Chester

This is the view of the Roman amphitheatre from our travelodge window – they appeared to be either rebuilding it or concreting it over – possibly making it easier to clean up after the wild beasts.
We left our bags in the car and went for a walk around Chester’s walls – every 100 yards or so there was a sign telling us that these were the most complete city walls in England – Great Britain – possibly even the world. They had only been rebuilt about 3 times – and the gateways completely remodelled. I still fly the flag for the walls around York!
There was a view of more Roman remains – but we’re not quite sure what the remains were of, as despite all the notices about the completemess of the walls, there weren’t any to tell you what you were looking at at this point.
On the other side of the wall were rows of neat terraced houses – and a corner pub which we noted for later.

These houses fronted straight onto the wall – not sure how they moved furniture in and out – hope they had a back alleyway.
Fantastic view though.
Two examples of architecture – how is it when people were building with only hand tools they produced magnificent and beautiful buildings – and then when they had every power tool and assistance known to man they build pink boxes?
There were boats on either side of the main bridge into Chester – but just next to the bridge was a weir right across the river – we still have no idea how they got from one bit of the river to the other. There was no lock, and when the river was high enough to cover the weir- boats still wouldn’t be able to go through as the arches on the bridge wouldn’t be high enough. Maybe the river there has special boats built to climb weirs.

We carried on around the walls, past the racecourse and onto the canal. We spent ages in a bookshop built right onto the walls – despite the woman at the till who sniffed constantly which was really annoying – I had to restrain myself from saying “BLOW IT!!!” We were comparatively restrained and only bought 3 books – though saw about 10 more I would have liked.
We stopped for lunch in the oldest pub inChester, very cheerful landlady.
Afterwards we went up to the Cathedral – but it cost £5 each to go in, so we peered in through a window and walked around the outside instead.



We had a wander around the town as it was getting dark, Phil bought a fairy in Hawkins Bazaar for reasons known only to himself!

The windows in the cathedral were beautiful – like tapestry – but either my camera couldn’t cope with the dim light, or the dim woman using it hadn’t bothered to read the instructions on how to take photos in the dark.
Above is heavily doctored photo!
There were some lovely alleyways – and – double decker medieval shops! Obviously the shops themselves weren’t medieval (hose and chainmail were not available) but the buildings were.

The Christmas decorations were quite pretty.
We finally got to go for a drink in the pub we saw earlier – the Albion. It was a gem – a re-enactment of a first world war pub – but cleaner and more expensive. I would like it noted that I only had a pint and a half of guinness.


The trees were beatiful in the light. Walked back to the car park – and went in through the main car entrance balancing on the kerb along the edge. Unfortunately I didn’t balance too well, and tripped and fell heavily into the road onto my shoulder. It hurt! It must have been quite spectacular as had one man offering to call an ambulance and a waiter from the restaurant across the road rushed over to offer me a seat and water etc. Of course, being English, I starched my upper lip, refused all offers and retreated to the car, where I cried like a baby!
Nothing broken although went and got it checked out in casualty next day.

Crosby, Sudley House and Frodsham.

This is the view from our hotel window – we left earlyish to avoid having to pay any more at the car park. We meant to have a wander before leaving but in the end just went straight to Crosby to see the Anthony Gormley statues again. The road there went past the docks – and this wonderful old building – no doubt lined up for flats.
The sky wasn’t too promising at Crosby – but that meant that the colours were gorgeous.
The rain started before we got to the beach – heavy and horizontal with the strong wind – not to mention the sand blowing in with it – very exhilarating. I took twenty zillion photos – mostly of the beach and statues – so here goes.







Not quite sure why this dumper truck was moving sand from one place to another – and anyone even thinking of getting in the sea must have been mad so not quite sure that the red flag was needed!












After leaving Crosby we drove back through Liverpool and went to Sudley House – which is now an art gallery and exhibition space. There was an exhibition of clothes which had been owned by a Doctors wife living in Liverpool between 1910 and the second world war – evidently she had not thrown anything away and a lot of the clothes were still kept in the boxes they had been delivered in. I would have loved this dress, and the coat.



The nice lady in the tea shop recommended a walk in Sefton Park – and a trip to the Palm House – but by the time we got there the Palm House was locked up behind large iron gates. I poked the camera through and scared a security guard who was sheltering in the doorway having a crafty cigarette. (Initially put having a crafty fag but thought that had a double meaning)




By the time we had walked from one side of the park to the other and back it was dark – just a few clouds in the sky – this one looking like Mr Punch. We set off for Chester, over the Mersey on a beautiful bridge.
We stopped in a small town called Frodsham, which is lovely – we were going to stop for a meal but after walking up and down the High Street we ended up just having a pint in the oldest pub. Evidently the Mersey used to be just at the back of the High Street, but is now about a mile away.

