Posts Tagged ‘Mersey’

Half Cormorant - half mythical bird!

Half Cormorant – half mythical bird! Photo by Jilly Gardiner

I never did hand Jack into the cop shop!  How could I be the one who put him in foster care?  The poor kid would probably end up like me – I don’t want to be responsible for that!  So we had an agreement; me and me ma….   She’d be around for him in the daytime while I was at school, and I’d look after him at night while she went the boozer.    Binny was around sometimes, but was always slagging off Jack’s ma for being put in the slammer for robbing frozen chickens from Iceland (the shop, not the country!).   Me ma told me that Jack’s ma was caught with a chicken in each bra cup, and only got found out because one of the frozen chickens dropped out as she left the shop and broke three of her toes (so she couldn’t leg it from security!).   All I could think about was how big her knockers must have been to have a full chicken in each bra cup! Wish I’d been there!

Anyway, It turned out that Jack’s ma was on probation for when she got caught robbing wallets off her punters while they slept.. so they sent her straight back to the slammer after the frozen chicken incident.  Binny was well pissed off that it meant HE had to be responsible for Jack, so he did hardly nothing for him – that’s where I come in.

Me and Jack, we’ve got dead close in the past few months.. he’s like my brother.  Now the weather’s getting better I take him fishing down the dock, and we share pie and chips at our chippy.   Every Saturday I still work on The Butty Van with Pete at Greaty Market… Jack comes too.  Pete’s dead sound and lets Jack use his mobile phone to play games on while I’m serving hot dogs with extra onions and cups of tea.  Then Pete gives me and Jack some top scran which we stuff in until our bellies nearly burst.

Jack keeps asking me about the Liverbirds on top of the Liverbuildings, and why they don’t fly away… so I make up  loads of stories about them.    They say that Liverpool would fall into the sea if the Liverbirds flew away…. so I tell Jack stories about the time when the Liverbirds flew away and the city collapsed into the Mersey.   He cried for hours when I told him about how everyone in Liverpool nearly drowned.  I felt so guilty that I told him that the Liverbirds had flown to every country and city around the world, but had come home to Liverpool because they couldn’t find anywhere better.   So everybody in Liverpool was saved, and didn’t drown – and they all lived happily ever after.    That made Jack dry his tears and smile again.

Yep…. everything’s going good! That might be ’cause I turned fifteen the other day – and my luck’s changing… no prezzies though.    Penny Salerno has started looking at me again, even smiling sometimes! She’s still not letting me walk her home from school yet though, but I’m working on it.   Anthony and Susan still have me round for my tea twice a week, and they let Jack come too!   And me and Jack go to Ray’s house every Sunday and take my dog Regal for a dead long walk.  Ray says Regal crashes out for about 24 hours after I’ve walked him on Sundays…. He’s a card that dog!

And today the sun was shining (a bit)… A good feeling! I’m happy….. me and Jack and the people of Liverpool are happy, ’cause the Liverbirds are sitting pretty on top of the Liverbuildings, watching over us all!

The Wheel - Liverpool

The Wheel – Liverpool

Me ma did come home… eventually.  She was half cut and had a job to climb the stairs to bed.  I’d been listening out for her most of the night, so eased myself off the floor with my bad ribs when I heard the door go.   It was nearly five in the morning, but that was nothing new for me ma.  Jack (the kid) was sleeping like a log so I caught me ma on the landing as she staggered to her bedroom.

‘Who’s the kid?’ I said.  She just stood there swaying from side to side.

‘Kid?’ She goes.

‘Yeh, the kid you left here when you f&cked off down the boozer!’

Her eyes couldn’t focus on me properly, but she opened them wider as if she suddenly knew what I was on about, ‘Oh, the kid!’  She pushed passed me to her bedroom, slurring back to me… ‘Binny’s…. it’s Binny’s’.

‘Binny’s!’ I shouted, but she’d disappeared into her bedroom.  ‘Where the f&ck’s Binny then!’

This tiny kid, fast asleep on my bed… How could he be Binny’s kid? I was so mad with me ma and Binny that I didn’t go back to sleep.. I just sat there watching Jack sleeping.

Next morning me and Jack were up and out by nine o’clock… I had it in my head that I’d take him down the cop shop and hand him in; I can’t let the poor little get be dragged up by a piss head like Binny!  But Jack was so excited when he saw the wheel again by the Echo Arena, I just had to give him a go.

