Friday, 21 October 2016

Katie - The happiest days are when babies come.

As I mentioned in the posting about Toby's arrival, Helen and Ian were also expecting around now...

On Thursday evening, 20th October 2016, at a bit before 6 pm Helen gave birth to Katharine (Katie) Rose and both mum and baby are doing very well.  No photos as yet but you can be sure one will be put on here as soon as possible.

Obviously I won't be going overboard and posting on Rambles from my Chair and Facebook about the two new arrivals all the time.  Like Hell I won't!!

A few quotes with apologies to Gone with the Wind (and thanks to Kay for the idea).... 

Nurse: You control yourself, Grandpa. You'll be seeing it for a long time. I'd like to apologize, Grandpa, about it's not being a boy. 
Grandpa -with apologies to Toby: Oh, hush your mouth, Nurse. Who wants a boy? Boys aren't any use to anybody. Don't you think I'm proof of that? Have a drink of sherry, Nurse. 

Nurse: This sure is a happy day to me. I done diapered three generations of this family's girls and it sure is a happy day. 
Auxilliary Nurse: Oh, yes, Nurse. The happiest days are when babies come. I wish.. Oh, Nurse, she's beautiful. What do you suppose they'll name her? 
Nurse: Miss Helen done told me if it was a girl she's going to name her Katharine Rose.
Grandpa: Yes she's a beautiful baby the most beautiful baby ever.... Yes, I'm going to buy her a pony the likes of which this town has never seen. Yes, I'm gonna send her to the best schools in Devon. Yes. And her'll be received by the best families in the South. And when it comes time for her to marry well, she'll be a little princess. 
Helen: You certainly are making a fool of yourself. 
Grandpa: And why shouldn't I? 
Helen: Great balls of fire! I had the baby, didn't I? 

Inn Signs - Ye Hole in Ye Wall and Jupiters

This is a popular pub name throughout the country and a variety of explanations are given for it.  In the case of this one, in Hackins Hey, Liverpool, it would appear to be because the pub is set down a narrow alleyway (Hackins Hey) off the man thoroughfare (Dale Street).

Note the barber's pole on the left of the street.

The blue sign higher up on the right belongs to another pub - Jupiters, a gay bar.  I'm not sure of the origin of the name but the adjectival form of Jupiter is jovial which means merry or happy, moods ascribed to Jupiter's astrological influence, and, of course, to the intake of alcohol.  The fact that merry is a synonym for gay is probably coincidental.

Somehow, ye green wheelie bins don't quite fit in with ye scene!

(This scheduled pst would have been re-scheduled if I had realised it was there - there are more important things going on in my life at the moment!)

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The arrival of Toby

My elder daughter, Bryony, and her husband, Mark, have a new arrival – Toby Arthur.  He weighed in at just over 8lb in the early hours of Tuesday 18th.  Mum and baby are both doing well and are already home. 

Err, what's all the fuss about?

Aren't I handsome!

Toby is my first grandchild but is about to be followed soon (hopefully very soon) by my first granddaughter as my younger daughter, Helen, and her husband, Ian, are expecting the arrival of a girl who is now two days overdue.  Toby was nearly a fortnight late (poor Bryony!) and we are hoping that Helen won’t be kept waiting so long.

All this waiting can be boring.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Poetry and Forgetfulness

In the loft are many boxes of books - packed away, unpacked, re-packed and forever vying with the thousand books spread around the house for precious shelf space.  One such box contains my poetry books, though not "Mount Helicon"  (undated circa 1920s) or "Lyrical Forms in English" (1911) by Norman Hepple.  From these my mother, when a child, learned poem after poem, retaining her ability to recite them into her nineties.  And from them, a generation later, I too imbibed some of these 'best words in the best order' .

Coleridge spoke those words on the night 
of July 12, 1827  during a wide-ranging 
conversation about a number of famous writers. 

"Mount Helicon" and "Lyrical Forms in English" have their own treasured two and half inches of shelf in the study.  Sadly, my ability to recite most of the poems I learned has not survived into my sixties though a few still linger somewhere in the background.

