Maggi Green

Maggi Green

Sunday, 29 October 2017 20:34

Christmas Sausages

It was Christmas Eve.  The skies were miserable and the streets dank and dreary.  I was 8.  My Mam was working harder than ever getting ready for Christmas, cleaning and baking and fussing about and my Dad was out of sorts.  He was mostly a bad-tempered hypochondriac but he could be charming and funny and loving aswell.  And we loved him.  His temper that day was not improved by the discovery that there were no Palethorpe sausages for breakfast on Christmas morning.  

He would only eat Palethorpe's sausages.  He thought they were the best. He was always very rude about Wall's sausages.  So I was bundled into my coat before I could protest too much and sent on a message to Villette Road where Adie's the Fishmonger sold Palethorpe's. Only, Adie's had closed early.  My last chance was Walter Wilson's Grocer's Shop.  Walter Wilson's had sausages alright but they were chipolatas, not proper fat sausages and they were skinless(even at 8 I knew this was wrong).  They were also a nasty bright pink colour.  Worst of all they were made by Walls.  

I stared at the chill cabinet, frozen by indecision.  These were the only sausages I was likely to find.   But they were Wall's skinless chipolata sausages, not Palethorpe's.  Damned if I did and damned if I didn"t.  
Time was running out.  I decided it was better to have something than nothing and I took the independent decision to buy them, feeling a little bit proud of myself.  

 

That didn't last long.  There was murder when I got home, shouts of disbelief, in which 'Wall's' figured a lot, cries of "I  'told you!', lots of 'tch!' and shaking of the head.  My Dad was behaving as if  I had done something terrible to him on purpose. I tried to plead for sympathy.  I did not think I deserved all this carry on when I had done as I was told as far as I could.  He calmed down after a bit but the Christmas feeling was severely bruised and we were all a bit quiet before me and my brother went to bed.

 

There was no listening out for Jingle Bells that night, no delight in anticipation of the gifts to come.  I was consumed by fury and determined to do something.  I had to work out what I could do to turn the situation round and show my Dad to be in the wrong, as I believed he was with all my heart.  I would show him!

 

I thought of those nasty looking bright pink chipolatas in the pantry downstairs and how much better Christmas would be if they had never been allowed in the house and it came to me that I could put things back the way they should have been.  I had some money in a money box and expected more in my stocking.  I would get up early, cook the sausages, eat them and give my Mam the five shillings they had cost.

 

I'm not sure if I slept at all.  I was up at 5, dragging my sleepy 4 year old brother behind me.  He always had a healthy appetite and a pound of sausages, especially Wall's, was a bit of a challenge for me on my own.  I thought we could eat half a pound each but it turned out he wasn't very hungry at that time of the morning and I had to force and cajole him one sausage at a time.  I think he ate three, maybe it was two and a half.  And I, girlfully, ate the rest, even though I preferred Palethorpe sausages like my Dad. I could eat thirteen nasty sausages if I had to

 

When my Mam and Dad got up and I triumphantly gave them payment for the sausages, I was in more trouble.  I knew I would be.  But I sensed a moral victory.  My Dad never apologised but he was a bit sheepish.

 

Later on I didn't feel like eating much Christmas Dinner.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017 14:24

This Is How Fish and Chips Should Be

This is how Fish and Chips should be:

First the fish should be fresh, 

Fresh as the flick of a tail,

Tender, succulent but firm,

White, breaking easily into

Curved Flakes,

Delicately flavoured.

 

Encased in a fine, light,

But completely covering,

Crispy batter with 

Rococo frills and curls.

The batter must be cooked

Inside and out.

Nobody likes 

Fish covered in

Wallpaper paste.

 

Fat  hot chips

Fluffy and soft inside

Crispy outside

Fried in

Dripping

Or something else 

For vegetarians.

 

You only need

Salt and vinegar

And somewhere to sit

So you can eat them 

As quickly as possible.

 

You don’t need

Mushy peas

Or Ketchup

But..

If you must…

 

Best of all

Eat within the sight 

And sound

Of the Sea.

 
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 19:28

A new word every day

Hi Guys,
              The address for a new word every day is dictionary.com.
Monday, 16 October 2017 18:13

The Teenager

She lies
Smooth
And sinuous
On the settee.

Her movement
Is rare
And then
Easy 
And Economical.

She likes 
The fleece
Because 
Of her cold
Blood.

A Red Spitting
Cobra
Looks serene
Until
It opens
Its jaws.

