Sweets

Pownall’s didn’t look anything like this

When I was a kid and I walked to and from school (paedophilaphobia hadn’t been invented then and so it was perfectly safe to allow children to walk to school) I would pass a lovely little newsagents called Doreen Pownells. Mrs Pownells shop had a lovely smell of calor gas heaters, damp newspapers and icing sugar. The walls were lined on two sides with huge jars of sweets, the other with a small selection of magazines and household essentials. The window display consisted of little pocket money toys and advertisements for popular beverages of the time. The window of the door was bedecked with little adverts one might find in a small shop from people advertising tutoring, cars and cleaning services.

Ah. Mrs Pownells. I can still smell the foisty shop. I can still picture the little yellow tray within which she would vend penny sweets and chews to passing children. I can still picture the beautifully grand cash register. I can still recall the glee at finding half a penny on the floor and rushing in to buy an aniseed ball.

No wonder I have so many fillings.

If I was lucky I might have 10p to spend on my way home. Remember that 10p back then was a lot of money. It would buy you a bag of ten penny sweets or twenty half penny sweets. Penny sweets usually consisted of jazzies, fizzy cola bottles and jellies, Two pence sweets where a bit more adventurous and would mainly comprise of flumps, mojos and blackjacks. If one were lucky enough to have 20p to spend a whole world of luxury was open to you. For there were 5p sweets there too. 5p sweets usually consisted of Bazooka Jo chewing gums and the like. Further more, should one be fortuitous to manage to rustle up a whole pound coin for your sweet indulgences one would find themselves able to afford the 10p beheamoths that were Jawbreakers; a packet of 3 of the hardest gobstoppers you can imagine that actually changed flavour as you sucked them. Ah it is no wonder I have fillings. The amount of money I must have spent in passing would these day probably have fed a family of 6 a couple of soggy chips from the back of the deep fryer.

Sadly now Pownells has long closed. I believe it now sells hot tubs or is a poodle manicurists or something daft. I fear that this is mostly because children no longer walk home from school and no longer spend their hard begged pennies on rubbish like sweets. Woolton village had, at that time, a total of seven newsagents/sweetshops. This, I am sure you agree, is a phenomonal amount to have in such a small location, but all did a very good trade until the coming of the supermarkets and the arrival of paedophilaphobia. This once great selection has diminished to a poxy 2 sweet shops, one of which, Browns, is situated near a high school bus stop so will always do well, the other near the village chippy, a favorite haunt of lunchtime school evaders. Indeed, the village fete magazine which used be issued annually to all villagers for the princely sum of £1, did, in previous times, bulge with small advertisements from the local businesses. Sadly most of these shops, as I say, have gone. The Village Fete is a closed affair if it happens at all, and the village is now just a series of streets with estate agents selling luxury apartments linking the two major supermarkets that have sucked the soul out of the place.

Jazzies yesterday.

The rich diversity. The colourfulness, the SWEETS. All gone. I fear generations will rise not knowing what a jazzie is. I shudder at the thought of children completing highschool without ever tasting a fizzy cola bottle from a penny mix. Though, my fear may be misguided. I know there are online sweet shops that still stock gems like jazzies and cola bottles. I am well aware that you can nip down to Costco and get a box of WHAM bars. The difference is, buying them from a faceless cash and carry or online shop is no substitute for buying them from a crappy little dodgy newsagent using the 5p you’ve managed to forage from gutters and pavements and then running home clutching a grubby looking paper bag. Nor do you have to explain to your mum why you have no appetite for your dinner.

Kids today eh? They don’t know what they’re missing (Probably because they are allergic).


This post first appeared in 2009 on my Livejournal.

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There and back again and there and back again Part 1

Picture if you will a pub in Liverpool about 4 weeks ago.

**wibbly visual effect used to signify reflection on past events**

 

Stegzy:- You’re on holiday next month. I’m on holiday next month…let’s go camping!

Nick:- Yes that sounds like fun.

Stegzy:- Look I’ve put it in my shiny new HTC FLYER on the CALENDAR. AUGUST. 20th

Nick:- Ace! Can’t wait.

**Cue calendar flipping sequence signifying moving forward through time**

So I’m set. Set for a walking and camping trip to North Wales. At the end of August.

Capture1

Blissful….

Capture2

However……

 

**Calendar flipping sequence ceases 24th July**

Stegzy:- Bloody hell. Nick’s a bit keen. He’s been texting me all week asking about what we will be doing during our holiday in August.

Zoefruitcake:- Maybe he is excited.

Stegzy:- Hmm…this text is worrying. It seems to hint that there may be an issue with the month…..

Capture3Capture4

Oh cocking hell!

So I called him. Was he winding me up? No. He wasn’t. While talking I made up a list of items to chuck into the car for an impromptu camping trip. Problem was…I didn’t have a tent anymore. Well I did. Just it was in Yorkshire. With the wife. Fortunately everything else, the table, the chair, the stoves, pans and ancillary camping equipment were safely in a pre-packed crate in Zoe’s Craft Hut. The tent….that was in Yorkshire.