My attempts to find the poetry book box have proved fruitless during my last few trips into the head-banging, sometimes crawling, Stygian gloom of life above the ladder.   Feeling starved of poetry I turned to the local charity shops and Wirral Hospice yielded up "Poem for the Day Two".  Its predecessor, simply entitled "Poem for the Day" is somewhere in that elusive box.

I have been reading through this new leap year of verse but have not attempted to memorise any of them for reasons which will become apparent.

I came across "Forgetfulness"  on the page for March 22nd, the day on which its author, Billy Collins, was born in 1941 (1938 according to the book, which is wrong).  Billy Collins was Poet Laureate of the USA from 2001 to 2003.

When you reach 67 years of age the appeal of this poem is instant.  Especially having just got from the library a novel you had 'never heard of' but which your 'Books Read' list says you enjoyed just three years ago and which, once opened, gets more and more familiar (though whodunnit still escapes you!)

This is "Forgetfulness"...

The name of the author is the first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot,
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel
which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of.

It is as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the Nine Muses goodbye
and watched the quadratic equation pack ts bag,
and even now as you memorize the order of the planets

something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
the address of an uncle, the capital of Paraguay.

Whatever it is you are struggling to remember
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen.

It has floated away down a dark mythological river
whose name begins with an L as far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder you rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book of war.
No wonder the moon in the window seems to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

Monday, 17 October 2016

'Grandpa's workshop' - Henry Charles Body

My maternal grandfather, Henry (Harry) Charles Body (1877-1956), was a trunk, dressing case and portmanteau maker in Liverpool and I recently took a photo of where his workshop used to be.  The workshops were in Dukes Terrace, Liverpool.  In the 1950s they could only be accessed by going down a back alleyway (known in Liverpool as an entry or jigger) between Seel Street and Duke Street and my father showed me them when I was very little.

I rather assumed they had since been demolished as most of the adjacent buildings have now been knocked down and replaced with modern structures.  But the workshops themselves are still standing.  Some have been converted into flats, visible from the main road (Duke Street).  .

The three storey ones (which, judging by the windows, Grandpa's workshop was in) are a Grade II listed building and form a small terrace of which the 'front' and 'back' are identical back-to-back houses; the only remaining back-to-back houses in Liverpool.   They were built in 1843.

When I lived in Leeds I lived in a  converted back-to-back which had been knocked through so that there were two front doors and therefore two addresses, one on Royal Park Avenue and one on Royal Park Grove.  That caused chaos for leaflet distributors, postmen, door-to-door salesmen, TV licensing people, etc.

This is the inside of the workshop.  Grandpa is second from the left and one of the others in the photo is his brother Fred, one of his five employees.

I have a few dressing cases made by Grandpa including one he made for my Grandmother.  The outside of that one is alligator skin.  Perhaps part of the enormous alligator skin in the above picture.

 Although he lived all his adult life in Liverpool, Grandpa was born in Jubilee Street, Mile End Old Town, in the heart of London's East End.

Such was the pollution from the factories to the east of Mile End Old Town that when Grandpa was just two years old the area lay for seventeen weeks (November 1879 to March 1880) under a bank of yellowish grey smog with a combined smell of "chemical works, varnish manufactories, match mills, candles factories, manure works,  cocoa-nut fibre and leather-cloth factories, and distilleries..."

This is Grandpa (on the right) in a trilby with Mr Barmby, proprietor of the Rocket Pub in Liverpool.

But I mainly recall him as a man in a bowler hat, never without his pipe.

This photo was taken in July 1945, just before the end of the Second World War and the cute little babe in arms in my big brother GB.

Grandpa and Nana lived on Queens Drive, now the main Liverpool ring road, but, when my Mum was young it was on the edge of the countryside with a view all the way to the Runcorn Transporter Bridge.  Corncrakes (a Red List bird now restricted to  around 1,000 pair in the Western Isles and Orkneys) used to call in the fields opposite.

One of Grandpa's interests was cooking, especially meat which, to my Mother's horror, was often hung for ages in the cellar until it was 'ripe' enough.  He also played billiards and bowls and visited the local hostelries.  Here he is playing in the Childwall Abbey.

  He won so many prizes at billiards he became quite notorious!  The prize was often a canteen of cutlery and the knives, forks and spoons we use at home today are just some of his winnings.  They are engraved with the initials HFB - Henry and Florence Body.

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