Breathing Spaces: Walking and Talking at Ed’s Place

Still lots of Ed’s Place things going on at the moment. General Information and bookings here.

Including another of these ‘Breathing Spaces’ walks this coming Sunday 23rd. Book here.

Looking back at the first of three ‘Breathing Spaces’ walks then, another coming up this Sunday.

I love doing this. A two hour walk around the centre of Liverpool talking about breathing spaces and how they are essential for making our city centre work for more than just shopping. Those places, sometimes public squares and sometimes just places in between others, where we can sit a while, breathe, reflect, watch people go by, check our phones, talk to friends or maybe even eat the lunch we’ve brought with us. And all for free.

The places where we can be citizens of our place, quietly, sociably and for the love of being here. They’re precious places and most of the ones we have here could be better, for all kinds of reasons.

I’m not going to write all the possible reasons down here though. Because this walk was only the first of two I’m doing, and I’ll be interested to hear what you think too, if you’d like to come on the second one? That’ll be on Thursday 13th September, also from Ed’s Place.

Anyway, during this first one on Sunday just gone fifteen of us talked… Continue reading “Breathing Spaces: Walking and Talking at Ed’s Place”

Starving To Be Alone

No offence is meant here to the people I know and love, or to anyone else. But sometimes don’t you wish you were on your own?

Not because of unhappiness, anger or any other feelings of bitterness. But just because. Because you want to be on your own? I do and I think I always have.

Back when I was nineteen years old this feeling was defined for me by a song I’d never heard before.

It’s November 1973 and I’m sat in the Empire Theatre in Liverpool watching Neil Young for the first time. Continue reading “Starving To Be Alone”

It’s Warm In and Out

A day comes, even in these climate mess years of the long cold springs, when all is still and blue and you need to be out in it. Walking along, well me anyway, singing the long loved Lotus Eaters ode to springtime as I leave the house:

‘It’s warm in and out
The call for sacred hours…’

Everything ditched, all work left behind, you can’t get this day back tomorrow when the winds and clouds might be back.

Just walk.

Good news on the fence of The Mystery, the secret way between Smithdown and the railway tracks then out along Lawrence Road with the girls and infants at the Church of St Bridget. Continue reading “It’s Warm In and Out”

Walking Into the Light

Since resuming my interrupted practice of walking around Liverpool last weekend, published on here as two linked posts called ‘Emerging from Winter’ I’ve continued to walk. Back into Winter as it’s turned out, but into the gathering light of what feels like brighter days to come. The brighter days of soon coming spring time of course and, well, brighter days.

Like the days of good light these have been this week. Good, sharp, clear days to look up into and walk around in thinking about what’s next? What new things will get made up soon, what ideas are yet to be thought of, yet to be walked into being? Continue reading “Walking Into the Light”

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”

The Old Map: Birkenhead and Wallasey

On Saturday mornings, when I’m content with the week’s work done, I like to walk around the neighbourhood more or less pointlessly. Sometimes the walk involves a sit and a read in a café then some food shopping, sometimes LPs. Today it was books. Restocking my shelf of coming soon novels from both the local library and the local Oxfam. While I was in Oxfam I also found this old map of Birkenhead and sat down for a good look at it and the stories it contains.

Like the story of the major line railway station which was running six trains a day from Birkenhead to London until the late 1960s? Read on.

Continue reading “The Old Map: Birkenhead and Wallasey”

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?”

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”