The Leaving of Liverpool


In July 1969 my sister and I set off from Preston in an Austin A40 heading for France. Margaret was driving, I was ‘navigator’. I was studying A Level French and Geography. We set off for France for the language and the Central Massif for the Geography. Tomorrow we set off to recreate this road trip and are scheduled to arrive in Carcassonne on July 14th – ‘Bastille Day’.

Our transport this time is ‘Phoebe’ my VW T5 campervan.

Phoebe wants to look her best for the trip
Phoebe wants to look her best for the trip

But what are we leaving behind? A Liverpool that has been reborn since winning European Capital of Culture in 2008. As I write, the Liner Queen Mary 2 is leaving Liverpool bound for New York recreating the first transatlantic crossing 175 years ago. Today, Liverpool attracts visitors from around the world. In 1840 when those first Cunard transatlantic liners set sail for New York, Liverpool was undoubtedly the second city of the Empire and perhaps in this spirit, it just unashamedly ‘borrowed’ some of London’s landmarks. So, in Liverpool, we have Islington, Kensington, Pall Mall, the Strand, Wapping, Drury Lane. Are there more?

But, what of my local Sefton Park Liverpool?  There’s a fair bit of independent, quirky, self confidence lurking in this really pretty fab patch of South Liverpool. In my local bakery – Aigburth Bakery-  you’ll find a fair smattering of irony and a definite statement of intent which, let’s be honest, is refreshing in our brand-based, commercial world.

Free coffee with a newspaper
Free coffee with a newspaper

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Bit of irony and a free coffee but not with this newspaper. You okay with that?

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Today in Liverpool we see lots of this.

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This happened to be Hollyoaks. Drama?  Hmm……Perhaps?

I left the film makers to it and then bumped into two pirates watering their tomatoes on the allotment, as you do.

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http://bandb.liverpoolpiratebrethren.org.uk/ if you want to book a couple of great pirates. Allotments are a place of real, individual character. I always knew gardening was for me. If you’ve read previous posts you’ll know I’m the proud custodian of Lilo Lill’s shed (‘Carla Lane’s ‘Bread’) and I know Lilo Lill would have been proud to have Mycroft and mate as neighbours.

So – that’s something of what I’m leaving behind in Liverpool as we head off on Monday for the South of France. We’re heading into extreme temperatures 35+. However, the UK this week has seen our own record temperatures. My blog aims to be centred around social norms. Well – a bit of heat in Britain and we go rather crazy. Transport chaos, some frenzy from the press, and we are suddenly in melt down. I’m pleased to say that earlier in the week I bumped into Geoff, the landlord of the Cheshire Cheese pub in Frodsham  who was unashamedly embracing our Mediterranean weather.

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Well done Geoff, I say. Nice meeting you. Thank you for letting me take your photo and I’ll pop into your pub on the return trip from France.

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