Liverpool day 1

Early start out of Pontypool, 9.57 to Crewe, busy train for a Sunday I thought but as there are only 2 carriages then busyness comes quickly I guess. The quality of countryside from a uk train is always enjoyable, cats dart for cover in back gardens as we trundle by, later a dog barks at us, though I can only assume that from the hounds contorting face. The hilly surrounds of Abergavenny give way to a flatter vista around Hereford, daughter rolls her eyes as I loudly exclaim “oh, isn’t it flat”.

We arrive at Crewe with 15 minutes before our Liverpool train, the coffee from the gourmet kitchen on platform 6 is strong and refreshing though the grumbles from my server, less so. Easy half hour or so and Liverpool South Park suggests in its name that we are in the city but the size of passengers luggage suggests we are just a handy change from the John Lennon airport.

The final leg is half an hour with signalling problems into the city central station, 10 minutes walk across a busy city and we arrive an hour early at our hotel, Double tree Hilton. We drop off our bags and head down Dean Street to the docks. As we pass the civic buildings, bells ring out for some newly weds and we decide not to photo bomb their special day.

The Mersey side walk to Albert Dock passes a Beatles statue and Fab Four themed shop and cafe, wifey snaps the Billy Fury statue for her sister and we go into the Tate.

Liver building viewed from Tate in Albert Dock

Liver building viewed from Tate in Albert Dock

The Tate in Liverpool is small compared to Bankside but beautifully formed all the same, ground floor exhibit is a celebration of 30 years that it has been open herewith ‘Ken’ curating hidden visions, a couple of floors up you can talk to Ken and set up the room in model form as you would have done it… Though he didn’t agree with me that the Rothko was a pile of overrated nonsense and that it should be shown in the cloakroom.

The artist room is currently concentrating on Roy Lichtenstein, master of Ben Day dots and elevating throw away comic book art to high art (biglyness is arty Ness!) I was amazed with the fact that he only died in 97 and was working right up to the end

.

Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Liverpool

Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Liverpool

Sunrise by Lichtenstein

Sunrise by Lichtenstein

Other highlights in the Tate include some quality pop such as Peter Blake and this futurist/vortist piece from 1915, big respect if you know artist and title, feel free to show off in the comments below.

Vortist 1915

Vortist 1915

Peter Blake

Peter Blake

After a gentle mosey through town back to our hotel, quick coffee, wifey checks out the pool and sauna, before we go out for a meal at Shiraz Turkish cafe. I went for the mixed grill and it was marvellous, all 4 of us were beaten by the food we were served, all very happy and very stuffed, wifey and I managed a bottle of house red and the bill came to £62ish. One highlight was son (12) saying while referring to an image of the Beatles on the wall that “a lot of places in Liverpool seem to like the Beatles.” We laughed at him and ridicule flew from all sides, we are mean:)

Smiths tucking in at the Shiraz

Smiths tucking in at the Shiraz

I left with some meat sweats and a grin, heartily recommended the place to some folks looking at the menu on the street and was surprised that we were being chased by our fab waitress so she could return daughter’s scarf that had been left behind.

As the family tucked into our hotel room, I managed to pop across the road to Vernon Arms for a pint of real ale (Jonny Handsome was its name, dark and full with a bitter finish, yum.) and watch some golf from Augusta.

All round a great start to this trip, Crosby tomorrow for Gormley’sfigures on the beach…

Thanks for reading, more soon, honest injun:)