The raised
Hood
Is a 
Warning.

Snakes 
In this
Family
Cannot
Fold
Their fangs.
Monday, 16 October 2017 02:15

Seven ways to know the Sea

In the sea

I am almost 

Water.

 

Outside the Hotel Window,

The halyards

Chink and clink

Against the masts,

Singing us to sleep.

 

In the morning 

The yachts are gone.

 

Here were Liburnians,

Illyrians, Greeks 

And Romans, 

Straining to move

Heavy wooden ships

And change the world.

 

The leaky life raft 

Made to hold 35 people

Holds 50.

4 are dead already.  

One is a child.

 

High Density Polyethylene,

Low Density Polyethylene,

Polypropylene,

PolyethyleneTerephthalate,

Styrene.

We have turned

The World’s Oceans

Into plastic soup.

 

At home,

A piece of 

Pale green sea glass.

Listens to a shell.  

Can you hear the dying?

 

The distant sound 

Of a fairground Organ.

The smell of fish and chips

 
Monday, 16 October 2017 02:13

Shakespeare

OK.  

I’m having an affair.

I haven’t been keeping it secret

It’s just..

It crept up on me.

And you know what a tart he is.

And fickle!

One minute it’s all 

Parting is such sweet..etc

And the next he’s going on 

About car batteries.

He can talk though,

Knows about everything.

I can, I do

Listen to him for hours.

I find myself repeating 

Things he says,

Stories he tells.

Of course 

I know I’m not

The only one.

I knew him at Uni.

He’s always been popular.

Yes, I know,

He’s married.

He married young.

He doesn’t bother with her much.

She stays in the Midlands

With the kids.

I think he might be Catholic.

He never says anything about it. 

Probably the only thing 

He doesn’t venture an opinion about.

Meanwhile he’s been all over 

The world.

There is nowhere he can’t go.

We’ve had a few casual meetings 

Over the years.  

Last time was in London.

Well, the suburbs.

Alright. I went on purpose,

Engineered a meeting

And he followed me home.

Been a constant presence 

Ever since.

Turned up at the pub.

 

He says Cupid is a wicked bastard.

I love him with enraged affection.

 
Monday, 11 September 2017 18:46

Not Going to Granda's Funeral

Children's voices, a skipping game: the big ship sailed...North East accents
 
 
Lilian (about 10):  Your Granda's dead
 
Catherine: (6)    :   No he's not, he's poorly.
 
Bernadette(10)  :  Have you seen him?
 
Catherine          :  (quietly) I'm not allowed in his room  
 
Bernadette        :  They probably just haven't told you
 
Lilian                 :  He's dead, me Mam told me
 
 
Adult Catherine:  And he was. I felt right shown up, not even knowing when me own Granda died.  Delivering such important news to the girls in the street would have meant 
                            something to me.  But I was so insignificant that nobody in my own family thought to tell me.  Did they not think I'd find out? They probably didn't tell the 
                            neighbours  either.  It's amazing what you can learn twitching curtains all day.
 
Dad                   :  No you can't see him
 
Catherine          :  Well can I go to the Funeral?  When Is it?
 
Dad                   : (gently)  It's on Friday but you can't go.  Funerals aren't for children
 
Catherine          :  But where am I going to go?  Why can't I go?
 
Dad                   :  You are not going.  We'll take you to Uncle Frank's and Auntie Sal' s and Linda will look after you while we are at the funeral.
 
Adult
Catherine          :  There was no point arguing.  I think me Dad wanted to protect me from Death, remembering when his Mam died.  But I was going to the Nuns for 
                             Catholic Instruction and to Mass every Sunday so I knew about Hell and Mortal Sin.  I don't think I could have explained then that I felt that it was 
                             an important family occasion that I felt I should be able to take part in.  I felt I was entitled to a certain status as the cousin who lived with my Granda
                            (together with my mother, father and baby brother)and that status was being denied me.   I had some much older cousins who would be able to go.  
                             Maybe that's why I was always desperate to grow up.  So I could go to funerals.
 
                            So on Friday I was dressed up like I was going to church, best coat and new shoes, and was delivered up to my teenage cousin Linda and her cousin 
                           Christine, from her Mam's side.  I liked them well enough but I knew the perils of being with older girls. I had a terrible time being the youngest girl in the 
                           Square where I lived.
 
                             I took some comfort from the fact that we would be able to listen to records on Linda's Dansette but I was horrified to find that we weren't allowed in the 
                             house and would have to wander around the Estate all day.
 
