My partner Sarah has been gardening on her allotment for 13 happy years now. These days it’s as essential to her as ever, providing solace and contemplation during weeks when she’s busy with her work as an independent funeral celebrant. Now spring is arriving Sarah shows us around.
Sunday. The 9th of March. Time spent in nature is both precious and necessary for me. So it’s off to my place of solace. Plot 44. My allotment on Greenbank Drive in Liverpool. A month ago the snowdrops had arrived. It’s one of the important markers in my year. ‘The snowdrops are here.’ It means spring is arriving. Like it does every year. And I am here to see it.
10 February 2014, a month ago the snowdrops announce the arrival of spring.
Around fifteen miles away from home, north of us on the Lancashire plain, is Ormskirk. Our destination for today’s day out, as we continue our regular practices of checking on the well-being of the towns around Liverpool that so enrich our lives, and of course living every day like it matters!
We get the train from Liverpool Central.
Yes, Sarah’s with me today. I don’t do selfies.
We soon arrive.
It’s Saturday morning and the market’s in full swing.
As I write this early in the evening I can hear the lovely sound of children playing outside in the street. Here in Northern England the winter ended at the weekend and spring is suddenly with us. One more spring.
And today I gave myself the gift of a spring afternoon. Finding a work meeting unexpectedly postponed, did I rearrange things and do some other work? As if. Conscious of this ‘year to live’ attitude I’m walking around with at the moment, I put on my walking boots and prepare to leave the house. ‘Where are you going?’ says Sarah. ‘Wherever my feet take me’ I reply.
My Liverpool is bursting into life.
There are crocuses all over the place. I won’t show you too many just yet.
After thousands of us came to see the new Everyman lighting up for the first time last night, today we were all invited back to come inside for the housewarming. And it seemed like the entire city took up the invitation. Because pretty much everyone loves The Everyman.
Which must have made today a nervy day for everyone running the new place. Because it is totally new. Fair enough, 25,000 of the old Hope Hall bricks from the original building have been re-used but not a scrap of the old structure remains. Except in the heads of all of us who turned up in Hope Street today.
So loads of first dates, loads of getting the new band going, loads of best thing I’ve ever seen, loads of that night we sat in The Ev and decided to change our lives. All of this walked up to the new doors of the new place today, every one of us looking for a sense of home in a building we’d never been in before.
So yes, a nervy day for the new Ev.
What a beautiful place though. And there we all are, up on the front.
My particular Ev was always and mostly the Bistro, from when my friend Tricia Lively from the City Housing Department first brought me to a tiny starter version of the Bistro back in 1973, to all those times with Sarah dreaming up what we’d do in ‘a sense of place’. So as soon as I get inside I want to see the new Bistro.