I am certain you have been anxious to find out if we made it to Liverpool. Did my sheer bloody mindedness, sticking plaster and rusty hose clip see us safely down the M74, M6 and that other road to that Liverpool?
I can certainly say is that staring at a temperature gauge for three hours is a real conversation killer. We didn’t say much other than…
‘How does it look now?’
‘It seems to be fine?’
‘A bit high.’
‘How is it now?’
‘A tad to the right of the little light in the middle?’
‘What does that mean?’
‘A little hotter than I’d like it to be?’
Short period of silence.
‘How is it now?’
‘It’s down below the little light in the middle.’
‘That’s good then?’
‘Do you want some water?’
‘For me or Daisy?’
‘Some fruit pastilles?’
Now it’s not that we normally fill our travelling hours with a riveting discourse on the merits of unilateralism as it relates to foreign aid or on the benefits of stringent rules on international monetary policy, but we do usually have a chat about something other than the position of a vehicle temperature needle.
‘No fruit pastilles for me please. They night spoil my concentration.’
So for three hours of tension (like no human has ever had to endure) we pushed on to our campsite in Rainford just outside the land of Scouse. We had breakfasted on dreadful rations from Harry Ramsden at Abington services and set off just before eight. I had already been through the entire journey in my sleep so it was like a repeat of the whole journey. Daisy arrived water-tight and running like a dream just before eleven.
Oh hang on! We still had to get pitched, find the trains, get to Liverpool and find the World Museum before our one thirty slot.
Now Bridge Farm in Rainford is a bit of a campsite-in-development, but at £15 a night its location for accessing Liverpool cannot be surpassed. The train station is five minutes from the gate (the Bridge in the title being the Railway Bridge over the station) and there is a regular service from Manchester that takes you to Kikby and with one train swap later you are in Liverpool in 40 minutes.
Okay, Okay! Yes we made it to the museum in time for our slot to see the famous Chinese Terracotta Warriors.
When I think that the day before we were considering staying in Abington to wait for a professional repair and abandon our day in the city I shudder at the very idea. Daisy is a miracle!
And the Chinese Terracotta warriors are another blooming miracle. Nothing I can write here can help you appreciate how these ancient treasures affect you. None of the pictures taken will ever give you a sense of how incredible it is to stand in the presence of something that was crafted over 2000 years ago. It’s a terrific exhibition and I was left at the end wondering how a place like Liverpool could have ever attracted such a display.
Well you just need to spend a sunny afternoon in Liverpool to understand. It’s a fabulous place!
Now there are those who know me who might be thinking – no way would he criticise the place anyway. There’s a fiery Scouser of some explosive capability he knows who would destroy him with a glance if he was nasty about this place.
Well that’s true.
But I don’t need to lie. Look at me at the Cavern.
Look at the lovely beach …
.. er well maybe not so much,
We had our lunch in the cafe at the museum and that was forgettable. We had an ice cream by the riverside and that was equally forgettable.
What was NOT forgettable was the city and the positivity of the people. I couldn’t understand a word they were saying but they all seemed really upbeat.
Now I like to understand a culture if it speaks to me and I find Liverpool quite fascinating. Like Glasgow the city has strong Northern Irish connections, a ship-building history, an intense football rivalry and a river with more shite in it than fish. There’s a strange kind of pride in the people that is a mystery.
I think I got a flavour of where they are coming from by visiting the Maritime Museum. The exhibition on the Lusitania is very revealing – there is a Glasgow connection here too. A passenger ship built by blood, sweat in tears in Clydeside provided passage to and from the USA from Liverpool and was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915 killing dozens of local people. You get a sense of Liverpool from knowing how there is an underlying bitterness at losing children caught in the crossfire of idiots from the South arguing over who has the biggest …. Uboat.
But with all that difficult history Liverpool is on the rise. The city is developing, there are really cool parts to it and the people are welcoming, friendly and full of character.
Really full of character!
Anyway – enough of this philosophical and sentimental tosh. You want to know what I ate.
We ate at the Junction Pub in Rainford which is a pretty decent inn ten minutes from the campsite. I had a steak cooked (by myself) on a slab of granite straight out of their oven. I could only blame myself if the steak was badly done. It was perfectly done.
My good lady had chicken goujons with the inevitable ‘hand-cut’ chips – as is the new trend. A wee bit of salad on the side and some dressings. Perfectly adequate for £25. On Monday’s the starters are free so we had some haloumi fries and pate which we mixed and matched.
Today we are heading to Oxford for two nights.