Catherine         :  But when are they coming back?
 
Linda                : I don't know...this afternoon
 
Catherine         :  But what are we going to do?
 
Linda                :  I don't know.  What do you want to do?
 
Catherine         :  I want to go to the house because these shoes are killing my feet.
 
Linda                :  Well we can't do that.  We can go for a walk
 
Catherine         :  But my feet hurt
 
Chris                :  We'll walk slowly
 
Catherine         :  And what about our dinner?  
 
Linda                :  We'll get it when they come back.  Come on,  It will be alright.
 
 
So off we went, up and down roads I didn't know, heading for the field with the horses in it, Linda and Chris ahead and me trailing behind, just close enough to eavesdrop.
 
Chris               :  So what's he like, your boyfriend ?
 
Linda               :  He's nice looking and he's good at football.
 
Chris               :  Have you kissed him yet?   
 
Linda               :  No. He only asked us to be his girlfriend on Wednesday.  He said he'd take uz to the pictures
 
                            (They laugh and squeal)
Chris               :  You'd better hope Uncle Frank doesn't find out or he'll lock you in your bedroom!
 
Catherine        :  Linda!  There's some boys coming over the fence.  (Shouts and noises from a charging bunch of boys, about eight of them)
 
Linda               :  Oh bugger!  Run!
 
Adult 
Catherine        :  Run! In my new shoes and blisters on my heels! There were about eight of them.  The kind of rough boys I knew to be scared of.  They caught us of course. 
                          I hoped Chris and Linda could sort it out.  The leader was hard looking in his raggy jersey.
 
Leader            :  (to his troops)  Keep hold of them.  Don't let them go. (To us)  This is our field.  You can't come in it
 
Linda              :  (Defiant, not convincingly)  It's not your field.  They aren't your horses.
 
Leader            :  That doesn't matter.  It's ours.  And we can get you if we want to.  We could beat you up.  You have to give us a kiss and we'll let you go.
 
Adult
Catherine       : I was horrified and relieved and very scared.  I didn't know about sex yet but I could feel threat and fear and it wasn't just about getting hit.  
                         And there were more of them and they were boys and they were bigger than me.  I was relieved at the thought of being let go and at not having to do 
                         any kissing on account of being six.  So Linda and Chris kissed them.  One of the boys kept hold of my arm.
 
Linda              :  Right, we've kissed yiz  all so we're going.
 
Leader            :  What about her?
 
Linda              :  Leave her alone.  She's only six.
 
Leader            :  She's here isn't she?  Come here you (to Catherine)
 
Adult 
Catherine       :  I was really scared now.  I couldn't run, I couldn't scream and I couldn't get away from this boy and there was nobody who could help me.
 
Leader           :  Show uz your knickers.
 
Adult
Catherine      :  I couldn't move.  Linda and Chris didn't move.  Everybody was dead quiet.
 
Leader          :  Show uz your knickers
 
Adult 
Catherine      :  I slowly lifted up my dress and he watched me. It seemed I stood like that for a long time.  I thought how he might decide to murder me and would my Mam 
                        and Dad find me
 
Leader           :  All right, yiz can go.
 
Adult 
Catherine      :  We ran. My heels really hurt but fear gives you wings.
                         We went and sat on the grass outside Linda's house till the grown-ups came back.
                        
 
 
 
Monday, 11 September 2017 17:16

Public toilets

Old ladies and toilets.  You are probably waiting for a funny story now.  But it's not that funny when you think about it.  And it's not just about old ladies. There are conditions affecting women and men of all ages, meaning they have a more urgent need to go to the toilet, however, it is estimated that there are 3 - 6 million people suffering from urinary incontinence, more than half of them over 65 and most of them women.

It seems ridiculous to have to point out in the 21st Century that we need public toilets.  But we do.  We need public toilets if we do not want people suffering the embarassment and humiliation of soiling themselves or having to dodge down back alleys and behind bushes, to say nothing of any physical discomfort involved.

In a cinema queue at the weekend , a woman in her sixties told me if she is going out she always thinks about the availability of toilets.  If there are no accessible toilets in public places some people will stay at home rather than run the risk of being caught short, further increasing the growing isolation and loneliness that blights our society and particularly affects older people.

