Our day out

Oscar went away with school for a week so mum and I decided to have a day of sightseeing in London. Train tickets booked and a few ideas of things we would like to see and off we went.

We left Liverpool, in warm sunshine and arrived in a cold, windy London a little over two hours later.

Our first port of call was the British museum for a brief stop and look at the Egyptian collection and the Rosetta stone.

What an amazing shaped building too. I will be returning to explore more inside here.

Next was the National portrait gallery, a favourite place with stunning art work.

Simply beautiful, then a quick stop for coffee in the crypt at St Martins in the field church. A walk down through Covent Garden and the theatre district, then on to Chinatown for some Dim sum.

Then it was time to start making our way back towards the train station, with tired legs but it was a fun, busy day.

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Ballet and unexpected surprises.

I’m not a girly girl (at all), make-up, shopping and fashion are not my idea of fun in any shape or form. But put me in a theatre with ballet and I suddenly become ‘a girl’

I can’t really explain it, I never did ballet as a child or even saw one. I enjoy the gracefulness of it all and the story-telling without words only music and movement.

Last month I went to see Giselle, a new one for me. It was beautiful, and some of the music I recognised, which was surprising not knowing this ballet. It’s a very romantic, love story and didn’t seem as long as other ballet’s I have seen, however they do say time flies when you’re having fun.

Then we noticed Matthew Bourne was touring with his production of ‘The Red Shoes’ later in the year and this was one that we couldn’t miss. Matthew Bourne’s choreography is spectacular, quirky and always worth watching. His ‘Swan Lake’ with an all male cast is amazing. The morning the tickets went on sale we were on the phone and booked them immediately.

A few days later we noticed an advert on another theatre in Liverpool.

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Again we booked and got front row seats for opening night.

It’s was the craziest busy day and with a bus that never turned up we nearly didn’t make it at all, but I’m glad we did. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen, not just ballet but in general. It was superbly danced and acted. It was funny and sad (yes we laughed loudly). It is a walk-through of the pieces that have shaped his career and his life. Of artists that have impacted him through music or dance.

It wasn’t the longest ballet, each ‘act’ was around 40 minutes and we had two intervals but it was one of the best I’ve seen.

At the end as everyone was preparing to leave an announcement was made that a short question and answer session would follow with Matthew Bourne himself. That alone was worth the money we paid. He was a genuine, down-to-earth person. He refuses to be called Sir, even though he was knighted in 2016.

He explained how and why he’d put these pieces together and answered several audience questions about where his ideas came from, his inspiration and idols. He even gave some hints about his future plans and it would appear that we will be seeing more Matthew Bourne productions later this year and next, and thankfully they all seem to come through Liverpool.

So the future is looking good ……

Behind the scenes at Dunham Massey

Sometimes misreading a calendar has it’s advantages, and this was one of them. Dunham Massey is somewhere I’ve wanted to visit for a while, so whilst looking through the national trust book I ‘thought’ it said the house reopened to the public from February.

Off we set, a grey day with drizzly rain which got heavier and heavier the closer we got. Thankfully it was well signposted and easy to find as I forgot the trusty sat-nag (she drives me bonkers and causes more road-rage than any driver ever could)

So we arrived and made a quick dash inside, unfortunately the house wasn’t fully open but they had guided tours for certain areas. I was a little disappointed (at my mistake) but my mind was soon changed as we had a great time.

The first tour was all ‘below stairs’ the guide was beautifully dressed, very informative and hilarious. He told us all about what jobs we would be expected to do, conditions and even had the children getting involved. One boy (aged about 6) was perfectly dressed for his new role as a tiger in his orange and black coat. A tiger was a small stable boy who held the reins of a horse to keep it from moving around. Oscar and another boy were too young to be household boys, so they could have been scarecrows, running up and down the fields shouting to keep the birds away. At 12 they would/could have moved inside of the house for other duties. The first being silver polishing, which they both did very well.

