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Friends of St Luke’s

Last year, I began what I hoped would be an ongoing photo project showing this beautiful church (also known as ‘the bombed out church’ and ‘the doctor’s church) through the changing seasons.Then, earlier this year I went to take more photos, to find the church AND the gardens locked. This was the first awareness I had of the shock announcement that this beautiful church was to be sold (for £1!). Ideas mentioned were to make it into a hotel, a wedding venue, a food hub (one that I found particularly offensive, given that the grounds also houses a memorial to victims of the Irish Famine).

There was a petition to prevent the sale of the church to ruthless developers – which accrued 27,000+ signatures. The petition has been mentioned ad nauseam by the group currently holding the keys and preventing the general public free access to the memorial garden:

However, what is not clear is that the signatories of that petition were signing to stop it being sold – not condoning its continued use as a kind of cheap substitute for Glastonbury or other festival sites. To me it amounts to dancing on the graves of those victims of the blitz. Don’t get me wrong – I love musical events and other artistic ventures. I love outdoor events (weather permitting). But consider this: Liverpool is known for its vibrant musical and artistic scene. The city has many music venues, as well as many venues for its diverse events. Do these people really need to use this memorial to ‘party’ (and the selling of alcohol to me on a memorial site, and a church – consecrated or not is just plain wrong).  I’m pretty sure that none of the people attending these events would go to a boozy, ‘sick’ gig at the Hillsborough Memorial, yet they can not see that it is wrong to do so at a war memorial. This to me shows how much the memorial is needed in case the events of 1939-45 are forgotten. And no – I don’t dwell on the misery of those years. I dwell on the courage, community spirit, and sheer bloody determination of people that lived it. I celebrate their strength of character and community spirit. If I want to get ratarsed and enjoy a good gig, I will go to one of the many appropriate venues in Liverpool.

So I have taken a fairly active rôle (at least to the best of my abilities) in a campaign to preserve St Luke’s Church’s memorial ethos.  We are ‘Friends of St Luke’s’. Check out our site, and our Facebook Group.

Flyer #3

My main contribution to the gtoup is through video slideshows. Please check out these videos too if you are interested and have the time:

I will be adding more videos as we go along.

Liverpool from 400ft up

Yesterday was my birthday, and it was also one of the first days for a while that the weather and light was consistently nice. I was determined not to be stuck indoors all day, so I went off to the Radio City Tower – St John’s Beacon – in the town centre and took these snaps.

The Medlar Tree

Lincolnshire 2011-10#130

When my mother turned 80, Helen bought her a Medlar Tree as a birthday present. My mother planted it in her garden and it thrived – it even bore some fruit pretty quickly. She was so proud of it, and the tree came to symbolize Helen’s kindness and personality. This became even more pertinent last year, when Helen passed away.

My mother seemed to lose all her remaining close friends last year, including Helen. And with fading physical health, it got to the point where she was hospitalized for a couple of weeks, which in turn led to her moving into assisted housing. She was sad to lose much of her independence, but also resigned to the fact that it had become necessary – that she was no longer coping without help.

For her one of the saddest things about leaving her former home was the loss of her garden and specifically, the loss of Helen’s gift. However, when the bungalow and the garden were cleared after my mum’s departure, neighbours transplanted the Medlar tree into their garden temporarily until my mum could decide what to do with it (she has no garden of her own at the assisted complex).

Where she used to live was a village near Spilsby (above) in Lincolnshire. The statue pictured in the photo above is of Sir John Franklin, an explorer who was a resident of Spilsby. The picture was taken last year when I visited. Since then, the area around the statue has started to be transformed into a memorial garden.

The neighbours who took in the Medlar tree have suggested to my mother that maybe the garden would be a fitting place for the Medlar tree – as a tribute to my mum’s fond memories in that area as well as ensuring that the tree will continue to be cared for.

I would be delighted that Helen’s influence would have touched my mother’s life and history in such a fitting way.

I was browsing through my news feeds this morning and spotted this on the BBC News site:

Brixton Riots – 30 years ago

Thirty years on and we apparently haven’t learned much – this was the result of disenchantment under the last Tory (Thatcherist) government. Now the government – Thatcherism under the pseudonym of a coalition is taking the same steps. We are probably heading for more unrest – more than we have already seen since their election.


My last post was a while ago (November 2010) and if 2010 was a year of travel and tribulation, 2011 has already brought more sadness. Helen’s condition has worsened and she is now having palliative care. Yesterday (3 April) was her birthday and she managed to have a reasonably good day in spite of chest infections and the paralysis from the waist down that overtook her within a two week period just after New Year.

2010 goes down in my diary as a slightly bitter sweet year. Helen has had more problems with the cancer, with secondaries that are now inoperable. She has had more chemotherapy and two bouts of septicemia. So she decided she is going to travel while she is still able to. Apart from her trip to Portugal, I went to all the places with her: Stafford, Blackpool, Oswaldwhistle and Pendle Hill, Portmeirion, Llangollen, Bala, Cornwall (Portreath, and the Isles of Scilly) and finally Paris. I put together a collage of selected photos taken at the various locations.

2010 Tavel Highlights (800 x 500)

Six Years Old?

This was an email I received today LOL!

This is precious and the end will knock your socks off
A 1stgrade school teacher had twenty-six students in her class.  She presented each child in her classroom the 1st half of a well-known proverb and asked them to come up with the remainder of the proverb.  It’s hard to believe these were actually done by first graders.  Their insight may surprise you.   While reading, keep in mind that these are first-graders,  6-year-olds, because the last one is a classic!


Fractals Etc


I’ve added a new album in my photos. It shows some of my fractal work. Most of it was made in Ultrafractal and/or XenoDream. Click on the picture to go to it, or click here.

Photos from Cornwall

Helen and I spent a week in Cornwall last week. She has just finished a second course of Chemotherapy (at least for now – there may just be more in the offing). We touched lucky with the weather – it was glorious, in spite of the BBC forecasting constant rain for that area. We actually had about 30 minutes rain in total! We were based in Portreath near Redruth, and took in a day trip to the Isles of Scilly, a few hours in St Ives and a lot of time on the beach at Portreath.

Click here to go to the gallery.

Champix – Day 3

I’ve been taking Champix now for three days at the lowest dose. Tomorrow I double the dose and then on Friday, double again. I have been fortunate in not having the side effect (so far) that is most commonly reported with the drug – nausea. What I have noticed though is extreme drowsiness – in fact I am sleeping much more than I was. Maybe that is one of the ways it works? You can’t smoke when you’re asleep (no matter how dedicated you are to the habit) – maybe it sends you into hibernation for three months haha!.

Seriously though, one of the other main effects so far (although I’m willing to concede that it may be largely psychological at this stage), is that I am smoking slightly less. It is not a dramatic reduction, but for example, where the first thing I did when I got up in the morning was reach for a cigarette, I am now waiting a while before the first one. I’m also questioning the cigarettes I do smoke and saying ‘do I really need this?’ and at times I find I don’t bother.