BEING an ardent culture vulture, I have noticed the lesser-spotted chief executive, Eric Robinson has been in action.

Next year Wirral becomes a Liverpool City Region Borough of Culture And here's to you Mr Robinson, who hopes Wirral will continue to be a borough that celebrates culture every year.

Under the 1% for Culture Programme, Liverpool City Region has become the first in the country to commit to spending the equivalent of 1% of its annual £30 million devolution funding from government to support cultural activities.

In total, £200,000 has been set aside to support the annual programme which awards BOC status on a rotation basis across the super six.

St Helens is the current BOC.

There is also a proposed 'Liverpool City Region Cultural Awards Scheme.'

I knew our Wirral Globe Arts Ambassadors Awards would inspire others.

This year saw the launch of Imagine Wirral. Council leader Phil Davies (Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Culture) puts his art on his sleeve when he says: "Culture is an essential driver in stimulating creative entrepreneurialism and is also instrumental in generating substantial growth for local, regional and national economies."

Provisional themes are discovery, exploration and great outdoors – hopefully to promote not only Wirral's wonderful wide open spaces (while we have them), but also linking into the forthcoming Eureka children's science museum – due to open in 2020.

After years without an arts policy - culture is coming home.

I hereby call for an official database of local arts organisations willing to creatively contribute.


ONCE upon a time there were six Wirral mermaids.

A trail was joyfully created symbolising escapism for free in these austere times.

Picture this ... families were actually taking selfies together.

The mermaids are the result of imagination, innocence and optimism.

Now, one at Vale Park has been brutally snubbed out.

When my colleague Craig Manning posted his story about the arson attack it was followed up by other papers, radio and TV.

We were not lost for words on our Facebook and other social media.

There is still anger, outrage and disgust.

Fire took our 'soothing siren' away.

Ironically, fire will bring her back thanks to the flames of community spirit.

The pop group Crowded House sang: "Don't dream it over – don't let them win."

Those anthemic words echo my own sentiments and those of heart-broken mermaid lovers everywhere.

The morons who cause such misery are nothing more than human shipwrecks.


AFTER water, tea is the most consumed beverage in the world.

Gilbert O'Sullivan pays homage to the tipple in his tribute love song Where Would We Be (Without Tea)?

Wirral now has something else to celebrate – the Best tasting tea title in the UK's Afternoon Tea Awards won by Thornton Hough Hotel.

Last week I finally treated myself to one.

I also saw the trophy which is now proudly on display.

Another tourist attraction for Wirral to toast.


MORE tea anyone?

MPs carrying tea trays for waiting reporters is a political delaying tactic. Boris Johnson is the latest politician to patronise those wanting a quote from him.

It reminded me of when I was a London-based reporter in pre-mobile phone days and was sent to a celebrity's countryside house to see if a tale about him was true.

When I arrived, a pack of fellow journalists were already camped outside.

A pub landlord came out with a tray of brandies and informed us that the star had departed a day earlier in a blacked-out Limousine.

He then told us his pub pay phone was available to use.

Boris should know by now that reporters don't want tea and sympathy – their bread and butter is being served usable quotes.


AT school, I day-dreamed about being a lighthouse keeper.

My exercise books were full of sketches of these structures.

George Harrison's notebooks were full of guitar drawings.

Keeping teenage dreams alive is good for our morale.

They prevent us from turning into robots.

A survey has shown what plum jobs people aim for: caretaker on Love Island.

Another was looking after pandas (you must panda to their whims).

One gin company now seeks an adventurer to follow in the footsteps of Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg and circumnavigate the world in 80 days to collect herbs and spices for a new range of cocktails.

Oh, and The Bank of England will be looking for a new head in six months.

Now that's not a dream but nightmare job that would turn most people to hit the G and Ts.


And finally ...

The Edinburgh Fringe has announced the funniest festival gag.

Here it is: "Working at the job centre has to be a tense job ... knowing that if you get fired you still have to come in the next day."

Now prepare to hold your sides with my own comedy contender.

"The Government has announced a new way of cutting down on unemployment.

"They will raise the school leaving age to 66."

Yet again, it’s the way I tell ’em.

Peter Grant