Saturday Sun

After a week of working and going round being opinionated it’s good to have a day off on a Saturday. Especially when the sun’s out. So around mid-day I put my boots on and head out, to see where my feet and my camera will take me in the few precious hours before the early winter sun sets again.

Winter tree against a clear blue sky.

Winter tree against a clear blue sky.

In the Mystery.

In the Mystery.

Down the hill and round the corner onto Smithdown.

Tempting, in the window of Stefani antiques. Though I don't have any 78s.

Tempting, in the window of Stefani antiques. Though I don’t have any 78s?

The Brookhouse, no doubt gearing up for this afternoon's match. Everton v West Ham.

The Brookhouse, no doubt gearing up for this afternoon’s match. Everton v West Ham.

Stopping, as ever, at the window of the Handyman's Supermarket.

Stopping, as ever, at the window of the Handyman’s Supermarket.

For a game of 'One thing'. Go on, you've got to pick something you'd like.

For a game of ‘One thing’. Go on, you’ve got to pick something you’d like.

Passing Lidderdale Road.

Passing Lidderdale Road.

And the Ullet Road junction.

And the Ullet Road junction.

That’s the 60 turning right there.

I’m aware these are all pictures of what might seem like ‘ordinary’ things. But to me they are not ordinary at all. They are pictures of home on a beautiful day and not the sort of pictures that get taken much. Whenever I do one of my historical blog posts about Liverpool and search for pictures, I find Google is filling up with pictures I’ve taken of Liverpool now. And I like to think of them being ‘borrowed’ by countless children for ‘my home town’ homework projects. My small gift to the future.

A Smithdown veteran now.

A Smithdown veteran now.

Shops constantly turning into other shops.

Shops constantly turning into other shops.

A rarity these days. An alterations and repairs shop. Next to something called 'Little Amsterdam'

A rarity these days. An alterations and repairs shop. Next to something called ‘Mini Amsterdam’

The Willow Bank. Has a screen outside for fans of smoking while watching the match.

The Willow Bank. Has a screen outside for fans of smoking while watching the match.

A relatively new and astonishingly well equipped nails studio. I have yet to see a customer in there though.

A relatively new and astonishingly well equipped nails studio. I have yet to see a customer in there though.

The whole ground-floor of these student flats has recently opened as one of those crammer shops. Feeding children into the exam system.

The whole ground-floor of these student flats has recently opened as one of those crammer shops. Feeding children into the exam system.

A formerly splendid pub now also turned into student flats.

A formerly splendid pub now also turned into student flats.

They put the sign back on wonky though.

They put the sign back on wonky though.

But preserved the splendid tiling for the happy day when it turns back into a pub again.

But preserved the splendid tiling for the happy day when it turns back into a pub again.

Opposite is the entrance to the graveyard.

Opposite is the entrance to the graveyard.

While opposite is the graveyard's essential supplier.

While opposite is the graveyard’s essential supplier.

Used to be this other headstone supplier in the corner of the graveyard too. But not so many people get buried anymore.

Used to be this other headstone supplier in the corner of the graveyard too. But not so many people get buried anymore. (It’s a dying industry.)

Alderson Road. With a shadow appearance by me.

Alderson Road. With a shadow appearance by me.

And just here the busy high street seems to have died too.

And just here the busy high street seems to have died too.

Despite bright art on the shutters of shut shops.

Despite bright art on the shutters of shut shops.

And sunny reflections in the window of one of the few shop left open. 'All Kinds' - second hand CD', DVDs and, well, what have you got?

And sunny reflections in the window of one of the few shop left open. ‘All Kinds’ – second hand CDs, DVDs and, well, what have you got?

Plus these instructions on an end terrace wall.

Plus these instructions on an end terrace wall.

Always handy to have. Instructions on how to manually open the emergency exit of an airliner, should you happen to be inside one that comes into land on Smithdown Road.

Not the only surreal thing round here though.

Welcome to the 'Webster Triangle'

Welcome to the ‘Webster Triangle’

Yes it’s John Prescott’s pet project from the late days of the last Government, ‘The Housing Market Renewal Initiative’. And as you can see the renewal of the housing is going really well. So it’s just as well all the people who used to live here were moved out to who knows where else, while the builders get on with whatever ‘renewing the market’ looks like when it’s on site.

Let’s see how it’s going on the other side of the ‘Triangle?’

My word that is impressive. Only 10 years into the 'Project' and look at all that's been achieved?

My word that is impressive. Only 10 years into the ‘Project’ and look at all that’s been achieved?

Steady on though, something’s on site where the next half a dozen streets of houses and shops and pubs used to be?

