I've been very busy for ages, but since Christmas had found no motivation for modelmaking.
The trip up was absolutely fine. We missed all motorways by going cross country as far as Chester when the short bit of M53 takes us almost to our hotel.
It was as if we hadn't been away, when in fact it has been 18 months or so since we were there last. The lady in the Travelodge was the same one! Welcoming, friendly and helpful as before. We settled in and went for a coffee in the Seaside cafe after a fairly fruitless visit to the model shop, who hadn't been able to get my nickel silver from Albion Alloys. A great company, but why, oh why must I seek out one of their dealers when it would be so much easier to just order direct from them?
After a good old chinwag and the promised "pan of Scouse" at our friend's we headed back to the hotel and were amazed at the amount of activity in Bootle docks across the Mersey view we had.
A late start on Sunday found me looking at a hire van with a flat front tyre. So, in my "going out to dinner" clothes I had to find the spare under the van and change wheels. I think some clown had simply let the air out of the tyre as we couldn't find any damage or foreign bodies anywhere on the flat one.
Thinking I'd sorted that out the dashboard then lit up, telling me there was no charge to the battery. Being a diesel it took us to our friends three miles away, but the AA man confirmed the alternator had decided not to work overnight.
Now this should have been a case of phone the hire firm who would sort out a replacement vehicle for us, as the next day I had a trip to Burnley to pick up an engine, half the point of the trip. But no, the officious and completely unhelpful people at Healy Hire, Wisbech didn't want to know. "It's down to the AA", he said. "They are connected with Renault Warranty and it's their job". So apart from the arranged dinner, I had to spend the rest of the day arranging getting the van to the local Renault dealer by closely following the second AA man, who pleaded my case for a speedy repair so I could get the thing home on the Wednesday. I also had to deal with the replacement hire car with Enterprise. And all this on the day I was supposed to be in Burnley by 1 at the latest.
But this is where the Wirrall comes into its own. The people must be the friendliest, most helpful in the land.
The Renault main agent, Nissan Wirral, put my job ahead of others with no problem or sharp intake of breath that might normally accompany such a request. The Enterprise young lady picked me up from the hotel and did all the paperwork quickly and I was on my way to Burnley, where I arrived at 1 o'clock and selected my Coventry Climax FWM engine from the 3 he had. I was back in Wallasey by 3pm.
There, that unmistakable, world famous graphic.
Well, you can't go to the Mersey and not take the Ferry can you? So we got down to Seacombe and watched the landing stage heaving up and down on the incoming tide. Shortly, the old Snowdrop turned up and gave us a nice 50 minute tour of the waterfronts of both Liverpool and the Wirral, with a recorded commentary. On reaching the Liver Building docking point, we boarded the open top 'bus for a drive round the sights of this remarkable city.
Of course,the Liver and Cunard Buildings and the Anglican Cathedral are pretty special, but it gets even more impressive. St. George's Hall is the biggest single building I've ever seen!
Next to it is another huge Romanesque hall, which is, I believe, the Library, St' John's Hall with the Memorial Gardens in front and the Hillsborough Memorial, which rather resembles a large street bin, I thought.
Many wonderful ancient old pubs including this were all about
And here is Matthew Street, scene of the Cavern Club, wherein, once upon a tide, the Beatles got their break.
After getting back from the trip we got off at Albert Dock, now much gentrified and full of overpriced retail units and posh flats above, but containing some interesting boats and, of course, the Beatles Exhibition, which I thought was very well done, especially the accurate reconstruction of the Cavern Club , which was so small!
And here, the Casbah, a small cafe where the Beatles actually began and these days never mentioned.
And so ended our wonderful touristy trip to the land of Scouse. We'd like to thank Kelly and her family as ever for a lovely few days. And for the pan of Scouse, Kelly, it was delicious! (Google it folks)