As you can see from the screenshots, this was about half past six on the Sunday evening. A call to Clair received the thumbs up for a tent collection while Nick booked the camp site and prepared for a late night visit from me.

I sped up the M69 and M1 to Yorkshire and collected the tent then after a quick bite to eat and a catch-up, I sped along the M62 to Crosby near Liverpool arriving at an ungodly hour of 1am.

Liverpool

Having a weekend in Liverpool. It’s nice to catch up with peeps. Chew the fat. Make plans all parties know will never be fulfilled.

Smithdown Road has changed. Fast food shops everywhere. It is a shade of the place it was when I lived there above the fishing tackle shop. The vibrancy has gone. The cosmopolitanity eroded. I get the idea of how it should be. I can imagine how it could be. Fine dining. Interesting mix of food choices. But no. It’s kebab, burger or pizza? How about some nice fried “chicken”? Maybe you’d like some suspicious meats in sauces? Cheap, mass produced junk. Street food.

Sure, at the other end of Smithdown, along Allerton Road, the nouveux riche pretend that the teaspoon of over priced nouvelle cuisine they are nibbling at will burst their belts or somehow cause them to become unattractive to the casually smart shaven meat heads that they hope to drag, cavewoman like, back to their rabbit hutches. The longer I am away the more I notice changes for the worse. Progress, I’m told.

And yet the underlying theme this weekend is middle class job insecurities. The lack of work and prospects. The realisation that society thinks that late thirties is past it. It seems that my friends and I have all realised, we are not where we should be. We’ve found that Ten years have got behind us. No one told us when to run. We’ve missed the starting gun. Exactly as Uncle Roger told warned us.

Hot off the press

Call to restrict Scouse scenes

An anti-scouse group in Manchester is calling for all movies and television shows with scousers in scenes to be given an 18 certificate or banned.
ScouseFree Liverpool told BBC’s Radio 5 Live it wanted to see the change and the government said the idea was “rather well thought out”.

The push – backed by Manchester city council – comes amid research showing young people pick up bad habits from watching films containing Scousers.

One city official said Manchester may even act alone to restrict film access.

Colin Scarborough, the city’s head of public protection and chair of ScouseFree Liverpool, said an adult rating on movies that depict scousers will reduce the number of young people signing on.

“The international evidence…is that one in two children between 11 and 18 who witness scousers in movies actually experiment with – and therefore start – signing on themselves,” Mr Scarborough said of recent research.

Liverpool already carries the unenviable title of Scouse capital of England, with some of the highest scouser rates in the UK.

Mr Scarborough said Manchester wants the British Board of Film Classification to act.

But a spokeswoman for the film board said scenes with Scousers in are already taken into consideration when a film is rated and a blanket 18 certificate for all scouse scenes is “a really good idea”.
“I know of one child that went on to steal wheel trims and car radios, another entered into a life of crime after watching an episode of Brookside” the spokeswoman said, adding an extensive public consultation has already examined the issue to come up with existing guidelines.

For example, if a character popular with children such as Harry Potter was somehow from Liverpool or seen talking to Scousers, the film would be rated accordingly, she said.

“We would take that very seriously,” she added.

Dr Stacey Anderson, of the UK Centre for Scouser Control Studies, said the evidence of Scouser’s influence on young people is very clear.

“The more scousers a child views in films and television, the more likely they are to take up signing on or shifty behaviour,” she said of the scientific evidence gathered in the United States and elsewhere.

Dr Anderson said characters do not even have to be scouse for there to be an adverse influence, just the sight of the Liver Buildings or St Johns Tower has an effect on youth attitude.

She said if part of the role of the film board is to protect young people from potential harm, then being scouse should be included in those considerations.

Mr Scarborough said if the BBFC is not prepared to adopt an 18 certificate then the city of Manchester will consider using licensing laws to bring in its own stricter ratings for films screened locally.

Holiday pt 5: conclusion

My god! Will it never end!

The car all packed

Where was I? Oh yeah…Conway.
So we did Conway. The weather there was stonkingly splendid but our return to Anglesey brought disheartening thoughts. For over the Menai Straits sat a big nasty black cloud. It was raining. Still. The winds hadn’t abated much. The promise of further bad weather on the Sunday just made us more miserable. Never the less after a slap up meal in the “Steak House” (They did one type of steak, mine was ok but jimrock sent his back for a refund because it was over done). The Maelog Hotel was pap.

The next morning we bade farewell to Sarah and Steve and journeyed out to the mainland once more. This time to observe the old people in Llandudno. jimrock sat and listened to the Grand Prix in the car was feeling a bit off colour so chose to stay in his car. Llandudno, despite how much praise billzy piles on the place, is like waiting room for death row. The place is littered with charity shops and residential hotels. A good deal of Liverpool’s elderly population go there to die. And rightly so. It’s a nice place to die. Much nicer than Rhyl or Talacre. Or Rhos-on-Sea.

Give it 10 years and it’ll be exactly like Rhyl and Talacre 😉

Anyway…utterly depressed Becky and jimrock decided that the risk of further bad weather was too much and that the comfort of home was too tempting. So they, and Ricky & Ashley, chose to depart on the Monday.

