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Monday, 23 July 2012

Burscough, trips to Southport etc

We stayed moored at Burscough Bridge for the week & used public transport to do things, trying to avoid the weather.
We use our bow thruster to let us reverse to/from water points. When
we tried this in Burscough it didn't work well at all, fortunately using the
boat hook I was able to pull this canvas bag out!! It works fine again now.

On an iffy day of weather on Monday we took the train to Southport. Carol decided we urgently needed some new pillows & Dunelm sells them in the town. Before we caught the train I managed to perplex the ticket staff when organising our tickets for next week going to Chichester & then back with a stop off in Leicester for a friend’s 70th. We have a problem with trains from here as Carol can’t abide using Virgin Pendolino trains as they make her feel queezy. I spent ages on-line fiddling routes to avoid them whilst getting the best deal but even so I occupied one of the station staff for well over half an hour, but even so we managed to get one ticket going the wrong way on the wrong day!!! All sorted and 9.37 Monday we are away.

In Southport it was wet at times, poor visibility, but going to the cinema using free tickets kept us in the dry! Ice Age 4 was hardly brain stretching but was enjoyable.

My cousin who hosts our stored clothes called in for a bite of lunch and a natter on Tuesday as she drove to stay with a friend at Lytham St Annes to watch the Open Championship. 

A "Gormley" looks towards Ireland as another
appears out of the waves.

Telephoto foreshortens the distance to Liverpool.
It was about 13.30 by the Liver Building clock

On Wednesday we decided to get to see Gormley’s men in the sea at Crosby but training it to Soputhport & then to Crosby station. As we wandered to the sea it decided to drizzle a bit more and then the sun joined the wind in welcoming us to the beach. We loved seeing them, especially with sun shining on them, though the wind added sand to our sandwich!
Carol thought at first modesty was required

There were many large jellyfish left by the tide.

Back to Southport and using Orange Wednesdays we saw the new Spider Man film, again enjoyable. It would have been more sensible to have gone to Crosby Beach from Liverpool, bear this in mind if you want to see these statues.
Eventually Carol though he needed a hug!

When we came out of the cinema, having enjoyed the film, we were able to see Blackpool, but were not able to see the sea at Southport, it goes out a very long way.
Blackpool viewed from Southport Pier

The sea is somewhere out there but I wasn't prepared to walk to it.

Thursday was a gardening day for Carol as Carol rearranged her troughs whilst I scrubbed the roof clean with no obstacles on it. It didn’t seem to be hard work but my back has been giving me gyp ever since!
The toms are growing well but in other
years we have already been picking them

The chilli looks healthy now but no fruit to be seen

The replanted planters, the pansies had shot their bolt

On Friday we took the train again, but this time to Wilmslow as we had been invited to supper with friends with an overnight stay. Again working out the most cost effective route took some doing, whilst avoiding tilting trains. We had a lovely time, meeting someone who joined the supper that I hadn’t seen for nearly 30 years, but who is now also a boater, & who is married to a chap for whom someone we know from Debdale used to work. Amazing these coincidences.
This old barge delivers fuels to boats in the Burscough area

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Second week in Liverpool

Monday 9th July really quite a pleasant day and our friend Jenny from Kirby Muxloe joined us about mid day, our friend Beryl brought her as she is visiting some old friends from her school-days up here.
Jenny, Beryl & Carol and a Superlambanana. These things are all around the
city having been first created in 2008 when Liverpool was Capital of Culture.

In the afternoon we went to Tate Liverpool and viewed their Turner, Monet & Twombly exhibition. The curator considered that these three artists, one each from the 18th, 19th and 20th century, had contributed similarly to the way art changed in their time. Our initial impressions of Twombly were not too good but a chat with one of the attendants helped explain things and we were better able to appreciate his work. The other two.....well we love their work and it was great to be able to see their work together and in galleries that were not thronged with people. It cost us £9 each, not cheap but worth it.

The wheel seems to have additional lights this year

A lovely sky over The Pumphouse. BW logo on canopy yet to be changed.

