My husband and I recently went away for a short summer holiday, to my parents, who live in Ainsdale, Southport. Neither of us have been on a holiday in a very long time (festivals and weekend pagan camps, do not count!). We were both excited and not even concerned with the weather, even though the forecast was for rain over the five days we were there.
After greeting the family, unpacking and a rest, we decided to go for a walk down to the beach front. The first thing we both noticed was that there was no dog poo! That is right, not one turd (either whole, or trodden in), anywhere! The beach was poo free and the streets were so clean, it was unbelievably beautiful!
The beaches at Southport are expansive, as the tide recedes so very far out, the sand goes on and on forever. We watched the kite surfers for a while and decided to head back for our supper.
The following day, sunshine shone gloriously and we headed into Southport for the day. Low and behold, it was the march of the Orange Men. So, there were noisy yobs, dressed in orange everywhere! Nothing new there then! Lol! We did struggle to find a café or restaurant that served a decaf skinny cappuccino, eventually, we visited Café Parisienne on Lord Street (strange coincidence today, with the recent death of John Lord, keyboardist for Deep Purple among his other compositions!). The service was rubbish, but the coffee was OK!
In general, we found the town to be pretty and the people to be friendly, even the pissed and rather racist Orange Men/Women! That evening, it was my niece’s 11th birthday, so we had a braai (barbecue for those who don’t speak Souf Afriken!) and we even gave her the bumps!
Rain fell on the Friday, as we decided to visit Formby Point, a nature reserve for Red Squirrels. Unfortunately, I didn’t spot one, though hubby did. That evening, we went to The Fisherman’s Rest for our supper to celebrate my mothers 75th birthday and the food was delicious. As I am currently doing the weight watchers diet, I only had a small portion of scampi and one scoop of ice-cream for dessert, but it was lovely!
Saturday was a big day for us, as we headed off to Liverpool for the day, with my sister and her family. Husband and I wanted to go to the Tate Gallery, as there was a Monet, Turner and Twombly exhibition we were interested in. My sister should be a tour guide! She was pointing out all of the various sites and of course, the Liver building was one of them. My sister left us at the Albert Docks, while they all went to Liverpool One (the shopping centre) and we went in search of coffee. We had been trying to avoid Costa, as we so often have them at home. So, we scoured the various coffee shops and restaurants along the dock and chose Le Crepe Rit. It looked so inviting and quaint from outside. We chose our table and sat down.
We were finally approached by a waitress, who’s knowledge of the English language seemed very slim and I ordered my decaf skinny cappuccino. They didn’t do decaf!!!!!!! In this modern age, why-ever not? So, I had to settle for a caffinated skinny cappuccino, and a quiche with salad. The salad consisted of iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber. That was all. The husband had a burger and chips and it was literally just a burger on a bun with no dressing what-so-ever. So, my advice to you, DO NOT FREQUENT LE CREPE RIT – or as I now call it, LE CRAP RIT!!!
Finally, after our dreadful meal, we headed off to the Tate Gallery. We were quite shocked that it was £12 entry, but, looking back now, after all the wonderful art we viewed, it was well worth it. The Monet’s were everything that I had hoped for and moved me to tears. Monet painted many “Water lillies” canvasses and they are beautiful, I feel so privileged to have seen some of them in person. I even bought a Water Lillies poster to frame and put on the wall! I was stood admiring “Charring Cross Bridge”, which has a pink tone to it, and a lady walked past and commented that I should stand there as my hair complements the work. Rather bizarre really!
I was unfamiliar with Turner’s work, but I am now a fan. His “Shade and Darkness The Evening of the Deluge” really captured my imagination and spending time, looking into the depths of the paint, you can see images within the colours.
I found it interesting to see the Turner’s and Monet’s together, especially their sunset/sunrise images and of course the London scenes. Many of Turner’s paintings were unfinished, however, that just adds to their beauty and mysteriousness.
Now, Twombly is an artist that I had not heard of, as I am not a massive fan of so called “Modern Art”, although, he described himself as a “Romantic Symbolist”. His paintings were difficult to define and understand, however, six of the giant canvasses caught my attention. Two of them were the “Petals of Fire”, these had interesting colours and I was able to see a likeness to Monet’s Water Lillies. Twombly’s “Quattro Stagioni” or, Four Seasons, were impressive and I did feel moved by these mamoth paintings.
When looking at the four together, I was able to see the influences of Monet and Turner. And then, in his Untitled 2007 series, I see for the first time the Haiku he uses. Now, it begins to make sense.
There were two other floors of art on display and it is well worth a visit if you live in the Liverpool area. Besides the three artists mentioned above, we also saw work by Dali, Pollock and Warhol to name but a few.
Marianne Faithful had also put together a display, which I particularly loved and it included a screening room of three of her most prolific video’s for The Ballad of Lucy Jordan, Broken English and Witches Song.
After the intellectual culture of the gallery, we headed off to The Cavern, legendary home of The Beatles. Liverpool LOVES The Beatles! The Cavern was quite an experience – paying £2.00 entrance fee and going down four flights of stairs, into the steamy depths of The Cavern. Thank goodness I wasn’t wearing heels as the ceilings are so low! We wrote our names on the cavernous walls and I also wrote my name in the toilets! We watched Jay Murray (quite a regular performer at The Cavern) as he got the crowd going with Beatles classics, including “Here Comes the Sun”, as well as an Oasis cover. We then headed across the cobbled street to The Cavern Pub, where there was a guy wandering around dressed as Ziggy Stardust!
Reaching home, exhausted after the cultural bombardment, we headed for a romantic dinner for two at a lovely little Italian restaurant called “Esperanto’s” in Ainsdale. What a delicious meal and fantastic service – highly recommended for anyone who is a connoisseur of Italian fare! The waiter brought us a foccacia bread to begin with and then, I chose melon with port for starters – nom nom nom! Hubby had meatballs. For our mains, we both had pasta dishes, I chose a Penne Ham, chicken and mushroom that was so deliciously creamy and Hubby had Tagiattellie which was also delicious. Desserts were all home made and instead of a menu, the waiter brought them to the table. At first, I thought we were having the whole lot lol! Husband chose chocolate profiteroles and never have a seen such large chocolate balls. I had tiramisu (well, you have to don’t you?). Delicious meal and we shall be returning in the future.
Sunday morning and the sun shone again. We took a final walk along the beach, in the wind, watching the dry sand skim over the wet and horses racing over the soft ground. Driftwood, shells and seaweed show where the tide comes in as the beach seems to go on forever…
All in all, we had a great holiday! Thank you to the family for hosting us and making us feel so welcome and loved!