In the neighbourhood: Books and bread

Off in a different direction to a different library than my usual ones, for a book I particularly want.Neighbourhood01I’ve just finished reading ‘May we be forgiven’ by American novelist A.M. Homes. After an uncertain start where I mainly stuck with the book on the advice of Jeanette Winterson who’d said:

“This is the great American novel for our time”

I then got completely involved in the story and am subsequently looking in the back of this novel for what else she’s written. That’s where I find out about ‘The Mistress’s Daughter’.

“On the day that she was born in 1961, A.M. Homes was given up for adoption. Her birth parents were a twenty-two-year-old woman and an older, married man. Thirty-one years later, out of the blue, they tracked her down. ‘The Mistress’s Daughter’ is a riveting account of what happened next.”

Yes, this one’s not a novel, it’s a memoir. I check in the catalogue of Liverpool City Libraries and find I can pick up a copy of the book in three libraries.

I decide on Childwall.

I decide on Childwall.

So, knowing not only that it’s available, but also what shelf it’s on I set off. Basking in the glory of living in a country with such a magnificent public libraries system.

Past Grant Avenue and the Mystery.

Past Grant Avenue and the Mystery.

Along Prince Alfred Road, formerly Cow Lane.

Along Prince Alfred Road, formerly Cow Lane.

Turning up lovely Hunters Lane.

Turning up lovely Hunters Lane.

Wondering if they ever did find anyone to play their historic church organ for them.

Past the Picton Clock at the top of Wavertree |High Street.

Past the Picton Clock at the top of Wavertree |High Street.

And the last remaining patch of common land in Liverpool.

And the last remaining patch of common land in Liverpool.

Always thought it perversely aggressive, therefore, to build a lock-up on here.

Always thought it perversely aggressive, therefore, to build a lock-up on here.

Just one problem with the description.

Just one problem with the description.

There was no famine. Only the potato crop failed. All the other food was stolen and eaten by the English and their agents.

Along Childwall Road now.

Along Childwall Road now.

I love a good old road sign.

I love a good old road sign.

Only a mile from our terraced street but we're well into the suburbs now.

Only a mile from our terraced street but we’re well into the suburbs now.

Passing King David's School.

Passing King David’s School.

Oh pardon me, it's a 'Campus' now.

Oh pardon me, it’s a ‘Campus’ now.

Whatever, deeply distressing to see a security gate like that on a school.

Approaching our first destination of the day now.

Approaching our first destination of the day now.

Yes, it's a public sector partnership.

Yes, it’s a public sector partnership.

A health centre, a chemist's shop and a library.

A health centre, a chemist’s shop, a ‘sixth form facility’ and a library.

On Childwall Fiveways, Liverpool's busiest roundabout.

On Childwall Fiveways, Liverpool’s busiest roundabout.

Looks like we’re inside a Private Finance Initiative here.

The Health Centre.

The Health Centre.

And here, the library.

And here, the library.

Last time I washer it was just a library, and looked like this. Much like Allerton Road.

Last time I was here it was just a library, and looked like this. Much like Allerton Road library.

Notice its opening times. No evenings or Saturdays. The results of the politics of ‘austerity’ – and things could be about to get a lot worse.

Anyway, let’s have a look round.

A beautiful light and airy space.

A beautiful light and airy space.

And the book I’m looking for is precisely where the catalogue had told me it would be.

A surprise though, there are two copies.

A surprise though, there are two copies.

I sit down to have a look at them.

I sit down to have a look at them.

And decide on the hard-back because it’s got photographs in it. Good to have had a choice though.

In this new and precious place.

In this new and precious place.

I look around the shops at the Fiveways.

Sad but not surprised to see a number of empties.

Sad but not surprised to see a number of empties.

I walk on.

I walk on.

Along Queen's Drive, the ring road.

Along Queen’s Drive, the ring road.

Past leafy suburbia.

Past leafy suburbia.

Brian Epstein's family used to live somewhere along here. Might do still, for all I know.

Brian Epstein’s family used to live somewhere along here. Might do still, for all I know.

Turning up Woolton Road.

Turning up Woolton Road.

Looking a bit more prosperous along here.

Looking a bit more prosperous along here.

The genteel and popular 'Neighbourhood'

The genteel and popular ‘Neighbourhood’

And opposite, and also popular 'Eaton Place' - say it with a Liverpool accent - get it?

And opposite, and also popular ‘Eaton Place’ – say it with a Liverpool accent – get it?

I buy an ice cream at McNaughton's.

I buy an ice cream at McNaughton’s.

As local and as independent as you get.

As local and as independent as you get.

An old drinking fountain along the road. One of the Melly Fountains?

An old drinking fountain along the road. One of the Melly Fountains.

Into the side roads.

Into the side roads.

Where we seem to slip back in time.

Where we seem to slip back in time.

Leafy prosperity.

Leafy prosperity.

I sit here for a pleasant hour reading my book. Caught up in what you could and couldn't do in early 1960s America.

I sit here for a pleasant hour reading my book. Caught up in what you could and couldn’t do in early 1960s America.

Then cross Menlove Avenue.

Then cross Menlove Avenue.

To Allerton Road.

To Allerton Road.

Past Adam's Apple greengrocer's.

Past Adam’s Apple greengrocer’s.

To the second purpose of today's walk. Bread.

To the second purpose of today’s walk. Bread.

It’s baked, obviously, at their bakery down in the Baltic Triangle. But for the last few months they’ve been open here from 3:00 ’til 6:00 Tuesday to Friday. So this is where I always buy our bread now.

It freezes well and will do us for a week.

It freezes well and will do us for a week.

Baltic Granary, a Baltic Wild and a Rye loaf. All sourdough and - in my opinion, the finest bread on earth.

Baltic Granary, a Baltic Wild and a Rye loaf. All sourdough and – in my opinion, the finest bread on earth.

Back home then, fulfilled, with books and bread from around the neighbourhood.

6 thoughts on “In the neighbourhood: Books and bread

  1. Gerry

    A fine walk, Ronnie, with I fine purpose: a good book and a great loaf. I now frequent the Baltic Bakehouse down in the Baltic quarter (funny how cities end up these days with considerably more than four quarters!). Like you, I believe that this is the best bread you could eat. It tastes fresh for several days, and then produces the best toast! Their pastries are heavenly, too (custard tarts whose taste and texture sends me right back to childhood, and almond croissants to die for). I have to restrain myself, though – at their prices I’d soon be seriously out of pocket!

    Reply
  2. Helen Devries

    I enjoyed the walk very much….but am saddened that the libraries are not open in the evenings or on Saturdays….the very times that people are free to go there.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Yes Helen. Don’t know to what extent the hours here are being governed by who else is in the building? Public service, to be truly public needs to leave the 9 to 5 behind it.

      Reply

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