Family Day in Liverpool

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It’s become a tradition that a few days before Christmas we have a “family day” where we do something, and/or go somewhere to spend some time together. This year we decided to go to Liverpool the day before Christmas Eve. We were lucky. It was a beautiful winter’s day. Blue sky and sunshine. A relief from the seemingly endless days of rain we’d had for several weeks – and, as it turned out, from the days that followed.

First stop was St John’s tower. It was a great day for looking over the rooftops and taking in a panorama of the city and the outskirts.

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On a good clear day we could see out to sea and as far as the Welsh mountains. And the ferry crossing the Mersey

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Afterwards up Mount Pleasant, stopping off for a coffee on route, towards the Philharmonic Hall for a lunchtime concert. Merry Brassmas featured five members of the Liverpool Philharmonic brass section playing arrangements of Christmas songs for a brass quintet interspersed with some readings and with audience participation, singing carols.

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An enjoyable hour’s entertainment, and I was now beginning to feel “Christmassy”.

Then we walked down towards Albert Dock

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to the Maritime Museum.

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After that a walk along the old docks towards the Pier Head

 

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for a quick visit to the Museum of Liverpool Life

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The views from both ends of the building

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As we left the museum, night was beginning to descend.

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After a wander around the Liverpool One and Church Street (window shopping only) we went for a meal at Jamie’s

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Then it was time to make our way back towards the Anglican cathedral where we’d parked the car, passing the Chinese Arch

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Merry Christmas Manchester

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I took the day off on Monday. We had tickets for the Kate Rusby Christmas concert at the Bridgewater Hall so, having had a hectic couple of weeks at work, I took the opportunity to spend some time mooching round Manchester.

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We spent some time looking round the Christmas market which, there days, has taken over the city centre. We didn’t buy much, but it was fun looking around, especially when it went dark and the lights came on. At this time of the year, especially on a gloomy day like Monday, that was quite early!

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Dunham Massey – a walk in the park and gardens

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It had been nice all week while I’d been working away. Sunday afternoon looked promising so we decided to make the most of a fine autumn afternoon before the weather turned, so dove over to Dunham Massey to take a walk round the park and gardens.

Despite being late in the year, the gardens were still very colourful, with autumn hues breaking out and some plants still in bloom.

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We had an enjoyable walk around the grounds.

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There were plenty of deer to be seen.

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and some recent wood carvings

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Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth

During our recent visit to Chatsworth we bought a combined House and Garden ticket for although our main motivation for visiting was to see the Beyond Limits exhibition in he gardens, we also wanted to have another look around the house to revisit the collection of Modern Art on display. We’d also read that there was an exhibition of contemporary seating taking place. Initially I wasn’t sure it would be of much interest, but, as it happened, I was wrong!

The Chatsworth website told us that:

Make Yourself Comfortable at Chatsworth will see items from the private collection of the Duke and Duchess showcased alongside furniture by internationally acclaimed and innovative designers – from Thomas Heatherwick and Amanda Levete, to Marc Newson, Tokujin Yoshioka, Piet Hein Eek and Moritz Waldemeyer. The exhibition will also showcase thought-provoking, specially commissioned pieces, including Raw Edges’ End Grain seating which will become part of the Sculpture Gallery, and Synthesis IV by emerging designer Tom Price which will be on display in the Chapel.

Chairs and other types of seating were positioned around the house and visitors were allowed to take advantage of them, try them out and rest their legs for a while.

Some of the chairs were very comfortable

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Others less so!

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These were the first we saw. Designed to spin around so you could view the painted ceiling in the entrance hall (if you didn’t lose you balance and fall off!)

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These were chairs designed for readers (I think Milady would like these)

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A bench made of coal

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and one of resin infused with bitumen

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both reflecting the Dukes of Devonshire’s association with the mineral extraction industries.

Some others we saw

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Towards the end of the tour of the house, in the dining room, around the large dining table there were chairs designed by students from Sheffield

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Finally, in the sculpture hall a very interesting collection specially created for the exhibition

(an) indoor landscape created by Raw Edges in the Sculpture Gallery, where benches and stools emerge like tree trunks from the coloured grid-like floor and offer new perspectives of the sculptures.

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Castlefield Canals

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Having spent a few days wandering along the canals in Amsterdam, last Saturday we decided to take a few hours to explore the tow paths a little nearer to home, in Castlefield in the centre of Manchester.

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Castlefield is the place where Manchester originated as it was here that the Romans established their fort and settlement of Mancunium. In 1765, the Bridgewater Canal, the first of the canals built during England’s Industrial Revolution was opened at Castlefield, creating a level link by water between the Duke of Bridgewater’s coal mines at Worsley and the centre of Manchester. At Castlefield Junction the canal linked into a stretch of the River Medlock that had been incorporated into the canal and used as the basin for the canal wharves. The Rochdale canal was connected to the Bridgewater canal here in 1805.

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The first passenger railway between Liverpool and Manchester was opened in 1830 and terminated nearby in Liverpool Road. Later a number of other lines were built which crossed the canals in Castlefield on a series of bridges.

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As the canals fell out of use and the warehouses closed the area became derelict, but in recent years renovation of some of the old buildings and redevelopment with construction of flats and offices has regenerated the area.

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It’s quiet and peaceful walking along the quays and tow paths, looking at the boats and other people enjoying walking by the water. It was hard to believe that we were in the centre of Manchester, only a few hundred metres away from the hustle and bustle on Deansgate – and the Beetham tower was visible from many parts of the area.

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This drawbridge over the canal near the quay reminded me of those in Amsterdam

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Kendal

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We went up to Kendal on Saturday to take another look at the current exhibitions at Abbot Hall. It was a fine winter’s day so we had a stroll up to the castle and round the town centre. Here’s a few photographs I took.