Category Archives: Liverpool



Started in 1984, the Turner Prize is named after the British painter JMW Turner (1775-1851), more of him later.  It is an award presented annually to a visual artist born in or based in Great Britain in recognition of an outstanding exhibition of his or her work. It is considered the highest honour in the British art world, though the winner is often controversial. High profile winners in the past include Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Damien Hirst and Steve McQueen. Originating at Tate Britain, the Prize now travels out of London in alternate years to other venues in the UK. This year the Tate at Liverpool’s Albert Docks was hosting it.

The Albert Docks area down on the river front has over the years I have been visiting established itself as one of the better tourist attractions in the port. A complex of dock buildings and warehouses opened in 1846, and was the first structure in Britain to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, with no structural wood becoming the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world.

It was revolutionary in its design as ships were loaded and unloaded directly from or to the warehouses. The dock became a popular store for valuable cargoes such as brandy, cotton, tea, silk, tobacco, ivory and sugar. However, within 50 years, larger and more open docks were required.

The complex was damaged during WW2 air raids on Liverpool. With the general decline of docking it finally closed in 1972. After ten years of dereliction, the redevelopment of the dock began in 1981, when the Merseyside Development Corporation was set up, with the Albert Dock being officially re-opened in 1984 as a tourist and retail attraction. The retail side has not prospered but now bars and restaurants complement the cultural scene. Whatever, it represents the great prosperity of the Port Of Liverpool in the last two centuries.

In the 1980s it was decided to create a ‘Tate of the North’.  This would be a gallery dedicated to showing modern art and encouraging a new, younger audience. First The Maritime Museum moved in then in 1985, James Stirling was commissioned to design the new Tate Gallery. His designs left the exterior of the building almost untouched, but transformed the interior into an arrangement of simple, elegant galleries suitable for the display of modern art. It opened to the public in May 1988.

Coming full circle 2008 marked the year Liverpool was named European Capital of Culture. To celebrate this, in 2007 the gallery hosted the Turner Prize, the first time the competition was held outside London. A major step forward for art in the provinces. It is back here after 15 years and that is why I was in Liverpool on a wild January day.



The waterfront had a wintery Venetian atmosphere, I walked past the tacky outlets selling Beatles and LFC paraphernalia to enter the Tate at the far end. Lovely scouse accents greeted me, directing me to the top floor for the four selected Turner Prize exhibits.

Each was on a large scale, well presented in the spacious galleries. The four were Heather Phillipson, Ingrid Pollard, Veronica Ryan and Sin Wai Kin. To be honest I had not come across any of them. Have you?


First up was Heather Phillipson, a room full of delights. Multimedia – videos, music sounds, sculptural installations – all coming at you from different directions. Complex and absurd, nothing is what it seems and there is a sense of menace – in the artist’s words “all may be on the verge of collapse” The video of clouds and swans had me entranced whilst in the background all sorts of clanking noises were going on.

I felt a little let down with Veronica Ryan. Maybe it was too complex for me. “There’s a kind of subtle autobiographical component to the work, and the jury feel that she’s extending the language of modern contemporary sculpture in new and subtle ways,” The room was a quiet space with salvaged articles brought to life and references to her Caribbean upbringing and even the Covid crisis. 

Next up was the lively Sin Wai Kin. He has created a fictional world of his own with characters exploring commercialism, racism and sexuality. All shown with cardboard cut-outs, videos and music. Very disturbing to my sheltered upbringing, a complicated mesh of relationships vividly portrayed.

Lastly, but not least, Ingrid Pollard. Again of Caribbean heritage who has been photographing scenes since childhood. Her racial differences in our culture always fascinated her and her present exhibition reflects that. Photographs of ‘Black’ people within our British culture form one space. In the other is the moving ‘Bow Down and Very Low’ which centres around a young girl from a film screenshot combined with a kinetic installation of mechanical bowing. “We share some things in common and that’s the beginning of the conversation“.



So who won, well the judges decided upon Veronica Ryan. Their decision would have been influenced by her recent Windrush dedicated installation in Hackney, tropical fruits for all to enjoy. The prize is for the latest works of the artist not necessarily just the Tate exhibition. 


