From time to time, whenever I have some time between appointments and am in the area, I stop off at Liverpool John Lennon Airport – formerly Speke Airport. I love to park up near to the end of the runway just to watch the planes take-off and land. I have always had a fascination for aircraft even if I have never come to terms with how the hell such heavy lumps of metal can stay in the air at such relatively slow speeds. I think my fascination started when, as a child back in the 1960s, my grandfather would take me to the old Speke Airport to watch the planes land.
One day in the late 1990s, I was sitting in work in Kirkdale, Liverpool when my boss asked if I could run a job down to a printers in Liverpool City Centre. It was a nice, sunny day outside so I jumped at the opportunity of getting out of the stuffy office I was sitting in. I got in my car and set off for the city centre. During the journey I had the radio on and I was listening to Radio City who had an author in the studio by the name of Tom Slemen. Tom had just released a book about ghosts who haunt Liverpool and he was regaling the tale of William MacKenzie.
As a child in the 1960s and early 1970s, I used to travel over to Liverpool on a Saturday afternoon with my Grandfather. Occasionally we would drive over but mostly we did the puff-puff and chuff-chuff run as we used to call it. That meant we got the train down to Woodside and the ferryboat over the Mersey. I cannot recall which of the train or the boat chuffed and which one puffed but that was what we called them back in the day. Ostensibly we travelled over to pick my grandmother up from work but in reality it was so my grandfather could look around the tailor’s shops – I think I have mentioned our Saturday afternoon trips to Liverpool once before.
Why didn’t I know the things I know now when I was young? Why was I scared of being young? Why was I so scared, full-stop? Why did my age paralyse me? Why did I care what other people thought? Why did I hold back on the things I wanted to say? Why was I scared of the reaction of others? Why didn’t I just wear what I wanted to wear? Why didn’t I Say what I wanted to say? Why didn’t I say things to the people I wanted to say them to? Why didn’t I just listen to the music I wanted to listen to? Why didn’t I play it as loud as I wanted? Why didn’t I dance to it? Why didn’t I go out for a drive at midnight and just forget I had work the next day? Why did I waste the week away waiting for Friday? Why didn’t I just live for the day? Why didn’t I take more risks? Why didn’t I tell people my secrets?
Something rather amusing happened to me a few weeks ago. Something that made me laugh at the time and has since gone on to amuse me no-end. I had an hour to kill between appointments and so decided to call into Rita’s for lunch. I was sitting down eating my chicken and pasta when I over-heard an elderly couple sitting on the next table. They were complaining to one another about a lady they had witnessed breast-feeding her baby in public. “She shouldn’t be allowed to do that,” was their opinion of her outlandish behaviour.
I have always fancied having some really interesting illness. Not something that would blight my life beyond recovery, just something to talk about at parties. You know the way people talk about their piles in mixed company or their old war wound. Alas, it is not to be because despite abusing my body for fifty two years it has remained predominantly healthy. I wouldn’t say I was a paradigm of health and fitness but then again I am not in the doctor’s surgery every other day either. In fact, I have only visited the doctor’s surgery a couple of times since I outgrew asthma in my early twenties.
So here I am daunted by my desire for an interesting illness.
Or so I thought…