Here Comes the Sun

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September 14th 2017
Published: September 18th 2017
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Woolly says – It’s always great when my burpday roles round again although they have been a bit miserly with the presents this year!....... OH it’s Jo’s birthday…… guess it explains the lack of wrapping paper and string coming my way…… what do you mean I should have bought her something, surely I’m the best gift she could have in her life! I do however always enjoy my pre burpday day out and todays destination had been a long awaited one. Undaunted by the sheeting rain we had navigated our way round two train stations and having esculated our way out of Lime Street station I was able to take in my first view of Liverpool. First impressions were very positive as I gazed at the wonderful architecture of the Lever Art Gallery (not to be confused by the Lady Lever Gallery in Port Sunlight), the council offices and courts, which were most impressive if a little grubby, which reminded me of a tune, I set off towards the Pier Head singing happily to myself….

As we followed him through the rain we could hear a strange warbling noise

Woolly says - …… "In my Liverpool home, in my Liverpool Home, we speak with an accent exceedingly rare, we meet under a statue exceedingly bare.

If you want a cathedral, we've got Two to spare, in my Liverpool home.” I chuckled happily to myself having read up about the cathedrals but they were not on my agenda today, instead I took in great gulps of the River Mersey air and led the way into the Albert Dock area of the city.

Albert Dock is a complex of dock buildings and warehouses in Liverpool, designed by Jesse Hartley and Philip Hardwick, it was opened in 1846, and was the first structure in Britain to be built from cast iron, brick and stone, with no structural wood. As a result, it was the first non-combustible warehouse system in the world. Due to the heavy bombing in the area throughout the second World War and the decline in ship building in the area it was closed in 1972 until the Merseyside Development Corporation was set up, and work started to restore the buildings, Albert Dock was officially re-opened in 1984 as a centre for tourism in the city.

The terrible noise seemed to have come to an end and as the winds caught our breath we followed our small companion into the Maritime Museum.

Woolly says – Being a birthday trip my plan was to start the day with cake, well even Jo and Zoe couldn’t complain at this and having located seats, drinks and scrummy cakes in the on sight café I sat happily watching the dock area as the clouds cleared and the sun came out. I contemplated my list of places to visit in the city having realised that Liverpool was famous for so many things that some might have to be seen on a second trip in the future. First up was the Titanic exhibition and with a handy lift to the third floor of the maritime building I set off to wander round the exhibits.

Although she never visited Liverpool, Titanic had strong links with her home port, with Titanic's managing company, the White Star Line, having its head office in James Street, Liverpool. The organisation of Titanic's maiden voyage, including the selection of her officers, was overseen by Charles Bartlett, White Star’s marine superintendent at Liverpool. At least ninety members of Titanic’s crew on that tragic voyage (about 1 in 10) were from Merseyside or had close links with the area. Most of her key officers and crew had originally sailed from Liverpool for White Star, and many still lived there in 1912. As the ship had sunk the exhibits were mainly of photographs and videos of the survivers and what had happened, very sad to contemplate the loss of life and starting to feel slightly tearful at the devastating time that everyone had been involved in I suggested moving forwards to our next look at the city.

It had been really interesting but like Woolly both Zoe and I felt it was time to go. A short walk along the blustery Mersey took us to the famous Three Graces. For nearly a century the Three Graces - The Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building - have defined one of the world’s most recognised skylines. These majestic buildings were conceived and constructed as visible symbols of Liverpool’s international prestige, proud emblems of its commercial prowess.

Woolly says – Wonderful, truly wonderful as Jo snapped away I provided the girls with some of the local myths surrounding the famous liver birds which stood high above us. The modern popularity of the symbol dates to 1911, when the Liver Building was built. The prominent display of two liver birds rekindled the idea that the liver was a mythical bird that once haunted the local shoreline. According to popular legend, they are a male and female pair: the female looking out to sea, watching for the seamen to return safely home, and the male looking in to the city, watching over the seamen's. Local legend also holds that the birds face away from each other as, if were they to mate and fly away, the city would cease to exist. Having checked that the fall of Liverpool wasn’t imminent and that the birds were tied down I led the way towards the museum that depicts Liverpool’s most famous sons.

We were all enjoying the views and the buildings around us as well as listening to the ‘scouse’ accent that so many people had, a nasal sound that brings a whole new meaning in how to say chicken…… instead of pronouncing it chick en, the accent lends itself to saying …. Chuck in, well it makes me chuckle.