Veronica Ryan in Hackney.


A break was needed in the friendly café.


The nineteenth-century artist J.M.W. Turner( 1775 – 1851) was a figure who had been innovative and controversial in his own day.  Today he is considered to be one of the greatest British artists. Turner, himself, had wanted to establish a prize for young artists, so it was fitting to name the prize after him. At the moment Tate Liverpool is also hosting an exhibition of some of his seascapes alongside an auditory interpretation by Lamin Tofana. Dark Waters. That’s where I was heading next.


There are two rooms showing Turner’s sketches and finished paintings accompanied by the music of Lamin.

Turner had a long-lasting fascination with the sea, the ships that sailed it and the dangers they encountered. He was influenced by notable sailing disasters of the time and also the links to the slave transportation prevalent in the C18/19th. Liverpool was of course a major seaport in those days.

Lamin Fofana, an electronic music producer and DJ, was born in Sierra Leone and lived in Guinea before moving to the United States in his early teens to escape the civil war. Lamin’s music reflects the diversity of his upbringing. Complex and otherworldly, his music reflects immigrants struggle to define their place in a new environment through creative expression. 

On display are some of Turner’s sketch books, he never travelled without one. The sketches are exquisite –  a few lines depicting the power of the oceans. There are more of his finished sketches framed on the walls, all capturing the moods of the water. And then there were about a dozen of his most famous oils. Time to stand and stare, and marvel at his artistry capturing light and movement. All the while in the background were Lamin’s hauntingly evocative sounds. 






Gazing out of the window was a scene worthy of a Turner sketch, the River Mersey being whipped up in the strong winds. All enhanced by Lamin’s music.




There was much more to view at the Tate, but my two main objectives had been fulfilled, and they had both exceeded my expectations. Time to hit the motorway before the traffic builds.


I had intended writing a detailed post on our visit to The Tudors Exhibition at the Walker in Liverpool, hoping to tempt some of you to visit, but I now realise it is closing in a few days. (29th August). Unfortunately the boat has almost sailed, all I can say is you have missed a treat. Here are a few poor quality phone pictures to give you an idea.

Charting the reigns and intrigues of Henry VII, Henry VIII and his six wives, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I from 1485 to 1603. Notable portraits of them took pride of place in the first part of the exhibition.  Along the way were minor parts – Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas More, Thomas Cromwell, Francis Drake, William Shakespeare, Mary Queen of Scots, all portrayed and documented.


Henry VIII 


Edward II


Elizabeth I.


Thomas Cromwell


Sir Francis Drake.

At the time England was waging war on Ireland,Scotland, France and Spain. The Reformation and dissolution of the monasteries took place under Henry VIII and we veered from Catholicism to Protestant several times. England achieved global expansion through piracy and slavery. One of the most dramatic times in Britain’s history.

Highlight loans in the exhibition were the Westminster Tournament Roll, produced on parchment in 1511, the Roll celebrates the birth of Henry VIII’s son with Katherine Aragon, Henry, who unfortunately died in infancy. This spectacular document and accompanying video was last on public display almost 20 years ago and never seen outside London. Another incredible loan was the Bacton Altar Cloth which new research suggests is an item from Elizabeth I’s wardrobe, making it the only known surviving example of her clothing. The Bristowe Hat loaned to the exhibition, a very rare example of original Tudor fashion. The Armada Maps were on display, recently saved for the nation, these intricate drawings illustrate the dramatic conflict between the Spanish Armada and English fleet off the south coast of England in 1588. I was so impressed with these that I forgot to take a photo.


Westminster Tournament Roll video screen.


The Bacton Alter Cloth.

That was a three-hour journey, broken by coffee, cake and a rest.

At the end we wandered outside for a breath of fresh air and a spot of lunch before returning to sample some of the other Walker Gallery’s many highlights. In the shop I splashed out on a humorous card for the next person I know getting married.20220826_114554

THE SEFTON COASTAL PATH. Waterloo to Formby.

