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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Friday, May 25, 2007
    Pointers towards the journey
    Pointers towards the journey:

    A fascinating walk yesterday around Norris Green Park, led by Paul, one of our city's excellent Park Rangers. This small and (I'd thought) quite unremarkable park was illuminated for us by a man deeply knowledgeable of local history and flora and fauna. Most astonishing insight - inside the ruins of what used to be the kitchen gardens of Norris Green House (abandoned in the 1930s and since all but demolished) we were introduced to numerous examples of a rare tree, the Chinese Wingnut. Brought here by John Pemberton Heywood, collector of rare species for his gardens, these lovely trees have flourished in a forgotten corner of what by reputation is a dull, monochrome, housing estate. Lesson learned for my travels: never again, under any circumstances, use the term, "There's nothing worth looking at there."

    A good day today at Henry's, talking over ideas for the M62 adventure. Keen to add some symbolic, spiritual elements to the walk, we discussed the ideas of my (a) composing a 'Prayer for the Walk' which I could use at the beginning, repeat and/or revise as I go along; (b) putting that or something else on a card which I could give to people I meet and engage with en-route; (c) starting off a poem-prayer-reflection which I would invite people to add a couple of lines to as we go along - a sort of transpennine motorway epyllion or epode; (d) giving and receiving gifts or tokens from those who provide me with hospitality, passing on the gift previously received to the next host en-route, thus creating a chain of giving (and cross-Pennine collaboration).

    This conversation made me recall Graeme's idea some time ago that 'Perhaps it should be mandatory to bring a single torn out page of ‘On the Road’ and then (at the final destination) the pages compiled in reverse order and bound into a single volume to be left at Bill's Tower? – Each person could write a single word (in their own blood) on the top left hand side of their page to see whether anything of significance is constructed from the words once the volume is bound?'

    Plenty of potential in all these thoughts.