As we went round and round on the Wheel looking over the city (three times), I watched his dirty little face light up as we looked down at the tiny people on the ground.  I suddenly felt sick and sad all at the same time…. It was me I could see in this kid; this kid was ME when I was his age… And I’d never wish that on anyone.

The cop shop would have to wait…

Liverpool DockAfter the scran I took the kid for a walk down by the dock.  He’d started talking, and he’d said his name was Jack and he was five.  He didn’t look five, so I don’t know if he was telling the truth, or whether he was too young to know how old he was.

We sat by the Mersey and looked out at the lights.  I made sure Jack sat further back so he wouldn’t fall in.   I’d forgotten how much I loved the docks, especially at night.   I used to come here every day but hadn’t been here for months.   I love this city as much as I love Penny Salerno… and I felt I was losing both.

Jack seemed much happier now, in fact he wouldn’t shut up about the lights and the reflections in the water.   But I knew exactly where he was coming from… I felt the same way about it.  No matter how much shite this world throws at you, just sitting on that dock staring out over the River Mersey makes you forget about it…. I can’t explain why, but it does.

I bought Jack an ice cream on the way back to the house with my stash.  He’d stopped asking about his dad by the time we’d ate the pie and chips, and he just kept asking if we could go on the big wheel by the Echo Arena that I’d shown him earlier.

The house was still cold and dark when we got back at nine o’clock, so I let Jack look at the pics in my National Geographic mags.  He fell asleep on the bed about five minutes later.     I put a blanket over him and then took some painkillers the hozzy had given me before lying on my back on the floor (couldn’t lie any other way ’cause of my ribs… they were in bulk).

I spent the night listening out for me ma getting back from the boozer… hopefully she could tell me why the kid was here.  If she hasn’t turned up in the morning I’ll take Jack on the big wheel by the Echo Arena – I haven’t even been on it myself.

Night Jack….

Tell me this, right? If you were walking passed someone who was getting beaten to a pulp by two Italian mafiosos, one with a knife… what would you do?? Would you stop and jump in there to help, or would you pretend that you didn’t see it, and walk on by? I ask the question ’cause I’m lying in this hospital bed with a broken nose and five broken ribs wondering how the f&ck can people walk straight passed something like that in broad daylight, and pretend nothing’s happening. Life and the people in it surprise me everyday…


Burgers (Photo credit: Neil T)

It wasn’t my fault I got the boot from Penny Salerno’s Ma’s dressmaking stall at Greaty Market!   I didn’t bank on Penny’s 17 year old cousin Zani being my work colleague on Saturday.    Penny tells me his name is actually Zanipolo, but they call him Zani.   As you might have guessed, Zani is Italian, and he growls in Italian as well!
Zani gave me the evils all morning every time Penny’s ma would turn her back.  He’d stand in front of me so customers would go to him instead of me.   At one point I was selling some turquoise voile to a woman.. I had her in the palm of my hand! When Zani stepped in front of me, took over, and completed the sale.. so he got the 2 quid owing to me from Penny’s ma.  I was steaming!

‘Eh, That was my sale!’ I shouted.

He turned to me and put his nose up to mine ‘Vaffanculo!’, I didn’t have a clue what he said, but I knew it wasn’t ‘I’m sorry’.  After staring each other out for what seemed like a life time, I turned and started calling to the customers again.  Zani tapped me on the shoulder and I turned round,  he screwed up his nose and spoke ‘ Sei uno stronzo!’

‘Yeah, to you too mate!’ I shouted.  I knew he wasn’t inviting me to his house for dinner; this fella really hated me, and for what? Dickhead!

Then Penny’s ma went off to find the bog, and knew I was in trouble.  Zani just kept staring at me and pushing me out of the way when customers showed any interest.  I finally got a  sale… spent ages priming this old girl, then when she came to hand over the cash for the pink velour curtain material, Zani does it again… he pushes me to one side and goes in for the kill, taking the money himself.

It wasn’t that which got me the sack from Penny Salerno’s Ma’s dressmaking stall at Greaty Market… it was the fact that I saw red.. I wasn’t thinking straight…  I went for Zani; diving on him over the polyester tressol.   I didn’t mean for my forehead to meet with the bridge of his nose, it’s just that the tressol collapsed to the ground, and when the ground broke Zani’s fall, my head kept moving… ’till it met his nose!  It was a right stonker of a scouse kiss; right between the eyes.  Ok, it sounds a bit aggressive now, but at the time I was just wanting to show him that I wasn’t the  wimpy little push over he thought I was! He’d wound me up all morning, and he’s bigger than me, so he could have fought back if he’d have tried.