At only 21 miles long The Sefton Coastal Path hardly qualifies for a long distance walk category. In the past I would have happily seen this as a one day challenge, but in my maturity I’m happy to take a couple of leisurely days over it – one of my two-day classics. [must link in the numerous others]

I’m setting off again without a map but I’ve a decent leaflet from Sefton Council which should see me through. I met my Waterloo at the bus stop and walked down to the beach to be alarmed by the sight of men standing up to their necks in the water. And there more some on the beach and others with their heads disappearing under the waves. In fact there were a hundred [I didn’t count them] all part of Anthony Gormley’s installation of ‘Another Place’. A brave man to depict all those identical nude images of himself. Not being one who is comfortable in water I found the statues disturbing, I am not in the best of places.

In the background were the industrial cranes of Liverpool, or more precisely Bootle, Docks and a constant stream of boats being escorted up the Mersey. A cold wind from the south was behind me as I marched along the beach and then the prom with all the dogs and their ‘masters’.

Once out of Crosby the path headed off across dunes but all was not as it should be – the edge of the coast was eroding away and exposing building rubble not sand. The local coast guard out on patrol explained that postwar the debris of the heavy bombing of the city was dumped here to help shore up the sea defences and now those weathered bricks were resurfacing. What a history they must have.

I blindly followed the surfaced track which took me inland to Hightown, there had been no waymarking as such and I realised I was following a cycle route. I could have continued along the coast for more pleasant walking and this slowly dawned on me as I progressed over the two days. I might as well say it now The Sefton Coastal Path as promoted is a rather boring cycle route and a far better walking route could be devised, I made it up as I went along with varying degrees of success. So that is why I was walking through a housing estate trying to see the coast. At the first opportunity I turned west and for a while walked alongside the Alt River but red flags were flying with a lot of gunfire. It didn’t need much persuading to walk around the perimeter of Altcar Training Camp. The next fenced in stretch by the railway was uninspiring with explosions to my left and emptiness to my right, I felt isolated and vulnerable.

As soon as I could I escaped out onto the Formby dunes, there were paths everywhere and I ended up on one going to the Devil’s Hole, an extensive crater in the dunes thought to have been started by a wayward German bomb and carved out over the years by the wind, the largest ‘blow out’ in Britain. Coming through the dunes I was onto the beach with views back to Liverpool Docks, across to Wales and Anglesey, and out to wind turbines in the open sea, the whole creating a sense of immense space.

The sense of space was enhanced as the tide was way out with an extensive stretch of sand in front of me and I was able to walk three miles up the beach. At the high tide mark were thousand of empty Razor Clams apparently washed ashore in recent high winds, crunchy walking.

Most of the time I had the beach to myself but there was always a gaggle of people and dogs where a path through the dunes led to a car park. Yes that is Blackpool Tower in the distance. The low light was constantly changing as clouds drifted across the sun.It was time for a spot of dune walking on the edge of the pine forests famous for their Red Squirrel population. I found a maze of paths, didn’t see a squirrel and eventually followed a route inland through the mixed woods and across a golf course to Freshfield station as darkness was approaching.

A train whisked me one stop down the line to Formby where I enjoyed an excellent Airbnb.


WIRRAL WALKABOUT – it’s a dogs life.


Hoylake – Hooton.

What is it about dog walkers?  This stretch seemed to be inundated with them in all shapes and sizes, usually the dogs get more exercise than their owners.

The first person I asked for directions strangely didn’t have a dog, but nonetheless he gave me  advice about getting round the beach to Red Rocks. It had rained all night and it was difficult to tell if the tide was in or out so I quickly walked round Hoylake beach to reach these rocks. Expecting a cliff they turned out to be no more than a platform of reddish sandstone. Inland was now The Royal Liverpool Golf Course more commonly called Hoylake when I have watched the Open on TV. Not much could be seen over the dunes and I didn’t spot anybody famous.

The second man had one dog and gave me good advise about traversing the dunes and information on walking out [at low tide] to the three islands Little Eye, Little Hilbre and Hilbre less than a mile off the coast at West Kirby. I think summer would be the time to return, they looked totally inaccessible today with wind blowing up the waves.The weather took a turn for the worse and I was fairly miserable as I walked the promenade on the landside of the Marine Lake, people using the path on the seaward side looked in danger of being swamped and there was not a boat in sight. My saviour came in the shape of Tanskey’s Bar which was open at 9.30 [despite the staff having a hangover from last night’s Christmas Party] and served me a wonderful coffee, with classy background music, whilst I dried out. These little cafes are a treasure, I notice they even have a classic cinema evening with food once a month.

