Recently in Monday Women Category

08.10.06 Monday Women @ Heart & Soul, Liverpool Monday Women (Liverpool) has been going for more than five years now, so it was really encouraging to see such a good turn out for the first meeting of Autumn '08. There's clearly a continuing enthusiasm for a (free, open access) 'space' for women in our city to meet friends old and new, and just to catch up on the news. It's fun; so come! Please note: future meetings venue now changed, see below.

Please note: Sadly, subsequent to this great meeting, circumstances at Heart & Soul have changed. We are however really pleased that we have found a new 'home' for future meetings, in Starbucks on Bold Street in Liverpool city centre; same times (5.30 - 7.30 pm), same dates (first Monday of the month), same lovely MW people....

08.10.06 Monday Women @ Heart & Soul, Liverpool

These Monday Women are amongst those who arrived earlier on for this friendly, lively meeting at Heart & Soul bistro in Liverpool, after work this evening (6 October '08). Monday Women meet between 5.30 and 7.30 p.m. on the first Monday of the month. All women, from Liverpool or just visiting, are welcome to join us. There's no joining fee or any other membership process; if you turn up you're a 'member'.

There are also two completely free email goups * which women in Liverpool and further afield can join, for the exchange of news and views and to chat with everyone about events, business opportunities, courses, arts activities, good causes and anything else with which people may be involved.

Monday Women is free and it's fun
The sole reason for the group, whether the actual meetings or the e-groups, is to give us all a no-cost avenue to keep in touch and to make friends and find other women with similar interests! If you like, it's a sort-of zero cost social enterprise. The only 'capital' in this 'enterprise' is social capital - the friendliness and fascinating interests of Monday Women themselves.

Our very special and warm thanks to Monday Women member Chumki Banerjee of Heart & Soul, who has been our kind host for meetings over the Summer of 2008.


Read more about Monday Women
and see more photograhs of Liverpool & Merseyside.

* The egroups are on Facebook and at Yahoo. For either, just log in and search 'Monday Women Liverpool', then click to say you'd like to join. We only ask that people 'apply' to be on these e-groups in order to avoid spam, so as a real woman you'll be warmly welcomed.

Chumki Banerjee  Heart & Soul After some great times at El Rincon (thanks for the warm welcome and hospitality, Francisco and co!) the Monday Women group is delighted to be returning to Chumki Banerjee's Heart & Soul Bistro in Liverpool's city centre. Meetings will continue to be on the first Monday of every month, from 5.30-ish for about two hours (come and go as you wish or need to; and the e-group continues anyway, of course). There's no requirement to join anything, and no 'membership' fees to pay; just turn up and enjoy a good chat

Finding Heart & Soul is easy: it's at 62 Mount Pleasant, Liverpool, next door to the 'old' YMCA, and opposite the multi-storey car park - which hardly gives a clue to how delightful a place this bistro is... beautifully fitted out with a sense of calm and space, original artwork on the walls, and (weather as ever permitting) a gorgeous sun-trap of a paved rear garden.

Meeting dates for 2008
Meetings 'in person' - you can of course meet any time on the e-group - are scheduled for the first Mondays of the month (5.30 / 5.45-ish till sometime after 7pm) on these dates:

4 August
1 September
6 October
3 November
1 December - our Christmas party, which is always great fun, but will start a bit later.

So, please put these dates in your diaries now, tell your women friends, and just turn up! Women in Liverpool and even those just in town for the day from elsewhere are all really welcome; and there truly is no catch, or cost beyond buying yourself a drink if you'd like to.

Genuinely no fees or cost
This group was set up by friends, simply for friends (whether they're old friends or new, in employment or busy at home, younger or more 'seasoned'; everyone's welcome). Monday Women's all about being companionable and mutually supportive, not about being commercial. But, equally, you're welcome to share your ideas about your business or community activities if you'd like to. There's always someone you could be talking to for mutual benefit, or just to enjoy a chat.


Read more about Monday Women and about Gender & Women.

PS We now have e-groups for Monday Women on both Yahoo and Facebook - both entirely informal and free to join, with no obligation of any sort. Just search 'Monday Women Liverpool' on either site, and click to say you'd like to join. We only ask that people 'apply' to be on these e-groups in order to avoid spam, so as a real woman you'll be warmly welcomed.