I knew I was out on my arse straight away, especially when I saw the gash between his eyes, and the blood running down his nose.  At least he was conscious and holding onto his nose! So I did what any brave man would do…  I legged it from the stall before Zani could find his feet and get his revenge.

I stopped at the other end of the market to check that no one was following me, then sat down on a plazzy garden chair next to a burger van to get my breath back.

‘Oy! If you’re not buying, you’re not sittin’!’ shouted the fella on the van.. he had a queue as long as the Mersey tunnel waiting for cups of teas and bacon butties.

I stood up ‘No I’m not buying, got no money’.  I was about to walk away when he called me back.

‘I’ll give you a cup of tea and a beef burger with onions if you come and give us a hand for half an hour lad; I’m inundated here!’.

I didn’t need to be asked twice! My dirty apron was on and I was flipping burgers before you could say scouse kiss.

One door closes and another one opens… that’s what my mate Anthony always says.

God Penny.. I’ve got some explaining to do later!

Football…. I f&ckin’ love it!    After thrashing Childwall boys 3-1 the other week, we went on to demolish Aintree Allstars on Saturday 7-1 (YES…Seven – One!!!).  I might have lost half my teeth, but my feet are doing just fine with a football in front of them.   Stevie Gerrard, move over!

And last week me ma went 2 days without a drink! (Yes, 2 days!!!!)  Ok, she had that vomiting bug where she constantly threw up when she moved an inch, so she couldn’t get out of bed.  I just supplied the washing up bowl and the glasses of water for 2 days.  But still, I’ve never seen her go 2 whole days without the whiskey before.

She told me that she felt so sick that she might never touch another drop of ale again.  I didn’t believe her though (and a day later I was helping up the stairs to bed after she’d been on a 14 hour bender).

Another shock I had last week was that me ma DID actually have a copy of my birth certificate! So I could book in and register at the NHS dentist to get my teeth sorted out.  Me ma said she always had to have a copy of the birth certificate for every time she had to get me back from social services.

I wish me ma would have a vomiting bug more often… it was nice to have her around for a few days.. even if she was only half conscious and she had her head stuck over a bowl most of the time!

Penny Salerno gave me a Cadbury’s Cream Egg on our last day of school before Easter!  I’ve saved it for Easter Sunday.  Felt ashamed that I didn’t get her anything back.  She gave a few out to different kids in the class, but I was the only boy she gave one too 🙂

cadbury creme eggs

Photo credit: contemplative imaging

After I’ve travelled over every continent, I’m going to be a footy star I reckon!

You should have seen the state of my face! I’d have looked better if a tractor had run over it, and then reversed back over it with a plough attached!  I look a lot better now… as long as I don’t open my gob.    It’s dead hard to talk without showing my teeth!

I went to school for the first time today since it happened.   Didn’t want to miss too much, and was fed up with sitting on the dock and not talking to no one.   I didn’t even go and walk Regal on Sunday ’cause I didn’t want Ray to see my face… and Regal always makes me laugh, so it would have been a dead giveaway.

I don’t smile much at school, so I knew I’d be able to get away with it.   And Penny Salerno is off with the flu, so at least I won’t have to smile at her, and she won’t see what a state the inside of my mouth is in.

Thing is…. Teeth don’t grow back do they?  Well not your second lot anyway.    So I need to see a dentist, but I haven’t got one.  One of the teeth that fell out has left a gaping hole the size of the Grand Canyon which has swollen right up like a pig’s foot! And I don’t mind telling you, it’s f&ckin’ killing me.   I can’t eat on one side of my mouth, and I can’t sleep with the pain.  I’ve been swigging on me ma’s whiskey (which she keeps hidden under the settee) just to ease the pain so I can sleep…… and let me tell you – it’s taking a lot of whiskey to knock me out!  But now I’m back at school I don’t want to get up with a hang over, so I’ve tried to cut it out.   I really do need to go to the dentist.

