Monday, 27 March 2017

Massive Wirral explosion

My brother, GB, often comments how fortunate he and I are not to have lived through a War.  (Technically, he did because he was born just  before the D Day landings of World War II though two years after the end of the Liverpool Blitz in which around 4,000 people were killed – a death toll second only to London.)  It was the Blitz of which Merseysiders were reminded on Saturday night when my son came from his room – with the TV on quite loud - into the kitchen to ask ‘What was that big bang?’

It turned out to be a gas explosion in New Ferry six miles away.  Over thirty people were injured but, by the grace of God or the Fates, only two are in a serious condition, though one of those is in a critical condition.  Had it been an hour earlier the Dance Studio, which was completely demolished, would have been full of children.

Sadly, Lan’s Chinese Restaurant is among the many buildings demolished or damaged (probably beyond repair).  Last time he stayed with us GB treated us to a meal there and Partner-who-loves-tea and I had talked about going there for a meal this week!  The spot where GB parked his car that night was completely buried under rubble.  Eighteen people in the restaurant were injured.  Prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected but most especially the two in a serious condition.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Pretty in pink ??????

This is an extract from The Guardian's introduction to the cars and drivers of the 2017 F1 season which has begun this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix.

I had to laugh and wonder if the advert for Disney's Beauty and the Beast was a subtle comment on the new Force India livery.   All the F1 cars are beasts and I love to hear them roar.  This year the tyres and cars are wider and look even better than they have for a few years.   Most of them are beautiful.  But not, in my view, the Force India!

The team has a new sponsor - BWT (Best Water Technology). Good for them - F1 needs all the sponsorship it can get.  Although the BWT logo colours are blue and white they have a range of products including -

As a result the Force India F1 car has ended up being pink.

Not everyone will agree with me but I have to say from my point of view F1 cars are not pretty in pink!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Guide to Drinking Tea

Found on the wall of the delightful Rosie Lea tearooms in Hoylake on the Wirral peninsula.  (Click to enlarge).

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Empire Inn Sign

At the corner of Hanover Street and Wood Street in Liverpool there is a pub called The Empire.  It has had that name since its reconstruction around 1914 prior to which it was the Dewdrop Inn.

A traditional Liverpool drinking den, it is "hard to imagine anybody spending an entire night in the Empire. Little more than a small room hugging the corner of Wood and Hanover Streets, it stands too close to the hip-happening places to warrant anything more than a quick visit while you wait for queues elsewhere to die down."  So says one of the local reviewers of pubs and clubs.

I  suspect it got its patriotic name from the air of jingoism that prevailed at the outset of the First World War. The picture on the sign does not appear to bear any direct relationship to the name.

A police report from 1892 stated "This house has been most unsatisfactorily conducted during the past year.  The police, when visiting, continually find large numbers of prostitutes on the premises. "  The magistrates ignored the police objection to the renewal of the premises' licence and 125 years later The Empire is still going strong.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

P C Keith Palmer

Keith Palmer, the unarmed policeman who was stabbed to death by a terrorist as he stood guard outside Parliament, has been described by Theresa May as "every inch a hero" whose "actions will never be forgotten".  The 48-year-old husband and father was attacked by a man armed with two knives in the grounds of the Houses of Parliament.  The assailant, who moments earlier had struck a number of pedestrians with a car on Westminster Bridge before crashing the vehicle into railings outside Parliament, was shot dead by armed police following the attack on the officer.  Conservative MP James Cleverly, who served with PC Palmer in the Royal Artillery, described the officer as "a lovely man".  A minute's silence was held nationwide at 9.33am, including in the Palace of Westminster and at New Scotland Yard, to commemorate the three innocent people killed in Wednesday's assault on Westminster.  The time for the silence was chosen in honour of murdered police officer PC Palmer's shoulder number - 933.

The two other innocent victims have been named as teacher Aysha Frade and American tourist Kurt Cochrane.  Around 40 people were injured - some critically - and thousands more will never forget their traumatic experiences.

Even as officers shouted for people to stay back in the immediate aftermath of the terror attack, Foreign Office Minister Tobias Ellwood MP rushed forward to try to help the fallen police officer.  The 51-year-old former Army officer fought to resuscitate PC Palmer, giving him mouth-to-mouth as he lay bleeding on the cobbled courtyard at the foot of the Houses of Parliament.  But his fight was in vain.   Mr Ellwood lost his own brother to terrorism: Jonathan, a teacher, was among the 200 people killed in the Bali bombings in 2002.  The former captain in the Royal Green Jackets, who served in Kuwait, was hailed a hero for his actions.    Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday morning, the Prime Minister paid tribute to Mr Ellwood's actions.

London's first Muslim Mayor, Sadiq Khan, commented  “Terrorists want to attack London is because they hate the fact that we don’t just tolerate each other – whether you’re a Christian, Muslim, Jew, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, member of an organised faith or not, we respect, embrace and celebrate each other and that’s going to carry on."  And this morning life in London carried on.  Assaults on democracy may continue but they will never achieve anything other than a deep repugnance for those who take part in such attacks.

PC Palmer's bravery and sad death are the headline news this morning, along with the deaths of Aysha Frade and Kurt Cochrane and the heroic actions of Tobias Ellwood MP.  But what we must always remember is that, as with every terrorist attack, the police and other emergency services rushed towards the incident and the injured just as they shouted for members of the public to run in the opposite direction, away from the danger.

As the Prime Minister, Teresa May, said: "Yesterday we saw the worst of humanity but we will remember the best."

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