08.2.4 Monday Women El Rincon nameboard 164x91 030.jpg 2008 sees a new location for Monday Women in Liverpool. For a few months we'll be meeting in El Rincon Latino, by Roscoe Street and Oldham Street in the new City Gate development at the top of Renshaw Street. It's free to come; all women most welcome, first Monday of every month, from about 5.45 to 7.30-ish p.m.

El Rincon Latino is located on the corner of Roscoe Street and Oldham Street just one block up the hill from Renshaw Street. It's immediately across from the multi-storey car park behind Leece Street Post Office, on the town side of Leece Street but still near St Luke's, the 'Bombed Church'. You can also get there via a very short walk up the hill opposite the main entrance to Rapid Hardware on Renshaw Street.
The address and postcode are Roscoe Street, L1 2SU (map); tel: 0151- 324 0454.

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All you pay for is your supper and drinks, ordered as you wish from the bar, if / when you'd like some - but no obligation. (There's a photograph of a sample menu below, right...) Our Chilean host, Francisco Carrasco, is also Director of All Things Latin (ATL) and tell us the cafe aims to serve food from across Southern and Central America, as the head chef is from Ecuador. The venue has many cultural links with Latin America.

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If you have ideas about anything you'd really like to discuss or do when everyone meets, you can of course join the Monday Women e-group (absolutely free, quite voluntary) and suggest things beforehand. Other than that, the format of each Monday Women event is decided by those who are there - drinks and chat, debate, even this year perhaps post-meeting salsa classes... It's your choice! Dates for 2008 are below.

08.2.4 Monday Women El Rincon Costa Rica 215x386 coffee 027a.jpg 08.2.4 Monday Women El Rincon  Maybe salsa dancing lessons?  275x386 026aa.jpg










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Monday Women meeting dates for 2008 (all first Mondays of the month, 5.45-ish to approx. 7.30, please just come and go as you wish) are:

February 4th
March 3rd
April 7th
May 5th
June 2nd
July 7th
August 4th
September 1st
October 6th
November 3rd
December 1st (special event, the annual Christmas Do!!)

To check any particular date please call the venue on 0151-324 0454.

Do join us. No need to book, just turn up whatever time you can; and bring your women friends as well...
We'd love to see you there.

Find out more here or visit the Monday Women message board.

Dragon cafe-bistro illuminated name (small) 80x82.jpg Monday Women, the informal no-cost group of women from across Liverpool and beyond, is on the move again.
From April 2nd our first-Monday-in-the-month meetings will be held at Dragon on Berry Street, starting 5.45 pm, till about 7.30. There is no admission charge and all women are welcome.

Dragon cafe-bistro interior (small) 140x195.jpg After several great years meeting in Liverpool's Everyman Bistro, and a short but very happy sojourn at Heart And Soul, the Monday Women group is going to Chinatown. As of Monday 2 April (5.45 pm) our venue for monthly meetings will be Dragon, 48 Berry Street, in Chinatown, Liverpool,
L1 4JQ. (Tel: 0151-709 8879)

[Street map here.]

Dragon cafe-bistro view to street (small) 140x121.jpg Originally called St George and the Dragon, the current owner (Mary) of this venue has given it an oriental feel and renamed it simply... Dragon. The venue is now a cafe-bistro bar, serving home-made meals and drinks from 5.30-11 pm Mondays to Thursday, and noon - 2 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday opening is 3-11 pm. Dragon runs a number of themed nights during the week (including acoustic and stand-up comic evenings), of which that for Monday early evenings is now.... Monday Women.

Dragon cafe-bistro entrance & street lamp (small) 140x122.jpg Dragon cafe-bistro spoof ladder-man on wall nextdoor (small) 140x62.jpg Location and landmarks
Locating Dragon is easy. It's close-by Liverpool's famous Chinese Arch and The Blackie, and not far in the other direction from the 'bombed out church' (St Luke's), but on the opposite, Bold Street side. Almost next door to Dragon is an unremarked but amusing landmark - a life-sized model of a man on a ladder, apparently painting the front of his shop at first-floor height.

