Wirral West and its Shining Shore

Having spent much of yesterday afternoon and evening in Wirral West, as one of the many people there helping the local Labour candidate Margaret Greenwood get elected, I decide to go back to the constituency today, as I take a day off from all forms of working.

It’s such a beautiful place.
Always my favourite place for reflective, meditative walks.

Today I’m reflecting on my happiness that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters did such a good job and reintroduced ‘being yourself’ into a political system where that’s been thoroughly yet pointlessly discouraged for years.

It’s early summertime in the sandstone walls.

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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.


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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.”

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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”

“I Am Haunted by Waters”

21A guest post today by my friend Patricia Levey-Bennett who, as you’ll see, is a great photographer.

We decided to have a day out last weekend. We being me and Gaz, my boyfriend. There is only one specific requirement for our days out, and that’s to be near water. Everywhere I go to walk, or so it habitually seems, involves proximity to water.  I was a lifeguard for many years – I’ve been called Water Baby and Little Otter in the past – so maybe it’s just something in my blood?

Rebecca suggests we go to Hilbre Island.  Rebecca  is my niece and you will get to meet her in a bit, along with Rachael, my other niece, who both decide they will join us for the day as they often do and have done since they could walk. We used to visit all sorts of interesting places when they were little (I tell them) …well, interesting to us as adults, or at least we convinced ourselves they were interesting. Motivated by the fact we had to get our money’s worth out of the English Natural Heritage pass we bought on a whim one year.  We’d think nothing of making a 3 ½hr  round trip to places as far afield as Shropshire to visit the sapling of the famous Royal Oak Tree. 

Now,  you might think three and a half hours in a car on a hot sunny day to visit a tree sounds like madness, but it was a surprisingly easy sell to a five and six year old, and we’d  justify it by telling ourselves that they would be grateful for the experiences when they get older.  In fact, when I tell Rachael that I’m writing this blog and including a few pictures from our visit there, she tells me she has absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever, or of the many other places we visited when they were younger! But she softens the blow with the addendum that all our days out were good and that what she remembers most is the lovely picnics. 

Here we are at The Knot Garden in Shropshire with the ‘famous’ Royal Oak Tree in the background.
And here we are having fun with the Piper…or at least I am!
And here we are having fun with the Piper…or at least I am!

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Some things are just perfect aren’t they? Not in a showy kind of way. But just perfectly done or perfect in their very nature.DSC02157Let’s start with perfectly done. The latest 3 of our Community Land Trust Houses to be finished in Granby 4 Streets.


It would be fair to say more than a few of us have poured our hearts and souls into recovering and restoring these long empty houses.

And now they're ready.
And now they’re ready.
Ready to be homes again.
Ready to be homes again.

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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.

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The Shining

A Friday Walk then, in all but name, as it’s happening on a Saturday. And a walk done so many times it’s become a meditation now. The Shining Shore.The Shining01Taking place in the lanes around Thurstaston on the far side of the Wirral, I’ve not been here since last March. Mostly urban walking in Liverpool since then. But we’re both off work today and it’s good to get out here together on holiday.

Still wintry here, the long hedge in Station Road completely bare.
Still wintry here, the long hedge in Station Road completely bare.
But for a few left over berries too bitter even for the winter birds.
But for a few left over berries too bitter even for the winter birds.

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