Refreshed I navigated round some expensive real estate and sailing clubs to the start of The Wirral Way which follows the abandoned railway line calling at all stations to Hooton through the Wirral Country Park along the Dee Estuary. It was now full steam ahead on the flat straight trail. Passing through the exclusive looking Caldy Golf Course, bridges passed regularly and an old station platform appeared at Thurstaston.  Getting bored with the railway I wandered through fields onto a cliff top path which gave me views across the Dee to Wales. Committed to this path I followed it to steps leading down through the loose red sandstone cliffs and on to the sandy beach. Turn left and walk along the shore was my only option, ahead I could see a boat on a ‘side stream’ of the Dee. From the map there was no obvious way off the beach.

But I met a man with two dogs, we chatted about Liverpool, Thurstaston and Thor’s Rock which I had wanted to visit. Its some distance inland and hence an excuse to return to this delightful area.  More importantly he showed me the way, by a little path, off the beach to regain the Wirral Way. After more marching along the railway and then nondescript streets saw me hemmed in at Neston Golf Course, I felt the need to rejoin the river. The couple with three dogs showed me a lane towards the estuary which when I reached it had become an extensive salt march. There was evidence of stonework of ancient quays from before the silting up of this area. A birdwatcher reported peregrines but none of the harriers he had come to see. Lanes then took me to the ‘sea front’ promenade at Parkgate, Neston. There was previously a port with links to Ireland but gradually this silted up in the 19th century, this also put paid to the local bathing. All that remains is the stone sea wall and some elegant houses on the ‘promenade’ – rather surreal. However today it is still popular for its pubs and eateries and for the birdwatchers who come at high tide which sometimes floods the salt marches. Here the Wirral Way turns inland, still faithfully following the old railway which closed in 1962.

The silted up River Dee.

The silted up River Dee.

After a few more streets built on the line I found myself in a kilometre long, stone cutting completed in 1866. This was an amazing place. Quarried sandstone cliffs enclose the track and you can see the marks of the picks used to carve it out. Also featured are areas of ripple sediments known as ‘current bedding’. Ferns bedeck the walls and tree roots seek weaknesses in the sandstone. Met a man with three greyhounds who was equally enthusiastic about the place, he was interested in my walk and I was beginning to unravel the ‘scouse’ accent.






Once out of the cutting I was surrounded by green fields and horses of the Cheshire countryside. A lady jogging towards me had four dogs – the record – and as she bent down to ‘poo scoop’ explained it kept her hands warm, rather her than me. I was transported back to my youth at Willaston where Hadlow Road station has been ‘preserved’ giving a real sense of past travel on the railways. A last rural stretch through trees saw me chugging in to the platform at Hooton station for my modern train journey back to Preston.I found the Wirral a fascinating area with lots of hidden gems. A good way to spend a couple of days and avoid the Xmas shopping .

WIRRAL WALKABOUT – a breath of sea air.

Seacombe  Ferry  –  Hoylake.

Despite its proximity I’ve not visited the Wirral Peninsular very often, I remember once  going to Ness Botanic Gardens to buy some rhododendrons and magnolia. They are still thriving in my garden. But there are two walks which combined seem to highlight the best of this peninsular – the North Wirral Coastal Path and the Wirral Way. Due to the weather and Lake District flooding I thought now was a good time to explore.

Could have subtitled this as ‘Ferry across the Mersey’ but opted for a more practical train journey under the river.  I wish I had taken the ferry as it would have made a superb start to the day. Too late now as I watch from this side the ‘Dazzle’ ferry heading across with the famous Liverpool sky line behind. The Three Graces are being overshadowed by elegant modern buildings. The day is overcast.The Wallasey promenade stretches before me and opposite are the remnants of the once mighty  Liverpool and Bootle dockyards. Few cranes remain now but on this side of the river are poignant reminders of their wartime duties. Plaques have been put on the sea wall to honour the many boats lost in both wars, each plaque placed opposite the dock where the sinking took place.