Would you be surprised to learn that there is no requirement that Councils should provide public toilets? The Public Health Act of 1936 gave councils the power to do so but there is no compulsion. In 2016, in answer to a Freedom of Information request, a council official stated:

"Liverpool City council does not own or operate any public toilets" 

They used to.  Maybe you remember some of them and you could write to me about them.  The Victorians built many grand public buildings, including toilets.  I have read that, in the last ten years, between 40% to 50% of public toilets in this country have disappeared.  It is very hard to find reliable data.  I do not know how many Liverpool used to have.  I know that in 2007 and 2008 when Liverpool was preparing for and celebrating its year as Capital of Culture, Liverpool City Council sold off two public toilets for a total of £182,000.  And subsequently welcomed 10 million visitors in 2008.

In 2008, the Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government criticised Liverpool (and Cardiff, Birmingham and Edinburgh) for poor toilet provision and recommended that local authorities should include provision of public toilets in their local strategies.

Liverpool City Council has said that there is plenty provision in bars, cafes, restaurants, museums, galleries and stations BUT many places discourage non-customers from using their toilets, in stations you often need a ticket to access the toilets.  In other places the toilets are not easily accessible.  If you are in a hurry or have mobility problems or have children, you may not have the time to cross town and go up to the sixth floor.

It is a basic human right to have access to a toilet.  I believe there should be easily accessible staffed toilets in public areas: City Centres, Parks, Shopping Areas.

What do you think?

NOTE: The new demographic was close to mine.  I tried to change the focus but decided also to change the tone 
Monday, 04 September 2017 18:40

I WILL LOVE YOU EVERLY

The instruments, clear and lovely,
Matched and balanced by genes
And by years of practice.
Singing with their Daddy
In cowboy outfits,
Then on their own,
All cheekbones and haircuts
In the 50s,
Waking up Little Susie,
Saying Bye-bye Love,
Being Cathy's Clown.
Their voices bending, curling
Dipping like twin kites,
Locked together 
In an architecture 
Of layering melodies,
Bracing, crossing, 
Peeling away,
Leaving 
A helix of harmony,
Sometimes filled with
A brief solo by Don
Instead of Phil
But mostly together - 
Everly.
Monday, 04 September 2017 13:11

TOILETS AND PUBLIC LIBRARIES

Toilets and Libraries
 
Public toilets and public libraries are two of the foundations of a civilised society and they are both fast disappearing.  Why? Because we are living in an age of austerity and toilets and libraries are easy targets.
 
People should be able to go to the toilet when they need to, free of charge.  If they can't, they end up weeing in public, wetting themselves or not going out.  Many older people, disabled people, people with medical conditions, do not venture out if they are worried about whether there will be toilets. So lack of proper provision can lead to increased social isolation -  something which increases anxiety and poor health.  It's about being clean and hygienic. It's about having dignity and privacy.  It's about public health.  It's a human right.
 
The lack of toilets impacts more on women because it is not so quick and easy for women to wee against a wall.  They can't undress so easily, they can't wee standing up and are more likely to have problems of control after childbirth, meaning they can't wait.
 
If you have to find somewhere to go outdoors, you look bad, feel bad, possibly smell bad and you run the risk of being charged with an offence to boot. There is also the matter of preserving our streets and keeping them clean.  Urine can damage the fabric of a building. Some cities, Chester and San Francisco to name two, use liquid repellent paint in many city corners to create a splash back effect.
 
Liverpool has lots of visitors.  Some come for the football, some for the culture and some come for the drink. In 2008, Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture, there were approximately 10 million visitors to the city.  Hundreds of thousands of people came to see La Princesse , the Giant Spider, alone.  In its preparations for all those visitors, boosting the city's economy,. did Liverpool city Council increase its toilet provision? No. In 2007/2008, it sold 2 public toilets for £182,000.  In the same year, the council was criticised by the House of Commons Select Committee for Communities and Local Government for its poor provision of public toilets.  In response the Council said that there were lots of toilets where people could go:  supermarkets, bars, cafés, restaurants, galleries.  But there aren't many supermarkets in the city centre and not all supermarkets have toilets.  Department stores usually have their toilets on the top floor.  Many places do not like non-customers using their loos.  Some people may be daunted by going into a bar or they may be too young.  Other places are not always open.
 
Excess consumption of alcohol is probably behind most cases of public urination and any campaign for increased toilet provision has to take this into account.
 
In 2016, a reply to a Freedom of Information request stated:   [Liverpool City Council] " does not own or operate any public toilets".
 
Next week:  The attack on public libraries
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