Thursday, 6 April 2017

Sefton Park - Part 2

Some more pictures from our visit to Sefton Park in March. 

The main lake is still known as the Boating Lake  even though it stopped being a venue for boating in the 1970s when the jetty and boat hire facilities were removed. The lake was totally emptied in 2007 for extensive renovation work and all of the fish (which included specimen weights of carp, tench, roach, pike and golden orf) were caught with large nets and sent to various locations across the UK. Following its restoration, the lake was refilled in 2010. Turtles have also been spotted in the lake.  Not only could one go rowing on the lake when GB and I were young but we also sailed our model boats that Dad made for us.

Stepping stones on one of the pathways.

We paid a visit to the Palm House. 

This is a Grade II three-tier dome conservatory which opened in 1896. Liverpool millionaire Henry Yates Thompson (the great nephew of the founder of Liverpool's Princes Park) gave £10,000 to the city to fund its construction. It was designed in the tradition of Joseph Paxton's glass houses and was stocked originally with a rich collection of exotic plants.  

During the Liverpool Blitz of May 1941 a bomb fell nearby and shattered the glass. It was re-glazed in 1950 at a cost of £6,163 with costs covered by War Restoration funds. A period of decline and deterioration culminated in its closure in the 1980s on grounds of safety.   It was later fully restored at a cost of £3.5 million and re-opened in 2001.

I liked the clever use of an old post-box as a donation box.

Sefton Park has a copy of  the bronze statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens, next to Hyde Park, London. 

The exact location of the London one was chosen by Peter Pan's author, J.M. Barrie. Barrie lived close to Kensington Gardens and published his first Peter Pan story in 1902, using the park for inspiration. In his Peter Pan tale, The Little White Bird, Peter flies out of his nursery and lands beside the Long Water lake - on the spot where the statue now stands.  Barrie began planning the Peter Pan statue in 1906. He took photos of the six-year-old Michael Llewelyn Davies wearing a special Peter Pan costume to help a sculptor recreate his vision. In 1912, he found the man to make the statue, Sir George Frampton, and by 1st May that year, the sculpture was in place in Kensington Gardens. 

This copy of the statue was placed in Sefton Park in 1928 and was unveiled in the presence of Barrie.

An important feature of most Victorian parks was the bandstand around which crowds would sit at the weekend listening to the local brass bands.   

They still played there in my youth but I don’t know if they do nowadays.  Sefton Park’s bandstand was said to be the inspiration for the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Another important statue in the park is that of “Eros”.  I have put Eros in quotes because it is a replica of the statue in Piccadilly Circus commonly known as Eros.  In fact both statues are not of Eros but of Anteros – one of the Greek Gods of requited love. Physically, he is depicted as similar to Eros in every way, but with long hair and plumed butterfly wings.  He has been described also as armed with either a golden club or arrows of lead.  

Anteros means love returned and he was the avenger of unrequited love.  The original statue, in London, was created as a memorial to the Earl of Shaftesbury in 1893 and was symbolic of the selfless philanthropic love of the Earl for the poor.  The one now standing in Sefton Park is a fairly recent replacement for the original which was unveiled in 1932 and was an early example of aluminium sculpture.  The original one corroded and is now on display in Liverpool’s National Conservation Centre.

Hidden away in the park is the Fairy Glen. 

 An iron bridge, opened in 1873, spans the top of the Fairy Glen.

 Below this are delightful waterfalls and stepping stones.

I hope you enjoyed your trips around one of Liverpool's parks.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Sefton Park, Liverpool

On Mother's Day (the British one) Partner-who-loves-tea suggested we have a trip over to Sefton Park to see if we could see the Kingfishers which had been there for a few weeks.  The weather was wonderful - the first really warm Spring day.  One can tell the first day of Spring - it is that day on which one can first put one's foot on seven daisies.

For years now Daffodils have been planted in Sefton Park in support of the Marie Curie charity which supports terminally ill patients.  They were out in profusion.

You can read more about the Marie Curie organisation by clicking here.

Sadly the Kingfishers moved out of the park about a week ago according to a helpful fellow naturalist that we met.  But there was still plenty to photograph.