The whole waterfront along here is full of history – Guinea Gap, the ‘back to front’ Wallasey Town Hall, the Egremont Ferry, Magazines Drive, Vale Park and The Tower Grounds. Look them up at –

Wallasey Town Hall.

Wallasey Town Hall.

Egremont Ferry - pub sign.

Egremont Ferry – pub sign.

As New Brighton approached there were avenues of houses from more opulent times. New Brighton had its hay days either side of WW2. Ferries from Liverpool stopped sailing in 1971 and the famous Open Air Bathing Pool closed in 1990. There has been an attempt to regenerate the area but mainly by building new retail outlets, Brand New Brighton. The past is remembered at Fort Perch Rock and Rock Lighthouse.

Lighthouse and Fort with shipyards across the river.

Lighthouse and Fort with shipyards across the river.

Leaving the mouth of the river and turning along the north coast brought a change of character. Inland suburbia was replaced by sand dunes and a bracing sea breeze. Sand had been blown and deposited everywhere. The tide was retreating and flocks of birds were feeding at its edge – oyster catchers, redshanks, knots, turnstones and others – I had forgotten my binoculars.  I was able to walk along the beach on firm sand, a change of surface. Crunchy empty Razor Clams were everywhere. Out to sea were lines of wind turbines.Clambering back up to the sea wall there is a golf links course in the dunes, a ruined ‘Mockbeggar Wharf’ and another redundant  lighthouse passed, the Welsh Hills were glanced in the late afternoon sunshine. Small fishing boats waited on the beach.Housing reappeared and Hoylake was reached. Next to the modern lifeboat house a couple of intrepid sailors were fighting the wind across the pond. An information plaque relates some of the tragedies at sea. Nearby an ornate cast iron drinking fountain erected in 1901 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. Xmas parties were in full swing at my hotel for the night, but needless to say I experienced friendly Merseyside hospitality. Thank you Green Lodge Hotel.


The forecast for this morning was poor, with cloud probably obscuring the partial eclipse. Slept in till 9.30 when I woke up with a start, leapt out of bed and pulled the curtains open to reveal the clouds just parting as the moon crept onto the sun. All disappeared just as quickly. Following my daily resuscitating strong coffee peeped out again to see the moon scuttling past the sun.  Quite pleased with the morning so far.

Of course, I hadn’t bothered with any special sun blocking measures as it was so misty in the first place and I was only taking quick photos as the clouds opened. But it made me think of the measures you should take for viewing eclipses, pinhole cameras or very dark glasses or….


… this chap was safe from the sun but missed the eclipse. He was the photographic subject of Tony Ray-Jones in 1968. This links me in to an afternoon this week I spent at the Walker Gallery  enjoying          Ray- Jones was prolific in the late 60’s but died young from leukaemia. He produced a historical document of the English psyche and eccentricity from those times. Martin Parr was influenced by the photography of Ray-Jones though he never met him. Parr has gone through Ray-Jones negatives and selected a series of prints for this exhibition. In addition, there is a room of Parr’s own prints from a decade later  mainly exploring the quirky environs of Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire and its people.

You could watch ——–

and also

And also

Just to keep you interested see also the insights of this favourite blogger of mine —-

Get yourself to the Walker to view this fine exhibition and start to explore their other gems………


One of my most memorable trips abroad in the last ten years was a three week wander around Egypt, I visited Cairo, Luxor and Aswan using local transport. Some chance now. I was thoroughly captivated by the culture, the people and the food. I was able to visit most of the major sights at my leisure and uncluttered by any mass tourism. Amidst all the ruins, graves pyramids and museums  I was particularly impressed by many of the beautiful sculptures. The modern museum in Luxor stood out for their display. I became immersed in the world of past gods and their significances.  Cats were revered 4 – 5 thousand years ago and given god like status.  I came home with several reproduction stone and pottery feline figures. My cat, aged ten, had recently died from feline leukaemia and I therefore on my return took up the offer of a couple of delightful  kittens from a local farm. The female I named Bastet [Egyptian cat goddess] and the male Seth [Egyptian animal god]  good and bad, noble and dark, ying and yang. They have been constant companions and live up to their names.

