing of great beauty. Made of eroding boulder clay, they are a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest and cannot be protected from erosion – it is the erosion that is important to their status. But the erosion is now proceeding faster than we’ve ever seen because of the extremely heavy rainfall that’s been happening much of the time since last Summer.

If you love Thurstaston cliffs and haven’t seen them for a while, I’d recommend you come for a visit fairly soon, or you might not recognise the cliffs as you remember them.

Last April, a dry cliff.
Last April, a dry cliff.

The yellow colour of the cliffs used to make me think they were sandstone. But I was wrong. And the boulder clay they are made of has got so wet now that they’ve all changed colour. Continue reading “The erosion at Thurstaston”