On foot, by car, or public transport?
Only a couple of minutes' walk from Leece Street and Renshaw Street, there are many bus routes which can be taken in and out of town, and the central train services are very accessible. There is also car parking nearby, in the Knight Street facility just behind the China Palace Restaurant opposite Dragon.

Menu
Dragon's owner, Mary, and her colleagues are developing a menu which meets various requirements. Currently there is a somewhat focused choice of food, but the menu always includes a veggie option and a soup.

Mary is keen to learn how her Monday Women friends and customers would like the Monday menu to be developed!

All women welcome
Dragon cafe-bistro Buddha (small) 140x120.jpg Dragon cafe-bistro Mary, Felicity & Hilary 07.3.11 (small) 140x240.jpg Monday Women is a very informal grouping of well over two hundred women who live, work or have an interest in Liverpool and Merseyside. The group is very firm in its idea that this should be a group to which all women are welcome just as themselves, and there is therefore no joining fee, registration or any other formal arrangement. People can simply attend the informal meetings, or be a 'member' of the Monday Women email group, or both, with involvement just as often or as infrequently as they choose.

Pass the word
The only 'rule' is that people come expecting to find others who are also friendly and welcoming, and who have a huge range of interests, ideas and experiences to share. Please pass on the invitation to become a Monday Woman....

Or, if you live somewhere other than Merseyside, why not start your own group? There's room for us all!

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel (small) 100x143.jpgOne of Liverpool's most significant and fascinating historic areas is barely known even by the city's own residents; so Monday Women arranged a visit. The area lies in the heart of Toxteth - Dingle, comprising four adjacent sites: the early seventeenth century Ancient Chapel of Toxteth (the original place of worship of astronomer Jeremiah Horrox or Horrocks), the Turner Nursing Home built by Alfred Waterhouse in 1882-5, Dingle Overhead Railway Station, constructed deep underground and opened in 1896, and the Dingle Gaumont Cinema, erected on the site of the old Picturedrome in 1937.

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel inside.jpg
The general perception is that Liverpool has few really serious historic sites. Interesting architecture, Yes, in abundance; 'old' buildings, No. On Saturday 16 November 2006 several dozen members, families and friends of Monday Women and CAMPAM set out on a beautifully sunny afternoon to discover why this perception is not always accurate.

The Ancient Chapel of Toxteth
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We congregated first in the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, opened especially for us by its warden, Annette Butler. She and local historian Christina Clarke (to both of whom we owe enormous thanks) had a remarkable tale to tell about the history of this simple and appealing building, constructed variously at times between 1604 and 1618. The Chapel is now owned, and used, by the Unitarians, but was built and developed by Puritan dissenters from the Church of England.

The site of the Chapel is that of the thirteenth century royal hunting Park in Toxteth, sold late in the sixteenth century to the Earl of Derby. He in turn sold it to Puritan families from around the Lancashire towns of Bolton and Ormskirk who were seeking more freedom of conscience in their religious practices, using a place which had been Crown property and was thus not subject to parish law or to enforcement of regular attendance at the parish church. [See: The History of the Royal and Ancient Park of Toxteth, Lost Villages of Liverpool: Pt. 1, The Diaries of Edward Henry Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby 1826-93 and map Toxteth (Old O.)]

Liverpool Toxteth Chapel graveyard 180x225.jpgEven with sunshine outside, the inside of the Chapel feels dark and close (perhaps in part because the winters of the seventeenth century were bitter), the pews being closely placed, but with an appealing and open gallery area above them, and an impressively large pulpit at the centre of the south wall. Over the centuries the building itself has been considerably extended, not least to adapt the previous schoolhouse (built in 1611) into the access point for the organ loft.

In contrast to the closeness of Toxteth Chapel itself, our visit to the graveyard found it calm and airy, with dappled light through the mature trees, as we examined the columned arcade and headstones of such local luminaries as Richard Vaughan Yates , who devised Princes Park, and the cartographer Richard Horwood [A to Z of Regency London]. Many other well-known local family names, including the Mellors, are also to be found there.