Then we went into the kitchens and laundry rooms, time for us to get wet. The children had a go at washing using a tub and dolly, it lead to lots of splashing and laughing. They all agreed that washing machines made life a lot easier now. It was interesting to discover that gin was used for washing silk, I wonder at what point they decided to have a taste?

The next tour was the art of the house and the two tour guides made this tour something special, they were like a comedy double act. Even Oscar, who wasn’t looking forward to this one because it sounded boring, loved it. The half hour tour took 90 minutes and I’ve never laughed or enjoyed a ‘serious’ tour so much.

I learnt a lot from both of these tours and we are both looking forward to going back again to see the rest of the house and explore the beautiful grounds, weather permitting.

Getting home was an adventure in itself as following road signs for the motorway lead us round in a circle back to where we started ! At least we know for future reference which signs to follow and how to get home.

January

Where did it go ! The month seems to have flown by and quite a few things happened which kept it interesting.

We started the year with a broken boiler, thankfully it was replaced quickly and without us being without heating or hot water for very long.

The job hunting was still ongoing, applications being sent everywhere, every day and with very little in response. Then one of my old employers died and at the funeral a chance encounter led to a job offer. I met with my new employer and within a couple of hours I was registered for classroom training, online training and my work rota organised. I spent a good few hours doing the online training, thankfully my previous employment had prepared me well for this tedious task.

As well as my old employer we also lost my great uncle, a lovely man who is now reunited with the love of his life.

I spent an evening at the ballet – Giselle – with my mum. Not a ballet either us had seen before, it was very enjoyable. We also bought our tickets to Matthew Bourne’s production of the red shoes for later in the year, super excited !

A few good days out to some new places and some old favourites, mostly alone, the Lady Lever art gallery, Sudley house, World museum, St Georges hall and The Walker art gallery. Not bad for one month.

I’ve also been reading tons, watching films and updating all my challenge lists. more details to follow ….

I hope your January has been a good one x

 

Lady Lever Art Gallery

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve lived about 5 miles from this place for approximately 30 years and I’ve never visited, until today. I’m glad I finally did.

What a beautiful, interesting building in a stunning location. Port Sunlight, built by the Lever brothers to accommodate workers from their soap factory.

 

 

 

The building was commissioned and built to house William Lever, 1st Viscount Leverhulme, personal collection of art, fine art and antiques.

It is split into 30 interconnecting rooms, which house both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The current temporary exhibition is Fresh Perspectives, art, embroidery and sculptures created by local school children aged 14 – 17 years old.

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Some of the rooms are set like bedrooms, sitting rooms, others are as you would expect an art gallery to be. Hanging art work, cabinets with pottery and sculptures. The central room is circular with a domed roof and filled with sculptures and busts.  On a sunny day, like today, the light in there is beautifully calming.

 

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Floors and the domed ceiling.

They have lots of activities for children around the galleries and downstairs they have craft rooms, a cafe and shop. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours and I won’t leave it so long before I return again.

 

L is for …

Liverpool, my hometown, it’s a big city with lots of history and the most museums/galleries outside of London. It is a city filled with culture and heritage and the Liverpool waterfront is a UNESCO world heritage site.

Liverpool has two cathedrals at either end of Hope street, both are beautiful architectural buildings and very different, well worth a visit.

Liverpool is a famous music city and is the world capital of pop, with more number ones than any other city.

It is home to many sports, including two premiership football teams, horse-racing, rugby, golf, plus lots more.

It’s an easily accessible city as the main train line, coach station and bus station are right in the centre and easy walking distance to many places.

Liverpool is a very family-friendly city and most galleries and museums have free activities/things to do for kids.

There are many theatres and comedy clubs with something for everyone.

It also has coastline and very clean sandy beaches, it is full of parks and green areas too.

And not to be left out, a trip on the famous ‘ferry across the Mersey’

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The ‘dazzle ship’ ferry looking across to Birkenhead.

I love my city, come and explore and you will love it too.