March 22, 2023
As usual Narda’s writing is in italics – the other person’s in whatever else…
Back to the ferry terminal. We used an Uber type ride the whole way there. It was quick and easy. Another wonderful crossing, this one a little less bumpy, or at least the ocean calmed down at midnight. We got an upgrade straight away, nice cabin, a bit newer. Paid an extra 50 Euros which was worth it.
A bit of a wait in Newcastle but the train was good, we arrived at the Liverpool station at 5 p.m. to be met by the daughter of our host and her friend. Very nice people, got us into the 6th floor flat right in the centre of Liverpool, close to everything.
Of course, our first stop before hoping the train to Liverpool was Burger King
Our high rise flats – views from across the road – Royal Albert Dock
Views from our window looking out toward Royal Albert Dock –
More views from our windows + reflections in the windows of the building next to us – from our windows
We live in the area called Liverpool ONE – The project involved the redevelopment of 42 acres (170,000 m2) of land in the city centre. Liverpool ONE is the largest open-air shopping centre in the UK and the tenth-largest shopping centre overall. Each store was created by a different architect. Work began in Spring 2004.
Narda’s drawing of our view to the docks
We have this view out of our window called the Royal Albert Docks.
This is not the Mersey. The Mersey is a beast of a river, quite treacherous and carrying shipping, including cruise ships, and quite polluted, though in recent times this has improved due to the best efforts of Liverpudlians. So behind the Albert Docks one finds the actual river. It can be crossed by ferry, or by tunnels, 2 road tunnels and 1 rail
Good train ride from Newcastle to Liverpool. For a moment I was feeling we were a bit lost. We didn’t seem to have a contact with our hosts except via email. Eventually we got hooked up and taken to our perfectly placed flat. It is in a section called Liverpool One, the project involved the redevelopment of 42 acres of land in the city centre. Liverpool ONE is the largest open-air shopping centre in the UK. They started building up this area in 2004. We are across the street from the Albert Dock (1846) or now the Royal Albert Dock since 2018 when it got some royal thingy added to it for reasons unknown to me, until I looked it up and now, I know. It was sort of wiped out in World War II then re-groovified in the past decade with lots of Beatles stuff, great museums – which we will tell about over the next 50,000 or less words with multiple images of proof. So, continue with us and see what lucky folks we are to inhabit this place at this time.
What it looked like before we came along and before Liverpool became Liverpool 1 – the docks in the forefront of this image are covered over by Liverpool 1. Picture is from Liverpool Museum.
March 24 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Today we threw caution to the wind and attended Elton John’s farewell concert to Liverpool. We got the last tickets I reckon, great spot, and it was amazing. The venue was a 10-minute walk away. 7000+ people there. A big arena.
We were early….the rest of them were still downing their last beers…
We did not make a YouTube video of this as they get themselves all in knicker if copyright music is used and how can we show you any glimpses of an Elton John show without his music which is so heavily copyrighted not in the background so see our images and download your own et of songs. BTW, here are the songs he performed at the concert. No, I did not write down the songs as they were performed, I copied them off their website of the song list…
- Bennie and the Jets
- Philadelphia Freedom
- I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues
- Border Song
- Tiny Dancer
- Have Mercy on the Criminal
- Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going to Be a Long, Long Time)
- Take Me to the Pilot
- Someone Saved My Life Tonight
- Candle in the Wind
- Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding
- Burn Down the Mission
- Sad Songs (Say So Much)
- Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word
- Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
- The Bitch Is Back
- I’m Still Standing
- Crocodile Rock
- Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting
- Cold Heart
- Your Song
- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
It went for a bit over two and a half hours which considering his age, turned 75 the day after the concert that is quite good. His voice and piano were as always, amazing. However, when he did move about on the stage he did shuffle and not very easily. At the piano he was fine, but he surely shows his age when lumbering about on the stage. The arena was close to sold out – more than 8,000. It was his last ever concert in Liverpool and the end of his last world-wide tour. So good we got to go.
The only downside for me was that I realized a few days later that I had quite a cold, took a test, had covid. I have had five-vaccinations (three-boosters) and covid once before in DC. I was only feeling really crap for one day, the whole thing lasted maybe five-days. Narda did not get anything this time. She got it last in New Zealand and I didn’t. hopefully, that is it for ever.
Spent the morning after wandering the streets of Liverpool, a little shopping at Aldis. Today (Sunday) we took bus number 26 on a circular ride thought the other parts of Liverpool. The driver was a a young buck and Terrell fell off his front seat on the upper story twice. Hairy turns on narrow roads. Blimey. Fun though. We laughed a lot. In the driver’s defense, he did give us a freebie, waving away the 10 pound note I offered him.