Jeremiah Horrox or Horrocks (1618 or 1619 - 1641)
Liverpool Toxteth Chapel Horrox plaque-closeup.jpgAmongst other fascinating plaques inside the Chapel is one commemorating the brief life and momentous work of Jeremiah Horrox (as spelt on this plaque; or Horrocks as often spelt in the reference books). Horrocks was the youthful astronomer who first observed the transit of the planet Venus, on Sunday 4 December - 24 November by reference to the Julian Calendar then in use - 1639. (There is an anecdote, possibly apocryphal, that he calculated this rare occurrence and had to pre-empt much of the Curate's duties he may have performed in Hoole, Lancashire, that day, in order to observe the transit via a telescope he constructed himself, reflecting the sun's image onto a piece of card.) [Jeremiah Horrocks,Astonomer (1618? - 1641) and His Times: No.6 (Chorley Civic Society Occasional Papers)]

Dingle's Gaumont Cinema
Liverpool Toxteth Gaumont Cinema Dingle Lane & Park Lane160x216.jpgToxteth Chapel is on the north-western corner of Park Road (running parallel to the River Mersey) and Dingle Lane (which goes from Princes Park directly towards the river). On the south-western side of this junction is a cinema now unused for its original purpose, the Gaumont, designed by W. E. Trent FRIBA, FSI (Chief Architect of Gaumont-British) specifically to accommodate the large fan-shaped curve of the roads at this corner, and opened on 29 March 1937.

The Gaumont Cinema, an art deco building erected on the site of the old Dingle Picturedrome (photo in Edwardian A-Z and Directory of Liverpool and Bootle: South Liverpool Part 3; demolished 1931), must have been very impressive in its hey day - there are many features reminiscent of the famous Liverpool Philharmonic Hall on Hope Street. It has (or had?) an orchestra pit and Wurlitzer organ console (again, the Phil has a fine organ, almost unique in rising from the stage). The cinema seated 1,500 people, 615 of them in the balcony.

It is said that the projection room was the first in Britain to have the Gaumont 'projectomatic' system which automatically changed the reels during projection of films, as well as controlling the houselights and stage curtains. There was also a Western Electric Mirrorphonic sound system.

Sadly, the Gaumont lost its originally intended function in September 1966, to become a Top Rank Bingo Club which opened in January 1967. We were not therefore able to go into the building to see more as we passed on to the south-eastern corner of this 'site visit' and the next venue of our Monday Women trip in November.

The Turner Nursing (or Memorial) Home
Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home 140x211.jpgThe story behind the Turner Nursing Home is very sad, but the outcome is a testament to the positive thinking of Mrs Charles Turner, wife of the Liverpool Member of Parliament who was also first Chairman of the Liverpool Docks and Harbour Board - the tale of which Board we shall continue at the next and final stop of our Dingle-Toxteth 'tour'. The entire Turner Memorial Home project commemorates Anne Turner's husband Charles Turner MP (13 June 1803 - 15 October 1875) and their son Charles William (16 October 1845 - 13 September 1880), who died tragically.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home sculpture 40x100.jpgIn memory of her husband and son Mrs Turner commissioned the architect Alfred Whitehouse to build a strikingly asymmetric and strangely attractive 'home' for retired and 'distressed' gentlemen - a function which it still has. In the entrance lobby there is a lovely marble statue of the two male Turners, father and son, created for the opening of the Home in 1885 by the London-based sculptor Sir William Hamo Thorneycroft R.A. (1850 - 1925). This sculpture seemed to fascinate our younger companions on this visit, perhaps because it is actually so sympathetic and life-like.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Turner Nursing Home chapel 140x281.jpgLiverpool Dingle Toxteth Turner Nursing Home turret 140x53.jpgThe red ashlar, turreted Home has a chapel, almost church-sized, with an arcade of octagonal columns and stained glass windows (by Heaton, Butler and Bayne); and beyond the spacious communal living areas we saw wide lawns sweeping down towards the River Mersey. This is a gracious reminder of times gone by, still of great value to the community, which shows us just how elegant Dingle and Toxteth must have been a century or more ago.