Oh, it's a school.

Oh, it’s a school. It’s the new site for the Archbishop Blanch school.

And obviously no one can object to a new school can they?

Well, it’s just that I remember the people being moved out of their houses. And the story they were told was that people didn’t want to live in their kinds of houses any more. So some new kinds of houses needed to be built instead. Except they never were and now we’re getting this instead. Oh well. It’s probably a Private Finance Initiative, so at least someone’s market is being renewed.

Whittier Street. Terraced housing being renovated. Oh, people do intact want to live in these sort of houses!

Whittier Street. Terraced housing being renovated. Oh, people do in fact want to live in these sort of houses!

As Smithdown turns into Upper Parly.

As Smithdown turns into Upper Parly.

The only vandalised City bloke station I've seen. Most people seem to treasure them.

The only vandalised City bike station I’ve seen. Most people seem to treasure them.

Through into Falkner Square, sun now starting to dim.

Through into Falkner Square, sun now starting to dim as mid-afternoon arrives.

Canning Street. Beautiful beyond words.

Canning Street. Beautiful beyond words.

Even the York (?) stone pavement is a thing of delight.

Even the York (?) stone pavement is a thing of delight.

Through to Abercromby Square.

Through to Abercromby Square.

And one of our oldest post-boxes.

And one of our oldest post-boxes.

Or is it? In my memory I thought this was cast iron. But today it felt like sheet-metal. A replica maybe?

And round to The Everyman for lunch.

And round to The Everyman for lunch.

While here Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz comes over to ask me when the next ‘A sense of place live’ event will be. And the answer is a week on Tuesday, 2nd December at 6:00pm in the Everyman Bistro. I’d better get on with thinking about what we’ll talk about.

Along Hope Street, my first close up look at the new Philharmonic sign. Simple, elegant, beautiful, obvious. Well done.

Along Hope Street, my first close up look at the new Philharmonic sign. Simple, elegant, beautiful, obvious. Well done.

A short sit looking down Mount Street at the afternoon grows later. Saturday Sun sinking now.

A short sit looking down Mount Street at the afternoon grows later. Saturday Sun sinking now.

But I’ve still got the song in my head. Since back on Smithdown when I thought of calling the walk ‘Saturday Sun’ I’ve been singing Nick Drake’s beautiful song to myself. Here it is:

I walk off along Hope Street.

Crossing to Gambier Terrace, rooms with a view?

Crossing to Gambier Terrace, rooms with a view?

This is their view.

This is their view.

Across Parly to Princes.

A ghost sin at the back of Upper Stanhope Street.

A ghost sign at the back of Upper Stanhope Street.

the sinking Saturday Sun in the windows of Princes Avenue.

The sinking Saturday Sun in the windows of Princes Avenue.

And in passing, a quick look at how the Granby 4 Streets are doing. On site now:

Beaconsfield.

Beaconsfield.

Cairns.

Cairns.

Looks like someone's working, even on a Saturday afternoon.

Looks like someone’s working, even on a Saturday afternoon.

Jermyn. Some of the long neglected houses are proving to be very fragile.

Jermyn. Some of the long neglected houses are proving to be very fragile.

Round the back of Jermyn.

Round the back of Jermyn.

I’ll be back here later on this week for a more detailed look and a talk about progress on the Community Land Trust houses on Cairns Street.

For now, it’s time to go home.

Past the Princes Park Gates.

Past the Princes Park Gates.

And back up our road as the sun sets.

And back up our road as the sun sets.

“Saturday sun brought people and faces
That didn’t seem much in their day
But when I remembered those people and places
They were really too good in their way”

Home to listen to Nick’s song. And write this. A peaceful day’s walking in the place I call home, and not too much going round being opinionated!

20 thoughts on “Saturday Sun

  1. Stephen John Roberts

    Lovely post Ronnie. It is what you do best – as a result of your love for your home district, you have an acute eye for detail and an eviable ability to put your thoughts into words, which I have found to be inspirational. Keep up the good work old chap and I must join you for another walk sometime soon.

    Reply
  2. Pak

    I see that you included a nail bar Ron. They seem to be springing up everywhere round town, must be the latest trend. The nail technicians (men and women) wear these surgical masks to protect themselves. Better than tanning salons I guess.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      It’s beyond me what they’re all about Pak. Strange though that these and eye-brow places and dog grooming salons thrive while the rest of the economy struggles? Someone’s got some money!

      Reply
    2. Stephen John Roberts

      It’s the same in my home town Carnforth, a former railway and iron town with a population of about 5,000. You wouldn’t think there would be a market for fingernail restructuring would you?