Bastet and Seth.


This week I visited the Atkinson Arts Centre in Southport once again, this time to view the recently opened Egyptian Gallery. Seth and Bastet were well represented, much to my delight.


Bastet figure.

This exhibition has a colourful background.  A Mrs Anne Goodison from Liverpool collected Egyptian artefacts on her travels at the end of the 19th century, before the tomb of Tutankhamen was even discovered, and displayed them in her home. One can now wonder and debate about the ‘ethics’ of this style of Victorian collecting.  She was the wife of George Goodison a well respected local civil engineer who had installed a sewerage system to the Everton area of Liverpool.  When the Everton Football stadium was built in 1892 his name was immortalised  in sport.

Anne died in 1906 and George having no interest in her collection sold it on for £400 pounds!! and it ended up in Bootle  Museum. This gallery closed in 1974 and the collection of over a 1000 artefacts has been in storage ever since. With lottery funding and some obvious passionate effort they are now to be viewed in a permanent gallery at the Atkinson.     Brilliant.

The exhibition is in a small intimate area and highlights some beautiful pieces. OK so you get the mummy but the main objects to relish are the small pieces – jewellery, beads, ceramics, shabtis [servant figures for the next life] rare ‘paddle dolls’ [fertility symbols] sandals etc.

There is a colourful and informative video presentation of two young children talking, in Lancashire accents!, about their life in the time of the Pharaohs in an attempt at reality. One a boy hoping to be a scribe, a very important person, and the other a humble peasant girl.

The exhibition is fascinating and enthralling partly because of its small scale and everyday objects but yet it displays the magnificent art work the Egyptians had achieved  up to 5000 years ago. This has to be an important addition to Egyptology study in this country. Its origins make me wonder how much more may be hidden in long forgotten or neglected private collections.

I highly recommend a visit to The Atkinson if you are in the area to view this collection.  Remember ‘small is beautiful’.

Seth on a Gold ring.

Seth on a Gold ring.




The lady on the Passport Office ‘helpline’  threw me into a panic when she said you need 3 months spare on your passport to fly abroad. I seem to remember this rule from years ago!  My passport runs out in October and I will be in France most of September, so I hurriedly booked an appointment at the Liverpool office for a one-day application. Yesterday a quick round from the PO with form to a photo booth in Azda to my neighbour for countersigning. All a trifle stressful to ensure accuracy. A subsequent phone call to the French Embassy, they speak French!, informed me more accurately that for the EU you can travel up to the final day on your passport. Still I had an appointment for today so let’s get it done with. On an early Sunday morning, the drive past the port to the Passport Office was easy. Last time the office was in the old India Building but has now been transferred to a shiny  block in a sea of tall glass buildings. All was very efficient, I had filled in the form correctly, Phew!    Just pay the fee and come back at 1PM for your treasured new passport.

Set off to walk up to the ‘cultural centre’ of the city, passing some varied buildings and street sculptures.

The last time we were in Liverpool [see post — we had ended up with a quick visit to the Walker Gallery to view some early Hockney paintings. I promised myself a return to sample the rest of their extensive collection, one of Europe’s finest, today was that day.

The Walker Gallery

The Walker Gallery

First a coffee in the ground floor café to unwind and then from Medieval to Modern, Holbein to Hockney, in 15 galleries. Along the way Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Turner, Millais, Monet, Cezanne, Matisse, Freud, Lowry and up to date with the John Moore’s 2014 Prize paintings.

John Moores Prizes.

John Moore’s Prizes.

In amongst all this was a delightful small exhibition of Edward Wadsworth ‘dazzle ship’ prints. This technique was used in the WW1 to confuse our ships to the enemy. Dazzle Ship. Some colourful arty videos of Mexico enabled me to sit down for a while.

Mexican videos.

Mexican videos.

Staggered out and down into the commercialism of Liverpool 1 which seemed to be populated with the dregs of last night’s hen and stag parties, not a pretty sight.

Liverpool 1

Liverpool 1

Walked back past the iconic Liver building to collect my prize. So off to France clutching it next week. Au revoir.

A BUSY WEEKEND. A long post of short walks, art and restaurants.

