Thought I’d be working today but, to my own surprise I got something finished a day earlier than expected, so? It’s Friday, the sky is blue, let’s go!
Not a particularly long Friday Walk in terms of miles this one, but it covers nearly 40 years of my life.
The terraced house in Wavertree where I’ve lived for 24 years now, the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. On this walk we’ll be seeing where I first lived when I moved to the south of the city in the 1970s.
The whole site it’s on is currently being developed by the University for, you guessed it, new student housing. Not so the Rathbone House here. Though apparently some money is going to be spent on its preservation. About time.
We’ll be back for a longer sit in the park later.
It’s ‘in Planning’ – could be some time.
Haven’t walked along here since the late 1980s.
This was called the ‘Fulwood Estate’ when I moved here from Walton in 1977. It was developed by the City Council and was part for sale and part Council housing. First time they’d done that.
Such a strange feeling to stand here now and remember all the time I was here. When it was a brand new house and we two who moved in were at the beginning of our adventure. Which didn’t long outlast the time we lived here. But I did like it here. The house has grown a new front since those days. A lot more brick and wood and tiles. And a lot less glass.
When I lived here this was as near as houses got to the river. Then in 1984, between here and the river, on part of what had been Liverpool’s Rugby Union Ground (disused) they built the International Garden Festival.
There still is an Army Barracks next door and before our houses were built the whole place had been a parade ground for them.
This is the first time I’ve seen this gated development though. Who exactly do they need protecting from. Forty years on this seems like very well settled place.
Ah, that’s probably what the fence is about then. I’ll bet ‘youths’ gather in there to do offensive things like smoking and talking to each other. Dangerous stuff.
That one that says ‘Russian Virgin Hair’ (‽) used to be a very old fashioned bakery. Sadly swept away by society’s apparent need for luxury hand made hair extensions. Give me strength.
Since first publishing this have had this message from Lesley Davies on Twitter:
“Kinseys closed because the brothers were getting on. Took 2 years to sell the shop.”
So some things are still the same with me.
And silently, if unfairly, curse the lot of them. The head mistress of my junior school, Sister Ligouri, was one of them. A barking and howling one-woman Spanish Inquisition. So I’m truly not sorry to see the order’s time around here has passed.
This is where my Liverpool, the version of it where I’ve spent most of my life, truly gets going. You can see Liverpool 8 at the end of Aigburth Road there, just beyond the 82 bus. Home, my home, is inner Liverpool. Not merely the house where I live. But all the streets and parks and lakes and lanes from here to the city centre and the river and right round to Walton and Anfield.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to walk through all of them today. In fact we’re stopping for lunch part 1 soon.
When I lived around here it was my early years of working at Liverpool Housing Trust, which, as you may know, I enjoyed immensely. But I thought it was only temporary because I was going to be a famous songwriter. So that upstairs front room back at Fulwood Drive contained my guitars, drums, Akai reel to reel and later a Portastudio. And it never did make me a famous songwriter.
So let’s move on before I spend money I haven’t got on everything in that window!
This really is one of my favourite lunch destinations in all of Liverpool. The food is lovely and the conversations are excellent. On a recent visit I was reading ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ and so ended up discussing the wonderfulness of Kurt Vonnegut with Kerry behind the counter. My sort of café.
The front room’s full so I find a seat in the back. Where today’s conversation is with a small boy just learning to talk. We get on famously though no actual words are used. Just guttural sounds and hand gestures!
And count how many I’ve got or had? Eight this time, though my version of ‘South Pacific’ is a different one. Music playing while I’m here? A Billie Holiday selection.
I don’t know why, maybe because it’s in not quite Aigburth Road and not quite Lark Lane either, but it never stays as the same thing for long and looks like it’s shut down once again now. Back in 1983 a housing friend of mine, Syed, opened it as his dream Indian restaurant. And it was great. But it didn’t last.
A nod to the fact that it was always a perfectly good pub called The Masonic until a short-lived experiment as ‘Noir.’ All black paint and gloom like a Goth’s bedroom. Oh well, not all experiments work and this has always been a street willing to experiment.
Some years in the 1980s I think Liverpool might have shut down if it hadn’t been for the football teams, Bold Street, Hope Street and here.
The sign says it’s private. Which is of course an open encouragement to me to walk in.
Pretty much the foundation stone of Lark Lane is Keith’s. Liverpool’s first wine bar that wasn’t a Yateseys. ‘Keith’ is an architecture student of Sarah’s departed Dad, Frank. As far as I’m aware this is the only place Keith has ever designed!
Today it’s very good carrot cake and a cup of tea. You didn’t think I’d have a whole second lunch did you? Music playing while I’m here? Joni Mitchell, Blue.
Liverpool’s first ever pizza takeaway used to be where ‘On the Pallet’ is now, fact fans!
Long before those apartments there were two of these lower brick buildings. An abandoned maintenance yard for Sefton Park. We dreamed of living in them, running ‘change your life’ things in there, together with maybe running a plant nursery on the land around them.
One of the dreams we had on our way to a sense of place.
No apologies for the length of the post. It took me nearly 40 years!