In some ways, I discovered that I fitted in from the start. While my sons were growing up I committed many maternal crimes, but chief among them were ‘talking to strangers in shops’ and ‘trying to be funny’. Liverpool was an emotional homecoming. Talking in shops is normal, and everyone’s a comedian.
Liverpool is also a wildly glamorous city. And here, again, (as someone who secretly thinks you can’t have too many feather boas) I felt instantly I was in the right place. In a humble way, of course. I have much to learn. Fortunately, there are always people on hand to offer style advice in Liverpool. Recently I ordered a pair of shoes online, and went to collect them from Liverpool One. I believe every single person in the store, staff and customers alike, told me they were fabulous and a bargain and I should definitely buy them. I sometimes wonder, though, if my fashion sense is now permanently skewed. I can get on a train in Liverpool Lime St feeling woefully underdressed, and arrive in London (where a black North Face anorak is a flashy statement) looking like I’ve tried too hard.
Liverpool’s friendliness is legendary, but the city also topped the Travelodge survey on random acts of kindness in the UK. Kindness. I prefer kindness to almost anything. Holding doors open, smiling at strangers, letting people go ahead in supermarket queues. These are all common practices round here. As a runner and a pedestrian, I’ve often noticed the kindness of drivers waving me across side roads, and anticipating my zebra crossing use. There is one quirk of Liverpool driving that sometimes catches non-locals out at traffic lights. It’s not quite as simple as blatantly driving through a red light, but there’s a consensus that if you actually see it turn red as you approach, it doesn’t count.