Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Judy The Donkey

I don't know how many donkeys are given graves. I guess if a donkey is given a grave it must be a pretty special donkey. I'd like to tell the story of one of Liverpool's forgotten heroes, Judy The Donkey (1905-1926).


This grave lies in Princes Park where Judy The Donkey (or JTD for short) famously gave children rides around the lake for no charge. On Judy's days off she could often be seen swimming in the Mersey or relaxing in Ye Hole In The Wall on Hackins Hey.

Although Judy was already a local celeb, it was an incident in October 1909 that made her a hero. A group of teenagers decided to see how many people they could fit on to on to one of the lake boats, the previous record was eight and they smashed it by fitting fifteen people on. Once the overloaded boat was in the center of the lake gravity took hold and the boat started to sink. As soon as JTD heard their cries for help she rushed to the edge of the lake, dived in, and one by one dragged all fifteen of the drenched delinquents to safety. 
No one was seriously injured and Judy saved the day.

From then on things went up and up for JTD.

Judy was the guest of honor at the opening of the Liver Building on the 19th of July 1911 and the organizers wanted her to cut the ribbon but unfortunately donkeys don't know how to hold scissors. Instead Lord Sheffield ceremonially smeared some peanut butter on the ribbon so that JTD would chew through it and therefore officially declare the Liver Building open.

Judy (second donkey on the left), on a day out in New Brighton


While attending the 1919 Grand National (as a spectator not a competitor) the look in Judy's eye as she watched the horses was reported to have been "Oh you fools, can't you see they're exploiting you! Making you run at stupid speeds while they whack you. Why do feel the need to degrade yourselves to this level?". The races winner, Poethlyn aged 9 from Bangor, was said to have given JTD a glance which said "Well if you don't like it why are you here? I enjoy my job and all of us who made it to the finish line are glad. Sorry if it's too exciting for the park donkey". Judy stormed out in a fit of rage. The pair made up the following year and became lifelong friends. Poethlyn later admitted that he had overreacted partly due to the fact that as he crossed the finish line the crowd were chanting Judy's name not his. 

By 1924 Judy had retired from public appearances, only returning to Princes Park on major holidays, always to crowds of fans and well wishers. As much as she adored her public, the constant intrusion into her private life was becoming too much to bear.

JTD passed away peacefully in 1926 surrounded by loved ones and was buried in the park that she had donated so much of her time to.

List of notable features of Princes Park

Saturday, 30 November 2013

The Smithdown Barber Shop Quartet!

Unfortunately it's not a singing quartet, it's four barbers which are all really close to each other.

We'll start with Genesis. As that seems like a good place to start.
Obviously the name is in reference to that book. You know, This one.
You may notice that Genesis also offers tattoos and for the right price you can have a tattoo of your old hair style before they cut it in case you miss your old do.

Next we have...
Well I'm not exactly sure what it's called, it could be Ut Barber Shop or maybe Xut Barber Shop or most likely it's supposed to be Cut Barber Shop, although those scissors look nothing like a 'c'. Anyway you look at it it's a terrible name. They should have just called it The Barber Shop.

Speaking of which...
The Barber Shop, using all of their creativity and wit came up with the name 'The Barber Shop'. I mean fair enough it does do what it says on the tin but they could have called it anything. Snippy Joes, Time for a trim, Mop Tops, The Cutty Sark, Do the Do, The Flair Gut Wear Shut Hair cut!

And finally just a few blocks away from The Barber Shop we have...
The Barber Shop. Now, this 'The Barber Shop' is clearly nothing to do with the other 'The Barber Shop'. It's bad enough that one barber shop lacked the creativity to call their barber shop anything other than 'The Barber Shop' but two, come on! I don't know which 'The Barber Shop' came first and whether or not the second was aware of the first when it opened but I feel that if you are going to open a barber shop and call it 'The Barber Shop' you really should check that there isn't already a barber shop called 'The Barber Shop' nearby. But there they both are.

I mean I suppose it is possible for different shops near each other to have the same name and ownership but I don't think that's the case with 'The Barber Shop' and 'The Barber Shop', but I know it can happen a bit further down the road there are four related shops called Da& Night all within about a meter of each other. 


Anyway I feel the title promised some Barber Shop music so I'll finish with this.


P.S. Here is a map showing the locations of all shops mentioned.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment

This is a bottle of Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment. 

