This was wonderful and just the right and special sort of thing to be the centrepiece of a longed for summer’s day out. I’d had to book, and my ticket said I could turn up any time at the Walker Art Gallery, as long as it was between 10:00 and 10:29am. So by 9:00 I’d left the house to walk into town.

Smithdown was quiet for that time of day and along at the school there were what looked like preparations going on for the children’s probable return.

Further along, evidence of a night out gone wobbly.
Across empty Abercromby Square roses are blooming, for no one?

(And I promise that will be my last attempt to include a Paul song in a photo caption here.)

In Lime Street people are clearly expected.

And soon after ten, I’ve arrived.

Now I’d have come to this anyway. Because I always liked Linda and her work and because, of course, I knew there’d be a fair bit of Paul and Beatles in there. “Our Paul”as Paul’s been called inside my head for most of my life. But today and this year Linda’s Retrospective is the occasion that’s finally got me into a gallery for the first time since early February. And then out for an intended day in town for the first time since lockdown. Masked, nervous, avoiding people all the way here and maintaining at least a doubly safe distance all the way round the exhibition. Which was as I’d expected carefully managed with floor and door directions and hand sanitisers and never too many people. But all the same and even though I’d paid, not actually coming in had remained an active possibility until I walked up the entrance steps and clambered over the psychological safety barrier that all these months of careful isolation have built up around so many of us.

I loved it.

It was like visiting the McCartneys at home the way it was all put together in several rooms and themes. Musicians of course, and also nature, horses, family, Scotland, Liverpool and more. And I’m not going to show you all that many pictures, because that would feel intrusive. So, just enough for you to get the general idea and so might come and see them for yourself, here they are.

My own favourite. The photographer at work.
In Scotland
Jimi’s Looking at you.
Looking at Linda’s contact sheets.

I loved looking through all these and took ages over it. At pictures not seen before. Including family moments like these and unhappy looking Beatles trying to make the White Album.

Daughter Mary, now a photographer herself, helping out while her mum and dad make the ‘Ram’ album. My favourite of all the McCartney records.
Mary and Paul, the curators of Linda’s Retrospective.
Then I was done.

And even though the Walker is wonderful and I hadn’t been for ages, I left. One exhibition always having been enough for me in any one go. But I’m glad I went and hope I’ve shown you enough to want to come and see it too. It’s on ’til November.

Then I crossed over to Lovelock’s.

Where I knew Sarah here would be running a careful and welcoming place.

And what with the sunny day, being off work, and all having gone so well so far, I decided to get rid of some more psychological barriers and have my first look round the middle of town since, well since.

Great to see Castle Street closed to traffic.
Liverpool One keeping to the left.
Then a sit in the Bluecoat Garden.
To look at the two hold-in-your-hands kind of books I’d just bought.

And did I feel safe? In Lovelock’s Sarah had asked me that. And I certainly did there because I know and trust her. Here at the Bluecoat too, where they were controlling how many people could come in, taking contact tracing details and there was another friend, Marie-Anne, to assure me. But outside in the busyness of Church Street and the bottom end of Bold Street? Not so much and I kept my mask on.

But I’m glad I went. And even if I appear to have gone around being ultra-careful well that’s still the way it is. I still had a great time, even if it was a new version of a great time. I walked home as well though, not quite ready to get on a bus yet.

Thank you Liverpool.

Published by Ronnie Hughes

Writing about life, Liverpool and anything else that interests me. As well as working with others to make the world a fairer and kinder place: http://asenseofplace.com.

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