Tuesday 10th we took Jenny to get a coffee at Nero before we caught the red tour bus for a tour of the city. We usually take these as they give extra snippets of info and offer a 24 hour hop on/hop off service. We hopped off at Paddy’s Wigwam first and enjoyed our visit to the RC cathedral. We had intended to visit the crypt but there were gowns and caps everywhere as it was a degree day, as it was all week, and it was closed to visitors. This basement level is apparently enormous, designed by Lutyens before 1933 it was to be the second largest church in the world in a classical design, but money ran out and construction, started in 1933, stopped when the crypt had been completed in 1958. 
Wonderful Stations of Cross around the Cathedral.

Construction of the modern design by Sir Frederick Gibberd was started in 1962 and finished in under 5 years, using modern materials and methods. Sadly soon after completion flaws in the construction started to show up. The architect was sued, but the eventual repairs cost such an astronomical sum that had the final cost been known before they were started, the building would have been demolished. This would have been a shame as it is a wonderful building.
Original design for RC cathedral

We had hoped to visit the Anglican Cathedral too, but it was occupied by graduating students. A shame for Jenny, she was not able to see it during her stay.

This park is 2 floors up on top of a car park, Albert Dock behind

Fizz to celebrate 5 years to the day since we moved afloat, and sill loving it!!

Wednesday A lovely day, if breezy, and we took the extended Mersey Ferry cruise and got some lovely views, shame we hadn’t had them on our MSC cruise last week. 
The wonderful waterfront
A Liver Bird and what was the largest clock face in the country

We then took one of the little yellow buses that do various circular routes around the city centre to get to the Radio City tower, whilst we could see the tower, finding the door into it was not easy. We were greeted to wonderful views of the whole Mersey estuary, over to Snowdon, Llandudno, couldn’t quite see Blackpool tower, but generally had a great visit.
One view from the tower

Jenny said she fancied an ice cream as we got down and we went into Wetherspoons and had a chocolate brownie Sunday with lashings of Belgian chocolate sauce. Definitely not low calorie but scrummy! Carol took a yellow bus home & Jenny & I walked, stopping for a bit of shopping. I had ordered repeat prescription for us both, getting them sent to collect Poste Restante at the Liverpool 1 post office. I had expected them her today, pills running low, but no post.
Pianos have been placed all around the city for people to go and play.
The glass opening in the paving is a view into the old dock we visited last week.

These wonderful cast iron gates used to be to the Seamans Mission, were damaged
in the war, removed to Avery (Scales makers) as they had bought the firm that made
them where they were restored and returned to nearly their original position recently.
The Golden Eagle on the white wall behind was where America stationed a person to
support American sailors in Liverpool during the late 1800's.

With a guest aboard Carol has been really letting go with her food, life is good!!

Thursday 12th and another lovely day and we are to meet Beryl around 11 as she is picking us all up, taking us to her old school near the cathedrals. The Anglican one was again closed to visitors, but we had a spook around the area before enjoying lunch. 
The Liverpool Institute was where Lennon & McCartney first met

This photo shoot was taking place near our lunch spot, the chap on right holding the parasol
The Philharmonic Dining Rooms are fantastically ornate, visit them!

They left and we went by bus to see St Georges Hall which is a magnificent building near Lime St station. The tour route takes you through the cells and court room first before reaching the viewing gallery around the hall. This was set out for a celebratory dinner for registrars, had it not have been, we might have been able to go into the hall itself.

After this I went for an initial visit to the new Museum of Liverpool. Very impressive, as was the enormous cruise liner that had arrived on the morning tide at 5am and leaving at 7pm.

Lion was built in 1837, in 1859 was installed as a stationary engine in the docks,
rescued in 1928. She was the Titfield Thunderbolt in the 1950's film and then used
on historic rail days, but now has retired. The rail carriage above is on a reconstruction
of the Liverpool Overhead Railway that was demolished in 1956, the carriage was
built around 1895.
This was the day that the River and Canal Trust took over running the canals and rivers from British Waterways but there was no celebration of the event in Liverpool.

