Thursday, August 25, 2011

Our Day Out

I am holidaying in Liverpool this year (again), and trying to keep a clear diary for as much of the next week as possible.

The sun was cracking the flags at 11am this morning when Colin and I set off on an unplanned, take it as it comes, "our day out". We started with a spot of shopping on Allerton Road. I bought a beautiful red New Guinea Impatiens from Chandlers, just like this one (this is the only photo that is not mine in the following collection), for the Bistro Yard. Some of the plants have looked very sad lately as I failed to water them quite as much as I should after the outside tap broke. So I am now having to buy some late summer plants to fill in some of the spaces.

And we popped into Max Speilmanns and printed four digital photographs, to be shown at the Deane Road Cemetery Art Exhibition which opens on October 6th - a date for your diary.

This is one of the four photos I will be displaying, which all show flora and fauna within the cemetery. This particular one shows Herb Robert and a Buttercup growing by a fallen stone just inside the cemetery wall.

With the clip frames that they will be displayed in, the whole thing only cost £8 which was a bargain. I had no idea that printing digital photos was so cheap and I may get some more done now that I know. The quality was much better than anything I can achieve on my own printer.

It was lunch time and it being such a beautiful sunny day I suggested we might go into town as I was interested to learn more about a restaurant I had spotted on the roof of the Mersey Ferry terminal at the Pierhead which I thought would have fabulous views.

It turned out to be a Pan Asian restaurant called Matou and we quickly found a table outside on the terrace. Unfortunately it was at this time that the sun went behind some dark clouds - which grew more significant as we ate our lunch. (Lovely food by the way but not much good to people on a budget, I would suggest).

It was wonderful to sit in front of the three graces though, definitely somewhere to take any visitors to the city in future.

I rather like this photograph of King Edward VII looking up at us as we were eating our Malaysian Chicken and Lamb Satay. It's not an angle you usually see him from. (You can click on any of these photos and see them in much more detail by the way.)

Over lunch we chatted about the new Museum of Liverpool, my first visit to which I have been saving. I have been looking forward to its opening ever since the old Museum of Liverpool Life closed its doors, leaving me bereft. It was always in my top five of favourite places to visit, particularly with out of town visitors.

Colin said he had been during the first week or so when it was bedlam and he could not get near any exhibits, while the queues were out the door for tickets to the Beatles and Football free film shows. I'd read in the Liverpool Echo that only half of the exhibitions are open so far and much more is due to come in the late autumn. So I had thought of waiting until then so that there was more to see. But then it occurred to us that it might be less busy now that the initial hype was over, and it was a Thursday afternoon, so we decided to give it a go.

Thankfully, although there were plenty of people around, they didn't hinder our enjoyment of the museum and we also got in to see the Beatles film relatively easily (okay but not a patch on anything in the Beatles Museum on the Albert Dock in my view).

I took as many photographs of the stunning views from the museum across the Pierhead, the waterfront and Albert Dock as I did of the exhibits inside.

There was this wonderful view of the Port of Liverpool building with a Yellow Duckmarine passing, which was just begging to be taken for instance.

And then I thought this view of the wonderful Albert Docks and Salthouse Dock with the Wheel of Liverpool rising above, and the roof of the old Museum of Liverpool Life in the foreground was fresh and interesting from this angle. The window was rain stained so the image is not very clear - I don't fancy their window cleaning bills to be honest! But you can still see what a great view it is - and look at those dark clouds building up too!

I am sure you will visit the Museum of Liverpool yourself, if you have not been already, so I don't need to share all my photos of interesting exhibits with you, but I thought these few might be worth reproducing here.

The People's Republic was probably my most favourite of the galleries opened so far. And I particularly enjoyed the Votes for Women display where I was delighted with this footnote.

It tells it how it is, it may not be the early 1900s any more but the sentiment still stands. More women are out of work now - over one million -than have been for 25 years.
Women of Britain, vote against the Liberal (Democrats), if you seek equality!

It was also great to be reunited with the SuperFiveADaylambanana produced by Kenny kids in 2008, which is now grazing permanently (and healthily) in the museum. Interestingly the photo you can see on the left end of the display upon which FiveADay stands shows a Trade Union march lead by Cllr Jack Spriggs, I wad delighted to see him so fittingly featured in the museum, along with John Hamilton. Two lovely blokes who fought so hard all of their lives for local people.

Having left the museum after several very enjoyable hours, we were driving home down Princes Road past the Jewish Synagogue for the Liverpool Old Hebrew Congregation who own Deane Road Cemetery when I was reminded of an image of a Madryn Street sign I had seen during the Beatles film, In the town where I was born,  at the museum.

Although I know the arguments have been raging across the city for all the time I have lived here, about whether the Welsh Streets should be demolished, I had never actually been to look at them for myself. I have driven up and down North Hill Street from time to time when I worked at Queens Dock and sometimes would take that route to Sefton Street for a change, but I had never been across to High Park Street. So, with a quick look at the A-Z Colin and I made a detour to Madryn Street to see for ourselves what it was that people want to preserve.

I have to admit to being surprised by what I saw. Five or so streets of very small terraced houses, with flat frontages: no bay windows for instance, and every house empty. Houses that nobody has wanted to buy in Smithdown or Kensington or Edge Hill for decades, houses that elsewhere have already been demolished. I am all in favour of fighting municipal demolition where it is not appropriate and indeed long-term readers of this blog will know that I submitted an objection to parts of the Edge Lane CPO demolition plans, but with the Welsh streets I could not see what the passionate defenders can presumably see. Richard Starkey lived at 9 Madryn Street until he was 4, I am not sure how many memories he can retain from that period. I also moved at that age and have only fleeting impressions of my first home. I saw nothing that should excite conservationists, given the removal of so many identical houses across the north of England.

I was interested however to see the graffiti on the boards against the window and door of this particular property, much of which was written by visitors from the South Americas, Brazil and Argentina being particularly prominent. It is clear that despite the general hostility and "pissed-off-ness" of Scousers to the continuing reminder of the Beatles who are 50 years in the past now, and where they feel that it is time to move on and celebrate other things, the Beatles clearly do remain a tourist attraction.

Mind you, clearly not everyone is a fan of Ringo, who controversially told Jonathan Ross that  he missed nothing about Liverpool on a late night TV show, despite having just tipped up for the opening of the 2008 Capital of Culture where he sang his song "Liverpool I left you but I never left you down"

Visitors won't feel that pain but locals are obviously still smarting.

It was a great day out with much to reflect upon, I can recommend a gentle walk along Allerton Road looking at the shops, some of which are still vital independents. You will enjoy the views from Matou, although you might want to save up before you visit to sample the lovely food, or else not be particularly hungry. You will love the Museum of Liverpool where the city's naked pride is centre stage (I may write about the edgy film on show at the entrance to the People's Republic on another occasion, but let me point that you wouldn't want to watch it if you are a famous yet unpopular Tory loving exiled Scouser). And if you like views of the Pier Head, both the restaurant and the museum have it all. If you have not been to see the Welsh streets then perhaps, like me, it is time that you did, so that you can make up your own mind about what people are so desperate to preserve.

And as the sun sets unseen behind those dark clouds I am left reflecting that nobody needs a RyanAir flight to the Algarve when you can have a day out in the 'Pool. (Unless of course you want a tan!) (One of the contributors to the edgy film I mentioned above talked about a terracotta army of women on Liverpool streets on a Saturday night out, LOL) 


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