Dingle Overhead Railway Station
Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Railway Station (looking down)160x168.jpg Finally on this special afternoon, as the light drew in, we retraced our steps to Kedlestone Street, the road opposite the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth, and to what appeared to be a short side-alley leading to a mechanics' garage. Few of us had any idea what would come next.... As we approached, the owner, Nigel, opened the doors and we were led down an alarmingly steep slope to another world - the world of the legendary Liverpool Overhead Railway designed by leading engineers of the time, Sir Douglas Fox and James Henry Greathead.... a return to the time of the 'Dockers' Umbrella' and Liverpool's great era of engineering and transport.

Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station group 160x217.jpgThis was the site of Dingle Station, the final stop of the Overhead Railway route from Southport, Seaforth, Litherland and Aintree, via the city centre and the frantically busy docks, to the south end of the city. Interestingly, especially in the light of current-day debates elsewhere in Liverpool, the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board had on a number of occasions from 1852 onwards had travel route proposals rejected or returned for modification in the light of the increasing demands for public transport to and from the city centre.

Liverpool 'The Dockers' Umbrella' book by Paul Bolger 160x181.jpgEventually however, in 1888, a group of prominent businessmen formed the Liverpool Overheard Railway Company and obtained the powers of the Dock Board by an Act of Transfer. Work on the elevated railway therefore began in October 1889. [See: Seventeen Stations to Dingle: Liverpool Overhead Railway Remembered; Liverpool Overhead Railway.]

Dingle Station opened for passengers on 21 December 1896 and closed to the public fifty years ago, on 30 December 1956. The station platform (a full 170 feet by 28 feet) has now been demolished, but the tunnel and entrance subway remain in use as a car repair business, Roscoe Engineering. There is also an astonishing extension to the station - a kilometer long passage from this point to an opening on the Herculaneum Dock 'down by the river', and thence to the docks via the factory site of the Herculaneum Pottery which, though the company closed in1840, must have triggered a lot of local industry.

Some of us, hugely curious, then made our wary unlit way down to the Herculaneum tunnel entrance and Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station Tunnel to Herculaneum Dock 160x232.jpgback, and others, less nimble, used the time to learn more from our host Nigel about the remaining features of the station (the red buffer Liverpool Toxteth Dingle Overhead Station buffer 100x98.jpg hidden behind mechanics' equipment; the sturdy hooks and notices...). And finally we returned to Park Road as the day ended, much enlighted by our visit and debating energetically how future generations would see the places we had visited - places which (as evidenced by the enormously ambitious commissions in Toxteth - Dingle a century or so ago, engaging the most prestigious architects, designers and engineers the nation had to offer) had in times past witnessed great wealth and opportunity and then, nearer to the present day, distressing poverty and huge challenges.

'Which way now?' was the question on everyone's lips as we hit the road for home.

See also: History of Liverpool

Sudley House: Victorian Home Of A Mayor Of Liverpool

Read the discussion of this article which follows the book 'E-store'.....

MondayWomen{small].jpgMonday Women is a no-cost group, open to all, which meets and has an e-group. With affliliation of hundreds, it welcomes discussion and activities around topics of interest to women from all walks of life. After four years, the meetings are re-locating.

Please see also the Monday Women section of this website for up-to-date inormation on meetings etc.

Monday Women meetings for early 2007 are moving to the Heart and Soul Cafe-Restaurant in Liverpool.

Monday Women (Liverpool) is an open-access social and e-group for women to share views and news. 'Members' keep in touch in two ways: via open meetings-cum-social-events on the first Monday of the month (except Bank Holidays) and through the e-group. Women attending face-to-face events do not need to 'belong' to the e-group, nor do e-group members necessarily attend Monday Women events. (N.B. Children are welcome at the social events where this allows their mother / carer to attend the group.)

The Monday Women e-group has just one aim: to facilitate contact and networking between women from all walks of life, some of whom will be able to attend our events and others of whom may not be able to. The intention is quite simply to encourage the sharing of news, views and companionship.

A no-cost, informal and open-minded network
There is no formal membership for the Group and no Officers, or agenda. There are no costs, fees or admission charges for meetings or for 'joining' the e-group, which are both open to all on a no-obligation basis. This is simply a relaxed and informal meeting arrangement for women in Liverpool and Merseyside.

