One wedding a funeral and Garston shore.


So as the title of the blog suggests its been a few events at the opposite of the enjoyment spectrum. First up was a wedding on Saturday night of a lad I know and strangely enough only ever meet when getting extremely drunk around various locations of Great Britain and Europe. The wedding reception was at the Village hotel in Whiston. A lovely venue and the evening was started off with edited video highlights of the wedding day so far. Technology eh. I was sensible and only had about five bottles and Mrs Fay drove to save a few bob on taxi fares (once a mingebag always a mingebag) Congratulations to John and Karla although the buffet didn’t provide the promised sausage rolls, it was a far too posh buffet for my low culinary standards and I had to make to with an improvised chip barm.

Sunday was spent doing various bike rides with my daughter Elizabeth (nearly 7) who learned to ride her bike in the week in about 10 mins. First ride was down to Garston shore where on Saturday I had been on a bit of a “reckie”  Garston shore down the bottom of Banks Road is a hidden gem that I am so glad I discovered. Its got numerous paths and is a lovely nature walk. There was an old shipwreck down on the shore but this has now been removed. If you venture off the path you can go onto the shore of the Mersey itself and walk right up to the start of Liverpool airport. A few planes came into land and they literally land over your head. I have included a video below of a plane landing. You can walk up to the metal bit sticking out into the Mersey in the video which has landing lights on. Just after this plane landed I heard some sirens coming from the airport. My first thought was shit am I gonna get nicked for taking pictures of planes by the airport. I had gone on this random walk and was I about to be arrested under some terrorist legislation and banged away for 28 days. My mind wandered to the people who got nicked in Greece for taking pictures of planes Story Here  I decided to make a sharp exit and headed back along the coast before the anti-terrorist squad caught up with me. Needless to say I escaped. Down on the shore is the Liverpool Sailing Club Web Site Here Im still saving up for my dinghy which of course will be called “Dignity” I recommend you take a look down Garston shore as its a cracking walk and you could go onto walk around Speke Hall as well. The second and third bike ride with Elizabeth was there and back to my sisters which is about two miles in distance. Thankfully no accidents and we got back in one piece but not a bad effort from not being able to ride a bike on Tuesday to doing about 6 miles on Sunday. Managed to catch a picture of an Easyjet landing and ive edited it with the instagram application for the iphone. I am getting quite into this photography lark.

So Tuesday comes around and a cheeky half day in work as I was going to the funeral of a friends dad who had died. He had lost his battle with cancer and having gone through the same thing with my mum I was in the position to offer some advice having been in the horrible situation. So I decided to put my pants on but having not worn them for about a year when I put them on they were a bit snug to say the least. It’s quite amazing really how a pair of pants could shrink just being hung up in a wardrobe. I had visions of the button going pop in the middle of the service and hitting the person in front with such velocity thus creating a scene in the funeral. It was time to utilise my needlework skills learned in first year seniors and a quick relocation of the button gave me an extra inch (insert cheap gag here) and a fashion disaster was averted. I have a christening and wedding in Early Sept so I need to make an effort to make sure they are a much more comfortable fit in a few weeks so along with the booze cut down its time to have an even better health kick (again)  So it was back to Mossley Hill legion for a pint and some buffet sausage rolls, that ended up turning into several drinks and a mini tour of Rose Lane / Allerton Road with me stumbling into the house around 11pm with some munchies. A quick change into some scruff and the pants issue was resolved, lucky really as I had brought in sausage and chips to demolish.

So that’s it for now and the shuddering thought that christ am I heading into the part of my life when funerals become a part of my routine? To be honest in the limited experience I have had of them they have turned into cracking days on the ale !!!! Another blog revolving around booze and buffets and I am still to resolve the magical pants that have shrunk in the wardrobe. I’m sure im close to solving that particular mystery and the clue might be in the booze and buffets.

Peace

Fay x x x

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13 comments

  1. geethedog · August 5, 2011

    Garston Shore…many a day spent there in my very early youth, being the daughter of a sailor who actually built a boat outside our house! (Coverage of the “build” and “launch” of said boat, the LIMARLOU [Lisa, Maria, Louise], was aired on Granada Reports back in the day but unfortunately no archive footage available…so they say – although my father does still have the pieces which were written in the Mirror, Echo and other various national papers about said event!
    As for how close you can get to the planes – get yourself up to Baileys Lane in Hale. Drive down the lane as far as you can go before it becomes a dirt track and look up!
    Holy shit!!! You’re now at the last point before the planes hit the tarmac and boy…they’re LOW! My sister had the house opposite the horses field which is where you’d be standing at this point; owed by the airport as her and the cretin she’s married to are “staff”, lovely lovely property but not in the best location to say the least!
    And on the last point…those incredible shrinking troosers! Happens to most of us at some point lad; that’s why they teach you needlework at school! (Well, why else would we need to learn how to sew?)
    I am now off to see why Mrs Faymondo has left you…

