All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Friday, 22 August 2008

Liverpool, Three Ladies And A Man

I was hoping that this blog would have been written up by my two eldest daughters, but it looks like this is not going to happen, as they don't seem to be as keen as I am to share their experiences of my adopted city.

My mother, Dassi, Tali and I went up to the city on Sunday. If you recall, I had promised Tali that she would go to Chester Zoo, accompanied by her oldest sister and grandmother...oh yes, and me.

The journey north didn't start too well as I managed to forget the free entry vouchers at home. A quick call to the zoo from the service station sorted the problem out. I would pay the full price and they would reimburse me the cost of two children's tickets. I suppose it was cheaper than turning around and going back home.

We staggered our way to the city and headed straight for the Liverpool John Lennon Airport as I wanted to show them the Yellow Submarine as well as see the terminal building for myself. I had seen the submarine when I visited two years ago, but hadn't got further than that. This time, I wanted to tick that little box on my to-do list.

It was worth it. The terminal building is stunning and you even get to read lyrics from John's Imagine album off the walls, as well as the obligatory "Give Peace A Chance" quote. I can't remember though whether they included "How Do You Sleep"....

The centre-piece is a lifelike statue of John, which everybody flanks and stands next to, for the obligatory photo-op.

My mom called some old friends that she felt she had to visit, so we left the airport and made a quick stop at their lovely bungalow in the Allerton district. We didn't stay too long, as supper was beckoning in a restaurant that I had aimed to get to by 5.00 - fat chance of that happening!

We did manage to down some supper and made our way to Gordon and Sonja's lovely B&B in the Wirral. I'd promised the girls that I would take them to my favourite spot, a lovely walk around the lake in West Kirby and to my delight, they were as taken with it as am I. It would have been a perfect walk, had the Liverpool weather been a little more welcoming.

Day two began with a trip to the supermarket to buy some new shoes for the girls and the plimsolls they'd braved the lake with, weren't going to see many more days in Liverpool, let alone the rest of the country. We got that out of the way and made our journey through the Queens tunnel into the heart of Liverpool.

First stop was the Beatles Story which has been expanded upon and improved. I was particularly taken by the four new cubicles highlighting the individual Beatles' achievements since the band broke up.

Next, it was time to visit the Cavern Quarter and I was particularly keen on seeing the newly opened Hard Days' Night Hotel, a minor trip which didn't disappoint. Let's be honest here, walking around the lobby is probably the nearest I'm going to get to staying there, granted the inflated prices they charge! That said, there is a lot to see amongst the exhibits displayed.

We went in The Grapes pub to meet my friend Sam Leach, who was a charming as ever and sprinkled his mischievous Liverpool wit in buckets on the four of us. It was a shame that we weren't able to spend more time together, as I had only parked the car for an hour in the city centre.

Fortunately, the weather held long enough for me to take the family to see Penny Lane, Strawberry Field, as well as the exterior of John and Paul's respective homes. By this time, the girls was getting fractious and my mother was almost begging to go home, so it was time to head back to the Wirral.

The girls begged me to go to West Kirby, so I obliged and we started to walk along the promenade around the lake, but the wind was blowing and the water from the lake more than seeping into our shoes. Maybe this wander wasn't such a good idea after all.

Next best thing. The girls played in the sand, whilst my mom and I watched them, seated in the comfort of the car.....parked alongside the beach.

Their fun however didn't last long as the heavens opened and I thanked the good Lord that I'd listened to my wise mother who'd suggested bringing the car closer to the sand! It had been a full day and I'd achieved most of what I'd set out to do. At least I could say that I'd shared my experience of Liverpool with the family.

We came to the third day with a great deal of expectation and certain complications. My mother had always said she wanted to visit the Liverpool Tate as they were holding an exhibition on Gustav Klimt, an artist that she admires. This could have caused a problem, if not for the kind offer of her friend (the husband and wife are members of the gallery and the visit operates on a timed system.....except if you are members) to take her round the exhibit.

We dropped her off and made our way to Chester Zoo, the original raison-d'etre for the visit. It was worth the trip because the zoo is nothing short of fabulous. My particular favourite moment was right at the start when we were watching the Elephants! It was incredible to see how they manipulated their trunks to pick up tree branches and put them into their mouths. I wasn't aware that an elephant has "fingers" at the end of it's trunk and can use these to turn the branches around, or indeed break them into smaller pieces. Quite extraordinary.

The other highlight was my facing a long held fear of bats. Tali and I aren't too keen on the winged creatures, but Dassi wanted to go into the free-flying bat cave. I hesitatingly agreed, my stomach churning and made it through alive. The funniest point though being when Tali asked me to let go of her hand! I know who was more frightened of those horrible flying rats.

To make her point even more obvious, she and Dassi ended up going into the cave three times. I hope you will understand that I didn't follow.

We did something quite smart. Tali said she wanted to see the aquarium, which is situated across the park from the entrance, so we aimed for the spot and in the process saw the entire zoo. The weather was not pleasant, but it didn't stop us having a grand day out.

Time to go.

We went back into Liverpool to pick my mother up and then out again, to head back to London, which we reached about five hours later. I know I should have taken more breaks, especially when driving at night, but getting home at midnight was probably late enough.

I scored my third hat trick and Liverpool is still beckoning to me. Oh well, there's always next year.

(If you're my friend on Facebook, feel free to have a look at the photos I've uploaded.)

1 comment:

marylène said...

oh dear
you are all the time with women
at home 5
and here 3