Liverpool for a couple of days, writes David Walker in Shallilo-foreveryoung

musical statues, the docks, the philharmonic pub, chardonnay with strawberry - photographed by Dave Walker of Shallilo-foreveryoung

Pierhead, Royal Iris, the mersey at night - photographed by David Walker of Shallilo-foreveryoung

The Liverpool story is timeless. A small settlement until 1700. Then the slave trade, the docks, importing cotton and sugar, canals to Manchester and Leeds all produced vast profits that lead to city expansion and growth of financial services. In 1799, 45000 slaves sailed from Liverpool. The black community dates from then, the Irish from 1845 and also the Welsh from 1851. The railway arrived in 1830. Liverpool was the second city of the Empire.
  Sure, the official abolition of the slave trade would have slowed things down. But the decline of manufacturing and the docks and the associated unemployment, beginning in the 1950s and continuing to the mid 1980s, despite Merseybeat, resulted in a very low point. In addition, the Hillsborough disaster, the docks and Tate and Lyle closures, and the bankrupt council after Labour's Militant wing can't have helped.
  Since the mid 1990s it's been regeneration and success. European Capital of Culture 2008. The river frontage is a World Heritage Site. So a story of dubious riches, a fall and a rebirth.
  I lived there from 1966 to 1972, joined by the childbride in the 1970s. We lived in Toxteth, off Lodge Lane and then Mannering Road, near Sefton Park. Working for our qualifications, sometimes harder than others, rugby in the winter and beer all year round. The companionship of students living together and the uncertainties of the future. We became consultants and gps. One committed suicide. Two live in Canada. My last tentative connection with any of them was about three years ago. Mostly fond memories.
  I once took our young family around our various haunts and flats. It's the stuff of family legend - not impressed at the time, but enjoy embarrassing me now.
  David Walker from Shallilo-foreveryoung writes that today, Liverpool is a great place for a short break, especially in a hot snap, especially the Albert Dock area. Massive buildings and impressive statues. Well thought out warehouse conversions. Someone thoughtfully gave Billy Fury a bunch of daffs. A lot of other people also agreed it was a great place which hampered the open top bus experience, but hey. 
  Bob wanted to visit the house - 4 Faulkner St - where the David Olusoga's TV history programme was shot - just down from the Anglican Cathedral.
   The Philharmonic pub was good to see again. The yellow ceiling in the main bar hasn't altered a great deal. When we lived in Liverpool, The Royal Iris Mersey ferryboat was a venue for New Year's Eve and other booze cruise nights.
  Coffee in the library was excellent, lunch in Revolution. Evening meal and breakfast in the Premier Inn. Recommended. Otherwise strolling along pier head, day or night. The Mersey at low tide.
  Special treat in the Bierkeller, Liverpool 1 - a strawberry with chardonnay. Just have the one drink though.
  Popular and in the sunshine, unrecognisable to us 1960s residents, gently enjoyable.

Shallilo-foreveryoung picks out some of the latest press offerings

Shallilo-foreveryoung browses through some interesting press items

dave's inspiring ageing blog
30 Victoria Springs

Holmfirth, Huddersfield  HD9 2NB

Tom Whipple reviewed The Order of Time by Carlo Rovelli in the Times Saturday Review April 14th. Whilst I won't buy book itself, Tom writes in his review about how theoretical physicists try to keep the interest of their audience. No one ever finishes. As with torture, everyone breaks. Having read Brian Cox, I have experience. I glossed over what I didn't understand and enjoyed the bits that made sense, as in the basic equation of life is really simple but what about the trillions of life forms that result? I got to the end. Tom also got to the end, aided by the notion that finishing is meaningless when reading a book about time.
  Sadly, for me, breaking point is not solely about physics. Wolf Hall is my most high profile example,  along with many other readers. There are websites devoted to the inability to read this book. I had to abandon a book on statistics, full of worked examples. I'd hoped for insights, not a reminder of failure. There are a few crime novels too, especially those with impossibly talented heroes, described as such in the first pages of the text as opposed to letting us realise how good they are through their actions. Better the gritty flawed Morse, Rhebus, Hole, Thorne etc.
  Perez is a nice guy though.


The Times Nature Notebook by Jim Dixon on April 7th extols the virtues of the Cromford canal waterway habitat in Derbyshire. Most of the rural canal sections are similar. On our canal travels we have seen buzzards, kites, kingfishers and grass snakes and not even trying. They are great places.
  Eric Gehlhaar and I walked a bit of the Goyt Valley, home to the remains of the Cromford and High Peak railway, another brilliant match of history and countryside. The development of transport, from horse to barge to steam, replacing labour with capital, is a cornerstone of our history.
  All within an ace of Buxton - me and the childbride's favourite spot.


Mozart, Haydn, and now ... Playstation music? by Jonathan Holmes in The Telegraph 12th April explains how to attract younger audiences to classical music. Many games have expensive orchestral accompaniments. 12 of the 300 Classic FM 2015 Hall of Fame pieces were video game scores. The channel now has High Score, a show dedicated to game music, presented by Jessica Curry.
  Composers have to write several versions to cope with the different options that a game throws up. So pretty cool and complex. There are well known composers: Jason Graves, John Cage, Philip Glass, Tommy Tallarico, Martin O'Donnell.
  The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform Uncharted 2:Among Thieves on May 30 at Royal Albert Hall.
  And yes I have listened to some of it, but not enough to comment.