  2. margaret · January 1, 2012

    I’m a yank in norfolk virginia, & well remember when goin’ down the shore was a big treat to me in my childhood, when visiting my relatives- the Philbins, at 66 Lyon St. in Garston. My Auntie Mary would first by me some sweets at the little corner shop (Owen Owens??) & we’d go down the shore & gather bluebells by the dozens. At that time, there were still rusted out old hulks of ships on the beach, and concertina wire from the war. Auntie Mary always warned me against going down there by myself– she said the tide would come in and cut me off, & many a little child had drowned down there. After our walk, we’d stop at the chippie on the corner of Lyon St. Les Houghton’s? and I’d happily munch on scallops ? (battered slices of potato, deep-fried) the short way home.

    • John Owens · May 12, 2012

      Margaret. My father Bill owned the grocers’ shop at 55 Chesterton Street. He retired about 1972. He probably served you sweets.

      • margaret · November 3, 2012

        Hello John– am so sorry it’s taken me so long to get back here– and God love ya for putting a huge grin all over “me” face!!– my gosh, so that was your Dad’s shop??– Was it really called Owen Owens, or is that just a trick of my memory? I was born in 1954, & started visiting Garston & Lyon Street from about 1960 till my mid-teens in the early 70’s. Did your Dad have the shop during most of those years? I used to LOVE that place!!! When I was a little kid, about 6-ish, my Mom’s family would give me “sixpence for sweets”. They’d all laugh when I’d say “Ta very much!” with an American accent, & then I’d run down the street to Owen Owens as fast as I could to spend it all on candy. I couldn’t get over that I could actually buy popsicles– your ice lollies– for just one of those big copper pennies, if I remember right. Of course, I had no idea of what “exchange rates” were– so I’d go back to America & tell all my little friends how wonderful England was– a fabulous country where you could get popsicles for a penny apiece! I guess to my child’s eyes, your streets were paved with ice lollies…

        Well God love your Dad too for giving me such happy memories– and isn’t it odd that here we sit 50-some years later typing away at computers about it. I can just taste a Rountree’s blackberry pastille in my mouth as I write this. I was addicted to them, & to think I probably handed my sweaty little sixpences many a time to your Dad to get them.

        You said Chesterton Street, so I’ll look up a Garston map online to orient myself– I just remember the shop as being a block or 2 down from my Gran’s house. Funny, that’s what brought me back here tonight– I was on youtube looking up the lyrics to a very old Irish song called “The Old House”, & it made me think about my Ma, so I just entered “66 Lyon Street garston” and it brought me back here, to my own old post that I’d forgotten all about making.

        I’m delighted to see your reply John and I hope you someday see this from me too– you’ve made me very happy!

      • John · November 3, 2012

        Margaret

        I would check Google maps to confirm the configuration of the streets in this part of Garston. (You can also see the house on Google Earth). As I recall, there were several provisions shops en route from 66 Lyon Street to the river/docks. The reason I say this is because you mention ice lollies. I do not remember my dad having a fridge. My Dad did however sell lots of different kinds of sweets, including Rowntree’s fruit pastilles, which I also liked very much. Now, looking at the map, there was another shop on the corner of Canterbury and Lyon (1 block from 66), and another on the opposite corner to my Dad’s on Lyon and Chesterton) both of which would be 3 blocks away). My Dad’s name was Bill or Billy to locals (It was/is a working class Protestant area of Liverpool). Owen Owen (no relation) was a large department store in Clayton Square in the centre of Liverpool. You would need to get the bus to go there. The chances are your Gran had an “account” (aka “tick”) with my Dad’s shop for groceries – although apparently this did not extend to allowing you to buy sweets on it.

        My Dad inherited the shop at 55 Chesterton Street from his parents who opened it in about 1907. At one time, they also had another grocery shop at 33 Bennett Street in Garston Village. My Dad retired and sold the 55 Chesterton Street shop in the mid-70s.

        For 66 Lyon Street, check out http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-GB:official&client=firefox-a&q=66+lyon+street+garston&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x487adffbbae15d8d:0x7ba4298a46236e5a,66+Lyon+St,+Liverpool+L19+8LA,+UK&gl=us&sa=X&ei=WCaVUJe5MqbF0AHq04DQBA&ved=0CC8Q8gEwAA

        Best

        John

  3. George Bennett · January 20, 2013

    Hi John and Margaret it was great to read your posts,I was born above the shop at No.57 Chesterton St. in 1944,my grandparents rented the house from your dad(John)if you still have any family records the name on the records will be Hitchin,I don`t remember the shop selling ice creams,that was the shop on the other side of the road,remember the chippy well we had a coronation party in there in 1953,there was another small shop opposite on the corner of Lincoln St,another small shop about half way up,away from Window Lane,and one more shop on the corner of Canterbury St,there were no other shops along there between the school and York St,how old are you by the way John? we may very well no each other,I moved out of Garston in 1960,to join the army my parents left the house in about 64/65 we had some of the upstairs rooms in the house,it must have been the largest house on the street.