      Reply
  3. Cathy Alderson

    Great pics Ronnie, lots of favourite places there, thanks, a great tour.

    Absolutely scandalous though, that those houses are being left to deteriorate further and further. Good family homes, desperately needed. I often wonder if it’s deliberate and then they can be demolished for “safety” reasons.

    It’s also staggering that Archbishop Blanche is being rebuilt on the land where homes were promised. Why on Earth could they not build it on the site of the closed down Blessed Ambrose Barlow School, (latterly the Deaf Centre) on Queens Drive, with all it’s bus routes and connections? I suspect “brown envelopes” at play!

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      The ruination of that bit, your bit, of Smithdown has been enraging me for years. And now we’re supposed to be grateful because we’re getting a new school. But as you say, why there in particular? In whose particular interest was that one?

      Anyway. I always feel in my element walking around Liverpool with a camera asking why?

      Reply
      1. lenka

        Love that kind of posts!
        Dunno why…
        about new school:
        “But as you say, why there in particular? In whose particular interest was that one?”

        What a pity you’re not went to further down – the Pivvy bingo and further…
        I live just opposite Pivvy’ bingo ….and all Liverpudlian mafia are there(!) – lol
        An American fancy cars parking outside…guns shooting every night…I am not much know history of owner…but as local ppl saying – something as Sicilian mafia or so…
        and further down till Sefton Park will be an answer in your question = “…In whose particular interest was that one?”…
        It will be far away from “OUR DAY OUT” [one of my favourite ever]

        it will be something very different…and as great liverpudlian actor said: Dr. Evil: .”…. And the best part of this plan is… no one can stop me!”
        [Mike Myers….Both his parents were from Liverpool….[….]

        best wishes
        lenka&leon
        see u next time

      2. Ronnie Hughes Post author

        My walks go where my feet take me Lenka. So Lodge Lane and the Pivvy another day.

        Last time Lodge Lane appeared in a blog post was at the beginning of our mammoth ’27 bus’ ride and walk early this summer.

        See you both at the Everyman on 2nd December for the next ‘a sense of place live’

  4. KT

    Lovely Ronnie. Important to note that HMRI wasn’t dreampt up by Prescot alone but came out of a report by the Centre for Urban and Regional Studies (CURS) at the University of Birmingham. The academics often get away with it, but they’re the ones who give the polticians their ideas.

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      I remember CURS. Even their name sounds officious. Not surprised to hear this policy was dreamed up by academics. I see they’re still going too. ‘A major international centre for understanding the dynamics of neighbourhoods and communities’ it says on their website. When what they probably meant to say was ‘A fawning academic centre providing bogus ideas and justifications for exploiting neighbourhoods and communities in many and various profitable ways e.g. HMRI was one of our top ones.’

      Reply
      1. KT

        Yep and they’re still advising governments etc. It annoys me that people like that get away with things like that, at least politicans are public figures and have to take the knocks while allgedly progressive academics just slink off and pretend they played no part – see also New Towns back in the day.

  5. Natalie

    Great pictures, sharp insightful commentary, you are documenting our world! Love this blog, it tells the story that’s off-camera.
    Natalie

    Reply
  6. Nick McGinn

    As soon as I saw your title for this piece I thought of Nick Drake’s song.

    I have to admit I did’nt think he would be your cup of char but lo and behold all was revealed further down. I first heard it in a store in oxford street and was so taken by it I asked an assistant who the artist was or which album it was taken from. Alas she did not know but I tracked it down and have enjoyed the rest of his oeuvre . In a similar way I discovered Ray Lamontagne from the music playing in Wilkinsons, an excellent store that brings blokey products to the market at popular prices.
    It’s 40 years since nick drake topped himself and there is an item in the Guardian based on a discussion with his sister . Link below.

    “It’s 40 years since Nick Drake died, aged 26. His music brought posthumous fame and a legion of fans still keen to speculate about the details of his life and work. Now his sister, Gabrielle, has written a revealing book about the singer-songwriter”

    Reply
    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hello Nick, glad to hear you like him as well. Funny how we remember each other as young? Maybe I came over as ‘hard rock’ in those days? In fact I loved Nick Drake from the moment I heard him. I’ve written a short post for the Nick Drake site AndNowWeRise about the moment.

      Reply
  7. Sara

    Just to let you know that the City Bike station at Upper Parliament Street is back in action and looks to have been expanded. I walk past this station most days and when the tape appeared it was in addition to some blanking plates. It looked “official”and not an act of vandalism though it could be that the plates/tape came after any vandalism that put the station out of action.

    Reply

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