And me ma?   Well… she knows f&ck all about what she did.   And I think I’ve seen her about 3 times since she knocked me against the wall, and that was just to help her to bed when she comes in bladdered from the boozer after hours.  I’ve been helping her to bed and getting her coffee and water, but I can’t look at her in the face.. I still feel so mad.   I love her.. but I hate her.

Now to find a dentist.


The River Mersey

One freezing day in December

Haiti… been reading all about it.    Beaches and gorgeous warm sea on one side..   rubble and devastation on the other.  Some people are so poor, they’ve even got less money than me ma (I can’t believe their cupboards could be any emptier than ours though).  At least there’s always coffee in our house.  I bet me dad’s family live by the beaches, where the earthquake didn’t make so much damage.

Some cities were hit so bad by the earthquake that they’re just piles of rubble.  I just can’t believe that any of my family will be in those parts.   I think I might leave it a while before I go and seek out my nan and granddad – they’re hardly going to have a spare bedroom for me when they haven ‘t got enough for themselves are they?  I might start by going over to Barbados and hanging around there for a bit, then I’ll hop over to Haiti once there’s a spare room for me.  I could even help them build a new house.. I’m dead good at laying bricks.

I’ve read there’s surf on the East side of Barbados.. I’m going to go there first.   I can’t surf, but I know I’d pick it up dead quick.   It’ll be boss.

Barbados – Photo by Jilly Gardiner

On another plus note… I walked Penny Salerno half way home again from school the other night.  She’s all right her…. Got dead white teeth and everything!  I let it slip that I’d been reading National Geographic magazines – How uncool is that!   But she said her mum had loads, and that she’d bring some into school for me to read.   I tried to make out like I didn’t care either way if she did or she didn’t (I’d never live it down if kids in our class knew I read National Geographic… I might as well go to school in a pink tutu and ballet slippers… I’d get my head kicked in either way!!).

Graffiti - Ballerina silhouette

Image via Wikipedia

American cider

Image via Wikipedia

I kept my head down for weeks after that….  I’d done my duty as a son when the social worker came round to review the situation and the living arrangements.. I made out like me ma had turned her life around, that she’d battled the demon whiskey and won.   I made out like I was the happy, well-behaved son who went to school every day and always did his homework.  And when the social worker asked me if it was just me and me ma living in the house, I said yes.   When the social worker had gone,  me ma said I did her proud, that we worked great as a team.   I nodded, yes we worked great as a team… a team where we could pull the wool over other people’s eyes, making us look like the perfect family (only with a dad in Strangeways doing time for murder, and a house that looked like it had just come out the other side of a tsunami!)

In fact me ma was so grateful that she went down the corner shop and bought sausages!   Irish sausages! (the ones with the green bits in)    We had them with a bag of chips between us from the chippy.   She bought a 2 litre bottle of cider while she was at the corner shop, and even poured me a glass!   Yes it was a satisfying evening.  I went up to bed feeling pleased… Not quite sure what I was pleased about, but I was defo pleased.

It was only when I came down later to see Binny back in the house, bags and stinking shoes back in the hallway, that I knew the feeling of pleasure would never last for long.   Binny was in his usual place on the settee, smoking a spliff.   But what pissed me off more than that was that he had his mangy feet on my royal leather footstool!  I was so angry when I saw those dirty grey, sweaty socks with mangy toes sticking out of them resting on my shiny brown footstool, that I didn’t think.. I just lunged over to him, smacking his legs from on top of it.   He was so shocked, he stood up with his mouth open, and even dropped his spliff on the carpet!

Before he could think of something to say, I’d swiped the footstool, ‘Keep  your dirty, rotten feet off my gear!’   Whether it was the shock of me lashing out that made him just stand there like one of Lewis’s saying nothing, or whether it was because he was too stoned to know what was going on, I’m not really sure.  But I have to admit, it was great to watch him speechless!   Me ma was on the other chair, and just watched – I’m sure I could see a smile under those thin, blue  lips.

I turned with the stool and marched from the living room, climbing quickly up the stairs and into my bedroom (just in case Binny found his voice, or remembered where his fists were!).

When I got in the bedroom I sat on the bed just staring at the footstool on the floor.   Then I just couldn’t help smiling!   What had just happened??  I’d stood up for myself! And Binny had done f&ck all to stop me!

It felt F&CKING great!

I threw myself back on the bed.. lying my head on the pillow.   I put me hands behind my head, took a deep breath and just stared at the ceiling….  that was f&cking awesome!!!!