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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.

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