Thursday, 30th July
When you hear a song as often as we’ve probably all heard Marsden’s Mersey musings, with life going on “day after day”, you can become a bit removed from the message.
Listen again. Hear the words, singing of “hearts torn in every way”, and of people rushing everywhere with their secret cares. It probably couldn’t be more relevant in our COVID ravaged lives.
Months on from lockdown, some of us are beginning to peek outside and I have even returned to the office. Admittedly, I was hesitant at first, a bit apprehensive yes, but also excited. I am an animal of the urban jungle, born for the hustle and bustle of the city.
So, caged in a small bedroom, hopping on Teams calls on the hour, every hour for an hour, any hesitation was tempered with real excitement. I like being in an office, seeing people and enjoying the camaraderie of real-life teams.
However, one small pain point remained. How to get over to Liverpool from the Wirral? I really could not face the train. That seemed a step too far, too fast. So…my eyes turned to the water. To the river, to the ferry. The panic of potential Merseyrail misery evaporates as soon as you walk down to the water. The dazzling Snowdrop seen handing its precious cargo to the Three Graces, then slowly nudging its way through the rising tide back to the other side.
I locked my bike, adjusted my backpack and waited. Excitement rising, feeling like that giddy kid again. As the ferry arrived, a gentle allision and the clank of the lowered gangway. The sights of the 1970s, the sounds of the 1870s and the bustle as we brave few commuters clambered onboard.
Up to the top deck, now as then. Sad not to have my Dad’s hand to hold, but sure he’s looking down, pleased that I have finally taken sensible public health decisions. As fast as I find my seat, and we’re off. Over the river, to the city, to life, to the Liver birds. The Wirral receding, my city growing larger – seeing the river in its splendour. A tanker at the Bar, a bulker heading out from Garston. Sir David still sat pondering the Antarctic summer, and the Artic role still yet to be played.
I could not be happier. In the masked face of a pandemic, the river breeze makes everything feel better. Suddenly with a bump we have arrived. With a bang the gangway drops once more. We all rush up the ramp, and then we are here. We are edging back to real life, to friends, to the energy needed to do the things we do.
Ironically Gerry also sang of the land being the place he loves, but it is to the water that I have returned, and it feels good. As many of us will be faced with commutes, do not forget the river, you don’t have to sit on a steel tube underground. Those of us on the peninsular need be insular no more, and here I’ll stay.