Monday Women see Hope Street plans [1.8.05).jpgTopics for discussion and exchange of information between individuals attending / joining in the e-group might be anything from the possible need for a playgroup, traffic crossing or bank in a particular area, to considering plans for regeneration and renewal of the city, to informing people about a special event, or enquiring who else might be interested in setting up a business or community group!

The group also occasionally shares 'outside events' such as the recent highly successful visit to the Ancient Chapel of Toxteth and two other adjacent sites of great civic and historical interest. There is in addition an annual Christmas celebratory event on the first Monday in December, organised, like every other occasion, by volunteer members of the group.

Relocating for 2007
The group was inaugurated on Monday 3 March 2003 in the Liverpool Everyman Bistro, where it has met every month since until the end of 2006. We are much indebted to Paddy Byrne, Geoff Hale and colleagues, the Bistro owners and staff, for their generous support over the past almost four years, as we now move on to new premises for early 2007 - the upstairs room of Chumki Banerjee's Heart and Soul Cafe-Restaurant , and then from 2 April to Dragon in Berry Street. 'Meetings' will be from 5.45 pm until about 7.30 pm (some people stay later), although people come and go within this time span, arriving and attending for as long as they wish.

Each person joining a Monday Women event at our 2007 venues will (as before) select and buy her own refreshments - if required - in the actual cafe and then take them into the 'meeting' with her. This enables everyone to choose items of food and / or drink which suit individual tastes and budgets.


PS Monday 5 February 2007:
Our meeting at Heart & Soul was a big success (thanks, Chumki!!), as the photo below shows....
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Becoming a 'member' of Monday Women
All women are welcome to 'join' Monday Women (Liverpool). To become a 'member' all that is required is that women turn up for a meeting - a warm welcome is assured! - or that they join the e-group. To join the e-group women are invited to email Monday Women, or to contact Hilary Burrage direct via this website.

Or perhaps, if you're a woman reading this away from Liverpool, you'd like to set up a Monday Women group too? If so, do let us know about your plans. There's room for Monday Women everywhere....

Aix dancers (small) 80x74.jpg International Women's Day is not a huge occasion for most people; but maybe it could be if we all grasped this annual opportunity to examine and where possible to celebrate, on a year-on-year basis, what progress has been made in gender equality. A start could be made, Monday Women decided, by ensuring we learn Herstory alongside His.

How does one 'celebrate' International Women's Day? And, indeed, should one? This was one of the topics discussed by Monday Women in Liverpool, today.

Given that women make up over 50% of the population of the UK, I suppose I shall be impressed when we are also invited to celebrate International Men's Day... but I do know, really, that this misses the point at least for now.

Anyway, we all do what we can. One year we even managed to produce a chamber concert including previously unheard music by the composer, Dame Ethel Smyth (who probably wrote the music around the very time when first glimmers of the idea of IWD came into being, not that far from where she was studying in central Europe). And on many occasions there have been conferences, readings and much else to recognise the parts women play in contemporary society.

Not a big issue for women or men?
But generally people don't get very excited about International Women's Day, as far as I can see. I wish they would. It would be excellent if, on this day, we not only celebrated the contributions of many thousands of unseen, unheard women in our local communities, but also began to ask, really seriously, just why are they so unacknowledged?

There's a lead story in The Independent today about how campaigners say that unless urgent action is taken on the status of women, the Millennium Development Goals on reducing poverty, infant deaths and standards of education will not be met... but The Indy also reports that only one in four British women counts herself a feminist.

For those of us who have worked over many years to seek empowerment of women alongside men this is in some respects a truly puzzling and disappointing figure; but against it we need to ask what proportion of women in previous generations would taken this label. My guess, overall, is fewer than we imagine, despite Rosie the Riveter and all she taught us.

Herstory...
So let's make a start by being a bit more realistic. If young people don't know much about how things were (and how many young people actually want to look backwards at that point in their lives?) they will also not know about how things have changed. We more experienced feminists need to work from what is - i.e. an ahistoric perspective in which all that is wrong now actually seems to younger people to be 'worse' than what was before - and to find ways of challenging that strategically, not personally.

