Sarah’s work is very time dependent. Even though it’s about the end of people’s lives, when time stops for them, the saying goodbye is very timetabled. Seeing the grieving families, preparing the funeral words and eulogy with them, and then doing the service itself. Taking the time to do exactly what’s wanted and doing it all in the time she has. She finds this all deeply satisfying.
Then on the days she’s not working, she likes time to disappear. So we go out, roaming free, no appointments, no timetable, making up our days as we go along. Like today.
Before we set off, though, an introduction, to something you’ll be seeing out with us as we roam around.
This is one of my birthday presents from Sarah, a brown felt fedora. It’s something I’ve long fancied having. And yes you’re right. That’s not Liverpool in the background there. We had to go to Manchester, to Whipple & Co in Princes Street for the hat. Sadly, despite of all of our energetic thriving, you can’t buy a decent hat anywhere I know of in Liverpool. Unless you know different?
Anyway, back to today. First stop Anfield. We arrive at my favourite community bakery, Homebaked, just as the heavens open outside the window.
And when we’ve eaten she has a look around.
Regular readers might remember visiting Sue at home, during the Anfield Home Tour. Sue lives in Alroy Road and has since found that her house will not now be demolished to make way for the expansion of the football ground. Though the other side of the road will.
Next stop is on West Derby Road, a look at somewhere we’ve noticed from driving past and wondered about.
We realise cities contain shadows as well as light. But more than uncomfortable, we walk on.
I’d heard of this place when I started buying LPs again, but never quite pictured where it might be. I know now.
A seriously brilliant Liverpool independent, do go and read about them and their opinions.
Well stocked, friendly and knowledgeable. (While we’re in there someone rings up just to find out what musical a particular song is in!) We leave with a bag-full of vinyl and will definitely be back.
Next stop is, of course, a stately home.
These were one of the earliest families to be prominent in the history of Liverpool. And like most of Liverpool’s prominent families some were later slave traders. The line of inheritance finally giving out in 1972, when the ownership of Croxteth Hall passed to Liverpool City Council.
These days the house is busy as a popular film set. And the gardens are well maintained. But, on this weekend day, we can’t get into the place’s jewel.
Is it Tory imposed ‘austerity’ or a lack of municipal entrepreneurialism? We ask one of the few staff who are around and are told there’s nothing going on in the garden now. But Sarah, a gardener knows that’s never true. And between now and April, Spring will happen, unobserved, within those walls.
We move on again.
To somewhere surprising where I last came a couple of years back.
But even when I arrived at reception, with the group of social enterprise people I was bringing to learn from a very hard-headed and, some will say, controversial Liverpool business, the receptionist picked up the phone and said ‘Home and Bargain, can I help you?’
‘We don’t care what you call us!’ one of the 3 Scotland Road Morris brothers who run the entire national operation from here, said. ‘As long as you keep buying our stuff.’
We do. On site here at Gilmoss there’s a shop that’s also their National Staff Training Centre.
They must just be trying it out. Because when I last brought that group here we were firmly told fresh food wasn’t good for profits.
We’re off again.
Close to Knowsley Hall, still the ancestral home of another prominent ancient Liverpool family, the Stanleys, Earls of Derby, in between motorways and an industrial estate, is quiet little Knowsley Village.
Probably not. There are loads of Molyneuxs in Liverpool.
We go to see if we can get a look at Knowsley Hall, knowing much of the grounds are a Safari Park anyway. But there are locked gates keeping the curious away.
Still, just along the road, in Tithebarn Lane, delightedly we find this
A beautiful quiet day. Outside of time. In Liverpool.
Remember, Homebaked are open all week now, Monday to Saturday. Special on match days, special every day.