So imagine my delight when I started reading this list on SevenStreets called ’33 things we love about Liverpool right now.’ Some of the stuff I knew about and agreed with. Some I didn’t and knew I would explore further. I was delighted to see our friend Andrew Hubbard of PostCode Honey on the list. And then shaken but delighted to find we were on it too.
“A Sense of Place
Still our favourite Liverpool blog – for its wide-eyed (and open-hearted) explorations of the place we call home. If you’ve not spent time with Sarah Horton and Ronnie Hughes’ postings and pictures, honestly, you’re in for a treat. Exquisitely done.”
Well, thank you SevenStreets. We love doing this, it’s lovely to be appreciated and, obviously, we couldn’t resist putting it on our blog somewhere.
But also, in the spirit of your original list, we thought we’d add to it. So here it is then:
‘Sixteen more things to love about Liverpool right now.’
Generous, friendly, tasty, stylish and quirky – and that’s just the food. An ideal lunch-time venue where the generosity of the salads and wraps and, well, everything makes it very hard to get to the cake. Last time I was there with our friend Bridgid we came up with a perfect solution to this. We had lunch, then went on a walk through the Dingle, down the Docker’s Steps, along Otterspool Prom and back up through Festival Gardens and St Michaels. By which time we were well ready for a piece of cake and a cup of tea. Perfect.
Gerry Cordon’s own contribution to blogs about Liverpool and around. Beautifully photographed, scrupulously well-informed, contains lots of walks, books, music and galleries. Is deeply opinionated. And he gets abroad a lot more than we do too. Try his post about the Vikings on Merseyside for size. You’ll be glad you did.
Authentically Italian pizzas because, well, they’re Italian. The shop’s been down the end of our road for all the time we’ve lived here and has been a constant delight. Nights when we’ve worked late or are otherwise knackered one of us will say ‘PFDTR?’ And we’ll go and get Pizza From Down The Road. You can even have a drink while you’re waiting and watch the world go by.
Sarah’s suggestion this, and a firm favourite. Operating, as the say, for 18 years now out of what used to be a Tesco warehouse, plus a couple of shop units on Allerton Road it’s a vigorously successful Liverpool independent. Everything from camping gas, through DIY to new cushions. Recently Sarah’s been particularly delighted with their £4.99 bread knives. So much so that she bought one for Plot 44 and another for here.
When I first lived round here this and the nearby Tavern were it as far as going out places were concerned. Now there are loads, but I still think this is one of the best. A straightforward place with tasty and unpretentious early evening food – and the best chips in the world. An always fascinating mixed clientele, guaranteeing a friendly evening out. Last time we were there it happened to be a quiz night (we lost hopelessly) and ‘No Googling the answers’ was the strict order of the evening!
A shop that defines the word ‘rummage.’ We were delighted to see Jackson’s of Slater Street in the SevenStreets list and find this other arts shop, just around the corner, equally essential. In the photo above you’ll see a tiny customer making a purchase and that’s the way it is in Rennie’s. Full of people of all ages with their eyes lit up, thinking creatively ‘What could I make with that?’
From shore to shining shore the Wirral Peninsula adds so much to the joy of living in Liverpool that it still amazes us how many Liverpool people never go there. If you need convincing go and have a look at any number of our Friday Walks, then get your boots on and go.
A great Liverpool institution that defines itself as ‘Antiques and Curios’ but in fact sells pretty much what it likes. For example, they seem to have an inexhaustible supply of second-hand but almost new jeans that have been keeping me in serviceable trousers for the best part of 10 years now. And there are LPs too, of course. And picture post cards, written on and sent early in the last century, telling you half stories of loves long gone. And yes, there are antiques too. A treasure trove.
Carole opened this Lark Lane vegetarian (with some fish) gem about ten years ago now and I soon became a regular customer. Surprised one day to find my school friend Ronnie (we were all called Ronnie in our school) had moved into Carole’s life and café and has been working there with her ever since. It’s all fresh, from scratch, including cakes. And Carole’s attention to detail is legendary. You might order the same delicious thing on several visits, but each serving will emerge from Carole’s kitchen differently and beautifully displayed.
Well for a start, it’s not a supermarket. Nearly everything is behind two long counters and will be served to you personally. Which is its charm. In an age of DIY superstores which pre-package everything and so sell you much more than you need, step into Handymans. Especially if, like me, you have entirely failed to remember all that DIY stuff your parents and teachers tried to teach you. Here, you describe as best you can what you want to do, you are listened to patiently, expertly questioned, and then sold precisely what you’ll need and no more. My average spend over many years must be about 85p a visit. Last time it was for two wing nuts and a short piece of threaded steel (for fixing on a toilet seat, since you ask). How they survive I don’t know. But the fact that they do is a blessing to all who know them.
Another gem just down the bottom of our road and one of very few specialist running shops we have left in the city. When I needed to replace my shoes earlier this year they checked my old ones to see if I was pronating or not (slightly under actually). Filmed me on the treadmill to confirm this. Then suggested the shoes they had in stock that might suit me, all of which I tried on until I was perfectly happy in my choice. This all took about an hour and the shoes have proved to be perfect for me and when I want new ones I’ll go back to Natterjack. Sure, I could save a bit, no doubt, by searching round the internet but why waste all this knowledge, so carefully applied. A great resource.
What can you say? Not even fully open yet (though any day now) but already one of Liverpool’s favourite bakeries. Of the community and by the community, for all of us. Early this year they caught the determined spirit of the whole city when they crowd-sourced the money for the equipment they needed. This is very special.
So’s this. Now I’m not so closely involved with helping to sort out the regeneration of these last four original streets in Granby, I’ve been able to visit all this year and spend time with the streets and the people more quietly. The street markets in Cairns Street have pulled off being both vibrant and relaxing. And though they’re finished for the summer now, I think there’ll be a special one before Christmas that you’d be wise not to miss.
Yes, it’s where Sarah’s allotment is and has been for the past twelve years. And for most of the time it’s not a public place. but the gates will be opened at Halloween and, again, just before Christmas. We’ll let you know when. And you’re very welcome to come and look around.
The big, shiny present we gave ourselves this year. Our third cathedral and a heart lifting joy every time I walk in.
Mind you, I still love Allerton Road library and would have included it here. But when I went out to take pictures of the local places for this post this morning it was closed, as it is now every Thursday and Sunday. So, disappointed, I walked away without a photograph. Hoping the lovely big library doesn’t cost us all the local ones. Let’s hope.
Finally, and almost obviously, the great Park. It’s having a very good year and is looking splendid. But when I walk around it or run in it now, I never forget how it was. How bad it got in the 1980s. The worst I remember was walking home across it one night, there’s a car on fire in the middle of one of the fields and I pass a container where the shouting and snarling proclaim the organised dog fight that’s taking place inside. Desperate days and long behind us now we are looking after our parks much better. More presents we’ve given ourselves.
That’s it then, 33 things to love about Liverpool from SevenStreets and 15 more from us. Bet you could make up loads more for yourself though.