Woolly says – arriving at the next museum and the history of Liverpool’s biggest exports, I happily trotted down the steps to the sound of the Beatles, “Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, And I say it's all right” and the sun didn’t let me down as I entered the underground museum. The four lads who were born and bred in the city changed music across the world and particularly in the city which also launched so many other musicians due to their manager Brain Epstein. Taking us through corridors of photos and memorabilia, guitars that they had once used and clothes once worn, it charted the start of the band and the performances that they had made in the famous Casbah and Cavern clubs were they had first performed, showing the stages they had once stood upon and the bars they had drank at.

Having taken the obligatory picture of the mammoth on stage in the Carven Club we passed through NEMS the record shop that Brain Epstein had manged before leading the Liverpool four to fame.

Woolly says – Next came the story of Abbey Road and a display with a lone record, probably the most famous record ever, being the first ever recording of the Fab Four prior to them being signed by Gorge Martin the record producer and the man who had catapulted the band into the world music scene. As I wandered on I was capitvated by the stories surrounding some of their most famous works, Strawberry Fields and Sergent Pepper before entering the Yellow Submarine, the excitement of being in the famous if slightly surreal set of the track and film nearly over came me.

The next section of the museum brought a tear to all of our eyes as it paid homage to each of the men separately with photographs lining the walls and video footage of them giving interviews and being with their families.

Woolly says – I sat next to Jo as we watched John Lennon’s last interview as he told the story of his ongoing battle to get his American Green Card that he would continue to fight for, sadly only hours later and he was gone from the world, having handed over the obligatory tissue I suggested that lunch might be a great option and a chance to sit down properly. As we paused by the very last exhibit I could hear people around us sniffing into their hankies as the White Room taken from Lennon’s Dakota apartment showed his lone grand piano and his glasses perched on top, as the words of Imagine filled the air, I rubbed my nose on my hoddie and urged the party towards food and sustenance.

With Zoe having researched eateries for the day she led the way into the Smuggler’s Cove.

Woolly says – a fantastic light fitting using helmets shone above our scrummy food and as we tucked in I realised that the hours were passing all to quickly and the chances of us completing the days list of attractions was diminishing quickly, a quick rethink as Jo removed the peas from my tail and made a half hearted effort to remove the tartare sauce from my trunk, I suggested a visit to the original Cavern Club on Mathew Street on our way to the train station. Our walk took us past the area that had once held Liverpool Castle, who knew that Liverpool once had one of those as well, which was now an imposing statue to Queen Victoria before we turned into the most famous street in the city.

Historically it was the centre of Liverpool's wholesale fruit and vegetable market. But today Mathew Street is visited by thousands of tourists a year, as we arrived getting a picture without anyone in was going to be a no, as one by one visitors took their place next to Johns statue at the entrance to the club.

Woolly says – I was more interested in the bricks that covered the wall of the club, the Cavern Wall of Fame. Opened in 1997 the wall commemorates all the famous that have played in it’s dark interior including The Who, Nazareth, The Drifters, Ken Dodd and the boys themselves, very cool and I wondered on the chances of the women taking me there on a night out! Slightly further down the road was a life size statue in memory of another Liverpool super star, Cilla Black, who had been there at the start when she worked as a check in girl in the club before finding worldwide fame for herself. Sighing happily to myself I knew we needed to get a trot on to reach our train in time but couldn’t resist a last photo with the statue of Elenaor Rigby, McCartney said he came up with the name "Eleanor" from actress Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the film Help!. "Rigby" came from the name of a store in Bristol, "Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers", which he noticed while seeing his girlfriend of the time, Jane Asher.. He said in 1984, "I just liked the name. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. 'Eleanor Rigby' sounded natural." However, it has been pointed out that the graveyard of St Peter's Church in Liverpool, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at the Woolton Village garden fete on the afternoon of 6 July 1957, contains the gravestone of an individual called Eleanor Rigby. McCartney has conceded he may have been subconsciously influenced by the name on the gravestone. Whatever the story may be, it made a great ending to the day and as I hummed my way into the bowels of the underground station I felt I had done Jo proud for her special day…….”all the lonely mammoths, where do they all come from, all the lonely mammoths where do they all belong?”

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