TRAINS marooned on their rails, villages isolated, the eternal babble of brooks and rivers halted, as if by celestial power failure.
Bloated clouds, Snow Grey, hang low over Sefton Park, January 1940. They are invaders that threaten to turn every object in the world to their own image and likeness. Already their first windfall lies thick beneath the naked trees: a blanket of snowflakes muffling all that goes about its blithe business in Britain in the opening days of a decade that would change the world forever.
And here the pirate ship The Jolly Roger guards the territorial waters as a solitary, well-dressed child looks further out – a hop, skip and a jump, in good boots, from peril and adventure on the high seas.
The Jolly Roger was formerly a lifeboat in the Cunard fleet. Festooned with masts and sails and imagination, it dropped permanent anchor in Liverpool’s own Victorian Neverland during the June 1928 Pageant of Peter Pan.
It delighted a generation of youngsters before the tides of time and weather sent it down to a shallow resting place, to be replaced by two more over the coming half century.
The arrival of the 1940 New Year white-out brought with it perhaps one of the last great silences the land of hope and glory would ever know.
Warmed by coal fires, slumbering Liverpool would be jolted awake only months later. This time a very different invader to the skies - but also intent on branding the world with its own image and likeness: the Swastika-bearing Luftwaffe.
In this frozen moment in time, like Peter Pan himself, we were all yet to grow up.
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