  A mad dash down to Preston station on Thursday to rendezvous with Mel, my old walking pal from way back. His wife had sent him up north for the weekend. Our usual first visit is to a local Indian takeaway  for a quick lunch of Samosas.

Tempting delicacies.

The afternoon was showery with dry sunny intervals, we took the opportunity of one of these intervals for a quick walk, to blow the cobwebs away, around the forest tracks on Longridge Fell.

Pendle from Longridge Fell

Just made it before the next downpour.

The local curry house,,    

had a half price meal deal, so no debate about where we should eat.  

 Liverpool was our destination for the next day. Down to the docks and first The Tate Gallery and some interesting linked art exhibitions showing the influence of the masters on the their successors.  In no particular order…

Girl in a Chemise. Picasso.

Jackson Pollock.

Simon Starling Five-Man Pedersen (Prototype No.1)

Haven’t been down here for a few years and the place is busy, some new statues including one of the iconic Billy Fury.

Billy Fury.

Liverpool 1 seems to have taken over in this end of town. Managed to find a Chinese buffet for lunch – cheep and cheerful!

Next on our whistle stop tour was the Walker Art Gallery with some early David Hockney paintings.

Early Hockney.

Watch this video for more interpretation. —

I will return to the Walker soon to look at their other exhibits. But now we were down to the Liverpool Library. Wow what a place!

The writer Frank Cottrell Boyce has said that the new library had been completely overhauled to an unrecognisable degree.He said: ‘It’s like going to meet your gran and finding out that she’s turned into Beyonce,’       Just stunning.


Go up onto the roof for wonderful views of the city and North Wales.


View from the roof.

Time to go home and reflect on the days experiences. They were getting ready to switch on the Christmas lights and delightful stilted fairies were wandering about.

Christmas fairies.

Getting out of some of these gated and ticketed car parks is never straight forward. Have a dread of getting to the barrier, nothing working and a great line of cars behind me!

Saturday was for relaxing, a short afternoon walk in the local countryside…

….and a meal with the family at night.

We had arranged to meet up with more friends on the Sunday for a walk based on the Witton Weavers Way near Blackburn. Lucky to have a bright, clear day so that Mel doesn’t think it always rains up here.

The Three Stooges.

The Leeds – Liverpool Canal tow path was busy with dog walkers, runners and cyclists.

Soon we were in the Hoghton Gorge with the river running high.

Above is Hoghton Towers the home of the de Hoghtons since the 12 C. It was claimed James 1st visited in 1617 and ‘knighted’ a loin of beef, this is most likely a false etymology for sirloin. We reminisced of adventurous climbing escapades in the nearby quarry.

Below Hoghton quarry.

But thoughts of food drove us on to the hamlet of Pleasington and the pleasant surprise of the Butlers arms pub. hhtp://

Despite our muddy boots and disheveled appearance we were made welcome and enjoyed a good pint and food. Highly recommended. The walk back through Witton Playing fields was enlivened by realistic model airplanes strafing us from 50ft.

The evening was spent with more friends at a favourite Indian restaurant in Leyland run by  the lovely Jamal.  Bangla Spice.

Monday morning was spent up in the village and a coffee stop at the best cafe [there are so many now] in Longridge – the converted station which has the added benefit of a heritage centre with old pictures of the railway and associated mills and quarries.   We discussed the route of our next, annual, spring walk  – maybe St. Cuthberts Way or the Icknield way.

By coincidence it was the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month so we attended the service at the memorial next to the cafe.

In the afternoon I did a guided walk of the interesting historic sights of our village and will post this separately sometime. But more to the point of this post we were thwarted in the evening by the local Thai restaurant being closed. So off to Preston and the revamped Ming Dynasty. A new crew here served up a wonderful freshly cooked banquet of Chinese food. Highlights included salt and pepper fried Tofu,Dim Sums and fabulous prawns in garlic and ginger. Thanks.  [Update = now closed!]

The next morning Mel was on his way back to London realising that we have some good eating places up north. I hope his wife doesn’t notice the weight he’s put on!!

So we walked maybe 25miles, stimulated our minds, ate x thousand calories and enjoyed the company of many friends and family.


Can’t wait to do it again.