And the rest of the wildlife was out in force including a Dabchick (or Little Grebe).  I have seen Dabchicks previously when I was a voluntary warden at Ainsdale Nature Reserve but that was over thirty years ago.

A Coot was sitting on its nest, only getting off to have the occasional shower or to chase away marauding Magpies.

Moorhens dabbled in the brooks and on the lake margins.

And the plentiful Mallards were joined by a few Canada Geese.

I was always told that Rooks banded together (in a parliament) and Carrion Crows were not seen in larger numbers than twos and threes.  The Carrion Crows in Sefton Park had obviously read a different book - there were hundreds of them scattered around one particular field.

A Grey Squirrel came begging for nuts but we didn't have any with us.  Better luck next time, little one!

And these were the only drops of water we saw all day!

We paid (literally) a visit to the Palm House but I'll tell you about that another time when I'll also introduce you to Peter Pan, Eros, the bandstand and the Fairy Glen.  To finish today's post - how about this for a fantastic tree trunk.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Mr Mac

"Excuse me - do you have any spare food lying about, by any chance?"

"Pretty Please!"

Monday, 27 March 2017

Massive Wirral explosion

My brother, GB, often comments how fortunate he and I are not to have lived through a War.  (Technically, he did because he was born just  before the D Day landings of World War II though two years after the end of the Liverpool Blitz in which around 4,000 people were killed – a death toll second only to London.)  It was the Blitz of which Merseysiders were reminded on Saturday night when my son came from his room – with the TV on quite loud - into the kitchen to ask ‘What was that big bang?’

It turned out to be a gas explosion in New Ferry six miles away.  Over thirty people were injured but, by the grace of God or the Fates, only two are in a serious condition, though one of those is in a critical condition.  Had it been an hour earlier the Dance Studio, which was completely demolished, would have been full of children.

Sadly, Lan’s Chinese Restaurant is among the many buildings demolished or damaged (probably beyond repair).  Last time he stayed with us GB treated us to a meal there and Partner-who-loves-tea and I had talked about going there for a meal this week!  The spot where GB parked his car that night was completely buried under rubble.  Eighteen people in the restaurant were injured.  Prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected but most especially the two in a serious condition.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Pretty in pink ??????

This is an extract from The Guardian's introduction to the cars and drivers of the 2017 F1 season which has begun this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix.

I had to laugh and wonder if the advert for Disney's Beauty and the Beast was a subtle comment on the new Force India livery.   All the F1 cars are beasts and I love to hear them roar.  This year the tyres and cars are wider and look even better than they have for a few years.   Most of them are beautiful.  But not, in my view, the Force India!

The team has a new sponsor - BWT (Best Water Technology). Good for them - F1 needs all the sponsorship it can get.  Although the BWT logo colours are blue and white they have a range of products including -

As a result the Force India F1 car has ended up being pink.

Not everyone will agree with me but I have to say from my point of view F1 cars are not pretty in pink!

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Guide to Drinking Tea

Found on the wall of the delightful Rosie Lea tearooms in Hoylake on the Wirral peninsula.  (Click to enlarge).

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Empire Inn Sign

At the corner of Hanover Street and Wood Street in Liverpool there is a pub called The Empire.  It has had that name since its reconstruction around 1914 prior to which it was the Dewdrop Inn.

A traditional Liverpool drinking den, it is "hard to imagine anybody spending an entire night in the Empire. Little more than a small room hugging the corner of Wood and Hanover Streets, it stands too close to the hip-happening places to warrant anything more than a quick visit while you wait for queues elsewhere to die down."  So says one of the local reviewers of pubs and clubs.

I  suspect it got its patriotic name from the air of jingoism that prevailed at the outset of the First World War. The picture on the sign does not appear to bear any direct relationship to the name.

A police report from 1892 stated "This house has been most unsatisfactorily conducted during the past year.  The police, when visiting, continually find large numbers of prostitutes on the premises. "  The magistrates ignored the police objection to the renewal of the premises' licence and 125 years later The Empire is still going strong.

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