A few weeks
ago I was chatting to a friend in London. In the throes of conversation
he asked "When are you going to get serious and come to London
Simon?" His reasoning behind the comment was that
all the big business deals in this country are done in the capital,
I laughed the comment off, but later when I reflected on the conversation,
as one does, it began to annoy me that I hadn't shot down such
a southern-centric attitude. London is 250 miles away from where
I live here between the the historic riverside city of Liverpool
and the rolling hills of North Wales. But each one of those miles
might as well be ten. London means nothing to me now, like Las
Vegas, it's an exciting and interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't
want to live there.
I moved 'up north' over ten years ago now.
After returning from a few life shaping months in the Californian
sun, my old stomping ground in the south of England somehow didn't
feel like the place I wanted to return to. I needed something new,
something completely different.
The Wirral Peninsula reaches out into the Irish Sea and sits on
the North West coast of England. Within 30 minutes of my home I
can be in Wales, essentially a different country and
a place where one can get as lost as it is possible to be in this
Kingdom. In fact, in North Wales they speak a language that as
a Southerner I honestly thought was not spoken anymore, yet another
indication of southern ignorance and what is known as the 'North
Just 10 minutes east of me and across another wide river is the
city of Liverpool. Built on the blood of the slave trade, Liverpool
seems to have paid for its misspent youth many times over. Beyond
that is Manchester then the Pennines where the English rose reaches
as high as it dares.
As much as I love the energy and atmosphere of metropolises like
London, I feel no need to immerse myself in the frantic pace of
city life. Everyday I have the opportunity to watch the sun dip
into the Irish Sea, something that is often simply spellbinding.
Every sunset is unique and so often awesome. Even on the grayest
of days the setting sun is still able to attract spectators sitting
in their cars or on the sea wall.
Watching the sunset is simply one of those irreplaceable pleasures
in life that most of us could enjoy if only we'd allow ourselves
the time. There is something indescribably calming about them.
This is my Church, the place where I find God.
Tonight's sunset was stunning. I watched it from the
shores of Caldy looking across to the distant lighthouse at the mouth of
the River Dee and the foothills of the Snowdonia mountain range
in North Wales. On the horizon, some way out into the stretches
of the cold yet alluring Irish Sea, is a sprawling wind-farm. On
clear days you can see the huge windmills in regimental rows silently
generating power as their vast turbines turn. Vast tankers from
far flung places made their way to and from nearby docks at a speed
that seem suitably pedestrian from this distance.
I sat there watching the sky change color and planes threads their
way through the clouds. The occasional person would walk past me
while out walking a dog or just going for a Sunday evening stroll.
Each breath I took left my mouth and gently faded like smoke
into the evening air, a sure sign that winter is almost upon us
once more. I listened to the music of Gustavo Santaolalla on my
iPod, the perfect soundtrack to play out the sun as it bowed out
on this cold October day.