Wednesday, 23 October 2013

The Places I go . . .

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This is Colin and Jo shortly after we met them at the train station in Liverpool on Monday!  As you can see they haven't changed much from the year before!

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Except for two things . . . Colin lost his hat (and was devastated) and it wasn't sunny when we got together this year, it was teaming of rain.  I always think Colin had movie star looks.  He never looks as if he is posing for the camera.  I guess they call that being naturally photogenic.  I think Jo is too.  They are a great couple and we really enjoy spending time with them.  Colin has a dry sense of wit and humor, and Jo is the organizer.

Although to be honest Todd and Colin sit there like fish with mouths that keep gaping open, nothing coming out when Jo and I get together because they can't get a word in edgewise.   I guess we never shut up!  I think that's just because we get together so infrequently that we have to make up for lost time!

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(I think this was the Anglican Cathedral.  Todd threw away our itinerary so I can't say for sure!  He must have missed the part where I told him to keep it.   Men!)

It was a very dark and rainy day on Monday.  In fact when we first set out from home the rain was just bucketing down and it teamed for about the first hour we were in Liverpool.   The  plan was to get onto one of those hop on and hop off excursion buses, but we weren't quite sure where to pick one up, so we were wandering the streets for a good hour in the rain looking before we found one!  We eventually did though and the rain had stopped pretty much by then, except for the occasional shower.   Of course Colin had to sit on the top of the bus.

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And not under the roof either. lol  He likes to get the most bang for his buck, so it was open top all the way!  We were lucky though.  It was a fairly mild day and the rain held off for the most part!
(Todd and Colin both got Seniors rates and of course Jo and I did not, which was rather funny actually as Todd is the only one officially senior of the lot!)  I do think that the bus tour guide and driver were very helpful and informative.  But then again, that is their job!

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This is Rodney Street, which is a lovely street filled with Georgian town houses.  It's also the street where the Beatle's manager Brian Epstein grew up.   I think Brian Epstein was really key to the Beatles success actually.  Us Beatles Fans owe a lot to him.

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Liverpool was badly bombed by the Germans during the Blitz in WW2.   This is St Luke's Chapel which was badly burned and almost completely destroyed.  It remains an empty shell, a memorial of sorts to the tenacity of the Liverpool people and those who were lost in the War.  I thought it to be quite beautiful

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Liverpool is a colourful city that just hums with activity and happenings.  There is always something going on.  I fell in love with it, truly.

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Liverpool is home to the oldest Chinese population in Europe and has their own China Town.  This arch is larger even than the one in London.  The first presence of Chinese immigrants dates back to 1834 when the first vessel direct from China arrived in Liverpool's docks to trade such goods as silk and cotton wool

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Standing at 13.5 metres (44 ft) high the arch is the tallest in Europe and the second tallest in any Chinatown outside of mainland China.  (Washington D.C having the tallest outside China at 47 ft.)  The arch boasts 200 hand carved dragons of which 188 are ordinary and 12 are pregnant, the meaning of which is to symbolize good fortune between Liverpool and Shanghai. In the centre of the arch; golden Chinese characters 中國城 (written from right to left on the arch) translate as "Chinatown".  In 2010 as part of a £25,000 lighting scheme, multicoloured, low energy illuminating lights were added to the arch as a way to highlight one of Liverpool's significant structure.

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Here you see Liverpool's big Wheel and the Echo Arena.  I think London was the first to have a wheel which you can get on and see all of London from the Air and most cities now have them.   Chester even had one a couple of Christmas's ago, although it was not permanent.  I have never been on any of the wheels.  Personally I can't think of anything more boring, but that's just me!  I know some people really enjoy going on them!

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There is a shop at the Albert Docks that sells lots of confectionary and American foods.  This is a mosaic of The Beatles done  completely in Jelly Beans!  They also had one of Paul O'Grady!  (Paul James Michael O'Grady MBE is an English comedian, television presenter, actor, writer and radio DJ. He's also know for his alter persona, Drag Queen, Lily Savage.)

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Next we took a trip on the Ferry which crosses the River Mersey several times a day to the other side and back again.  This is  foot ferry, and was made famous in the song by Gerry and the Pacemakers entitled Ferry Cross the Mersey.  In fact it was Gerry of the Pacemakers who narrated our guide during our trip on Monday.   It was a 50 minute tour in which we learned alot about the rich maritime history of this very important area of the UK.  Of course they played snippets of the song several times throughout the journey, which I kept trying to record, but kept missing.

Finally we just made our own recording.  (Turn the music off down below first!)

It was very bracing on deck during the last half of the cruise, so we moved back indoors.  Brrr...

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Of course one of the things I was most looking forward to during our day was going to the Cavern Club, which is the cradle of British pop music, the place where the Beatles musical identity was formed.   I have been a Beatles Fan from the beginning and always will be.   I think they made musical history, and changed the music we all listen to forever.  They were musical geniuses, and very talented musicians and song writers.  I had spent my whole life dreaming of one day visiting the spot where they began their musical career.

On Monday of course, this lifelong dream came true!

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I had long seen photos of teens from the 60's snaked out the doors and down the streets trying to get in to hear them play.  There are a lot of other famous musicians that have played here, but the Beatles were my favourite ones.  As I told you yesterday it was very deep into the ground.  It really is a cavern!   We wended our way down many flights of stairs, but it was worth every wince of my arthritic bones to me!

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The photos aren't very good as it was very dark down there, but this was the spot that people used to gather to watch the Beatles play and there was a musician there singing as you can see.  It was very loud, you couldn't hear yourself speak, but it was eletrifyingly exciting!

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These are some of their early instruments.   Wow . . . wow . . . if I look stunned, it's because I was!

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The walls were lined with photographs and posters of the groups who have played here, including the Who.  (I loved them too in my teen years!)

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It's a dark photo, but even Todd was enjoying himself.  He will be the first to tell you that he didn't appreciate the Beatles for what they were until many years later, but today enjoys their music and recognizes them for the musical geniuses they were.

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It may be hard to see, but the walls and ceilings were covered with the signatures of thousands, if not millions of people who have visited this historic sight.   I was so sorry I had not brought a marker pen with me as I would have loved to add my signature to the rest!

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This is Colin asking Jo to dance.   They are fabulous dancers, dancing the modern Jive.  Nobody else was dancing, but they treated us all to a little bit of their moves.  For some reason Blogger won't let me post the video here, but I will post the link so you can go to YouTube and watch them getting down with their moved there!  You can go and see it HERE.   It really is cute.

We really did have a fabulous time and another dream of mine came true.   It was such an amazing experience for me.  I can't adequately describe the feeling in words.   We spent quite a long time down there.  We had a cold drink, listened to the music, sang along with the music, danced to the music and then had a little wander.   (I even went to the Loo, so now I can say I tinkled in the Cavern Club!)

The only way it could have been any better would have been to be here when the Beatles were actually here, but then again . . . I'd be really really old now, so I guess I am glad that I wasn't!   But this was THE next best thing!

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I love it when Dreams come true . . . don't you???

It wasn't too long after this that Todd and I had to make our way back to the Train Station.  At that point Mitzie had been on her own for about 6 hours.  We had a neighbor come in to let her out at noon, but it was time to make our way home.  WE did have a fabulous day with Jo and Colin.   They are just super people and I hope that it isn't another whole year before we get to see them again!

A thought to carry with you through the day . . .

“When I choose to dwell in the assurance of Whose I am and who I am in Him, I have a confident heart.”
  ~Renee Swope  

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Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . Buttermilk Chicken, an old favourite!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

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