Ukraine – Day 17
Each day brings new horrors. An American journalist was murdered on the street. The sky turned red as Lviv (the furthest West) was hit by over 30 cruise missiles fired by Russian jets.
Some hit even closer to Poland, where a site called the International Peacekeeping Security centre is near a major crossing point into Poland used by the millions of refugees aiming to escape for their lives, called Yavoniv.
Early in the morning. Ambulances arrived many hours later.
This morning, Pope Francis in St Peter’s Square said, “In the name of God, I ask, stop this massacre!”. He also described the ”unacceptable armed aggression“ as well as the “barbaric killing of children”.
Especially poignant he said “before cities are reduced to cemeteries.”. This was heard across the world, as I in our church heard it and this: “I ask all diocesan and religious communities to increase their moments of prayer for peace. God is only the God of peace, he is not the God of war and those who support violence profane his name.”
I met Pope Francis in May 2016. Setting off to St PeterSquare at 6 am I managed with my simple Italian to get through six barriers and was 2 rows away from Pope Francis.
If anyone can stop this heartbreaking, wicked behaviour it is through faith.
The Wirral 100
Today I am walking across from Hoylake on the sands of the Irish Sea to West Kirby on the sands of the Dee Estuary. The Wirral is famous for its histories and much more.
The Romans sailed up the river to Chester as still do many visitors.
.The Anglo/Saxons under Aethelfrith destroyed Chester in 616 and changed the landscape of The Wirral. Villages with ton and ham such as Willaston and Eastham were created by the Anglo Saxons. I remember the Wirral tome which I carried home from the library when aged 7. I drew the map of Wirral as soon as I could draw.
The Vikings who sailed from Scandinavia in the ninth century arrived in much larger boats and many descendants here have the blood and genes of Vikings.
Bromborough where we had our music festivals was the site of a major battle which involved the Vikings and the Scots, creating the nation of England in 937.
In 1070 Normans led by William the Conqueror listed 28 Lords of the Manors largely with Norse names. By the end of the twelfth century Birkenhead Priory Benedictine monks set up ferries across the Mersey.
Fourteenth century ships traded to and from Ireland, Germany and Spain to trade with Chester and the smaller ports of Parkgate, Neston, Burton and Shotwick.
Later in 1817 the first steam ferries crossed the Mersey which set up industries such as
Shipbuilding, Sunlight Soap Factories, Flour milling and Candle Makers.
A century later oil refineries, chemical works and even later car manufacturing arrived on the banks of the Mersey.
Today there is a plethora of wild life …waders, such as Greenshanks, Rock Pipits, egrets, magpies, gulls and more. I didn’t spot the famous toads but heard them croak and I saw rabbits on the dunes. People walking across to the islands and round the huge boating lake.
Across the estuary is Tata steelworks which used to be John Summers.
After my Science degree I looked around and went for various jobs (in those days all women got every job so rare was a women scientist).
One was John Summers to work on Computers. Each was the size of a very large refrigerator! I didn’t leap at the idea!
Having left The Wirral many years ago I still ‘come home ‘ and I always aim to spend some time reading ‘O Mary come across the Dee’ by Charles Kingsley.
I usually walk up Thurstaton Hill and always to Parkgate. Both small but beautiful towns with great views. The herons always appear whether rising to the skies or standing shimmering in the reeds.
Parkgate has a red sandstone wall above the marshes with a dent, where we siblings climbed along together.
On one of my University courses we walked out across the marsh almost to Wales. The Professor knew the safe route and we remembered the poem. In my mothers day she and her sister paddled in the estuary with no grasses to hide the golden sand.
In terms of culture today, there is the Lady Lever Art Gallery which was created by William Lever in 1922. Beautiful Victorian and Edwardian artwork surrounded by the garden village of Port Sunlight.
The Fort Perch Rock in New Brighton was initially for defence and now for music, history and events.
Filming on The Wirral includes Peaky Blinders in Port Sunlight, Chariots of Fire in The Oval at Bebington and the Queensway Tunnel featured in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
Dozens more to find.
Many Wirral celebrities include Ian Botham, Fiona Bruce, Elvis Costello, Daniel Craig, Robbie Fowler, Geoffrey Howe, Shirley Hughes, Eric Idle, Glenda Jackson, Alison McGovern (MP for Wirral South), Wilfred Owen, John Peel, and Harold Wilson.
As for great buildings and views , Hilbre Island (where I was today), Ness Botanical Gardens, (near where my parents retired ), Thurstaton Hill, Port Sunlight, Leasowe Lighthouse (one of many), Hamilton Square and Burton village.
I love The Wirral, its geography, its geology and its people.