Today, my brother-in-law drove me from the house he shares with my sister to the centre of Liverpool, so we could do a bit of bargain-hunting and fish-and-chip-eating before I caught a train to Leeds. As I may have mentioned, they live near the top of Penny Lane and I was amused to confirm with him there are now five barber's shops in the vicinity, each trading off its proximity to the famous road. Having got onto the subject of hair trimmers, I asked my B-I-L for his nomination of the most ridiculous shop name he'd encountered in his forty-plus years in the salon business. Without pausing to reflect, he replied Curl up and Dye. But you may know one even worse.
Having thus sensitised myself to shops and their names, I then noticed a couple of odd ones as we drove along the rather unprepossessing Smithdown Road into town. The first was a large model railways shop, called Hattons. And the second was The Dolls House Shop. Closer to the centre of town, there was a place specialising in bottles with ships in them. But I guess it wasn't too surprising to find such a place in a large port like Liverpool. Though this can't be said for a pub bizarrely called The Old Post Office.
Also of interest was the Al-Rahma mosque in Toxteth, an area of Liverpool made (in)famous by riots in the 1980s, as I recall. This is the largest mosque in the city, with the second largest to be found - oddly enough - in Penny Lane.
Anyway, over our fish and chip lunch, my B-I-L and I got to talking about the respective merits of the women we'd observed shopping in Liverpool and Leeds. This certainly calls for further research but our preliminary finding is that - for one possible reason and another - the Liverpool lasses come out tops. Though this is, of course, academic to both of us.
And I must make mention of the charming young woman from Leeds who - when I asked her on the train if she had a pair of scissors - reached into her rucksack and produced a foldable saw. Which was even better than scissors would have been for breaking into the daunting plastic packaging around the beard trimmer I'd bought earlier.
Finally . . . Here's a bit from Guy Hedgecoe of IberoSphere on political incorrectness in Spain. As he says, It’s presumably just a matter of time before things change in Spain and children are no longer blacked up and given spears and Afro wigs with which to perform their Christmas plays. Meanwhile, we can all pretend to find it more shocking than amusing.