We did our usual random bus rides. It costs six pounds about 10 Australian bucks or seven USD for an all-day pass including ferry, bus, trains, which is quite a good deal as we go to lots of places. We have always gone the front top seats which makes flying through Liverpool fun.
Here we are on the 27 Liverpool Sheil Road Circular Bus Route this morning, an hour trip. The conductor didn’t take our money – so free trip to see a good part of the city. Cheaper than the hop on hop off busses
Narda’s drawing of row houses seen on the bus
Cold and sunny today, we bundled up but it did not feel like 3 degrees as predicted. So, following Gerry and the Pacemakers we took the “ferry, cross the Mersey”.
The ferry ride was a half hour – not far up the river but enough to see Liverpool. Only ten pounds so well worth it.
Liverpool’s main theme and money maker is the Beatles. Everywhere we go there is something about them. The statue of them is in front of the ferry dock and is always surround by zillions of tourists taking photos with the statues. Just to be gregarious we did too.
We did the Magical Mystery Tour – It was an hour-long tourist ride, lots of commentary and things to learn.
Off to the Cavan club. It was really interesting, a doco showing on its history and rebuilds as the owners were turned out of the original, and very successful club building, by the railways, to make room for a ventilation shaft.
This was where the Beatles really got started, with 292 appearances there before 1963. They also performed in Hamburg a lot.
It was early avo but there was live music in both sides of the venue. We really enjoyed a great piano player/singer doing Beatles covers for a couple of hours.
Wrenched my hip putting on sox, so limped and downed ibuprofen for a few days. Blimey. Is this my new life as an old lady??
Then there is The Cavern, the place where the Beatles started with over 300 gigs, before they got famous. We actually found it by mistake. This town is all over the Beatles, here, there, everywhere. 😀
The original Cavern was demolished buy a replica is alive and thriving. We had a coffee and pee stop in the vicinity.
More photos from the Magical Mystery Tour – I made a video of us walking down Penny Lane but YouTube blocked it saying I was using copy-written music – hello! it was a Beatles tour. But Facebook didn’t block our video – so you can watch it here – https://www.facebook.com/neuage/videos/623134893065891
A life-size bronze statue of Cilla Black stands in Mathew Street. Unveiled in 2017, the statue is a tribute to the local star who once worked as a cloak room girl at the Cavern before having a successful music career herself. Here she is so excited to be wearing my hat.
We watched El Camino in the evening. Enjoyed it, the story of Pinkman after Breaking Bad, then realised at the end that we had already seen it. One of the benefits of getting older.
Random Bus Rides has officially been replaced by Random Rides, and this is Random Rides Episode 1.
It’s a concept we have subscribed to for many years and is based on ignorance and the willingness to learn. The main criteria in a country such as this, with double decker buses is that the bus we catch has a seat in the front of the top level
Yesterday we purchased a day trip card for 6 pounds each, covering the greater Liverpool area, and including buses, ferries, and trains.
Some photos of our ferry ride
So back to episode one. We sat opposite (in our kingly seat) a couple of Liverpool chicks who knew what’s what. Despite not understanding much of what they said (the accent is quite unintelligible) they enthusiastically told us where to get off. So, we did. We made it to Kirkby, walked out of the bus terminal and had our sandwiches. The pigeons here have many beautiful patterns and colours. They helped us with the sandwiches.
Another bus, following some local advice, took us to the Kirkby railway station (the long way, but that’s not the point), and we glided back to Liverpool in a fast moving, very new train. At that point we made the mutual decision to head home for a nap.
Feeling refreshed and revitalized (though Terrell was a bit below par, with a heavy cold slowing him down) we found the bus (this time a little less random) to take us UNDER the Mersey River. The other side was also nice. A very long bus ride then took us to the ferry, where I met Mr Cruise. He was a helpful bloke, addicted to ships. Used the ferry every day for the last 12 years, told me how to get a free ride (come after 5 when the staff at the entrance have left) and gave us tips on Cunard cruises which he takes 3 times a year, including winter. I asked about rough seas, he told me to “get my sea legs”.
The Titanic exhibition in the Maritime Museum was well done. I did not realise that so many people were rescued from the life boats.
Maritime Museum – https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/maritime-museum go to their website so I won’t need to say what they are saying except it is well worth the visit – either in person or to their website. We went to all their museums Slavery Museum – a must see https://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/ the national museum – and so much more…
In 1906 the shipping company Cunard launched a huge vessel called the Lusitania, which was torpedoed in the first world war by a German submarine close to Liverpool. Everyone was killed.