Friday 13th and the weather was awful! Fine drizzle at first, getting faster as we walked for a coffee, easing off as we returned to Lily, but really opening up as I cruised her to the marina to top up with fuel at 75p (!!!) and tip the loos and get a new gas bottle. I was soaked by the time we got back to our mooring, stripping off jeans, socks and shoes to put on dry ones. Carol’s back was giving her hell so after lunch I set off into town & yes the post had arrived! I had cleared the prop first thing, there was a big collection of bags around it, but I decided I wanted a better tool for cutting things off and bought a pruning saw which I think should work.

After this I paid another visit to the Museum, I need another long visit to see all they have on offer. I hadn't realised that in 1946 "people" were concerned about the number of Chinese seamen in Liverpool and many were effectively kidnapped off the street & sent back to China, leaving wives & families in their homes wondering where they were. With the formation of Red China, they were not able to leave again. I must read more about this.

Whilst on things I didn't know, I was reading (in Nero drinking coffee) an obit for an ex RAF bomber pilot who was shot down over Paris. The Gestapo sent him and about 160 others to Buchenwald and effectively tried to starve them to death. He knew that RAF crew should have been prisoners of the Luftwaffe and he doggedly tried to get messages to them. He eventually did so & senior officers came to the death camp and were horrified at the conditions and forced the release of RAF prisoners into their care for interment in a Stalagluft camp. Sorry, nothing to do with boating, but this blog isn't just that!!

It was still pouring and I got soaked during the 10 minute walk home.

Saturday 14th and time to leave Liverpool. I popped up to Tesco to get a paper & brought coffee back to the boat, believing we should set off to be at the first lock for 9, then someone said 9.30, others said 9, so we got there for just past 9 & waited till 9.30!! The weather was bright but breezy with odd moments of slight dampness in the air. Before casting off I thought I'd check below the deck & found when I had refitted the weed hatch it had not sealed perfectly & I baled out several gallons and reset the cover. I intend to get a better sealing membrane than Debdale sell when we get home, there is still a slight weep but a drip tray is catching it!
Leaving Albert Dock, Museum left, Liver Building, clock & bird ahead

In Canning half tide lock, entry to Albert Dock through bridge on left

We shared locks with Will o the Whisp with Margaret and Nick, but they had to stop as they came out of the top Stanley Lock to clear their prop & then stopped at Litherland services to fill with water...I told them off for not borrowing our long hose that would have allowed them to use the tap by our mooring in Liverpool.
Some birds chose funny nesting spots!

Margaret with Peter on roof(!!) approaching lift bridge
approaching bottom of Stanley Locks

Five boats passed through the first swing bridge, but only 4 of us went through the final BW operated bridge, BW were waiting for the stragglers but didn't hold us back. 
Approaching last controlled bridge we are alongside Aintree Racecourse. There was motorbike racing going on as we passed, we hope there was no head in this helmet!
We have never seen a beekeeper at work live before. He said the
weather had been too cold for any honey to have been produced yet.

We passed out of the controlled area at 2.30 and the four of us cruised on through four more swing bridges before the other three stopped, we carried on with a single hander we met on our way through the swing bridges and stopped just past br 22, Ship bridge at 5.15. A lovely spot, bright evening but as it had been all day, with a cold wind. 17 miles, 6 locks & 8 swing bridges.

Sunday 15th another bright breezy day with a cold wind, it reminded me more of a cool Spring day, not mid Summer!! Not far today just 2 swing bridges, the first of which ,New Lane, is BW controlled as it keeps jamming. If you are coming this way, make sure you get Waterscape (or its CRT successor) on-line up-dates. We collected 2 incredibly slow boats to follow, and also passed a long line of match fishermen, but by 11.30 we had tied up where we spent 5 weeks last year and were in infusions coffee with the papers, Carol couldn't wait to get back to the friendly staff there. 6 miles 2 swing bridges.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

First week in Liverpool

Monday 2nd July We returned to Liverpool Lime Street with London Midland getting back to Lily around 2pm. I quickly checked the meter for electricity & was relieved to find we were still powered up and in credit, in fact with enough to last us till we have to move moorings. This is one of the big puzzles here in Salthouse Dock, we were told by Wigan office BW that the moorings in Liverpool were very popular this year and basically fully booked. We had one mooring until July 8th then we had to move to another.....but I counted around 20 boats moored up and about 25 free moorings, plus other moorings on the opposite side. Very strange, I will be investigating.
All the girls scream just now!!

