Drawing in closer to home, in the street of Abby, our closest human neighbour to the right was the tiny Mrs Corniss and her blond son Bobby. To our immediate left was our old neighbour, Granny Southern. She was a large woman of eighty, who lived out the lag end of her life in a bed beside the small window of 29 Abyssinia Street. My mother and a few other women would see to it that old granny 'S' was as comfortable as possible.
One day the tiny Mrs Corniss invited us in to see her new wallpaper on the front room walls. Mother remarked that it was nice and she should be proud of herself. It should be noted here that in the twenties self-sticking wallpaper was unheard of. The method used was to make one's own glue from a mix of flour and boiling water, which was then spread onto the long lengths of wallpaper with a wallpaper brush, then applied to the wall. As we were about to leave the newly decorated parlour, my mother asked Mrs C what she was cooking for dinner since the smells in the house were so good. The tiny Mrs C replied, "Oh, I believe that you can smell the wallpaper paste, you see I had no money for flour so I used the sticky starchy water from the tripe and onions which I have stewed for the past week, it makes fine glue". We left chuckling, and evermore smelled the delicious aroma of tripe and onions floating through old lady Corniss's doors and windows.
The neighbourliness within the close quarters verged on an invasion of privacy, especially in the back alleys. It was here that the occupants of both streets would gather and exchange the badinage, the gossip, jokes and even the money from the moneylender to the bookie. Often entire families would lounge around the doorways to hear the News of the World being read, more often than not by my dad who was one of the more literate residents of Abby. Gossip would fly from one stoop to another, when all of the people came out in the evening or the weekends and the men played marbles on the smooth slate in the centre of the alley. Sitting on the stoop of the back door, in the early thirties, we heard about the marriage of Princess Marina of Greece to the Duke of Gloucester, the death of the well-loved King George V, the love affairs of the Prince of Wales - he was the darling of the Rhondda Valley.
(Note: LONOA = Liberty, Oak, Nebo, Ono and Abyssinia Streets,
off Wellington Road, Wavertree)