We drove on listening to Vaughan Williams, and got to Chester at around seven, after the usual detour because I read the satnav wrongly. After we dumped our bags we went out for dinner at a French restaurant (again recommended by the Sudley house lady), I had pate and toast and then this stack of vegetable stuff topped with goats cheese – and Phil had cassoulet and beetroot salad, Lovely!

Liverpool

Decided to go straight to Liverpool, as although we hadnt seen many of the sites of Warrington – very disappointed to have missed the Latin Quarter – but that’s life.Was childishly pleased to see Knotty Ash on the road signs! The outskirts were very dilapidated and run down – though had some marvelous buildings, including the Littlewoods site – now all boarded up.
As was about a mile of solid Victorian housing on both sides of the road – such a shame. There were boards up saying that ‘regeneration of Kensington’ (presumably not the one adjacent to Chelsea) but nothing to say what they planned to do. It would be a sin to pull these down.

We found the Travelodge and put the car in an NCP car park at the horrific cost of £18 for 24 hours, then went for a walk around the city centre, which was full of Victorian pride – buildings and statues.







In front of one there was a sad little knot of people – there to commemorate victims of road crashes.
We remembered William and Daniel, (as if we ever forget them!) and then left them to it and went down to the Albert Dock area. There is a lot of money being poured into it – new buildings shaped like ships (so yesterday)
and lots of renovations of old buildings. Very well done.

This wannabee wino is actually drinking beetroot juice. It was at this point that the rain started again – we could see rain hitting the dock for a while before it hit us – which led to the thought that somewhere you should be able to be completely dry while watching a wall of rain in front of you – it has to start somewhere.
Above are the buildings known as the three graces with the Liver bird on top of the Liver building. We went into the Maritime museum where I became so engrossed that I completely lost Phil – I spent ages talking to one of the interpreters – in the end Phil put out a call over the tannoy as if I was a lost child! He has not got the hang of mobile phones and texting.
When we came out the sky was just starting to darken, so the views over the Mersey were lovely.

This is Billy Fury.

For some strange reason in a beautiful Georgian house they had reconstructed a wartime interior – which was very good – and there was a real life balaclava with ear flaps – just like the one I keep threatening to knit.
We saw an exhibition dedicated to some newfangled group called the Beatles – but had left it too late to go round.

We were lured into a restaurant by this cheekie chappie singing inside – but he came to the end of his gig just as we ordered! It was a great restaurant though – and the tape music was great too.



Walked back to the hotel past more beautiful buildings, and bought wine in a sainsburys local.


Ferry cross the Mersey..



Wasting time in Warrington

I had booked four nights away in the Travelodge sale – which is why we drove up to Warrington on Friday night. It wasn’t until I was nearly at Swanley where I was picking Phil up that I realised that I hadn’t packed any walking boots. I must paste a check list in the car! I collected Phil and we stopped in Thurrock to see if we could find any cheap walking shoes – and spent far too much in Decathlon – shoes at half price and lovely woofley fleeces at 4 for £24. Drove through absolutely foul weather to reach Warrington at about one oclock in the morning, so we had a lazy day on Saturday. Phil needed to get some trousers so we had a look in Debenhams and went to watch a talk on ‘a capsule wardrobe’ which was unintentionally hilarious. The rather large lady shown below read out the introduction from a piece of paper with absolutely no enthusiasm and without looking up from the paper. She then became the model, and a more reluctant one would be hard to find. You could almost hear her tutting as she put on the clothes, she didnt smile once, and at one point threw a handbag away from her into the wardrobe space behind. This is the expression that she wore throughout.
We went out into the bright lights of Warrington and were immediately lured into a pub because we were hungry and it was cold.

Although we were obviously looking at the historic features as a priority!
When we came out it was dark, so we had a short walk around the streets and down to the river, past this very welcoming sign in a nightclub window.

No idea who this is – the statue was behind railings and the carving illegible – Phil thinks he is Cromwell for no particular reason.
We walked back to the travelodge to watch Strictly Come Dancing via the scenic route past the boarded up Warrington Bath House
and a row of terraces leading down to a factory with a ghostly union jack fluttering in the wind.