A coffee article on the BBC website, by Lora Jones.
  Brazil grow the most followed by Vietnam. Arabica and Robusta are commonest species.
  Finland and Sweden top the drinking list.
  Uk is the most expensive country in which to drink coffee.
  Starbucks and Costa are the commonest UK outlets.
Then a plug for the Fairtrade Foundation safeguarding the livelihoods of farmers.
You probably knew all this.

Dave Walker was 71 last week.

a celebration of sorts which lasted all week.

Last week, I was 71, Jenson was 5 and Emily 7 weeks. Emily Brown and Jazz Stagg (recent special olympic swimming champ) are nursing. Brother Steve looking on. Harper and Knox posing.
I know nothing about the bloke in the glasses.

The Waterside, Slaithwaite. Dave's latest barber.

called in on the off chance as my hair was a shambles - immediate service and a chat

On our way for lunch after getting my fix from Darkwoods. Way overdue for a haircut. I'll pop in here.
  Big bloke, big beard, big tattoo. Sat in the entrance hall, behind a desk.
  "Any windows?"
  "Yes, several," pointing to the floor-to-ceiling glass all around. He then stood up, even bigger than sitting, and pointed to an empty chair.
  "What can I do for you?" Accent of an antipodean.
  "Number 4 all over, ears and eyebrows."
  I thought I'd check out his netball, but he was New Zealand, who are number 2 in the world, though not at the moment. He'd heard of netball, and rugby come to think of it, but obviously not his main subject.
  Two thirds done, "That's a lot better," observing his handiwork.
  "Yes it gets in a tangle."
  "Well you do have some fine areas. I'd worry if you were 21."
  "It takes five years off me."
  "Age or lifespan? That will be a fiver."
  Who said I was grumpy.
  Called in Aldi for some cheap cans and lunch at The Huntsman which was not cheap. Good Saturday mornings work.

Married for 45 years and still talking to each other when playing boules

We were happy to celebrate Ann and Dave's wedding anniversary at a recent Friday afternoon boules session

Dave and Ann (without the e) have been married for ages. On certain Friday afternoons throughout the year, they kindly host a friendly session of Boules. Dave is a semi-pro boules instructor with Huddersfield U3a and tolerates the rest of us. He is what is known as a 'shooter' (see below) and can dampen our enthusiasm when he knocks our prize shots into next week. We are soon friends again if he misses. Okay when he's on your side - 'like a bridge ...'
  We have our idiosyncrasies. Imparting lateral spin rather than back spin, bowling the boules as in crown green, expressing disappointment at a bad shot and having concerns at the referee's decisions. One of the more unpredictable features of the game, in addition to skill levels, is the pitch. Fine gravel and stones and unpublishable expletives when our efforts are no longer under our control - if they ever were.
  Geoff Gill, taking two weeks away from France, sidled up to me at choir rehearsal. Apparently he tried to buy tickets at the train station from one of the machines in the foyer. He didn't say where he was going. Like many an oldie, this technology got the better of him - until a vision in purple came to his assistance. None other than Dave Talboys in his role as all round Mr railway nice guy who helps old ladies to cross the lines and gives people hope when they do not have a clue.
  My giving up being grumpy for Lent came up in conversation, as the Good Friday deadline has come and gone. Ann (without the e) was interested how I had got into that spat at pilates. "Well, two girls tried to take my space. They did it for a joke, but I didn't laugh." Ann was hugely sympathetic and regaled us with many a tale of school staff room seating protocols. "Primary schools are the worst. On one of my first days, the head suggested I didn't sit down at break time until everyone else had settled." Does that mean I can go back to being grumpy again?
  The chocolate cake was stunning - concept and taste. Baked by Anne (with an e).
  I was on of the winning team as part of the regular season - hurray. The additional invitation final game however, we lost on the final throw - boo.

Pétanque (French pronunciation: ​[petɑ̃k]Occitanpetanca [peˈtaŋkɔ]) is a form of boules where the goal is to toss or roll hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally "piglet") or jack,[1] while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground. The game is normally played on hard dirt or gravel. It can be played in public areas in parks, or in dedicated facilities called boulodromes. Clic for more
Players who are skillful enough to shoot effectively are called shooters; players who usually point are called pointers. (The French terms are tireur and pointeur, respectively.) As a matter of strategy, pointers play first and shooters are held in reserve in case the opponents place well. Good pointing is what scores points, but national and international championships are usually dominated by skillful shooters, who target any opposing boule that comes close to scoring.

Easter 2018 - Yorkshire and Hepworth sculpture

Hepworth Gallery, Wakefield. An Easter weekend with friends from Scotland, including a giant fish at the Catch restaurant, Holmfirth.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Zak Ové (British Trinidadian) - Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Blackness - “reignite and reinterpret lost culture using new-world materials, whilst paying tribute to both spiritual and artistic African identity”.
Hepworth in Wakefield - 'Winged Figure'

Not everybody's choice, but a bit of culture amongst the visiting, eating and drinking over the Easter weekend. Not the biggest fish in the world - more than enough for me at The Catch restaurant, Holmfirth.

I think Big Dave likes babies. For a group of oldies, we don't look too bad. Joan is still working part-time, but not for much longer - the re-registration police are after her. She is gearing up for some charity work to fill the gap. They've both got dicky joints somewhere in their legs - limping and doing the stairs rather gingerly. And by now will be on a month's American coast cruise with Panama Canal. I can't wait for the Facebook photographic deluge - I can actually.

Emily is 8lb and more.