On Sunday Afternoon, that is the 30 th, I was sitting in my front lounge and noticed there seemed to be an inordinately large amount of traffic driving up and to a lesser extent down our road. The road itself stands off the main route into town so traffic generally passes by. It makes our road quiet and peaceful most of the time and the only noises we hear are those of exceptionally noisy vehicles or emergency vehicles driving along the main road some 120 metres away. Being a curious person by nature I took a stroll down to the road because I could see some traffic cones across the junction. There was a police officer sitting in his car and I asked him why the main road was cordoned off. He told me that a sink hole had appeared in the road some 150 metres ahead and that a vehicle had driven into it! He was waiting for the local authority’s workforce to arrive and take over the situation. In Southport we do have a problem with sink holes but generally they have usually appeared south from where I live, again on the main route into town. Perhaps it is the amount of traffic which triggers sink holes developing but I do know there are a couple of underground rivulets in the area. One of the main ones has been long since named ‘The River Nile’ and it can be seen on the beach if you know where to look. Much of the coast along here in West Lancashire is sand though most of it is fortunately stable. As I write this on the Monday I have no idea how long the repair work will take and how long therefore we shall have to endure the unusual heavy traffic. Many years ago when I lived in Liverpool we lived on a main trunk road into the city, actually not far, about a half-mile from the famous ‘Lime Street’. There is a folk song about a woman called Maggie Mae, a prostitute who reportedly ‘walked along’ (solicited) there.
As with most folk songs, the lyrics exist in many variant forms. The song specifies several real streets in Liverpool, notably Lime Street in the centre of the city. The Beatles’ version by John Lennon / Paul McCartney / George Harrison / Richard Starkey is as follows:
Oh dirty Maggie Mae they have taken her away
And she never walk down Lime Street any more
Oh the judge he guilty found her
For robbing a homeward bounder
That dirty no good robbin’ Maggie Mae
To the port of Liverpool
They returned me to
Two pounds ten a week, that was my pay.
In the most established version, it is sung in the first person by a sailor who has come home to Liverpool from Sierra Leone. He is paid off for the trip. With his wages in his pocket, he sees Maggie “cruising up and down old Canning Place”. She had “a figure so divine” (either “like a frigate of the line” or with “a voice so refined”). He picks her up and she takes him home to her lodgings. When he awakes the following morning, she has taken all his money and even his clothes, insisting that they are in “Kelly’s locker”, a pawn shop. When he fails to find his clothes in the pawn shop, he contacts the police. She is found guilty of theft and sentenced to transportation to Botany Bay.
While the most famous version of the chorus contains the line “she’ll never walk down Lime Street any more”, Stan Hugill in his Shanties from the Seven Seas writes that in different versions several streets are named, referring to different historical red light areas of Liverpool, including Paradise Street, Peter Street and Park Lane
The Liverpool Sailors’ Home in Canning Place, c. 1860. The sailor is “paid off at the Home” and meets Maggie “cruising up and down” the square. In one version of the lyrics she is wearing a “crin-o-line”, the bell-shaped dress worn by the woman in the foreground.
In those days they didn’t have the traffic we have today, not even the relatively small amount going up and down our road just now!
Well yes I did get a day off but as it was a Sunday I’m not sure that counts as I always take Sunday off. I did get a day free from having to water the gardens though and not just for one day but two. We had a good spell of rain so the ground became well-watered. Trouble is it wouldn’t last too long and I would have to resume manually watering the gardens, at least those plants which would otherwise die if I didn’t. On Monday morning (the 30 th) I got up a little later than I had been doing, about an hour later but still it was only three o’clock. I wouldn’t be taking a walk that day and I wouldn’t be watering the gardens either but I would be doing other things instead. First of all I ate breakfast after which I put on my overalls and mask and painted the next section of the gym floor.
When I had finished there was but a fifth of the original amount of paint left (about 2 litres) so all I could then do would be to fill-in the remainder of the floor in readiness. That would hopefully get done in the days following. I have placed an order for a further ten litres but as to date there has been no action from the supplier, something I would be chasing up during the week ahead. It was wise of me to choose Monday to resume painting because there was little wind to blow any fallen leaves into the room with the door being left open for ventilation. They accumulate in the area outside the door. I realised I hadn’t put out the green waste wheelie bin for emptying so that was my next job. It wasn’t simply to put out the bin however for I had decided to cut back the overhanging branches of the yew tree which were hanging over the public footpath (sidewalk). The bin had only been half filled but it was full when I had finished the pruning. I still wasn’t finished however for I had to hang out the washing I had previously placed in the machine before breakfast. When I had completed those tasks it was still only seven-fifteen! Of course many other small things got done later in the day. My plan for part of the day ahead were to visit a garden supplier to check out what was available for the island on the lawn project I was thinking of doing. I could end up purchasing something or not, it would depend on what I might find. The second supplier I visited was a few miles out of town and he had what I was looking for but the problem he had was that the hoist on his vehicle was out of action. He decided he would visit my home soon to see if the problem could be overcome in some other way. So at the time of writing I am waiting for his visit. All other materials I would need for the project would be sourced locally and I myself would collect many of them anyway.
It did rain later on Saturday as forecast and quite heavily for a time though it was spasmodic. When I awoke on Sunday morning at two am it was dry but by six o’clock it began raining in earnest and stayed that way throughout the day. It had been very windy on Saturday but it was less so on Sunday morning. The weather hadn’t been this way for many weeks and needed getting used to again. My Sunday was to be a day of complete rest so I didn’t need to venture outside except to dump waste into the wheelie bins. I was so pleased that the weather had turned cooler at least for a time. It gave the gardens some space to recuperate and me too! Worse than the heat though for me is the high humidity that when combined with the heat makes it so uncomfortable. High humidity actually makes it feel warmer because we cannot lose body heat as efficiently. So in cooler weather it can be beneficial having high humidity. Being indoors at home with little to do gives me time to think about things. I am always looking for something constructive to do especially if it is something I can get my teeth into so to speak, something I can do with my hands, a project. On Sunday I gave some extra thought to something I had been thinking about over the previous few days and it has to do with the lawn in the rear garden,
I took the above pictures on Sunday. The lawn has slowly improved over the last week or so after being scorched dry because of the high temperatures and sunshine. I had watered it daily, sometimes twice until the grass returned to its present lush appearance. The dark patches are the remains of the moss which had taken over large areas until we treated it a couple of months ago. The grass is growing back in those areas though you may not be able to see it in the picture. The grass also looks unkempt because I haven’t mowed it for weeks. I have deliberately left it that way until it thickens up. Yes, it will be harder to mow but the machine can cope with that. Anyway it is the lawn itself for which I have ideas. I am thinking of landscaping an area of the lawn by placing an island containing trees, shrubs and rocks in it. If it happens I think it will greatly improve the otherwise plain lawn and be more pleasing on the eye. Watch this space as they say.
So it was I was up and about at two-fifteen on Saturday morning and looking out of the window into the garden shrouded in darkness. Despite it still being dark it wasn’t so dark that I couldn’t make out the lawn and the path around it. I could even see most of the plants in the borders but I could also see that everywhere was still dry. The overnight rain and stormy weather hadn’t materialized and I was wondering if it would. The lightning storms which apparently would pass over us must have passed by unless the forecast was wrong. I am writing this at eight-thirty and still there is no rain though the sky is filled with rain clouds. It is also partly blue in places too. I decided to water the rear garden in case it didn’t rain so that was my first job at two-fifty when I arrived downstairs. About forty-five minutes later I was back indoors to eat breakfast. What next would I do? I put on my overalls and went into the garage to mix a bucket of cement mortar and began filling in the next area in the gym floor
I had to be careful to leave a corridor to the door above the steps which leads out to the garden so the area at the bottom in the picture was left. It actually doesn’t need much filling-in there anyway but it will get done in turn. It is this next area which will be more of a problem because the furniture has to be moved but it will be done.
When that was done I left it to dry and then used the remaining mortar to fill a gap in the patio capping stone, something I had been meaning to do for ages. I covered it just in case it did rain. Well now it was time to take a very early walk. It was now five-fifteen and I left the house, posting some of E’s letters on the way. I hadn’t put on my rain-proof coat but had it tied around my waist. It was so lovely in the cool of the morning but I hadn’t gone far when the rain began to fall so I put on my coat. However it stopped raining after a couple of minutes and didn’t rain after that. The rain had been very light, hardly rain at all but I wasn’t going to take a chance and get soaked before my walk had started properly. I was back home a couple of hours later and went into the cellar to sweep the excess mortar off the gym floor. It would be ready for painting over the next day but seeing as the next day was Sunday it wouldn’t get done until Monday (30 th) at least.
A couple of months ago I had to pay the doctor a routine visit for a fungal infection on my big toes. Whilst there she advised I have another blood check but as I wasn’t at that time due for such a test she post-dated it. On Friday (27 th) I visited the nurse at the surgery to give a blood sample and as it was for lipid levels I couldn’t eat anything for twelve hours prior to the sample being given. It turned out that I hadn’t eaten for seventeen hours by the time I was at the surgery. Naturally I was feeling quite hungry on my return home. Even so I didn’t eat more than I would normally do at breakfast (break-fast). As the appointment was for eight-fifty the first thing I ate was at breakfast time, though a little belated breakfast time for me. The danger in fasting is the temptation to over-indulge when the fast is over. It sets the trend for more overeating and we end up putting on weight. If we eat too much at a sitting our stomach stretches to accommodate the food so that at the next meal we feel the need to fill it too much once more else we still feel hungry. If our stomach is full we feel satisfied therefore it is sensible to eat small amounts frequently rather than gorging down large quantities which stretch the stomach. Obviously the type of food we eat is important too if we are to feel satisfied. In today’s society, here in the UK at least, we are faced with encouraging signs to eat more instead of eating sensibly. A point in question, I have found that most of the ‘fish and chip’ shops I have visited throughout my life encourage us to eat more by supplying larger portions of chips than we actually want. When I have asked for a smaller portion I find the person serving me has difficulty in doing that. It is as if they have to give large portions to justify the prices they charge. Why not supply smaller portions at a lower price for those who want them? If there is someone with me, like E for instance, we buy one portion and share and even then there is often too much in the portion. Is it any wonder people are becoming overweight when because they receive larger portions they feel the need to eat it all? It would seem a waste otherwise wouldn’t it? Feeling hungry is one thing but feeling a large waist is another!
On Thursday (26 th) the weather turned hot again after a few days of cooler times. I had arisen at two o’clock in the morning after what had been a really good night’s sleep. The previous night had not been so good as far as getting off to sleep was concerned. It was a sort of knock-on effect, not sleeping well the night before left me tired and going to bed even earlier than I have been going lately. By eight o’clock I was fast asleep and because five hours is around the time I need I woke at two. Sensible folk would have stayed in bed I suppose but that is something I very rarely do once I am awake. So what does one do at that hour? Watering the garden was one thing I got out-of-the-way. Washing clothes another, watching catch-up tv another and soon it was dawn. I’d eaten breakfast of course and although a walk could have been taken I was set to do the weekly shopping at eight o’clock instead. Yes I could have done the shopping later but I have found it much easier to shop when the store has far less other shoppers milling about. By the afternoon however the sun had turned the day into a scorcher and going for a walk didn’t seem inviting. I usually take my walks early in the day whilst it is still relatively cool. However by the afternoon I had become restless and decided a short walk down to the shore would help and the cooler sea breeze would help to cool me down too. Against my better judgement therefore I went for a short walk which stretched further and further until in total I had walked four and a half miles! Sure enough it was cool along the seafront but by the time I had gotten home I was as red as a strawberry and perspiring profusely. It took me ages to cool down and it reminded me that, as the saying goes, ‘[only] Mad dogs and Englishmen (and presumably English women too) go out in the midday sun’.
It truly is amazing that with a little ventilation things change radically. ‘A breath of fresh air’ is often quoted when someone presents a new perspective or common sense approach to a problem. We sometimes cannot see a problem until somebody reveals it to us by their different approach. Maybe it is the stubborn heart and refusal to accept assistance which keeps us from seeing the solution and that solution is often so simple. Our blinded eyes prevent us from seeing it. A breath of fresh air is usually all it takes to speed things up too. It wipes away the dust and cobwebs and clears away the dross. Ventilation is needed for many reasons in life, not least of all to keep us alive! Working in hostile environments and situations hazardous to our health requires ventilation to make things safe for us to be there. A fine example in point was when I was painting the floor in the new pantry or larder I had been constructing a couple of months ago at home. The paint was hazardous to use unless the area was well-ventilated but alas being in the middle of the cellar it had no access to fresh air. I had purchased a suitable mask with appropriate filters in order to use the paint safely. In recent days I have been working on the repairs to another room in the cellar, the new gym, which fortunately does have access to fresh air. I have been cementing in the cracks and joints in the floor before painting it with the same paint. Despite the ventilation it was still necessary to wear the mask of course. On Wednesday (25 th) morning I painted the area I had already filled-in and had the door to the garden open to give that ventilation. I finished that work and packed everything away. About a half-hour after I had finished the paint was dry!
Previously it had taken many hours to dry in the room which had no ventilation. It is amazing what a little ventilation can do. All I have to do now is the rest of the floor!
Once upon a time I used to arise about two o’clock in the morning and go for a run before my working day which at that time began at five o’clock. Quite often I worked well into the afternoon too. That’s like fourteen hours or more of activity and I was no youngster either, in fact I was in my late fifties and early sixties and working full-time. I was used to the lifestyle so it was never a problem, in fact I looked forward to the early morning exercise and the work which followed. Now I am in my early seventies I still find it uplifting to go for early morning walks followed by some work at home. I spend some time on the gym equipment too a few times each week. So getting up early doesn’t bother me except that I have to adjust to different meal times. Lately I have been getting up at two o’clock, partly because I go to bed early and don’t sleep long and partly because I want to go for a walk and do some work, especially as it is much cooler at that time of day. Of course it is usually after four or four-thirty before I venture outside for my walk. As for the work, well some of it gets done earlier than that and some later. I have been cementing in the gaps in the gym floor in readiness for painting as there is no noise made when doing that kind of work. Who wants to use a hammer, a saw or a drill in the early hours unless they are far away from sleeping people? When there is no background noise every other noise seems amplified. The old saying ‘it was so quiet you could hear a pin drop’ is true indeed. I live in an old Victorian house that has creaking floorboards in one or two places. Going to the toilet in the middle of the night is difficult to do without making some noise. What little noise the boards make sounds much louder than it really is because it otherwise so quiet. I will be able to do the work in the cellar as early as I wish in the knowledge that I won’t be disturbing anyone. If I choose to paint the floor I will need the outside door open to ventilate the room. Even though I will be wearing the special filtering mask it is better the room is ventilated too but having a light on will only attract moths and other insects into the room. I will probably therefore leave the painting until after dawn. So far I have completed about a third of the floor (see picture above) which I hope to paint before moving to the next area. It is the area beyond the kneeling mat.
In times of trouble people often ask for answers, they question everything trying to make sense of it all. One of the main stumbling blocks preventing people from believing in God is their human reasoning which says that if there was a God then why does he allow suffering, pain and evil? Some may give glib replies in their endeavour to persuade people to place their faith in God but the truth is first of all He exists. We are His workmanship and we have been given free will. God tells us what is right and what is wrong but we don’t listen and the result is the sinful world in which we live. Because we are unable to change and be sinless we separate ourselves from Him but He did make it possible for our sins to be wiped away. He sent Jesus to be the sacrifice for our sins and by believing in him we can be saved, we will be saved. In the meantime we still have to remain in this sinful world and the suffering that goes with it….
You may need to pause the video occasionally to read the text……
Those then are the reasons why God allows certain things to happen. It doesn’t mean He doesn’t care for quite the opposite is true. He loves us so much that He sacrificed Jesus so that we could be set free from our sins and focus our lives on Him. In Jesus we have eternal life and sin will exist no more.
After such a long spell of hot and dry weather it finally poured down with rain on Friday through to noon on Saturday (21 st). It was much-needed though even if it did mean I had to stay indoors and not being able to do any work outdoors. I had gotten up very early in order to go for a walk and at five o’clock on Saturday morning the rain had all but stopped falling. However that didn’t last long for half-way through the walk it resumed and had I not taken my raincoat I would have been soaked to the skin. I was soon back home and eating breakfast but I really wanted to be outside doing something in the garden. The rain put paid to that and I resigned myself to remaining indoors. E went out for the afternoon and didn’t return home till early evening so I was left to my own resources. I needed something to break the monotony, I needed something to do. It had been quite some time since I did any real work indoors though there was work to be done. Whilst it was hot and sunny however working indoors was the last thing I wanted to do. I thought I would begin the work of filling in the gaps between the floor tiles in the gym preparing the floor for painting it later. I prepared a sloppy mix of cement, enough for the area I wished to work on and as it turned out was just the right amount. Even with the mix being sloppy I still needed to wet the floor because it was so dry.
The picture shows the completed area the following morning when it had dried out. Before I begin the painting I want to prepare more of the floor in order to make it worthwhile. I intend to complete the whole floor this way in stages, first the cementing and then the painting of each stage in turn. The main reason for that is due to the furniture it the room and the need for access to the garden plus I don’t want to work too long each time. As always there is no hurry to get the work completed so when I am at a loose end I can do a little more. My only concern is that there might not be enough paint to do the whole floor. Time will tell.