Rather than feeling upset that what we have worked for is not understood - upsetting though in my heart I must admit this is - those of us who champion gender equality need to find ways of ensuring that HERstory is told, to everyone, alongside HIStory. Then we shall be able to demonstrate what has already been achieved and, critically, to see more clearly where the obstacles to further progress lie.

Whose responsibility?
In curriculum terms, responsibility for herstory obviously lies with the schools and the government. But in other ways it lies with us all. I would like to see a focus on International Women's Day 2007 on what each aspect of our daily lives has offered over the past year in terms of opportunities and life experience for women and men. Could this be a challenge for the media, and for us all? An agenda we could start to set now, for next year and all the years which follow?

In the meantime, Monday Women have said it already today on our e-group - have a great day!

Monday Women Xmas (small) 80x84.jpg The Monday Women group in Liverpool held its end-of-year celebration this evening, bringing together women of many different experiences and walks of life. The future may continue to be challenging for us all, but there is no doubt that the women who came together tonight feel very positive about what is in store for 2006.

This evening was the annual Monday Women end-of-year event, or 'Christmas Do', as ever at the Everyman Bistro in Liverpool's Hope Street. We usually meet on the first Monday of the month just from 5.30 till 7 pm, but for the December meeting only we have a rather more extended event.

This year our chosen theme, presented with great flair by two 'members' of the group, was our wishes for ourselves and others for the coming year - and so we found ourselves, after a meal and a drink, sitting in a big 'circle' (actually a four-tables-length oblong) creating paper flags, with coloured pens, glue and glitter, which then became our thirty-flag pendant-bunting for the future.

A mixed group, but a strong commitment
The Monday Women 'group' is a completely free, and totally accessible, company of women from all walks of life who simply chose whenever they can to come together to talk and share. Sometimes this coming together is via the Monday Women Yahoo e-group, and sometimes it's in the physical space of the Everyman Bistro.

People come and people go, but there is always a welcome when they appear; no-one organises it, the appearances and the welcome are both offered without reservation or condition. Some of those involved are young, some really quite a bit older, some already know each other, some when they arrive do not. It really doesn't matter. Despite the variety of Monday Women, though, there is a strong sense of shared values and commitment, to the human condition in general and to the specific part/s women take in it.

Wishes for a strong and fair future for us all
Perhaps it is not surprising that the women this evening, some first-timers, some now 'old friends', shared a common optimism and good will as they surveyed the year ahead.

No-one, as I saw it, considered that issues of equality have now been resolved; no-one thought these were not worthy still of consideration; but everyone saw their future as positive.

We have (literally) flown our paper flags for 2006, and we have written ourselves good wishes for the coming year which we shall revisit next December. The evening was a lively, positive affirmation of our hopes for what is to come, both for those of us who were there in the Everyman this evening, and for women everywhere.

Sefton Park06.7.30  (middle lake, small) 009.jpg Plans for Sefton Park are taking shape rapidly - as are ideas for several of Liverpool's other Parks. Monday Women decided to have a debate; points from our discussion follow. Your contributions on how Liverpool's Parks should be developed are also most welcome.

Sefton Park Cherry Trees 06.5.5 009.jpg Meeting up with other Monday Women this evening, one very hotly discussed topic of conversation was the merits or otherwise of plans for Sefton, Otterspool and Newsham Parks. Amongst the issues considered, of course, was the fate of the cherry trees by the middle lake.

It's actually very heartening that so many people wanted to talk about these plans in detail, and to continue the discussion elsewhere. We therefore came up with the idea of making this topic a 'main' item on my website.... so here it is!

I'll kick off with a few thoughts on plans for Sefton Park, in my own locality (years ago, this would have been Newsham Park, so I have something of a 'compare and contrast' perspective on developments).

The main issues in contention for Sefton Park currently seem to include:

Eco- Solar 06.7.15 031.jpg * Do we want lighting, or bats? (Maybe we want both; how about ground-level lighting of the southern, presently non-lit, paths.. which would also remove any concerns about strollers being well-lit, and supposed potential assailants lurking invisibly in bushes 'behind' the lights) How will we ensure that the vibrant wild and bird life of the park is nurtured?

* Why are the only toilets in the Park in the Central Kiosk? (The Palm House has some, of course, but they are not open to the public.)

