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Monday, 11 June 2012

In and around Chester

Monday to Sunday I’m not going to break this down into days as we have not gone anywhere other than a trip down and up the staircase 3 locks to use the services which we did on a drizzly lunchtime, sharing the locks with a Hardern hire boat on the way down. In their week’s holiday they cruised from Beeston Iron Lock up to Llangollen and returned and then on back into Chester for a night before returning to base. It would have taken us around 3 weeks I reckon, they did it in one and a week of awful weather too!!
On the canal herons never stand still while we pass, this one in Chester
must have got over his fears or have been very hungry, we saw it catch one.

On the way back up we shared with Masie in Global Spirit who was spitting feathers as earlier that day she had been cruising with her new cockpit canopy up and had torn it on a low bridge! She later improvised with a brolly poked through the hole during the downpours, with her mooring behind us.
Umbrella repair to hood

Apart from those exciting bits we joined in with the happy folks of Chester as they thronged the streets on Bank Holiday Monday as their Giants paraded through the city and then meandered around the stalls but resisted the temptations of the burgers, cheeses etc on offer. 

We later took Carol’s new phone back to get a refund.....and failing to get that from the shop have now started a “complaint” with Orange. We did various other bits in Chester, but I noticed this wonderful brickwork. They were apartments built in 1889, commissioned by the Duke of Westminster to improve housing stock, but they only had a communal wash house and no internal toilets or bathrooms. 

On Wednesday, whilst Carol went to a service in the Cathedral I dropped her phone into a shop advertising phone repairs. He told me they’d get it repaired by Friday morning, but when I eventually got through to them on Friday I was told the parts had not arrived, but might be in by later, but on Saturday it was sure to be done.......well it wasn’t, we are now assured it will be ready on Monday.
A magnificent Cheetah

Killing time we had a lovely day at Chester Zoo which we gather is the largest in the UK. It and the animals were in fantastic condition with very large pens and with the zoo actively participating in working to help re-establish good herds in the wild. 
Jubilee decorated zoo train

One reason we suspect it was in such good nick was that it is celebrating its diamond jubilee and the Queen had visited it three weeks before us. It was a simple 20 minute bus ride from Chester and we strongly recommend it.

This juvenile "Black Rhino" was very photogenic.
Black Rhinos have a semi prehensile top lip which gets a bit dark
Last year when in Liverpool we had talked (OK, I had talked) about going to Port Sunlight but never made it, so on Friday we took the bus to get there and really enjoyed it. It is amazing what Lord Lever achieved from making soap. The estate is like a slightly more modern Bournville but with a lovely mixture of architect designed houses. 
One of many architectural house types

At a time when most rental property for workers was lines of slums at a cost to build of just £60, his houses cost £250 to build, had indoor bathrooms and hot and cold running water and each house had its own back garden. So it could be seen he wasn’t exploiting his workers, setting an 8 hour working day and organising that there were many sports and social clubs as well as providing allotments and trying to get everyone to grow their own food and arranging immense works days out.
Lord Lever arranged for this incredible war memorial to the over 500 of his employees
who died in WW1. The bronzes are of an incredible an very moving quailty

In Port Sunlight is the Lady Leverhume Gallery where are displayed some of the immense collection of works of art he well as owning four very large houses......from making soap!

On Sunday I had thought we might take the bus to Rhyl on the coast as I thought we might be able to do it for free (bus passes). I was told we’d have to pay, and then I saw it would take 2 hours each way and just knew our bladders wouldn’t make it, so decided to go by train. People said we were mad as there was nothing to really see and so we went to Llandudno and had a lovely day, including a bit of a paddle and a trip up the Great Orme on the cable railway just as the sun started to break through. 
Descending from the Gt Orme 

We are so glad we did, both of us had been there in our childhood but remembered nothing of the place. We can recommend the trip. By the way Rhyl & Prestatyn looked dire and we have never seen so many bungalows or static caravans, we were so glad we hadn't bussed there!!

Conwy Castle seen from the train
There are some things I have to do at the seaside

At Chester station we failed to hire a post horse and caught the train

And finally, these people love their view from their bedroom window
note the enormous TV filling almost the whole window!

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