Column: Wonders of life on our doorstep

It's strange that you can live in an area, travel around it regularly but miss what's right under your nose.

Tuesday, 13th September 2016, 5:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th September 2016, 4:01 pm
West End Festival. Picture: Jonathan Bean

That’s exactly how I felt on Saturday when Carla and I went down to the West End Weekend festival and walked the West End Windows route. The route led us around many local shops, which we’ve walked and driven past without ever really noticing what they had to offer. We discovered lots of small niche shops in our short tour of the West End and the ‘Windows’ route was a brilliant way of showcasing them. Like many local people, I can remember when Yorkshire Street was thriving; you could get almost anything you needed on one street and, on a Saturday, the pavements were so full of shoppers that you had to walk on the road if you were in a rush. I’m not sure if it was the road ‘improvements’ which signalled its demise, the closure of Craven’s (best Cornish pasties ever) or simply the opening of the big supermarkets but, with a little more support from local shoppers, I’m sure Yorkshire Street could again become a thriving shopping area. We certainly have the niche shops to make it happen but they need people to visit them and spend money in them. Of course, when you have a thriving area like that, it helps the shops in the surrounding streets and brings money to the area as a whole. A big ‘hats off’ to the organisers of this event; it was an original and innovative way to promote local shops. Once we’d finished the Windows walk and bought our doggy treats and potted shrimps, we had an hour before Carla was due her emergency surgery on a chipped nail, so we decided to do a quick visit to St Barnabas where there was an exhibition we’d been told about. Inside, there was lots of information about the history of St. Barnabas, along with a display of many colourful vestments. We had a chat with Father Tom and Carla (being Carla) asked him if it wasn’t just an excuse to get his wardrobe out. Luckily Father Tom has a great sense of humour and said it only represented about a third of his wardrobe, so he’s clearly got more clothes than Carla. This weekend sees our daughter leave home to go and study forensic science at Liverpool John Moore’s University; then it will be just Carla and me rattling around at home. I’m not sure how I feel about this.

I won’t be able to blame anyone else for leaving their pots unwashed or for drinking all the milk; Carla’s going to know it’s me from now on. That is unless I can teach the dog to open the fridge, it’s a bit of a long shot but….you never know. I’ll try training her with the doggy treats and, if that doesn’t work, we’ll just have to share the potted shrimps and I’ll fess up to drinking all the milk.