And this wake rocks our boat

Our mooring for the first week is no S2. If you are coming to Liverpool I recommend you avoid moorings S1 to about S10 as these “Duck” trips splash about every 20 minutes at peak times, and these first moorings are broadside on to the wake created, and part of the trip is to make a big splash.

Tuesday 3rd was a day of very mixed weather. We had been recommended to make a guided tour of the old No1 Dock in Liverpool. These are currently every Tuesday at 10.30, 12.30 and 2.30 and we were on the 2.3 trip, fully booked, and with the Braunstone 3, ie the 5 people that moor together at Braunstone & cruise together. This is a really wonderful visit, free, booked at and starting at the Maritime Museum.
The Braunston boats

The dock is under the walkway alongside the Hilton and underneath it too, the developers protected all the archaeology of the area before they built “Liverpool One”. We strongly recommend a visit if you can.
The old dock walls below the paving above

In the paving this black line shows where the old dock walls were, the circles in
it are fountains that rise to different heights relating to the variation in tide levels.
The engraved measurements are those taken by William Hutchinson every tide every
day for 29 years from 1764 to form major information for predicting tides and levels.

Wednesday 4th we were up early for us and on the 9.10 Mersey Ferry to Seacombe, armed with our coffees, to join a party to travel along the Manchester Ship Canal to Salford Quays. We travelled on The Snowdrop and were amazed to see that the trip was full with some 350 people. Because there was a ship coming out of the Canal, but it was not ready, so we had a bit of a trip around the river for about an hour till we could enter the canal. Sadly the weather at this time was very mixed and with poor visibility.
The Helene Knutsen leaves the Ship Canal
This barge entered the lock after we left

As we walked onto the Mersey Ferry I spoke to the couple in front to see if they were travelling too, at that time I had thought there might be about 50 travellers. They were & we got talking and when they heard we were from Leicestershire he told us that he was originally from near Queniborough & had gone to school in Syston, whilst she was from Wymeswold & had gone to Loughborough High School.......I had attended the Grammar School about 100 yards away, though our attendances only crossed for about 3 years, how amazing. We sat with Ann & David throughout our trip.
With friends Ann & David aboard

The weather improved generally through the day with intermittent showers and sunshine. Part way between Ellesmere Port and the River Weaver we met a convoy of narrow boats heading to the Shroppie. Our ferry slowed significantly whilst passing them, at other times it created a very significant wash, breaking into waves at times.
The end of the Chester Canal at Ellesmere Port
A flotilla of narrow boats on their way to Ellesmere Port

We met another ship travelling towards the Mersey and others being loaded/discharged at one of the refineries along our trip.
On our left the Mersey, so close to the canal here as the Weaver flows in on right
Bridges can have such grace, this is the Runcorn bridge built in the 1960's
Just past the Runcorn bridge this used to be the end of the Transporter Bridge
over both canal and river, alas no more, no doubt processed as scrap.

Having crossed the MSC on three occasions on the Bridgewater in Lily we were keen to see the Aqueduct from MSC level, but about half a mile short we waited a lock with the aqueduct swung but the adjacent road bridge still barring our passage. 
The aqueduct swings closed, the road bridge already full of traffic as is the M6
A wonderful floating crane, but is it ever used?

After an age the Tannoy told us there was a problem at the next, and last lock on our trip, Mode Wheel Lock in Salford. Divers were down but they were unable to get the gates to close fully and it had been reluctantly decided we should exit the lock, wind, re-enter, lock down and meet up with our coaches at the previous lock. Great sadness, but as we reached the lower level, we were told the lock had been sorted!!!! About turn and away to Salford, passing the magnificent Barton Aqueduct, and the Trafford Centre.

We had a longish wait whilst the Centenary Bridge was closed to road traffic & quickly raised to let us through. It is the Century Bridge as it was built on the centenary of the MSC.

