Girls coiffed in big rollers read magazines. Sitting in hairdressers’ all around town. Waiting for lash extensions, manicures, make-up.
Outside, bitter gusts blow rubbish down the street. Men wearing scarves bend into the wind as they walk. Women in sheepskin hunch against the chill as they shop. Nearly midday – and only 5 degrees.
But something odd is happening.
It’s the flesh you notice first.
Bare arms, bare legs.
Tight dresses, draped dresses, big hats and fascinators.
Bright colours, loud colours, soft colours, no colours black or white.
A sign of the seasons changing.
It’s Aintree races. And it’s cold. Frosty lawns have melted under the weak sun. Crocuses shiver in the shade of bare trees. But out on the streets something’s blossoming.
A spectacle. A party. A peacock parade. A welcome harbinger of a real spring.
So, what’s not to like?
It’s a trial for Aintree residents, no doubt, Grand National time of year. Collective annual madness. Rubbish in their gardens. Chaos on the roads.
Photographers, beamed up from planet snooty, will scout around the racecourse for fat girls on the razzle.
Go on love, show us yer knickers! Vomit for the camera! Get your picture in the paper!
But they would, wouldn’t they? Through the lenses of the media it’s a class thing, isn’t it? I mean, you wouldn’t find chubby girls, whose best friends should have told them, at Goodwood, or Ascot, or Cheltenham. Well, would you?
It’s a different world, this world, but not that different. So don’t see it through their eyes, those lazy photo-hacks.
Set aside your preconceptions.
Today is local day.
Girls poured into slinky dresses totter around on skyscraper heels, leaning on bffs for mutual support. Curled, tanned and manicured. Dolled up to the nines and looking great.
Men in fidgety gaggles gather outside bars. They’re shod in Aintree-best black lace-ups, buttoned in crisp white shirts, trussed in silky ties, clad in shades of ‘suits-you’ grey – or rarer black.
Outfits for weddings, christenings, races. For joy, adventure, fun.
And behind the scenes the people who make it happen are working overtime.
Hairdressers and florists, barbers and beauticians.
Bus drivers, train drivers and ‘what-do-you-think-I-am-a-bleedin-chauffeur’ drivers.
Who cares if the national media make sport of our local fun? Well, I suppose we all do. That’s Liverpool, isn’t it?
But think on this, Aintree’s not in Liverpool it’s in Sefton. Whoever heard of that?
Bring back Lancashire, that’s what I say.