    • John Owens · January 21, 2013

      Dear George

      I never lived in Garston. I only worked in my Dad’s shop occasionally, including every Saturday in the early 1960s (Born 1948). I used to get about half a crown! So, I would not have known you. However, you are correct, my Dad never sold ice cream, and it was likely the largest house in the street, as your family would have occupied the room above the shop. My Dad was in the Royal Engineers until he was demobbed in 1945, so my grandparents would have run the shop until then, and probably a while after as well.

      Best

      John

  4. George Bennett · January 20, 2013

    Hi John,since my first post I have spoken to an Auntie(we are the same age)and she tells me that my mother worked for your father at the shop in Bennetts`St,in Garston,this must have been well before I was born because after the war she was working at Bear Brands nylons factory in Woolton,if she worked for him before she married her name was Olive Hitchin,and that was prior to 1942/44,can you throw any light on old staff records?

    • John Owens · January 21, 2013

      George

      Thanks for this. Glad to hear of the connection with your mother Olive Hitchin. Unfortunately, I have no records from the shops and I have forgotten the division of labour between my grandparents and my father. However, by 1939, my father would have been in the army. So, that probably means that by 1942-44, either my grandmother Annie or grandfather William was running the Bennett Street shop. Where did your mother live in 42-44?

      Best

      John

      • George Bennett · January 21, 2013

        Hello John
        if you did not start working Saturdays until after 1960 we more than as likely did not know each other,as I left to join the army in April 1960 and then only came back to Chesterton St on leave,and then my parents left Chesterton St in 64/65.
        My grand parents rented the house from around 1933 my auntie tells me,my grandfather died in 54 aged 77 and my grandmother in 64 aged 86,there was another auntie who had great problems with walking but would have been around about that time,you may remember them?
        My uncle was granted the tenercy of the house(this caused a split between my parents and uncle at the time)my uncle also married at about this time and lived there until his death,but my auntie and her daughter lived there until about five years ago when they moved to Durham St.
        My mother was living at No 57 in 1942 according to their marriage certificate as was my father.
        With regards to your father being in the CRE(Corps of Royal Engineers)that was the branch of the army that I went into after boys service,do you by any chance know which squadron he was in during the war and his postings?
        Going back to the house we had the rooms which looked out onto Lyon and Chesteron St,my bedroom was at the back of the house over looking the back entry and yard and Canterbury St.
        We come up to Liverpool about twice a year,if you live in Liverpool these days and fancy
        meeting up just to go over old times I can give you a phone No/mobile No.for contact there is no pressure if you do not want to.
        Hope that Margaret picks this up.

        regards George

      • John owens · January 23, 2013

        Dear George

        Thanks for all this new information.

        Unfortunately, I do not remember meeting anyone at 57. I only worked at my dad’s shop on Saturdays, as I was still at school at the time. I also never lived in Garston or Liverpool, but in Widnes. So, unfortunately, i did not know many Garston folks. My Dad joined the TA in 1933, I think, and then joined up when war broke out, with his friend Tom Dowd. He was in the 55th DIvision RE, 511 Field Cynthia, in which he eventually became a quarter master sergeant. I understand he spent most of the war in Britain, but went over to France at 4pm on D-Day. He was wounded at Arnhem, and previously (I think) in N Ireland.

        Best

        John

  5. Margaret · January 25, 2013

    Dear John and George,
    Well I’m just “made up” to find your posts here today. And rather amazed. By coincidence, it was my New year’s resolution to sort thru old family photos/mementos, including my late mother’s photos, going back to the war years, plus photos of her many visits home to Garston, after she’d married my Dad– he was a Yank stationed at Burtonwood. They’d married in Holy Trinity church in ’45, & my Ma & a bunch of other war brides left Liverpool for their new homes in the USA in 1946 or ’47, on the Mauritania, I think– they had to wait till the liners were finished getting the Yank servicemen back home first, before the war brides were allowed passage to follow. Anyway, George, you’d said you ‘remembered the chippy on the corner well & attended a coronation party there in ’53’. Funnily enough, I believe my older sister was AT that party!– let me check, but it seems to me I’ve just seen a picture of it, or at least a part of it, where my sis, then age 7-ish, was with a group of other kids all outside 66 Lyon, waving flags, with bunting up in my Gran’s window. Let me look for it. The chippy was maybe 2 or 3 houses down from Gran’s. It was Les Houghton’s chip shop– & the Houghtons also had someone, a daughter?, in their family who wound up in Ohio in the USA, who then came to visit my Ma in Chicago.

