Saturday 26 March 2016

Easter remembered; Part 62

When I was a girl living in postwar Liverpool, that is the latter half of the forties and the early fifties, Easter was one of the few occasions when my sister and I were bought a new frock; the other times were Whit and Christmas. We didn't have much say in the style or colour as it was Mam who did the choosing and price was all as she couldn't really afford to buy us frocks and she was no dressmaker or knitter come to that. So it was a case of her getting a cheque from Sturla's on Breck Road and paying the money back over a period of time, either that or visiting a van that used to come round and park on waste ground. We'd go up steps at the back and inside there would be clothes on hangers hung on racks that could be bought on tick. I don't know if Dad knew about these goings-on but I remember Mam running up a bill at Begle's, which was a tiny shop that you reached by going up a back entry and into a yard and thence into a room with a counter and behind that on shelves were groceries. Dad was furious when he discovered Mam was in debt and the bill was paid in double quick time.

Mam and Dad didn't go to church but us kids were sent to Sunday School at a mission hall, connected to St Chrysostom's church in Everton, so we had to have new frocks for Easter Sunday so Mam thought. Interestingly despite their lack of churchgoing, we not only always had fish on Good Friday but Mam would never hang washing out on the line that day. On Easter Sunday Dad would boil onion skins and place hen's eggs in the water. The eggshells would get a pattern on and turn a different colour. Despite a shortage of money we always were given a chocolate egg as well. A real treat.

Come Easter Monday, Mum and Dad would take my sister and I out, For some reason our older brothers never came on these outings. Maybe they considered themselves too big to go out with their little sisters and had other plans to do with their mates. Occasionally we would go farther afield to places such as New Brighton by bus and ferry or even to Chester. More often than not it would be to Newsham Park or Sefton Park, the latter meant taking a bus. We would feed the ducks and play ball on the grass.
We would have never thought of these occasions as Quality Time as a lot of working parents and their children regard them now.

Mam did not go out to work until my younger sister was at secondary school, so for years we had plenty of time to spend with her, unless we were playing out in the street with our friends; games such as skipping, rounders, tick, giant strides, top and whip, two balls, hopscotch, etc.  There were numerous games which kept us fit and prevented us from getting overweight. We also walked most places.
This is turning into a real nostalgia indulgence so I'll finish by wishing you all a happy Eastertide.

Sunday 20 March 2016


Two weeks ago John and I went for a two night break in the Lake District. It only took us an hour and three quarters to get to Ambleside. Staying in the Elder Grove B&B among the guest were four blokes (note that word, not guys but blokes. I am utterly fed up of the use of the word guys which is used not just for men as in the musical Guys and Dolls, but for women and children as well. I don't know how many times my husband and I have been referred to as You guys and as you'll have gathered I don't like it one little bit.) Rant over.
Anyway, these blokes were from Suffolk and one of them asked me 'How long was the drive to Liverpool from Ambleside?'
Apparently it was about fifteen years or so since he had visited Liverpool to see a football match and he would like to go and visit our fair city again and have a proper look around.
I told him he would find it much changed. Immediately he mentioned Liverpool One. I said that there was much more to see than that and named several places , beloved of Liverpudlians and tourists alike so whetted his appetite to set foot in Liverpool even more. Another guest from London stressed how fortunate John and I were living where we did, not only were we within a shortish drive of the Lake District but Chester, the Wirral, North Wales, the Pennines and the beautiful Lancashire countryside as well.

John and I didn't need telling that because we've always known we live in one of the handiest places to visit beautiful countryside and coast and places of historical interest around as well as having some of the friendliest and quirky characters going.

Saturday 5 March 2016

Bay Television: Part 61

Last Thursday evening we had a camera crew visit Crosby Writers Club. I had never heard of Liverpool's own television channel until then. The reason for the visit was that our club is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year and it is believed that we are the oldest writers club in the country. During the proceeding I was interviewed about my writing life and membership of the club and I had the opportunity to promote my latest book MANY A TEAR HAS TO FALL as some copies had arrived that morning. I also did my best to promote our libraries which are in danger of vanishing from the face of this fair isle of ours and that is a disgrace. I doubt  I would have ever succeeded as a published writer if it were not for our libraries and Crosby Writers Club. For all the talk we hear about the need for literacy for the country's children, there is never mention of the damage that closing our libraries is doing. The part that free public libraries did in helping educating working class poor families is phenomenal and it is time the government and local councils thought again when it came to the subject of what is more important to the nation.

Right, now I have that off my chest I want to inform you a bit more about Bay Television - according to my son Tim it takes its name from Liverpool Bay which, of course,  takes in more than just Liverpool itself. Think of the Wirral for instance.
Anyway, it is on freeview so anyone in the country can view it. I don't know when the film will be shown yet but when I do, I'll blog about it. The programme is a Books programme.  In the meantime you could take a look at their website: