Wednesday 12 February 2014

A day out in Liverpool

St George's Hall, Liverpool
Weather-wise, Saturday, 8th February was a horrible day, but LFC were kicking off at midday so it was the perfect opportunity for me to be dropped off ‘somewhere along the East Lancs’ and catch a bus into town. I love that bus journey on a day when Liverpool are playing at home, love people-watching as the bus slowly makes its way through the throngs of supporters, young and old, male and female, most sporting their club colours. It amazes me just how far the fans will walk to reach the stadium on foot; maybe the car parking charges have a lot to do with it, but the sense of camaraderie is also evident – and walking has the advantage of being able to enjoy a pint before the game, as well as one or two afterwards! I know from my husband that many fans also have their ‘lucky’ route – after parking the car a mile and a half from the ground he always crosses the road in a certain spot and enters the stadium through the same gate each time. I don’t know how this works when the team loses, but then that hasn’t happened much this season!

Meanwhile, there was plenty to occupy me in the city centre on a wet, blustery afternoon. I began with a little shopping in Liverpool One, and in Waterstone’s picked up a copy of the 18thC gothic novel The Monk by Matthew Lewis that I need for my reading group. From there, I decided it would be worthwhile battling against the head wind to make one of my regular visits to St George’s Hall. I love having my afternoon coffee in Bread & More, easily accessible from the side entrance to the Hall. Not only are the coffees, teas and snacks excellent but it’s good to know that Bread & More is run by The City of Liverpool College, which helps young people gain employment in the hospitality sector through apprenticeships. I chose a seat where I could watch the comings and goings through the side entrance and enjoyed seeing several wedding parties arriving; such a pity about the weather as adults and children had to brave the wind and rain, shivering in their finery. I wish all of the couples a long and happy marriage.

A real treat on this visit to the Hall, was spending some time looking at The Liverpool Tapestry – People, Places and Passions – which hangs in a room near Bread & More. Conceived and funded by Home Bargains and created by the Merseyside Embroiderers’ Guild to celebrate Liverpool’s Capital of Culture year in 2008, it was completed in 2012 and originally hung in the Liverpool Life Museum at the Pier Head. It is now on permanent display in St George’s Hall and the statistics relating to its creation are truly amazing. The wall hanging consists of 338 individual six inch squares depicting every aspect of Merseyside life; its iconic buildings, sport, music, Super Lamb Bananas – far too many subjects to mention individually. One hundred and three miles of wool were used, 5 million stitches crafted by 152 embroiderers, and once the squares were completed a professional conservator took nine months to hand-stitch them onto a canvas 7 feet high by 23 long. As someone who struggles to sew a button on, I was in awe of the embroiderers’ obvious skill and love for the task in hand. I congratulate you all.

It was when I was picking up some leaflets at the information desk I heard that LFC were by that time 4-0 up against Arsenal!

Time to visit the Central library which, as usual, was a hive of activity, I made my way to the Local History section, found a comfy seat and settled with a couple of books of photos of old Liverpool. I love leafing through these books and have many at home; certain photos bring back memories of my childhood and my early working life in the city.

A quick dash through the rain to rendezvous with a jubilant husband and the news that Liverpool had won 5-1 – the excitement of the FA cup clash beckons!