Tuesday, August 02, 2016

LIverpool Monday

Our very first experiences of Liverpool were ones of necessity, on Sunday afternoon and evening. A visit to the Information Centre at the end of Albert Dock was deemed essential, and we came away with a wad of leaflets, pamphlets and booklets. Already, our brainlets were spinning. There seems to be so much to choose from.
Grace had ordered a food processor online from the Argos branch here, so we ventured into Liverpool One to collect it.
"Liverpool ONE is a shopping, residential and leisure complex in Liverpool, England. The project, previously known as The Paradise Project, involved the redevelopment of 42 acres of underutilised land in Liverpool city centre." (Wikipedia)
It was hard to find. Signage was confusing. And we got lost on the way out! Or rather, we found our way out fine, but it involved us in a much longer walk than necessary! Knackered, we went the length of Albert Dock three times, looking for a restaurant that appealed to us. Finally, we fell into the door of one that turned out to be bar where everyone else was getting smashed on expensive cocktails. The food was very good, however, and we left happy, our appetites satisfied.

Monday morning was time to start exploring and sightseeing in earnest. The old warehouses around all four sides of Albert Dock are now nearly all shops and eateries. We had planned to start off at the Tate Gallery, which is there, too. But this meant walking past all of the shops - and THAT meant going into several of them as well. But it also meant wandering alongside the docks.

Of particular interest among the shops was Ziferblat, a... well, I'm not sure what to call it. You decide.

They call it a pay-per-minute coffee house, but it's much more than that.

You go in, and register at a reception desk. They simply take your name, make sure you understand what the rules are, and tell you the time they've logged as the start of your stay there. The rules are simple. Treat the place and the other people there with respect. Make yourself at home. Clear up after you. Wash up as needed.

The room you enter after that is large, comfortably furnished, pleasantly but not brightly lit, altogether relaxing. There's food set out on a unit which separates the lounge area from a kitchen; fruit, cakes, pastries and biscuits, and several breakfast cereals. There are fruit juices, milk, fresh coffee and several teas. You're welcome to take your own food in instead - or as well! The kitchen has a microwave oven, kettles, a dishwasher and large fridge.

And you simply help yourself to whatever you want, sit down, and enjoy it. Books, papers and magazines are available, toys for children, jigsaw puzzles. They provide very good wi-fi, and two men were sitting at tables working with much concentration at their laptops. The atmosphere was quiet and informal. We loved it. We were only there for 28 minutes, at 8p each per minute. So we paid £4.48, for which Grace had had a mug of tea, and I'd had two excellent coffees. We'd both had pieces of cake, too. We left refreshed. It's a lovely place.

The Tate Gallery was much as we'd expected it to be, but hoped it wouldn't. Largely disappointing, as is the London Tate Modern. But we were hugely entertained by the lively discussion we had with a lovely young lady who was on duty in the last exhibition we visited. On the way around, we noticed the occasional scattering of rubbish - such as one might empty out of a pocket or handbag. They became more numerous, and larger, and we started to have a bad feeling about it. I went over to the lady standing at the entrance.

"Tell us about the rubbish!"

And she did. And it was, as we had feared, a piece of "installation art". And we talked with her for half an hour or so. She was brilliant. She happily confessed her own doubts about the value of such things as art, her ambivalence about them, and she understood something of what was in the mind of the artist. She told us how she felt when, as an art student herself, her final assessed creation had taken her a considerable amount of time, effort and skill, but the piece which had received the greatest acclaim had been a pane of glass. Just that. We debated, we agreed and disagreed, and we laughed a lot, and Grace and I left that gallery uplifted by that alone.

The Maritime Museum was next, with particularly interesting exhibits about RMS Lusitania, whose home port was Liverpool, and RMS Titanic, which had many strong connections with the city. Both ships sank tragically.

The Museum of Slavery kept us for about 15 minutes. We were becoming a little jaded, perhaps.

We share Salthouse Dock with large Pedal Swans!

But it had been a really good day.


It had occurred to me as I lay in bed that morning... we spent five very enjoyable weeks bringing our home the 210 miles from Yelvertoft, and now we're here, in our home, in the heart of this vibrant, exciting city for seven days, at no cost - even the electricity is free. What a privilege this is!


  1. What an incredibly special end destination, Roger. I've lved following your trip, and I would now give anything to do this too. Totally fascinating! I'm so glad they've revived these docklands. Your photos are great and I really have the sense of being there. Just wonderful!

    1. It's a lovely place to be, Val. I couldn't say I'd like to live here, but it's fascinating, with an amazing heritage, and SO much to see and do. It's very proud of itself, and deservedly so. I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog.