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!
It has been quite some time since I sang anywhere. I once sang in a couple of choirs at school and later, much later, at church. The latter being so later was that I didn’t believe in God and therefore I didn’t go to church. Since leaving the church about fifteen years ago and for reasons I won’t explain here, not at this time anyway, I have not sung anywhere. The last time I sang solo and accompanied myself on guitar in public was at church at times when I led the congregation in worship. When I left the church I ceased playing the guitar for almost five years then took it up again about eleven years ago. In total then I have played guitar for twenty years since 1990 when I first started. I am self-taught with no formal training but people say I am quite good. I am not so sure myself but who am I to judge? Once in a while I might take my guitar (shown in the picture) with me when I go to work, usually in the summer and it remains in the van until I take it out if I am taking a break from work or have finished work for the day. I have been known to sit outside of a pub and just play for my own pleasure. I digress. I had two jobs to do on Monday morning, I wasn’t sure I would be able to do the second for I wasn’t sure how long I would be at the first. As it turned out part of the work I was to do at the first job had to be cancelled and that left me time to do the second job. Unfortunately the customer at the first job had bought two new outside light fittings to replace what he thought were two faulty ones but in fact it appeared it was only the lamps that were faulty. It would have been impossible to fit the replacement fittings in the same position without some major alterations to the existing wiring so it was decided to leave the old ones in place. The remainder of the work was inside and was completed without any problems. I had an idea that the lady in the apartment I was to visit for the second job would be interested in hearing me play the guitar for a couple of reasons. I have worked in her apartment a few times in the past so she knew from our conversations that I played and wrote Christian songs. She had hinted on those occasions that she would like to hear them. She is also a Christian and a fellow ‘Scouser‘ (from Liverpool as I am). I thought I would surprise her on this visit and take along my guitar. I completed the work she had asked me to do and something extra that was non-electrical too but I had to return to my van to get my battery drill to do it and whilst there I brought my guitar back inside with me. We sat down and had a coffee and a chat before I took the guitar out of its case and played a couple of well-known Beatles songs which thankfully for me she immediately recognised! I played a few more and then some of my own compositions. Even though I have written a few songs I sometimes forget the words but I made an attempt and sang some for her. I guess she liked my playing for she has invited me to return again. Maybe next time I shall be singing for my supper?
…and on to Wednesday, a much warmer and sunny day. Although it had been sunny on Tuesday it had remained on the cool side but not Wednesday, Wednesday was much warmer. I had but the one job to do in another town and I arrived there, as I usually do, right on time. Replacing two ceiling light fittings and repositioning a power outlet all got done within two hours even though there was much chatting and drinking coffee in the meantime. It turned out that the couple, an elderly retired plumber aged 84 and his wife who never revealed her age but must have been in her mid-seventies, were both born in Liverpool and had lived there for some years. We chatted about living in Liverpool and I was asked many things regarding where I had lived there. I have come across and worked for quite a number of ex-pat. Liverpudlians during my travels. They are a very sociable and welcoming people. I say that because they are and I am one of them! Anyway the work was completed quickly and they were well pleased with what I had done. I noticed that beads of perspiration were forming on my forehead as I worked on replacing the lights, not because the work was hard, it wasn’t but it was quite warm up at ceiling level. It can only get warmer as the months go by. I found myself driving back to my home town at 11 o’clock. I wanted to dine out again but it was too early for lunch. However, the traffic was a little heavier than I had anticipated and as I approached the outskirts of town I found I was in diverted traffic from one of the main roads in the area that was undergoing some major works. Coupled with that on the main route I was on there had been temporary traffic controls put into place because of road works there too and those things slowed the traffic to a crawl. By the time I got into town it was nearly 12 o’clock so I diverted toward the pub arriving there five minutes before opening time. I was in no hurry of course but there were already people sitting on the benches outside waiting to get inside. I sat in my van and watched their antics which I found rather amusing. Most all of them were elderly folk which have become the mainstay of the business since its last reformation a couple of years ago when it was basically a pub that served food. Now it is more a restaurant that has a bar! It has become more popular as a result. I sat and watched one very elderly couple approach the side door, the one most people use as it leads out to the outdoor seating area and the car park. They each in turn tried the handle on the door but it was obviously closed and would remain so until the staff opened it from the inside. I watched as they tried again and again to open the door whilst others simply sat there and waited patiently. I was surprised at the couple’s impatience thinking to myself that they should know better at their age. They were acting like two senile delinquents. Finally the door was opened a couple of minutes after noon and a great cheer resounded from the small group that had gathered. I followed them inside after a minute or so and was served immediately, that is my order was taken as soon as I entered. The elderly folk were still sorting out where to sit! I had to laugh.
Another way of saying I just couldn’t be bothered! As many of my readers will know, I sometimes go through these phases of not being interested or not being bothered about things. Saturday was one such day though I have to be honest and say it happens a lot more often these days than it used to. It was such a lovely day on Saturday, brilliant sunshine and blue skies, the kind of day that beckons you to be outside. I had deliberately stayed in bed longer than I normally do, I just didn’t want to get up. I wasn’t that tired but there was nothing really desperate to get up for. However, as I sleep with my curtains left open I could see the clear blue sky and a few fluffy clouds and I just had to get up. Before I could do anything I noticed some movement in the garden and was stopped in my tracks. There were two wood pigeons waddling along the path totally oblivious to the squirrel following them. They continued along unaffected whilst the squirrel hopped here and there searching amongst the shrubbery and plants. Eventually the squirrel disappeared and I got on with what I had to do. By the time I had finished getting dressed and applying my make-up my phone rang. It was someone asking if I could do some work for them on Monday. I wrote down the details and went downstairs ready to go out. I skipped breakfast as by this time it was eleven o’clock. I locked up the house and I walked to the train station. I had just missed the train but another came along fifteen minutes later and I climbed aboard. I was on my way to Liverpool for a spell. I had almost forgotten that it was Saturday.
The train carriage was packed with people, most of them going into the city themselves. I don’t usually travel to Liverpool on the weekend because the trains are often full whereas during the week they aren’t at these off-peak times. I spent only an hour there but got so bored I decided to return for home, maybe stopping off or taking a detour to the pub for an hour or so. By the time I reached my station I found I couldn’t be bothered with a pub visit so I walked home instead. The journey home on the train was a little irritating as a guy sitting behind me was chatting continuously on his phone for the whole forty minute duration never stopping for a minute. Why can’t people just sit quietly once in a while? A woman about my age or slightly younger came on board with her two grandchildren (I learned later when chatting with her), one, a boy about eight years old and the other a girl whom I was told was five. The boy was very well-behaved, even letting his little sister sit on his knee. I could tell he was fond of her. She however was a proper little madam and a little cheeky too. I was teasing her during my conversation with her grandmother. They were being taken to Southport for a few hours whilst the sun was shining. I left the train and walked home to an empty house. E had gone out to her monthly meeting with her group. They meet on the third Saturday of each month. She had gone out prior to me leaving the house, in fact prior to my coming downstairs earlier. Evidently she had been visiting her mom but she must have returned home for her lunch whilst I was out before then driving off to her meeting. I had thought about walking to the pub after I’d had something to eat but I found my heart wasn’t in it.
Last week was bad and only got better at the end. Regular readers will have read my previous posts as to the reasons why so I won’t repeat it here. On Friday afternoon I had to make the journey into Liverpool again, this time to have my sutures removed. The plan was to have that done and then go to a favourite place in the city to have a late lunch. E drove me there, which is just as well for I was taking her out to lunch too! The nurse arrived at 2 o’clock, about ten minutes after we had gotten there. It took her some time to remove the sutures for there were more than forty of them! Now you know why I was glad to have them go because they had made combing my hair somewhat difficult. It also meant that we left the clinic a little later than we had expected. We were finally able to leave just after 3 o’clock and we drove through town to our destination not far from the Pier Head and the river.
E hadn’t dined in this particular pub/restaurant previously and I guess she was looking forward to it, however, by the time we got there they had stopped serving meals. We learned that we had only missed their closing time by a few minutes. The staff apologised but showed us the location of another eatery close-by so we walked the short distance and entered a completely different kind of establishment altogether, one very much more basic. Both are located a short distance behind the famous buildings in this picture and about a mile from the clinic beyond and to the right of this picture. As we were by this time rather hungry we decided to stay anyway and eat. The place was full though I have to say and many were eating. It was obviously popular. The menu was surprisingly very good and whilst E found us a table I placed the order at the bar, We had both chosen sirloin steaks. We waited but fifteen minutes and the food was served. It was delicious. I wouldn’t normally have chosen this place to dine in and probably won’t visit again. Our place of choice is a far nicer establishment. After finishing our meal we went to a local coffee-house to have a Cappuccino as we had plenty of time left on the parking meter. We could have had a coffee in the pub but E wanted somewhere quieter. The pub had been rather noisy but not overly so. We stopped for fuel on the way home but E had chosen a station only a few miles out of Liverpool where the fuel prices were much lower than nearer home. It didn’t much matter for when it came to pay I gave her my debit card. The day had been nice despite everything. Now if my readers will remember that on the previous Saturday I was going to install the replacement hot water pump and extend the existing wiring for the tank thermostat to control it. E and I did both on Saturday, that is I installed it all and she helped me here and there. At last then things are getting back to normal and maybe I will be able to get some of the other projects completed soon. There is no hurry to do any of them and I won’t be overdoing it when I resume working on them. This weekend has been much better than the previous one.
Nothing to do on Monday as I had purposely left the day all to myself. My intention was to take a trip into Liverpool (again) and to walk about my old haunts, such as are left of them. I was up reasonably early having my breakfast before having a shower and getting dressed, something I almost never do is eat before I am washed and dressed but I made the exception this time. It was however approaching 9.30 before I was ready to leave the house. I asked E if she would like to accompany me but she declined. The main reason for that is I was going on a walk-about and she has a complaint which restricts her from walking too far. She also had to be at home to collect her medications which are delivered by the pharmacy. So off I went alone to the station. There is a guy who lives not too far away from us who, shall we say, is not playing with a full deck. I say that with all due respect to him as he suffers through no fault of his own with a mental deficiency and he has behavioural issues too. I have known him for many years first coming across him at a church I once attended. He turned up one day dressed in women’s clothes and carrying a handbag, the next week turning up as normal, that is dressed as a man. He was always seen about town doing the same thing and giving each person he came across the two fingers before continuing his walk. Very strange behaviour but as I say, he unfortunately cannot help himself. I arrived at the station and waited for the train to arrive a few minutes later when who should arrive on the platform but this guy. He was dressed as a man but was carrying a woman’s handbag. He was also carrying a very large corrugated metal food canister perhaps originally carrying carrots or something similar. A couple of holes had been put near to the rim of the can through which had been threaded a length of string. The can looked as if it held an amount of cold black coffee for as he sat down waiting for the train he poured out some of the liquid on to the platform a couple of times before deciding it was enough. I was hoping he would board the train in another carriage to the one I was boarding for I knew how difficult an encounter with him would be. It is sad really for people such as he but at the same time it can be a nightmare dealing with them. I don’t know where he was going but I do know it wasn’t to the same place as myself. I sat in the company of two other women and we chatted away the time together. Once out of the train station in Liverpool I made my way to the area in which I grew up. That area is about a half-mile behind the building shown above which stands on Lime Street, a street made famous in the old song from Liverpool called ‘Maggie May’ about a prostitute who walked it touting for business. This was the sole purpose of my visit on this occasion, not to walk down Lime Street for that reason I hasten to add but I had to walk it to get to my destination, Prescot Street.
I had driven past the area a couple of times recently but couldn’t stop there to browse around on foot. I made my way slowly uphill along the familiar roads which led to where my family lived from early 1946 when I was merely three months old until we left for the suburbs in 1958 when I was almost twelve. I have vivid memories of the area as it was then and knew that many changes had taken place since so I was prepared for it. The streets themselves have changed very little though most of the small side streets and the houses that stood in them are long-since gone as were the prefabricated houses one of which we lived in. The picture below shows the ‘prefabs’ that stood on the opposite side of the street to the one we lived in.
The direction to London Road, Lime Street, a half mile or so distant and the city centre is to the left. Strange as it may seem this photograph must have been taken not too far away from our house! Tram car lines can still be seen in the centre of the road. It was in 1957 I think that the tram service ceased though I seem to remember the last one did a final run in 1958. I know it was a so called ‘Green Goddess’ which I think went into service on Blackpool promenade thereafter.
I approached the spot where our little house once stood and there is absolutely no indication that is was ever there. A concrete wall over which and below are the grounds around one of the main hospital buildings which were erected perhaps in the seventies. They are themselves seemingly going to be demolished to make way for the expansion of the Liverpool University complex which will incorporate a replacement hospital building in its stead. Across the road are buildings which were erected around the same time and cover the ground where other prefabricated houses stood together with the brick-built terraced housing that remained standing after the bomb raids during the war. All that has gone but there was one old building at the top of the street that still stood its ground, the old police station that bore the name of ‘The Bridewell‘, if you spent the night there, and many did, you would most probably have been the worse for wear through drink! No longer used as a police station it was once one of a few where policemen operated from in an effort to combat crime and disorder in the streets of the city. It was also the place we had to go to retrieve a ball that had been confiscated by a local resident tired of it being kicked over their backyard wall! I stood and chatted with a couple of cabbies (Taxi drivers) about times gone by for one of them was wondering why I was standing there as if lost. As it turned out I was older than they and was able to tell them things they hadn’t been aware of. On my way back to the station I met an old lady who lived not far away when I lived in the street and we chatted about how the area has changed over the years. We both took the bus back into the town centre and went our separate ways. I took a stroll through the main shopping area having decided to catch the train home from another station across town and en route I went to an out-of-the-way pub I often visit when in the city to have lunch. The train ride home was uneventful but by the time I reached home my toes were feeling sore. I had been wearing a pair of low-heeled shoes and perhaps should have worn flats instead. I will know better next time.
‘The more I see you, the more I want you’, are the words of a song popular forty or so years ago but it is in my heart every time I visit the city of my birth, Liverpool. The city is becoming more and more different each time I visit, especially the road system in and around town. I had to visit the clinic I have been attending which is located not far from the city centre in one of the oldest residential areas and one which seems to be enjoying a renewed popularity. The merchants of the day who made Liverpool prosper and grow lived just outside of the heart of the city in houses that were considered up-market even by today’s standards and only the rich could afford to live in them. Many have stood there since the eighteenth century and outwardly remain for the most part exactly as they were built. Some have been turned into desirable apartments whilst others remain as they were originally intended as a complete home. They are full of character and it is nice to see them being well maintained and looked after. I took a different route into the city from my previous recent visits and it took me through the suburbs to the north-east passing through the familiar roads and streets where I lived from the age of twelve until I was twenty-seven. I saw many changes which I have to say broke my heart. There are neglected buildings and buildings being put to new use in some places and the whole area looks like it has ‘gone to seed’ as they say. Nothing is as it was when I lived there forty something years ago. There is a building in the Tue Brook area which once housed a popular cinema and I know for a fact that it hasn’t been in use for several years, even though it had been put to another use in more recent times. I know this because I have been past it a few times in the last ten years. As I drove past again on Friday the building was covered in plants growing out of the brickwork and crevasses, not merely small plants but many several feet in length, small bushes or trees in fact! Nobody seems to care. (you can see a picture of it in the article below (‘Liverpool has the most listed buildings outside of London’). As I drove onward, now approaching the outskirts of the city centre itself there is dereliction everywhere intermingled with modern housing that somehow seems to be going to seed too, old buildings partly demolished or barricaded up and graffiti adorning any wall that was in easy reach. At the end of the road I was on everything began to look different. The road turned left along Low Hill, an aptly named road for from that standpoint I could see over the city centre toward the river Mersey a couple of road miles distant though in fact probably less than two miles as the crow flies. A short distance ahead lay the area in which I grew up until I was twelve when the family moved further out from the city centre. Of the streets that remained, their names were easily recognisable but sadly many of the buildings were relatively new and stood over ground now changed beyond all recognition. The old back streets and houses were demolished years ago and nothing resembles what it was when I lived there. During the war many of the older buildings had been bombed and were razed to the ground but there still remained street after street of terraced houses when the war was over. In the mid forties, that is 1946 onward, the authorities erected prefabricated houses in many places though some of the land which had been bombed was left waste for many years and was still that way when we moved house. We lived in one of those ‘prefabs’ up until 1958. Now there are none, now there are Liverpool University buildings standing in their place and the main street on which we lived is no longer anything like it was. Although the city is vastly improved there will always be a sense of loss in my heart for the things that now only remain in memory or local history books. I would dearly like to return and live there and be close to the places where I had been raised but I know that isn’t going to happen. I shall have to be content with the occasional visit and leave the rest to memory. I now live in Southport, some twenty miles north along the coast from Liverpool but I will always be a Liverpudlian, a ‘Scouser‘ at heart.
I took a trip into Liverpool again on Wednesday. This time I was meeting someone from afar who was visiting the city for an hour or so. I took the train as for me it is free if I travel in off-peak periods. As I was walking to the station I noticed someone heading toward me from the opposite direction and was wondering if it was my ex’s sister as she looked very much like her from a distance. She approached the road junction and turned left toward the village shopping area and I turned right heading to the station which is in the same area. She was on the other side of the road to myself and I lost sight of her in the short distance to the station, I hadn’t noticed that she was taking the train too and was standing on the platform when I arrived. She must have seen that it was me and said hello. I was taken by surprise for though I had thought it might have been her I wasn’t expecting that it was. Soon the train arrived and we accompanied each other for the twenty-mile journey. It was pleasant to sit and chat together for we don’t see much of each other these days even though she lives a mere three-quarters of a mile or less away from E and myself. Families are weird folk. I got off the train one stop before she did as she was going to the main shopping centre to exchange clothes and do more shopping. It would have been nice to go with her I suppose but I had other plans. Whilst on the train I received a request for my services as an electrician and noted down the details. I drove to the house later in the afternoon after my return home and made an assessment of the job arranging to do it the following morning. My friend and I had lunch together in a friendly little out-of-the-way restaurant/pub I had never been to before. I might take E there one day if she will come. Whilst on my way back home I walked through the city centre and dropped into the bank to deposit some cash I had brought out with me for that reason. Having spent out £5200 recently I have to start saving more when I can. At the end of my travels and finally back home for the day I went on-line in order to transfer the cash I’d deposited into another bank where I keep my savings. On opening my account to transfer the cash I saw that I had far more in the account than I should have, even with the deposit I’d made earlier. I ‘d received a deposit from my energy supplier to the tune of £423! What a nice surprise. I’d received £50 from them at the beginning of the month too. Obviously I had overpaid on my energy accounts and this was by way of a refund. The odd thing is that during the day I had received both an email and a written letter indicating that both my monthly energy payments would be increasing by £18 (electricity) and £40 (gas). I pay by direct debit. Wouldn’t it be easier to have used the refund to offset the proposed increases? Evidently not it seems, that would make sense! So I was able to transfer an extra £400 into my savings account. Now that was a very nice surprise. I left the £23 remaining from the refund in the current account. At the end of each month I transfer any unused cash into my savings account anyway but usually only in £50 or £100 amounts, anything less than £50 is left in the account until the end of the following month. This way I am certain of having a small contingency float for emergencies. So a pleasant day all round.
Apart from one ridiculously small job I had on Monday morning there has been nothing since. I am writing this on Thursday afternoon. I shan’t be able to work on Friday as I have to go into Liverpool in the middle of the day. In fact I have to be there at noon. That means I cannot take requests for that day but could do any work I might get on Saturday. I have not done any work on the house project though I could have done. What I am able to do at this moment isn’t worth doing until I have arranged for the new door opening to be cut out of the wall and I need a builder for that. So out in the garden I have been instead. I collected the remaining apples that were left on the trees since I last collected some a few days ago and I have been using them making crumbles and desserts. I was surprised by what we were able to pick this year and many of the apples have been bigger too. It takes a few years for apple trees to produce a sizeable crop and I didn’t think at the time of planting those seeds all those years ago that we would have to wait quite so long. We have had a crop for about four or five years now and each time it has been larger than the last but I have been pruning them which helps. I decided to dig out the newly formed border that resulted after we had dug away at the mound (see postings in June). Then I planted the plants and shrubs we had bought some weeks ago because I hadn’t the time then due to the weather, other work and of course preparing the border itself which I did on Thursday whilst E was out shopping. A week or so ago I dug-in the last remaining stone edging slab but there still remained too much soil in the border. The first thing I did therefore was to shovel much of it to the ‘new’ mound around which the new path lies. One day we’ll get around to doing something with that mound. It will remain but it needs to be reduced in height and that means putting the excess soil elsewhere such as in the front garden. I was still digging out many stones from the border as I was removing the soil, many of which lay on the surface. When it rains, stones beneath the soil will always migrate to the surface over time. This is because smaller particles always sink to the bottom between the larger ones. Eventually the largest stones will appear at the top. Having taken the excess soil away and levelling out the remainder I collected together the various plants ready for planting to see where they would fit in best. I then dug out the holes and planted them, eight in all. There is plenty of space left for smaller plants that we may put in later. The first plant I dug in was actually the largest and it was also the one furthest away from the house near to the rear wall of the garden. I had thought that we had removed all the largest stones and bricks from the area but as I recall this particular spot hadn’t been cleared completely. I had therefore to dig deep and remove the three house bricks that had been buried along with a few smaller pieces of brick and stone. I now know that all have been removed as this was the only place that I’d left undone. Once the largest plant was in place the other seven went in much easier. After I’d tidied up the area out came the hose and I gave everything a good soaking, returning later to do it again. All that work took me two hours and when I returned indoors I was glowing like a cherry and perspiring a lot! Whilst I was outside and working I didn’t feel the warmth in the least but I think the humidity was high and that is why I was covered in perspiration and glowing! At least I’d relieved the boredom for a couple of hours. There is a small border behind the mound which runs along the back wall for a couple of metres and away from the border I was working on. This small border I plan to fill with stones set in cement rather than plants as it is quite narrow. At the moment it is still filled with soil.
On Tuesday morning I went for a leisurely stroll to the village to collect my prescription from the chemist (drug store) after which I took the train into Liverpool to attend to some business with every intention of being back home about two hours later. The walk from the station in Liverpool to my destination was all uphill and by the time I’d reached the destination I was feeling the benefit of it! About a half-hour later I was on my way back to the station but stopped for a coffee along the way thereafter continuing to the station side entrance which happened to be next to the coffee-house. Soon I was standing on the platform waiting for the train back to Southport about twenty miles away. People were muttering about the cancellation of the next train to Southport which although was running was destined to stop a little short of half-way, travelling no further. Evidently we, the passengers were to continue by bus. However whilst on the train we heard an announcement regarding the reason for the cancellation. A few stops further on toward Southport at a place called ‘Freshfield‘ where I once lived someone had been struck by a train as they were crossing the line at a dedicated pedestrian crossing point.
This crossing, which is located in countryside, has been, along with other locations along the line between Southport and Liverpool not least of all the one near to where I live is notorious for people committing suicide or being killed accidentally. A similar pedestrian crossing is pictured right. Only last week we learned of a fatality in exactly the same place where a young girl who was trying to save a dog which had become stuck in the rails was hit by a train. This time we were not told if the incident was an accident or a suicide. No doubt it will be in the local news reports over the next day or so. The company responsible for looking after the rail system, Network Rail, are proposing to construct a footbridge at this place and close down the existing level-crossing point. When I mentioned this to a fellow passenger she told me that it wouldn’t stop people taking a short-cut over the fence. I replied that there will always be idiots who flout the safety measures and put themselves at risk whilst inconveniencing thousands of commuters in the process. There is little that can be done against the determined offender or one bent on suicide I suppose. So two fatalities in two weeks. The last time I rode a train was only a couple of weeks ago too when E and I went for a day out in Manchester. Our return journey then was cut short and we had to continue by coach. I wrote about that incident in a post shortly afterward if you wish to look. I told some of my fellow passengers on Tuesday that I would be advertising the next day I would be taking the train in case they wished to avoid travelling at the same time! LOL. Actually I have to make the return journey on Friday this week. When I arrived back in the village I took the short journey on foot toward the beach and to the location of my local pub whereupon I had a late lunch.