Monday came. Glorious weather. Thus further fishing adventures were called for. Mrs Gnomepants caught a further 5 mackerel, jimrock just caught the sun and the sea. After what seemed like half an hour but what was infact several hours, we returned to the beach for a quick dip before heading back to camp to say farewell after a delicious mackerel dinner. Mrs Gnomepants and I, Big Steve & Rach elected to stay. And so our relaxed Tuesday morning was spent cleaning up the camp, packing up and heading back to Liverpool.

After camp party

That afternoon I popped into CSD at the University where I used to work (which is where billzy now works) met up with billzy and everybody else. It was delightful seeing everybody. I just wish I had longer to stick around and catch up with everybody’s gossip. That evening we headed out to Chez jimrock where copious drinks and chilli was had for the last time in their little flat in Lark Lane.

Our return to Yorkshire on the Wednesday was accompanied by a visit from Scott; back from the ships briefly.The rest of the holiday? Well I squandered that playing internet games and loafing about. But I tell you what, I had a bloody good time doing so!

The M1 home!


 

Hands

My appointment for the neurology tests finally came through on Saturday. Not bad considering I put in for them in June of last year. Granted an appointment came through for the Neurological Centre in Liverpool in August but it was a week too late and I’d moved to Yorkshire. When I went to see Dr Selim he seemed to dismiss my request to be referred to a neurologist on request of my cardiologist and I’d almost got to a point where I was going to write to him and say “Oi you…do as I ask!” when the appointment came through.

I’ve been having really bad pins and needles in my arms when I wake in the morning. This has been going on for nearly 2 years now and it is seemingly getting worse. The cardiologist said it wasn’t circulatory or owt and that it was more than likely neurological. Hence the appointment.

So I’m going to have needles put in my muscles and they’ll see if my motor neurones work as they should. I think they will. I feel fine like I said. Just hate having dead, non-functioning arms every morning. Have you tried turning off your alarm clock when your hands wont function? It’s well weird.

That’s on the 15th.

Mum & Dad are coming on the 8th. I’m quite excited. They gave us strict instructions not to take time off work so we didn’t. We plan to take them to the New Wheatsheaf on Friday and we also have some little jobs to keep them occupied most of their stay (The doors need new locks, the tank in the loft needs it’s ball cock float valve adjusting (Float valve?! What was wrong with ball cock?!), the kitchen could do with a new slidey door and we could do with the washing machine plumbing in please ta thanks). We’re going to gauge what weekend they next intend to go away so that the wife and I can sneak off to Liverpool and have a few nights out without having to worry about being back too late. I really need to catch up with some people like Nick & Sarah, Jim & Becky and some people from CSD.

Also planned is two days off during half term. The wife and I got hardly any gardening done at the weekend, nor is the weekend long enough for us to do what we need to do AND find a new bathroom suite, so we intend to take 2 days off during the week to get things sorted in both the house and the garden.

Buses

Buses in Liverpool have had a No Smoking policy for sometime, although I think that rule only applies to the passengers and not the engines of old dilapidated buses that some of the bus companies run. However, that doesnt stop the majority of under 21’s sitting on the back seat chuffing away hiding their burning butts in their cupped hands.

Today was no exception.

If I do have to get the bus I try to sit as near to the front as possible, normally because the intimidating types tend to congregate at the back; gob, urinate, leave curries or deface the seats and also because Liverpool bus drivers think they’re a cross between Benny Goodman and Ayrton Sennacot, speed past your stop and unless you have lightning reflexes and the balance of an acrobat you end up at the Pier Head when you want to get off at Brownlow Hell. Unfortunatley, all the seats at the front where empty so reluctantly I had to join the rough types at the back. School kids mainly, you know the sort, the ones that just loafed about at school, no ambition to succeed, as far as they’re concerned “why bother?”. Sure enough they were smoking ciggies and being generally obnoxious.

Their conversation brought a grin to my face (although I internalized the grin for fear of getting my head kicked in so it probably looked like I had wind or toothache).

Scally 1: yeah an’ like i was ded chonged like lahhh *
Scally 2: waz ya? I was chongin’ from like 7 till 4:15 last night
Scally 1: yeah well I once chonged from like 4 till 4:30

Obviously a bollocks “one-up-manship” competition was going on. This amuzing competition continued with

Scally 2: I had 21 packets of cigs the other day…smoked the lot of them
Scally 1: yeah well I once smoked 10 packs before 12 then when we went out we had another 17 packs….it was great

It was a wonder they were still alive!!

Anyway, further adventures on the bus involved :-

  • a woman with the same model phone as me
  • a child wiping its nose on the seat, Mum didnt give a shit
  • emotionless people crammed like sardines
  • drivers still using mobile phones when driving
  • a woman driving her kids to school in her dressing gown and nightie
  • a woman bottle feeding her child while driving at 30 mph (towards traffic lights)

Its a wonder any of us are still alive!

*Translation Corner*

Chonged – Stoned, normally through use of pot/ganja
Chongin – smoking pot/ganja
lahhh abrv. Lad , similar to mate, buddy, pal, chum

I hate buses.