BOGOF part 3
There have been many interesting things we’ve seen in Liverpool. Snowdrop, the Mersey ferry painted in its dazzle camouflage paint is one of the most iconic. We never got the opportunity to take the hour long tourist trip, accompanied by Jerry and the Pacemakers, but once we were allowed a bit more freedom, we hopped onto the direct crossing once the commuter run was over. It was fun to see the “iconic skyline from a different angle and to walk along the promenade to New Brighton.
I make very little apology for over using the word iconic, simply because so much of Liverpool is iconic. The Three Graces comprise of the Liver building, the Cunnard Building and the Port of Liverpool building. The canal runs through a large pedestrianised area known as the Pierhead
But these 3 magnificent buildings aren’t the only buildings of note, Victorian Liverpool was affluent and not afraid to show off.
But for all the wealthy merchants, there were a lot more hard working and impoverished unseen people in the city. The White star line was the company that owned the Titanic, and most of her crew were Liverpudlians. And it is from the balcony of the “streaky bacon” building that the news broke of her sinking.
Many of the cities seamen were Chinese and in 2000 the people of Shanghai gave a Chinese gate as a symbol of unity and trade between the two cities. It is the largest Chinese gate in Europe, sadly Covid restrictions meant that the Chinese New year festivals were low key this year we kept an appropriate distance.
Not all of Liverpool is grand and affluent, huge areas of deprived areas still exist here, and the number of rough sleepers is heart breaking, even during the Covid crisis. (Though I also saw key workers offering help, so that may or may not have been by choice) I could easily fill pages of Liverpool’s extremes, but it’s not always appropriate to take photos of those in need.
Something I have missed during lockdown is being able to spend time in the cathedrals. I’m sure there’s a competitive streak between the musical directors as I was spoilt for choice during advent, with the number of concerts and services I attended, but it looks like choirs and church singing will be one of the last things, to be allowed again. Both cathedrals are modern, being completed in the 20th century, The Metropolitan (catholic)church is a very meditative space.
The Anglican cathedral is more dramatic and dominates the skyline as it rises out of the local red sandstone, and when the organ is played every fibre of your being feels it. I was lucky to enjoy several recitals.
But one of the Anglican cathedrals endearing features is that the architect sir Giles Gilbert Scott, also designed the iconic red phone box
Liverpool suffered from horrendous bombing during WWII meaning that huge swathes of the city has been and is still being regenerated. Some of the modern buildings are stunning and I think will stand the test of time,
But others have been allowed to dwarf the historic skyline and I think that in 20 years time they will need to be rebuilt
Some of the war damage has been made structurally sound and allowed to stand as a reminder, St Luke’s church is such a memorial. And whilst I was chatting to Eric’s brother David, we discovered that their great great grandparents were married. It’s nice to think we have another small reason to think of Liverpool with such affection.
Liverpool isn’t just about architecture, we were treated to some unusual wildlife for a narrowboat lifestyle. During the spring the docks are invaded by swarms of moon jellyfish. And on certain days you could easily have counted a thousand floating around the boat, yet on other days only a handful. Very difficult to photograph without a polarizing filter, which doesn’t come as standard on my phone.
The dock must have been teeming with life, we got quite used to seeing the cormorant trying to swallow 50cm eel. And such was the battle, we never knew who was going to win, even after the it had been devoured.I didn’t manage to snap that excitement, but several times we were woken up early by voices outside the boat to see swimmers braving the waters.
The dock got used for a lot of water sport, with canoes and paddle boarders, and interesting visitors from all over the place.
Transport seemed to be a theme for a while as Liverpool played host to Britains newest aircraft carrier, the Prince of Wales. We had the privilege of seeing it dock. And I can tell you, huge is an understatement, aircraft carriers are colossal
But the Albert Dock is the home of some historic tall ships, which felt a lot more approcable.
The museum of liverpool puts on regular special exhibitions and we were lucky to catch two, Liverpool s transport, which featured cars made at Ford’s Halewood plant, which in the early 70s is where my Dad worked. I hadn’t anticipated the sense of pride I’d feel seeing some of their classics
As I said earlier, Liverpool has been an amazing place to spend 8 months. Had we known in November what was ahead of us, we would probably have explored differently, but after 8 months, the one thing I really wish I had indulged in that got lockdowned, was football. Having been born in this fair city, it’s in my blood to support Liverpool but sadly I never got to visit Anfield. But even now that we have been allowed out and are 15 miles, I could still the fireworks sent me news came through that “we” had won the cup. (Other teams are available, but they don’t warrant blog space)