The future of Sefton Focus blog site

I may be forced to stop posting via this blog site soon as changes to it, to fit in with revised/updated editing processes by Word Press, have made it very hard for me to edit any new posts and all but impossible for me to include anything other than text.

If the situation can’t be resolved (and things are sadly not looking good presently) then my blogging days may be curtailed at least for the foreseeable future. The problem? Everything is greyed out so I can’t used Word Press’s new ‘blocks’ despite hours of trying to find out how to resolve the problem.

My most recent postings have been ones I penned and saved before the changes took place I might add, but I only have a couple of those left for publication.

Subject to this situation not being resolved I will continue to post on social media using Twitter and Facebook.

My top 10 live music performances

My good friend and fellow blogger Phil Holden often posts about music and occasionally I do too. In recent times I have really begun to appreciate that the only way you can tell really great musicians is by how they perform live, so here are my 10 best live performances, in no particular order:-

Bobby WomackI Wish He Didn’t Trust Me So Much
www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2NXqi2xBBo

Candy DulferDon’t Go
www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_5ccXi2RCs

Isaac Hayes & Soul II SoulPapa was a Rollin’ Stone
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppleGn1LppM

Cris ReaJosephine
www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaXbs6nN8OY

Joan Osborne & The Funk Brothers – What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted
www.youtube.com/watch?v=gA0GcXV2njY

Snake Davis Band – Going home – Theme from Local Hero
www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJM5w9utmt4

Isaac Hayes – ‘Your love is so doggone good’ from Wattstax 1972
I can’t track down a live video of this song so here’s the album version which, whilst being good, does not have the raw energy of the live performance at Wattstax in 1972 that’s available on CD
www.youtube.com/watch?v=1-oHYHVbRHk

Keiko Matsui – Forever, Forever
www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzqsWxau_gI

The Rippingtons – She likes to watch
www.youtube.com/watch?v=7en3HLWcq3w

Bob James – Mind Games
www.youtube.com/watch?v=qP52BVOlbtM

For a bit on context I’ve seen Issac Hayes, The Rippingtons, Chris Rea, The Funk Brothers, Bob James and The Snake Davis Band live over the years.

Liverpool’s 1965 Shankland Plan

The Liverpool Echo has the article on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/gallery/eye-popping-walkways-sky-liverpool-15874583

This is an interesting piece of Liverpool’s history which the Echo has resurrected. It shows how different the thinking was back in the 1960’s about how a city should develop and radically change.

I guess we are grateful that much of it was not implemented.

Sefton Borough Council – Fly-tipping costs us all a fortune

The Liverpool Echo has a story about it on its website – see link below:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/shameful-photos-show-disgusting-piles-15929007

I’ve had a good rant about this on many previous occasions and the problem is rampant across the country of course, so Sefton is sadly not in any way unique.

But what really gets me is that between Councils and the Environment Agency there’s far too little mobile covert CCTV coverage of sites where regular fly-tipping problems are the greatest. And I admit that in my time as a Sefton Councillor I failed to push the powers that be into more intelligent reactions to this ever seemingly worsening situation.

Regular convictions of fly-tippers in the local press would work wonders because it would deter others from following them. What makes the situation all the more ridiculous is that because of my cycling around Sefton and West Lancs I see what has been dumped and very often it is stuff that could easily be disposed of at local Recycling Centre at no cost at all! Yes I know there are those businesses tipping tyres, asbestos and indeed even the by-products to cannabis farms but much of what I see on my travels is ordinary household rubbish, furniture and building rubble and it strikes me that the dumpers are just too idle to take it to a Recycling Centre.

I realise that it would cost money to set up a mobile covert CCTV unit but surely the Councils across say Merseyside, working with the Environment Agency could put something in place which would eventually pay for itself by far less fly-tipped rubbish having to be removed from back alleys and country lanes. This is not rocket science surely, is it?

Rant over, for now……..

Being anti-HS2 is a bit like Brexit – It’s all about the rose-tinted past

A fellow blogger, Paul Bigland, has an interesting slant on HS2 and those who oppose it – see the link below to access it:-

paulbigland.blog/2019/03/06/stop-hs2-some-people-never-learn/

Brexiteers, it seems, can convince themselves of pretty much anything that has absolutely no foundation in fact and those opposing HS2 seem to have a similar viewpoint.

HS2 is about capacity or the looming lack of it on the rail network as much as it is about speed.

Although only similar in an abstract way HS2 is akin to reopening the Great Central Line; a line that should never have been closed, certainly with the benefit of hindsight.

Railways are becoming an increasingly important way for people and freight to move around and we are light years away from the Beeching era when closing railways and love of the motor car and truck marked a progressing society. Congestion all but brings the UK to a standstill often these days and pollution from the internal combustion engine is choking our communities and indeed killing us all.

HS2 is about the future of travel. Brexiteers want us all to live in the 1950s so they bang on about their anti-HS2 movement as they bang on about their ludicrous Brexit.

Aintree & Melling – Pen portraits of a community’s fallen heroes – 1914 – 1917

No sooner had I blogged about Lydiate’s fallen in World War 1 than Bill Honeyman got in touch to tell me about a similar project covering Aintree and Melling undertaken by two friends of mine Bill Borland and Peter Gill, what’s more Bill supplied me with a copy of their excellent booklet. Here’s a link to the Lydiate booklet blog:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/2019/03/07/lydiate-and-its-great-war-1914-1918-a-lovely-remembrance-booklet/

The deaths of 81 servicemen from Aintree & Melling are attributed to the Great War

Many of the deaths are commemorated on memorials at St. Giles Church Aintree and St Thomas’ Church Melling including Henry Mattocks who died aged 21 on 13th October 1915. He worked at Melling Potteries and was a member of the Melling Brass Band. His name together with those of Michael May & Thomas Clark caught my attention because they all worked at in the now long gone Melling Pottery business. Some years ago when I was the leader of Sefton Council I was given a pamphlet-type book written by Irene Birch about her mother Bertha (Mattocks) Birch called A Melling Lassie “Pottery Days” Melling’s Scottish Heritage. In it on page 13 is an undated photo of Melling Pottery Band and I can’t help but wonder if Henry Mattocks is in that photo.

The vast majority of what we now know as Aintree Village was agricultural land back around the time of the Great War but I spotted a Richard Kirby who died aged just 19 on 14th November 1916. He was the son of Myles and Ellen Kirkby (nee Quick) of Aintree Lane. He died at the Somme and is buried at Bernafay Wood British Cemetery, Montauban, France.

This booklet is another great addition to the local history of the East Parishes part of Sefton Borough. My congratulations to the authors and thanks to Bill Honeyman for providing me with a copy.

We will remember them