Today is a quiet day, Terrell is still feeling poorly, sleeping lots and carrying a fever as well. We were to find out later that he had covid.
Missing NYC and living in Liverpool? – lots of films made here – “Liverpool is the go to place for film companies needing a doppelganger for The Big Apple.”
Our local dock was transformed into 1940s New York for the first Captain America film in 2011. Or this drama series ‘It’s A Sin’ set in 1980’s New York …photo below
Some other flicks filmed here worth watching – pretending you are elsewhere: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1, The new ‘Batman’ movie (2020), ‘Sherlock Holmes’ film starring Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law, ‘Florence Foster Jenkins’ starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant – made Liverpool look like NYC,’Florence Foster Jenkins’ starring Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant, and on and on – like probably a hundred films and series – lots being NYC – Currently there are 18 films/series being done this year… we should just stay here and pretend we are elsewhere…. though we are moving to Wales Saturday…
We dashed out to buy a couple of day passes and took the bus to Southport. The town is lovely, historic buildings and a nice vibe. The seaside is strange, a little seedy in low season with a tide WAY out. If I didn’t know better I would have thought…watch out a tsunami is on its way.
Night out and clip https://youtu.be/q-P9yQuM8sM yes even the elderly go on a Friday night – Good Friday at that. Just because we left soon after eight pm doesn’t mean we can’t hang at the pubs in the Cavern District.
We decided to go out and be part of the night life here. We walked into a couple of pubs, had a beer and sang along with the songs we knew. These guys like to sing. A nice atmosphere with all ages and types having a good time. There are so many pubs as you walk through the town, with live bands, folks spilling out into the streets. We had a good time.
We went to the bombed out church see their page https://www.slboc.com – St Luke’s Church, more commonly known by locals as the bombed-out church. The church was built between 1811 and 1832. The church was badly damaged by bombs during the Liverpool Blitz in 1941 and has been a roofless shell ever since, giving rise to its nickname. It now stands as a memorial to those who died in the war, and has also been hired as a venue for exhibitions and events.
Then there was the bombed out church on the way home. Just a shell left after WW2. But they decided to leave it that way as a reminder.
Plenty of destinations.
Next stop….in search of Penny Lane
We actually made it home for a quick nap, then back on the bus.
A wonderful sort of a learning day – though forgot most of what we did learn at the World Museum which has an extensive collections covering archaeology, ethnology and the natural and physical sciences. These are the only two photos we got…
We found, by accident sort of, the Philharmonic Dining Hall (AKA pub), which was the venue for James Corben’s carpool karaoke episode with Paul McCartney’s surprise appearance on a stage set up for unsuspecting patrons of the pub. See it on youtube. https://youtu.be/QjvzCTqkBDQ
The pub is a treasure, just beautiful. I had a German grapefruit radler. Yum!
Narda’s fascination with scouse – scouse is a food but also, “Scouse, formally known as Liverpool English or Merseyside English, is an accent and dialect of English associated with Liverpool and the surrounding county of Merseyside. The Scouse accent is highly distinctive; having been influenced heavily by Irish and Welsh immigrants who arrived via the Liverpool docks, it has little in common with the accents of its neighbouring regions or the rest of England.” (internet)
Scouse is a dish so close to the Liverpudlian heart that they’ve adopted it as a nickname – though lobscouse, or lapskaus, lapskojs or skipperlabskovs, depending where you are, is a popular dish throughout northern Europe, thought to have its origins in the simple cooking of Hanseatic sailors, and with even more variants than names. In Germany, for example, labskaus is more like corned beef hash, while in Norway, lapskaus is a chunky stew much like our own. (Also the internet)
The veggie version
You don’t, of course, have to use any meat at all: when you couldn’t quite run to any, you’d make the aforementioned “blind scouse” instead – often with bones, but you could use vegetable stock, or try the Quorn and sweet potato version in the Merseysider magazine.
Prep 25 min
Cook 2 hr
800g scrag end/lamb neck, on the bone, in thick slices, or 600g boneless lamb shoulder
2 tbsp beef dripping or neutral oil
500g floury potatoes, cleaned
600ml beef stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
250g swede (optional)
Salt and pepper
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
Heat the oven to 160C (140C fan)/320F/gas 3; alternatively, cook this on the hob. Heat the fat in a large, lidded saucepan or ovenproof pan over a medium-high heat, then sear the meat in batches, until properly browned.
