Thursday, 29 January 2009

Liverpool – Day Three

In preparation for the trip to Liverpool I had done some internet research about the tourist sights, but figured I would learn much more once we got there; this was true. What I mainly did online was identify the fabric shops and the charity shops in Liverpool from Then I looked up all the postcodes for the latter from and found that the wealthiest area was a village called Crosby, with 4 charity shops on one road.

Thursday morning I went around the corner to Lime Street train station, found a bookstore and bought a detailed street map of Liverpool and surrounding areas for £4.99. This included Crosby, though I already had a rough idea from looking it up on It was also useful for finding the other train station - Liverpool Central -- where the Northern line connected. (Note: I like Multimap because when one asks for directions, it also tells the distance between 2 places, helpful when deciding whether or not to walk rather than drive).

Along the way to the Central Station I saw the place Bill had noticed our first night out, the Crown Hotel.

Ken told us he’d only been in recently for the first time and was astonished to see the ceiling looked like meringue. He was right, but I'll show you that later. I also spotted The Vines, another amazing building.

My day out at Crosby was enjoyable, though cold and windy. I did make a good haul at the shops, however, not having consulted my list of addresses I brought, I walked a long way out of the way. I took a detour into the village to have some lunch, thinking that I had stepped off of Moor Lane, but the pedestrian road was Moor Lane, the main road was the by-pass! I even saw the very shops while looking for a café, but didn’t think they were the shops on my list. I walked 1.39 miles (per Multimap) beyond, nearly to the next village, before realizing my mistake.

For lunch I chose the 2nd cafe, the one without the singing waitress, wanting a quiet meal, not a karaoke. The bread was rubbish in the place I picked, but good bread isn’t really a British thing, maybe because poor Brits live on chips, not bread. If one wants really good bread, it may be found in France where they would be ashamed to serve such a rock and call it French bread. They gave me an alternative, 2 slices of white bread, which is excellent for making dough ornaments, but not to eat. I settled for a liquid (soup and tea) lunch.

On my long unnecessary walk, I did see some very big houses with grounds and private roads, and came to understand why it was the wealthiest area around Liverpool, only a short commute on the train. Nothing struck me as worth of a picture, however.

Further north on the train is is Aintree where they race horses, something any Dick Francis fan would know, and then on to Southport. We may have to go visit those places some time. Liverpool is only about 35 miles from Manchester and Bill needs to go see Simon and Helen more often, doesn’t he? In the meantime, I need to do some research about fabric and charity shops in Manchester!

I got back to the hotel about 4pm, dumped my new (to me) clothes on the bed and headed back out the door. My new map showed the fabric shops were only a few blocks away, also clustered on a single street. It was late, but at least I could get an idea of whether I needed to drag Bill there first thing the next morning.

The first couple were nothing special, but the third was a huge, two-storey warehouse that sold fabric by weight, not length. Prices ranged from £7.99–23.99 per kilogram of fabric, most around £10.99/kilo. I would have thought lightweight georgette and chiffon would be more expensive than cottons or velvets, but they were similarly priced. I didn’t buy anything because I was completely out of my depth, having no clue about what was a bargain or not. I was so daunted I just went upstairs and looked at their few ragged pattern books for a few minutes until closing time.

In looking around I did discover that in fact the cotton Christmas prints didn’t appeal to me after all, which was useful to learn. I decided I’d rather go for the luxury look than use kitschy prints. I’ll have to do some research before I go back. I suspect there will be numerous fabric shops in Manchester, and selling by weight may be a custom in that area.

That evening Bill and I called in at both the Crown and the Vines on our way to Paradise Street where the internet listed many restaurants on offer. At the Crown, Bill was taken with the etched glass windows

and both our mouths fell open when we walked in a saw the ceiling.

The Vines was similar but somehow just a little less loved somehow. It also had etched windows and the semi-private spaces with a button to press for service (a historical rather than current amenity, I assumed).

Rather than the white ceiling it had a lot of copper around.

The young man behind the bar saw me snapping pictures and asked if I would like to see back room...just kidding. It was their 'function room', rented out to groups for special occasions. It was called the Heritage Suite (Smart Dress Essential).

The dim lighting challenged my photography skills, but I think I got the gist of the place.

Bill formed the theory that during their heyday these public houses / hotels were frequented by the officers of the many ships that called into Liverpool and that they were in fact brothels. The decor certainly makes me think it was meant for other than the crew, but as to the other activities, I didn't see any evidence one way or the other. I'll take his word for it.

We carried on to Paradise Street but there was nary a restaurant in sight. We nearly gave up -- particularly as I was wearing heels, silly me -- until we realized that they were all part of the big shopping mall. We had steak at a place called Las Iquanas. Although they seem to think themselves pretty special, we rated them as only very average.

Bill says our trips to Oklahoma have opened his eyes to how a good steak should actually taste. The only other place I think comes close to cooking a good steak is Spain, also cattle country. Britain as a whole doesn’t have a clue, unless you can find an Argentinian restaurant; they seem to know what to do with beef. Just as well, red meat isn't that good for you anyhow....

1 comment:

Rick Stone said...

Speaking bad of beef, the life blood of life? In this part of the world that is enough to get someone drawn and quartered. Just ask Oprah about getting sued by some Amarillo beef producers after she lambasted beef on the air.