Friday, 25 April 2008

“Old” Friends


It is a shame when we lose touch with people who we have befriended and with whom we have shared some really good times. However, it does enable us to experience the joy of ‘rediscovering’ them. The computer age makes that so much easier to do and the intervening years just disappear as one resumes a ‘correspondence’ that might have only finished last week despite all the changes in both your lives over the years.

I have, for example, just retraced a former colleague and friend Ray Lonsdale. We last spent any real time together in 1976 when my first wife and I were fortunate enough to visit him at the delightfully named Penbontrhydybeddau for a couple of most hospitable weekends. We explored the area (near Aberystwyth) on foot and by car and I recall a delightful morning spent with a friend of theirs who, besides lecturing at Aberystwyth also acted as the local farrier whilst his wife wove. {Farriery is now so rare that instead of every village having a farrier the spellchecker rejects the word.) On another day we wandered the hedgerows and collected rose hips for making into syrup and came across a Barn Owl that swooped through the pine woods straight at me, silent as a ghost. It is little memories like this that make a life what it is today.

In Ray’s case it was particularly enjoyable to swap news because I had heard that he had died many years ago! “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated”, as Mark Twain once commented...

He and his wife Sally have invited me to visit and, transport permitting, I shall take him up on it. I know what will happen. We will meet and after a moment assessing the visible damage of thirty two years we will resume conversing as if the intervening time had been a mere six months. The experiences of a lifetime will then be crammed into a couple of days of swapping news but suitably interspersed with philosophising about the world and, more importantly, creating new memories to carry forward to the future. And so life goes on, a seemingly unending addition of experiences until one day the rumours of one’s death are no longer exaggerated.

Having friends is fun!

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Rocky Lane


This is a post card of Rocky Lane, Liverpool as it was in the time of my Mum’s youth. The view is looking downwards from Childwall Priory Road (later Queens Drive) towards Bowring Park Road. It really was rocky and it really was a lane – a typical country lane with hedgerows and sandstone banks. This farm was known to Mum as Pye’s farm and in the 1910s the Pye’s had been there for over seventy years but it’s ‘proper’ name was Rocky Lane Farm. The wall on the left is off Broad Green Hall and the entrance was just beyond Laburnum Cottage which was on the opposite side of the lane. Behind that cottage was Childwall Gas Works with a small gasometer. The manager, George Harding, lived in Laburnum Cottage and Harding laid cast-iron gas pipes behind the hedgerows, made the gas, installed the necessary fittings in the properties served (which included Nana’s house) and read the meters. By-products of the gas industry such as tar and refuse lime were sold to local residents and farmers.
Nowadays all this is houses and asphalt and even the social club which replaced Pye's Farm (CADWA) has itself been demolished.

Wednesday, 16 April 2008



These little innocents – Eric and Mum - were photographed in 1913. In those days little boys wore dresses when young.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Dad’s Driving licences...


Dad kept a number of his driving licences. Remember those red backed ones from the good old days?

I knew he had lived in Lothair Road, Anfield at one stage – Lothair Road backs onto the Liverpool FC ground. But I either didn’t know or had forgotten that he lived at Wavertree House in Old Swan. Wavertree House, Old Swan, no longer exists as an address – does anyone know where it is or was?

Thursday, 10 April 2008

David Bellamy and friends


The year 1987 was not a good one for Jo and I – it was the year David died. But one event – possibly the only event that was memorable for good reasons – was most enjoyable. The opening of Pex Hill Visitor Centre in Knowsley. One of my roles at the time was being in charge of Public Relations for the Borough and whilst I usually avoided getting involved in publicity or mayoral events I made an exception in this case because the opening was done by David Bellamy. He was a real hero to Bryony and Helen and as they were members of the Borough’s Chrysalis Club I managed to get them a day off school to meet him.

The girls are pictured to the right of David in this article from the next day’s Liverpool Daily Post (April 15th).

With Helen on his left and Bryony on his right David Bellamy examines the insect life at Pex Hill with the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Eric Jones, looking on.

Bryony and Helen – to the right of David Bellamy – sporting their Chrysalis Club badges.



Dad’s personal record book recorded the day Uncle Frank emigrated to Canada – “June 18th 1953 – Frank sailed Southampton – Samaria.”

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Liverpool’s first helicopter ? ?


This photo was taken by Dad and allegedly shows the first helicopter to land in Liverpool – in June 1953. However, a bit of research shows that British European Airways launched the first commercial helicopter passenger service in June 1950, travelling between Liverpool, England, and Cardiff, Wales, using a Westland-Sikorsky S-51. This is three years later and is not a Westland-Sikorsky S51 – so why were so many people gathered to watch it land in Liverpool city centre. Any one know the answer?

Monday, 7 April 2008

Lane House Farm, Shipton-under-Wychwood


This is where my Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather, John Brookes, lived. Where did our part of the family go wrong???

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

More about the Jarvis family

I have previously mentioned Nana’s sister, Auntie Edie, who married captain Robert Jarvis and became Edie Jarvis.
I have also done a posting which showed her congratulatory telegram to Mum and Dad on their wedding. It was sent from Irby post office on the Wirral but I had not realised how near to our present home Aunty Edie lived at one time. I have just seen her address in Nana’s birthday book. The Doctor’s surgery near our house is number 349 Pensby Road, Wirral. Aunty Edie lived at number 322 while her son Claude (Mum’s first cousin) lived at 414 Pensby Road. I wonder if I still have any cousins living just around the corner?