Non Brewed Condiment
It's like vinegar but it's made much faster. It legally cannot be called vinegar, so instead they chose the snappy title Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment. 

Here are some suggested names for it which have an easier journey as they roll off the tongue. 


  1. Vinegreat!
  2. Sour Power
  3. Drips for your chips
  4. FakeShake
And finally 

     5. Vinogar

But I suppose it's too late to change it. So to help out the makers of Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment (which I have not tried and have no wish to try) I have written them a jingle for their adverts.

It is simply titled Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment.


If you want you're fish and chips to be a bit more fraudulent 
Try Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment

The vinegar markets have been far too dominant 
They have malt and white and distilled and as a consequence
Our non brewed condiment is not so prominent
So please let us have a taste of that sweet opulence

Cos I am sure that one day there will be a monument 
To Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment

The name is long but the stuff is heaven sent
It's Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment
It's got caramel colouring and an oxidant
It's Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment

So if you want you're fish and chips to be a bit more fraudulent 
Try Original Fish & Chip Shop Style Non Brewed Condiment

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

The Bear Truth

Ah Warwickshire.
Good ol' Warwickshire.
Shakespeare's County of course.
And when I think of Shakespeare the first thing that always comes to mind is a bear punching a cactus.
I'm sure I don't need to remind anyone that it's from the classic scene in Hamlet when the Terry the Bear gets drunk in the desert and starts a fight with the cactus.

Well done Warwickshire.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

They'd Have Probably Found My Lack of Faith Disturbing

In the 80s in Liverpool, two bishops of rival franchises worked together to unite people and stop conflict. But that's not really important.

The cool thing about them is that they were massive Star Wars fans.

David Sheppard was the poster boy for the CofE team and his favourite character was Lando Calrissian.
Derek Worlock was the Archprayer for Catholic Crooners, he always loved Chewwie the best.

Over their many meetings they would arm-wrestle and have long discusions about the meaning and morality of the movies and argued about which was better out of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. (Sheppard prefered Jedi, Worlock Empire).

As both men died in the mid–ninety's, they fortunately never had experience the prequels.

About ten years after they died a statue was commissioned of the Priestly Pair. It was soon remembered that they both said that if a statue was made of them it would have to as if they were frozen in Carbonite like Han Solo was at the end of Empire.

So their wishes were granted.

The statues can be found on Hope St. Opposite the Philharmonic.
David Sheppard in carbonite
Derek Worlock in carbonite





















Saturday, 29 December 2012

To Eat or Not to Eat...

This is Shakespeare's Globe.

You may recognise it if you've seen the Doctor Who episode 'The Shakespeare Code'.

Attached to it there is a Shakespeare themed restaurant, called the Swan.






Now, along three of it's windows there are Shakespeare quotes written which relate to food or cooking.
This is the first.
From a scene in Romeo and Juliet in which a servingman explains to Juliet's Father his method for choosing chefs.




Here is the second.
Again it's from Romeo and Juliet where the nurse tells Lady Capulet that the chefs need more ingredients.

And finally...
Now this one isn't a quote from on of his plays, but it something that William Shakespeare (The 17th century's Quentin Tarantino) said when he was working at a cafe in Brixton before he made it big as a playwright/ celebrity neck brace enthusiast. Records show that he moved from Stratford-upon-Avon to London to hit the big time, but like a lot of starlets he didn't have much immediate success so he had to take the cafe gig. His job was to stand outside shouting out the specials. Other things he is supposed to have said include "Bacon Sandwiches, 2 for 1" and "Soup of the day: Chicken!".

After six months in Brixton Shakespeare got his first play performed and soon went from 'Will the washout' to the 'Billy Big Shot' as he is known as today.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

The Wedding House

Due to an accident in geography, my nearest shop happens to just sell wedding stuff.
This is what it looks like.

This is a bit annoying as it doesn't sell any of the stuff you need from a local shop. In order to rectify this I sent them the following email.


Dear Wedding House,

I like your building. It is very pleasant to walk past.

I am writing to you because you are my nearest shop, meaning if I want milk or bread I have to walk all the way to the 7/11.

Basically, it would be massively useful if you could start to sell groceries.
I mean you should keep doing wedding stuff but you should also have a fridge in the corner for people to buy everyday things.

Thanks. 



 I sent this email three weeks ago and they haven't even had the courtesy to reply. Talk about rude.