Trip home. It’s getting busy on Easter Saturday. Lots of folks out and about enjoying some good weather.
h manufacturing and the function of the extensive port systems became obsolete, the unemployment rate rose to one of the highest in the UK, bringing poverty to the city. At the same time, in the 1960s the city became known for its music , the “Merseybeat”, especially with the huge popularity of the Beatles.
Liverpool’s economy started to recover and in 2008 it was called the cultural capital of Europe.
Another great visit was the library. A good library is an indication of civilization. Liverpool has the most amazing library I have ever seen, including the NY library.
The stunning modern entrance to 5 floors of library
the amazing old fashioned and completely silent reading room!
We were so impressed we bought some “merch”. 😀
Brekkie at the Beatles Cafe…bargain at 3.95 GBP, and included black pudding. Not sure …I did try it though.
Chantilly Beatles Cafe @ 8 Mathew Street, Liverpool is a great place for breakfast – I had the vegetarian breakfast with plant-based sausage, hash browns, egg, beans, tomatoes and toast a great deal for less than four pounds – my wife had the road-kill version – same price – the coffee was good but more expensive than the meal – total was $19 USD. Beatles stuff all over – a nice little cafe next to the Cavern Club.
Then we had our final Random Ride day. Are we up to #4 or maybe 5? First a bus ride to Toxteth, which used to be a poor area. We got off at the wrong stop…I think it was the wrong bus….and had a coffee at the Subway. A random stranger told us to buy the latte, and said we could take it on the bus. So that was a quick stop, then off to the real Toxteth, which is home to the 8th largest church in the world. In overall volume it is the 5th largest Cathedral in the world. More from Terrell who has researched this properly.
We headed north on the northern line to Ormskirk, a pleasant little old English town. At the return to James St station, we were ushered quickly through the various connecting tunnels by many train employees. Seemed to be some drama somewhere, but we never did find out.
Tomorrow we are back on the train heading to Conwy, in northern Wales. April 1
Random Ride episode 3
Actually not so Random. We topped up our trusty card, this time at our real local station, James Street. A couple of minutes round the corner. Who knew!
And off to the lovely city of Chester. A fast 45 minute train ride, first under the Mersey then south bound followed by a brief bus ride into the centre of town. Straight to Maccas for a quick coffee then we embarked on walking-all-the-way -around-the-old-city on the ancient wall. Spectacular! Two hours walk, (2 miles) lots of photos taken and a two lunch stops to eat cheese and caramelised onion sandwiches. This is a world phenomenon, this onion chutney. So yummy. We thought it was a New Zealand exclusive but no it is following us everywhere, even in chips.
Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England, on the River Dee, close to the English–Welsh border.
Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England, on the River Dee, close to the English–Welsh border. Chester was founded in 79 AD as a “castrum” or Roman fort with the name Deva Victrix during the reign of Emperor Vespasian. One of the main army camps in Roman Britain, Deva later became a major civilian settlement. In 689, King Æthelred of Mercia founded the Minster Church of West Mercia, which later became Chester’s first cathedral, and the Angles extended and strengthened the walls to protect the city against the Danes. Chester was one of the last cities in England to fall to the Normans, and William the Conqueror ordered the construction of a castle to dominate the town and the nearby Welsh border. Chester was granted city status in 1541. (source – the internet, obviously)
The city walls of Chester are some of the best-preserved in the country and have Grade I listed status. It has a number of medieval buildings, but many of the black-and-white buildings within the city centre are Victorian restorations, originating from the Black-and-white Revival movement. Apart from a 100-metre (330 ft) section, the walls are almost complete.
A real tourist day. We went on the Magical Mystery Tour. What a treat, 2 hours of listening to Beatles’ stories as told by a local with songs in between.
This is Paul’s last house in Liverpool in the early days where very 100 songs were written. They move into the house in 1955. Within a year his mother, Mary, died of breast cancer. Then when Jim his father died, he decided to keep it.
The National trust bought it in the 90s. Paul lived in it until 1964.Some 100 original songs were written here.They used the bathroom mainly because “it had better acoustics”. This house is considered to be one of the most important in terms of rock
A other Random Rides day. So this must be episode 4. At James Street Station we hopped on the first train heading for Crewe. Our plan was to get off at the airport (John Lennon Airport). With that name you gotta check it out. But we missed the stop, as we did not listen to the instructions which were, to move to the first four cars, as the approaching platform was a short one. When we realised, we stumbled forward, but alas, when we got far enough the doors closed on us. Since this was a random ride, there was no harm done. We continued to the end destination, Crewe.
