Liverpool Pubs: A Personal Selection

liverpool-pubs-7Now in late August 2015 comes the news that the very seriously great Roscoe Head, featured below is in some danger. Therefore the people of Liverpool, including me of course, are gearing up to get it declared a community asset and then move towards some sort of buyout, along with the family who’ve ben running the place for many years now. To help us do this please sign this petition now.
Liverpool Pubs - 1At the beginning of his new book ‘Liverpool Pubs’ author Ken Pye explains:

“I have chosen what I consider to be the most interesting or significant for this book. However, I do recognise that this is very much a personal and subjective view, and I have had to leave some places out, but only because of limitations of space. I hope, though, that you will appreciate and enjoy reading about the ones I have been able to include.”

Fair enough as, though he’s limited his drinking area to in and around the city centre, there are still more pubs than he could have possibly fitted into his lavishly illustrated 100 page book.

Well for this article I’m going to reduce his selection even further. To those with particularly strong attractions and memories for me. Though I reckon that over time I’ve happily called in at around two thirds of the 25 pubs covered in here I’m only going to make a very personal selection. You’ll have to get the book to read about the rest.

So let’s set off then, good and thirsty with our Ken Pye guide in our collective hands.

Peter Kavanagh’s, Egerton StreetLiverpool Pubs - 2When I arrived at Liverpool Housing Trust in Falkner Square in 1975, on my first Friday afternoon there I found myself almost alone in the offices. ‘Because,’ as the only person I could find told me ‘Everyone goes round to the Grapes on Friday afternoons.’ Already thinking I’d arrived in Paradise I immediately walked round to Egerton Street to find it was Paradise with a Bar.

Continue reading “Liverpool Pubs: A Personal Selection”

The kindness of public librarians

A librarian at work.
A librarian at work.

I’ve often written about public libraries but not for some time. I have been spending a lot of time in them though lately, as I’ve been writing a book. It’s a book on the 50 year history of Liverpool Housing Trust, one of the ‘Cathy Come Home’ era housing associations and a place where I first volunteered and then worked in myself for 20 years from 1975. No doubt when the book comes out, which will be soon, little hints of what’s in it or long bits of what turned out to be too long to go into it will appear on here.

I’m not writing it on my own mind. My friend and ‘proper’ writer and publisher, Fiona Shaw of Wordscapes is doing much more of the writing than me and also editing the whole thing. But we divided up the bits we’d do and mostly write on our own, getting together occasionally to see where we’re up to.on-national-libraries-day22

And I’ve done most of my own writing of it in public libraries. In our grand and lovely Central Library when I wanted to lift my spirits and get going on what felt like a big project. Then most often in my local library at Allerton Road as I’ve settled into the work and enjoyed every minute of it.

Enjoyment much helped, as it’s turned out, by the kindness of public librarians. Continue reading “The kindness of public librarians”

A year to live: Tuesday afternoon

As I write this early in the evening I can hear the lovely sound of children playing outside in the street. Here in Northern England the winter ended at the weekend and spring is suddenly with us. One more spring.

And today I gave myself the gift of a spring afternoon. Finding a work meeting unexpectedly postponed, did I rearrange things and do some other work? As if. Conscious of this ‘year to live’ attitude I’m walking around with at the moment, I put on my walking boots and prepare to leave the house. ‘Where are you going?’ says Sarah. ‘Wherever my feet take me’ I reply.

My Liverpool is bursting into life.
My Liverpool is bursting into life.
There are crocuses all over the place. I won't show you too many just yet.
There are crocuses all over the place. I won’t show you too many just yet.

Continue reading “A year to live: Tuesday afternoon”

The Birthday Surprise

60, my surprise party collage, by Sarah Horton.
60, my surprise party collage, by Sarah Horton.

It’s my birthday tomorrow, Monday 20th January, happy birthday to me. And on Friday Sarah suggested we go for our tea at Leaf in Bold Street ‘to mark the official start of your birthday.’ She said we’d go upstairs to eat ‘as it’s a bit quieter up there.’ We got the bus into town and I was mildly irritated by her continual texting, both while we were on the bus and as we walked across from Leece Street to Leaf.

But I was glad to walk into warm, friendly and always popular Leaf, though a little surprised to see that the curtains were all drawn on the way up the stairs. ‘How on earth will they get people to come up here when it looks like it’s shut?’ I was thinking as Sarah drew back the curtains to the upstairs room. At which point a camera flashed and loads of, forewarned by Sarah’s texts, voices shouted out ‘Surprise!’

Naturally I looked around wildly for Cilla Black, but found that the camera was being held by Sarah Jones and the voices all belonged to people I recognised and was delighted to see. Continue reading “The Birthday Surprise”

The Friday Walks

We still go walking, of course we do. But not every Friday like we used to.

For the whole of a year, last year, I wrote about our walks every week, more or less. A couple had to be called off during the howling gales and rains of last summer. This year would have been different. Here in Northern Britain we’re having our hottest summer for seven years and we certainly wouldn’t have been out walking on a day like today.

In fact several years ago, before writing it all down had been even vaguely thought of, we used to have a ‘walking season’ of approximately late September to April. After that we’d stop walking and go camping as the heat rose and a ‘normal’ summer happened. Climate change changed all that, and so walking, with its attendant thermals and waterproofs happened all year.

Otterspool Park, Liverpool.
Otterspool Park, Liverpool.

So that, arriving at last year and the creation of this blog, we were able to catalogue a whole year of walks. Continue reading “The Friday Walks”