Sefton Park 06.7.11&12 024 Waterway grot.jpg * Do people realise that the Park is far from 'natural'? (Conservation is a managed process; many trees, bushes and supplings have just grown as they will, and some of these probably do need to be removed.)

* How will the intended new waterways be designed? And how will they be kept clean and clear?

* Has anyone realised that, if the attached allotments (apparently controlled not by Parks & Gardens, but by Recreation & Leisure...) are drained to remove waterlogging, there is a fear that the water will cascade across the Park?

Sefton Park 06.5.25 Bandstand 024.jpg * What sorts of performance space/s are intended for the Park? Will these be all-weather, and who will manage them?

* Is there any scope for a pleasant meeting place / restaurant at the south end of the Park, and what will become of the Central Kiosk? Will there be any public art?

* Where will young people be able safely to congregate in the evening and at weekends, whilst younger children, families and older people can continue to enjoy the quieter aspects of the facility?

There are lots of questions, some of them quite fundamental, in the issues being raised, so it's good to be able to report that we can expect a Public Exhibition and Consultation on the Sefton Park proposals, cum December. Watch this space for details!

And, in the meantime, please do carry on the debate right here. (NB You don't have to publish your details; the only check we make on this website is that you are not a spammer!) We all look forward to hearing your views, below...

See also: Sefton Park's Grebes And Swans

Liverpool's Sefton Park, Swans, Herons And Grebes

Sefton Park, Liverpool: Winter Solstice 2006

Cherry Blossom For May Day In Sefton Park, Liverpool

Cherry Picking Liverpool's Sefton Park Agenda

Liverpool's Sefton Park Trees Under Threat - Unnecessarily?

Solar Lighting Could Solve The Parks Problem

Friends Of Sefton Park

Monday Women(small) 80x94.jpg Monday Women is an entirely free-to-join group of women who meet together and also have an e-group. It promotes the sharing of news, views and ideas and is also a sounding board for the friendly sharing of matters of interest and concern. As such, it is a social enterprise which manages without formality or funding.

Monday Women is a social enterprise of the simplest sort. It's free and open to all women, both as an e-group and as a meeting point. (We meet 5.30 - 7-ish on the first Monday of every month, except if a Bank Holiday, in the Third Room of the Everyman Bistro, Liverpool.)

Setting up the Group was an experiment. At the beginning, on 3 March 2003, there were about thirty 'members', who already mostly knew each other. Now there are some hundreds of women who have been asociated with the Group, of whom about two hundred are currently 'members' of it. 'Applications' [*] to join the e-group arrive almost every week, and sometimes new 'members' simply arrive at meetings, having heard about the Group on the grapevine. The fact that there are no formal costs or structures means that the Group is sustainable in its own right, without funding or other constraints.

The issues which have arisen in Monday Women discussion and e-correspondence have been really varied, covering everything from parks policy and landscape gardening (the Sefton Park plans have attacted particular interest), to requests for domestic / personal support (including the loan fo a baby car seat for a visiting grandchild!), to enquiries from researchers about people's views on and experience of a range of things (The Mersey Partnership's 'Gender Agenda' has featured in several discussions, as has the ambitious cliam that Liverpool could become the most 'women-friendly city in Liverpool' by 2008).

The e-group has also become a 'notice board', with job vacancies, concert and theatre postings, information about outings and much else.

The e-group has hosted some vigorous debates on issues of equality, health, employment etc; some of these topics have also had a full airing at meetings, to which speakers are occasionally invited - though mostly people just bring with them topics they may wish to discuss.

And, importantly, the Group has been a source of new friends, pleasant company and sometimes positive support for women of many sorts and in many situations. Surely, then, an example of how e-technology can be adapted at almost no cost (except time) to serve a genuinely social function?

To join, please visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MondayWomen-Liverpool/, or contact the convenor, Hilary Burrage, direct. Or just come to a Monday Women meeting!

[*] To begin with there were some 'technical 'problems with the e-group, which appeared to be of interest to spammers. For this reason, and no other, the Group decided it would be necessary for 'members' to 'apply' through the website to join the e-group, rather than simply joining in. This necessary decision, whilst unfortunate, has removed the spam issue and made members of the Group more comfortable.