I woke up early and got up early this morning. And on a beautiful blue day was soon out with my camera in The Mystery. Sounds dramatically philosophical, but it’s actually what we all call the park near to our house.
It’s a gently sloping hill and near the top of it is a patch of wildflowers.
One of these dropped gently into our back yard yesterday evening while Sarah and I were sitting out there in the evening quiet.
I’ve lived in the house where me and Sarah are now for 25 years ( Sarah for 23). When I moved in The Mystery was full of football pitches for Sunday League games, which my delighted daughter Clare would always observe as ‘swearing demonstrations.’ Now the only marked out pitch on the big fields here is for rugby.
This avenue of trees used to lead to a grand place called Grange House. When that was demolished late in the 19th Century the land around it was donated to the people of Liverpool by a ‘mystery donor.’ It fairly quickly became known that the donor was shipping line owner Philip Holt, so not a mystery at all. But the name stuck nevertheless and ‘The Mystery’ it is to this day.
Or ‘swimming baths’ as I persist in calling it.
For a few miserable weeks in autumn 1972 I worked in here. Naively mistaking the ‘social’ in its title for a place that gave a shit. It didn’t and I was soon off on the housing adventure that continues to this day.
Yes, 25 years of constant walking and there are streets this near to home I’ve never walked along. Full of terraced houses and car repair shops.
Both already here on my 1905 Ordnance Survey map of Wavertree.
When lots of these places were built Wavertree won’t have been part of Liverpool. That only happened in 1895, the same year we were given The Mystery.
We’d always come in here all those years I ran ‘Finding the work you’d love’ and I’d ask people ‘What would you do if you had a year to live?‘ A question that ended up changing my own life as much as anyone else’s.
Soon after I get back the post arrives and it’s something wonderful. Our first official letter from Companies House about ‘Coming Home.’
A quietly good ending to The Early Morning Mystery.