However, unbeknown to us, this was outside of the scope of our trusty day Metro passes, a prerequisite for Random Ride days. The conductor assured us that he would see to it that we could return with no additional money changing hands…other than a cup of coffee at the Crewe Station. He told us that he lived there, and that it was a dump, so we were not missing much. These Poms (an Australian affectionate name for the English)…they are so accommodating. 😀
Anyway we did make to the airport.
Exchange Flags on Exchange Flags City Square – we came across this place in our wanders today. Walker House housed the Western Approaches Command Headquarters, the command centre for the campaign waged against the German submarine fleet during the Second World War.
Castle Street was one of the original seven ancient streets in the city and you can even see it on maps dating back to the 13th century!
Liverpool Town Hall which was built between 1749 and 1754
Liverpool Cathedral is the largest cathedral and religious building in Britain, and the eighth largest church in the world. Constructed between 1904 and 1978. In terms of overall volume, Liverpool Cathedral ranks as the fifth-largest cathedral in the world. At 67 m (220 ft) above floor level, the bells of Liverpool Cathedral are the highest and heaviest ringing bells in the world. The organ, built by Henry Willis & Sons, is the largest pipe organ in the UK, and one of the largest musical instruments in the world. It has two five-manual consoles (one sited high up in one of the organ cases and the other, a mobile console, on the floor of the cathedral), 10,268 pipes and a trompette militaire.
Liverpool Old Bank a great restaurant – we had the fish and chips – we only went out once to dinner in our three weeks here – our last night. So many people everywhere – so dressed up – apparently there is some huge national wide horse race going on this weekend and everyone just gets drunk for the weekend.
Knowing, assuming, no one reads this far I will tell a bit of a story. It is of course, in my book, “Leaving Australia” available in hardback, paperback and on Kindle from Amazon… for pennies on the dollar.
When I was 19 years old, living in New Orleans with a female that I have no recollection of except for what happened at the end, It was 1967. A friend of mine, Fredrick King from Boston, who I had met at a bar (pub) a week earlier and I decided to stole away on a freighter to England. We thought we could meet some English girls – which for some reason at the time we thought were really cool, and meet the Beatles. We spoke with some Swedish dudes at a bar who worked on a freighter and they said it would be easy to do just don’t let the captain find us. We got detailed instructions. SO I packed up a bag of my clothes and some food, left the apartment I was sharing with I suppose was my girl friend, left her a note, ‘gone to England’ or something. I didn’t want to tell her in person because she had said she was in love with me and at 19 I couldn’t really relate to such a line. We got on the ship, found our way to a hold – made a little cubby amongst piles of bags of rice. The ship sailed that night. However, they only went from New Orleans to Mobile Alabama to load more. They opened the hatch where we were and loaded a lot more. When they closed the covers over the hold we realized it was full and we could not climb over to where a ladder was that we had been told we could climb up to ‘get’ food at night in their galley. We banged on the covers – hatch roof – whatever it was – suddenly the hatch doors opened. A long story short – police arrived, we were taken to jail went to court and were given six-months in federal prison, which was the maximum sentence for stowing away. We were treated poorly as we were from the north (New York and Boston) and Fredrick had a guitar. For some reason they thought we were civil rights people come to free the blacks or some such thing. Anyway, I had forgotten about this as it was so long ago…until I was applying for teacher registration in Australia and they asked if I had ever been in jail. I said no as I thought all this was erased by no. It showed up in their Interpool search. I told a very kind person that it was so long ago I forgot about it. She said OK. And I got my registration and have taught in the USA, China, Australia at both universities (I have a PhD) and at high schools. Read my book it tells much more.
Then we tromped over to the pub around the corner for a big English brekkie. The place was very full of people dressed to party. The night before we had also had fish and chips in another pub called “the Bank”, and it was also chockers. Boys in suits and girls in fancy dress with head pieces and all, dancing the night away. It turned out that we had walked into the 3 day celebration of the Grand National horse race, where everyone in the UK places bets and parties…held at Aintree Racecourse, near Liverpool on 15th April at 5.pm. we were told that the odds were great. The one expected to win was paying 8 to 1. Can’t go wrong. We didn’t though.
Checking out of Liverpool was quick and easy. We met our hosts again and heard the interesting story of their current job. They together manage 70 properties close to our current one. Some in our high rise block. They own 10 of them. Quite impressive. My dad would be impressed. We discussed the apparent resistance in some cities to Airbnb. They surprisingly said that they agree with the objections, which are mostly that people use them for parties, make a lot of noise etc. This is a problem for them too.
Next blog is Wales Cheers
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