    And your Mum, Olive, may’ve known my Auntie Anne from 66 Lyon, because Auntie Anne also worked at Bear Brands in Woolton, but in the early war years. This next is an excerpt from a “commemorative” book my Ma had, about everyday L’pool folks memories of the war years– i think the Echo had asked readers to send in war memories, and Auntie Ann sent hers & they selected it for the book:

    “I was the eldest of my immediate family, born in 1922, followed by Margaret, Thereasa, and Joseph (Tommy). I continued to work at Mapleton’s until I was 18, then I had a job at Bear Brand, Woolton, for one year as a checker of stock, working on the top floor of the factory. One evening at about 5:30 p.m., I looked out of the window to see a low-flying plane with the Black Cross on its side heading straight for the factory and actually saw the face of the pilot. My companion and I were the only two on that particular floor and we screamed with fright. We heard the next morning that as the main stream of workers were coming out of the factory the plane sprayed them with bullets while waiting at the bus stop and five people were killed. Everyone seemed to be carrying on normally until the bombing of Liverpool docks started. This was a horrific time, lying in bed at night terrified, listenening to waves of bombers flying over our heads. At 19, I left Bear brands and went to work at Roots No. 1 factory.”

    The rest of Auntie Anne’s article talks about her memories of living in Otway St. (they must’ve lived on Otway just before they moved to Lyon St.) & about how nearby Saunby Street was bombed. She then writes of working at the “Aircraft Factory” up in Speke, till she joined something called the ATSEFI, where apparently she was trained to work in the NAAFI (*what’s a NAAFI?) and was posted to an officer’s club in Moascar Egypt, where she met and later married a man from Bristol.

    Is it your Aunt who remembers Lyon Street back then, George?– please do ask her if she remembers a Mary Nugent, or any of the Philbins. (Mary Nugent was my Gran’s only child by her first husband– he was killed on the Somme in WW1, while Gran was pregnant with Mary). How she ever survived as a poor war widow with a child must’ve been some story. ( I do know that when Gran came to the States to visit, must’ve been in the very early 50’s, my Dad was horrified because we lived nearby a train track that regularly carried open coal cars to all the factories on the south side of Chicago, and my Gran made my sister bring a bag, & they walked the tracks picking up stray pieces of coal to bring home for the fireplace. Gran was proud of “helping out”, and my Dad, a very nice and polite man, had to gently tell her that in America, you didn’t need to do that. She was appalled at “the waste”– that perfectly good coal was let to lay by the wayside, when “there’s plenty of folk who’d be glad of that coal”..

    I think about these people’s lives and it amazes me. Imagine being sent out to work at age 14, like my Auntie Anne was at Mapleton’s, and her sisters after her. (Don’t know what your current crop of 14-year-olds is like in the UK, but this bunch here in America couldn’t put in a full day’s work if their lives depended on it.)

    And John, didn’t mean to overlook you but got all excited about George’s coronation day memory. So your Dad was in the D-day landings? What a horrific piece of history he lived through. You know, last night I was watching a program here on “drone warfare”– about how the massive movement of men and weapons necessary to fight wars in the past, like the D-day landings, is now going obsolete– the new wars will, and are, being fought by unmanned drones high in the sky who pinpoint their targets by computer. What a world. And thank you so much for that googlemaps link- apparently, 66 Lyon street is now right across the street from what looks like a beautiful new park– must be part of that Garston re-vitalization project. Wow– if anybody’d ever told my ould Gran that her poor old row house, with its lavvie out back and no refrigerator, just a marble slab in the kitchen to keep things cool– would one day be all spiffied up with a park across the street, she’d have said “aar don’t be daft you, they’d only do that for posh people– our lot’ll still be traipsin’ down the shore to see a bit o’ green.”

    Sorry to rattle on so, but y’all are givng me some happy and some sad memories all at once.

    Thank you both.

    • John Owens · January 26, 2013

      Margaret

      Good to hear from you again. Yes, the whole business about drones raises fundamental ethical and moral issues about (asymmetric) warfare, where hitech rich nations are able to launch such attacks without (much) fear of casualties on their own side.

      But, getting back to 66 Lyon Street, I have just realised that my great grandfather Thomas Heviley (whom I never knew and died in 1939) and his wife Sarah Augusta (died 1927) lived at that address, at least in 1918. By 1939, Bit of a coincidence, huh? I traveled through Garston last year. I hardly recognised the place.

      Best

      John

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