On to Mode Wheel, in and up to high level, the top gates cracked open.......then nothing for perhaps 30 minutes. Then we were told before we leave the lock the two new pedestrian bridges linking Salford Quays to the Imperial War Museum had to swing & Lift. The swing bridge did, but the lift bridge resolutely refused to work. After an age we were told our buses would be brought to the lock & we would be discharged there.
Journeys end, gates slightly open, MSC men puzzled, lift bridge behind not raised.

It was a shame, but some people, mostly women, were upset not to be getting there 2 hour visit to the retail outlets at the Quays. I could have told them they were not up to much, but time was against it. As it was we were dropped off at Lime St Station tired but happy. Wetherspoons provided a very quick & cheap ham and eggs before we got back to Lily around 9. We recommend the trip which for wrinklies is £35.

Thursday Carol was shattered after yesterday’s trip so she didn’t move much, but amongst other things I went on another guided tour of the Pilot Ship in the Maritime Museum, three trips each Thursday and Saturday. OK but not great, but free! We went out with the Braunston crowd to a very good Greek restaurant for their Early Bird deal. We enjoyed the food at Christadoulis and our evening with the Tonys, Daphne, Margaret & Jenny. The weather in Liverpool was lovely this day. Margaret's blog is well worth looking at 
The Pilot cutter in the graving dock. Liverpool's Anglican cathedral behind.
Everything is pleasantly close by, Lily is about centre of picture below the greenery
This is one of the propellers off the Lusitania. I was surprised it was not bigger.

Friday 6th and the forecast was terrible for much of the country and not good for Liverpool, but really it was not too bad, though we had fairly fast drizzle/rain for much of the day. Pianos had appeared in the city and we spoke to a chap whilst having coffee and he was about to go to a launch event as a member of the Liverpool Philharmonic Choir. A little later, walking back from Tesco we heard singing & diverted to hear it, and one of the singers got Carol to join in singing the Hallelujah Chorus.....but I didn’t have a camera!! I paid a visit to the new Titanic exhibits in the Maritime Museum which added more to its already great attractions.
Billy Fury performs near the Pilot cutter

Last year we went to The Empire Theatre to see Strictly Blonde, which was good but spoilt by the sound reproduction, so I complained and at 5.30 we went to see Chicago there. This touring production was absolutely stunning, the cast was superb, perfectly sexy for the show and good singers and the band was excellent. If you see that this show is nearby I recommend a visit, you will come out singing, smiling, laughing.

Saturday A surprisingly good day for weather, shorts back on, but occasional light showers. British GP qualifying to watch, but extended by the heavy rain storms at Silverstone, Ladies Final at Wimbledon plus the engine alternator was refitted. I recommended Chicago to our friends & it looks as if some of them went. Also, Georgina, ex Debdale, with Eric & Debs, has joined us in the Dock. Another coincidence is that they were talking to another boater we will be meeting in Manchester who I used to do business with, and whose husband was her manager!

We had to move our mooring today, it is further from splashdown, and a walk along to our new mooring the other day showed the power point had a tremendous amount of credit on it.......but our new neighbours have spotted it too and are plugged in. Blast!

These two ?boats? are to rent as apartments afloat in Salthouse Dock

Sunday 8th basically a lovely day, except it gave us a shower just after I had finished polishing the brass late afternoon, but this was after I had painted the green paint on the bows. This fortunately had formed a surface before the shower. I had repainted this area of gloss last October whilst I blacked Lily’s bottom, but I found the paint I used was old & would not go off to a gloss, and this was the first time I had been able to get at the area properly.

It was British GP day, Sachsen ring Moto GP day plus mens finals day at Wimbledon. We decided we wouldn’t watch Andy Murray as we seem to bring him bad luck......but that didn’t work unfortunately. I saw some of the GP but then went painting, but I’ll catch it later and I caught up with the bikes as I had a cuppa.....but I have yet to see what happened in the Tour de France. What a busy day.

Plus we cleared the boat as a friend is joining us tomorrow for 3 nights. We relaxed in the evening by going out for a very good Chinese Buffet with our friends from Braunston who are leaving tomorrow on their way to Preston. The Buffet Star was excellent and only £7.50 a head, less 10% for OAPs!! A pretty good week, certainly one we enjoyed.