On 5th July

5th July, high summer in Liverpool and a day off working. A day to ramble around, seeing what we find.

First place we get to is Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.

First place we get to is Cairns Street, Liverpool 8.

Mostly empty houses, though soon to be renovated, and a street full of heavy summer trees sheltering people and market stalls. The Granby 4 Streets market. I’ve been coming to these markets for four years now, mostly to talk. About politics and possibilities, with the people who live here, who once lived here and want to live here again.

But this is Sarah’s first visit for a couple of years and she immediately moves into shopping mode.

Searching rigorously through what's on offer.

Searching rigorously through what’s on offer.

Settling eventually on a delicate cup and saucer and passing, laughingly, on the offer of a Daniel O'Donnel plate.

Settling eventually on a delicate cup and saucer and passing, laughingly, on the offer of a Daniel O’Donnel plate.

I meet my friend Nina Edge and we talk about the Public Inquiry on the Welsh Streets, where she lives, which has been happening this week. The to and fro of divided opinions and the five days of her life she’ll never get back. The Inquiry’s all packed up and gone away now, taking data, suggestions and possibilities with it to mull over with a decision expected in December. Yes, that’s right, December. It’s 5th July. No one in Liverpool wanted this Inquiry. It’s taken a year to happen. And now everyone here is expected to hang around for the best part of another 6 months while it comes to its decision. Woeful.

But still, it's summertime and the living is easy.

But still, it’s summertime and the living is easy.

Art is happening around us here.

On the empty houses.

On the empty houses.

Some vague connection to the Liverpool Biennial which begins today.

Some vague connection to the Liverpool Biennial which begins today.

Biennial Pigeons.

Biennial Pigeons.

Soon then, time for us to move on.

Soon then, time for us to move on.

Downtown next.

Downtown next.

To our beautiful Liverpool Central Library.

To our beautiful Liverpool Central Library.

For a look at something else that’s connected to the Liverpool Biennial.

An Art Book fair and exhibition.

An Art Book fair and exhibition.

Stalls of book makers, not that kind. And a table of concentrating children making books for themselves.

Stalls of book makers, not that kind. And a table of concentrating children making books for themselves.

I lose interest immediately.

And peacefully stare at the beautiful ceiling.

And peacefully stare at the beautiful ceiling.

Up in the Hornby Library is the art books exhibition.

Sarah makes books herself and is very interested.

Sarah makes books herself and is very interested.

Indeed, there are books here of great beauty.

Indeed, there are books here of great beauty.

Including this one by Henri Matisse.

Including this one by Henri Matisse.

And a good map of New Brighton will even get my attention.

And a good map of New Brighton will even get my attention.

But we both agree we particularly dislike the things on display here and on sale downstairs which are ‘things made out of books’.

Things like this.

Things like this.

And the thing in that display case.

And the thing in that display case.

Clever, skilful crap. We think so anyway  and go off to get some ‘proper’ books.

Those things full of stories, opinions and, yes, information.

Those things full of stories, opinions and, yes, information.

Next, loaded up with books, we decide to go across the river and read them somewhere sunny.

Emerging from the tunnel.

Emerging from the tunnel.

We drive off into the Wirral.

We drive off into the Wirral.

Sarah takes us first to a place called Brimstage.

Sarah takes us first to a place called Brimstage.

An old house and a collection of farm buildings.

An old house and a collection of farm buildings.

That's been turned into a collection of shops.

That’s been turned into a collection of shops.

hackney1Sarah particularly likes one of these that sells clothes and goes off to investigate. Being reasonably sure that none of them are selling second hand LPs I sit in the shade reading one of my library books.

“Once an Arcadian suburb of grand houses, orchards and conservatories, Hackney declined into a zone of asylums, hospitals and dirty industry. Persistently revived, reinvented, betrayed, it has become a symbol of inner-city chaos, crime and poverty. Now, the Olympics, a final attempt to clamp down on a renegade spirit, seeks to complete the process: erasure disguised as ‘progress’.

Iain Sinclair’s ‘Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire’ is a message in a bottle, chucked into the flood of the future.”

I’ve done a fair amount of work in Hackney these last few years and I’m enjoying the book tremendously .

Shopping done, we move on.

To sit on the wall at Parkgate reading.

To sit on the wall at Parkgate reading.

And people-watching on a busy 5th July Saturday.

And people and place watching on a busy 5th July Saturday.

There is also, of course, the matter of Nicholls.

There is also, of course, the matter of Nicholls.

It’s the combined opinions of our two lifetimes that Nicholls make and sell the best ice cream on Earth. We’ve been known to sit on this wall and eat it, fully thermalled up, on the coldest of winter days.

Today though, is the warmest of summer days. A day made for ice cream.

Today though, is the warmest of summer days. A day made for ice cream.

Pannacotta and chocolate for me, pannacotta and mint chic chip for my dining companion.

Pannacotta and chocolate for me, pannacotta and mint chic chip for my dining companion.

The afternoon passes into early evening. Walking around the back streets of Parkgate and Neston and stopping for a read now and then.

On a bench next to this lavender.

On a bench next to this lavender.

Passing Neston Cricket Club I’m expecting to take a gloriously English photograph of men in whites playing their noble and pointless game.

But the cricket has ended early today and it looks like they're getting ready for something else.

But the cricket has ended early today and it looks like they’re getting ready for something else.

Around the town we notice people gathering in flocks.

Around the town we notice people gathering in flocks.

Men dressed all the same and women in their finery.

Men dressed all the same and women in their finery.

Turns out this evening it’s the Summer Ball in the Marquee at Neston Cricket club.

Everyone's going and everyone's very excited to be all looking the same.

Everyone seems to be going and everyone’s very excited to be all looking the same.

We feel like we’re from a different species and turn back to our books and to gazing across the marshland to Wales, as evening falls on 5th July.

One day in summertime.

One perfect day in summertime.

8 thoughts on “On 5th July

  1. Paula Greaves

    ‘things made out of books’ … ye gods. (Is this ‘art’?) Many thanks for the Hackney book alert … daughter lives there, and this seems like just her cup of tea. (Love the “everyone’s very excited to be all looking the same” comment … it did make me chuckle!)

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Spent all afternoon reading the Hackney book around Sefton Park and Sarah’s allotment, looking up every now and then surprised to be still in Liverpool! A great read.

      Reply
  2. Joe

    Lovely pics and mix of stuff visited! ……”It’s the combined opinions of our two lifetimes that Nicholls make and sell the best ice cream on Earth.”… Ta for the heads-up, we;ll have to give them a try! mmmmmm .

    Reply
  3. lindsay53

    What a lovely, varied day you both spent from city to the sea, from city market to frilly summer ball. Think you saw it all that day. Awful that the Welsh Streets enquiry won’t report until December. It might not be a priority for them but others are keen to get started again with their lives, know what and where their future lies.

    Reply

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