around liverpool

Liverpool Cityscape 003
Liverpool Skyline from Albert Dock

Yesterday was a really good day. I woke up with the church bells chiming, the birds singing (honestly it sounded like a darn Disney movie outside - ha!). I went out for some breakfast, came back and prepared for a trip to the library. Even though the forecast called for rain it was sunny out and a bit warm 52F (funny how that used to be cold to me). As I started out I spotted my friend the song or mistle thrush and thought I should really have my camera on me. Quick trip back to the flat grabbed camera and thus started my photographic journey around Liverpool.

Victoria Building 002First stop, the Victoria Building on campus, all the scaffolding has been removed and her red bricks are clean and shining, built in 1892 she is responsible for the coined term, 'red-brick university'. The inside is also being renovated and will be open to the public in June or July of this year. Just next door is a nice white building with moulding but most impressively on top lounge two sphinxes, the Scouse Sphinxes facing one another. There are actually 4 Scouse Sphinxes the other two lounge atop the archway leading through to the archaeology building. I remember when I first moved here I looked everywhere for those suckers. A profile of one of them was featured in my welcome package and there was a bit of greenery just behind its shoulder so I assumed they were at ground level, you know like lions in front of a library. Imagine my surprise when one day I happened to look up! The greenery was just a bit of vine that had started to grow on his back.

On to the library where I picked up some great reads :
: The Diary of a Nobody . George & Weedon Grossmith - I've been looking for this book, it just happened to be lying face up on a shelf completely in the wrong place but seems I got lucky because the stamped dates in the front show its been checked out over and over during the past few months. Finished it last night - it's hilarious!
: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan . Lisa See
: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie . Muriel Spark
: Madame Bovary . Gustave Flaubert
: She . H. Rider Haggard - now this sounds really good - ancient scrolls, lost civilization, a tyrannical female ruler waiting for the true descendent of her dead lover plus it's on THE LIST!

Liverpool Building 001Before moving on I climbed the steps of the World Museum to take some shots of the cityscape. From here this is where I left my 'comfort zone' and turned down Dale Street, a street I've never walked down before. And boy was I glad I did, fabulous architecture! Wow! The picture to the left is of the Royal Insurance Building and it is magnificent. It was hard to get shots of the fronts of buildings because they're so tall and the street wasn't very wide. As I was taking photos of the Royal Insurance Building (a google search solved the mystery of its name) a Liverpudlian stopped and asked "It's amazing isn't it?" and then he advised me to turn left on Castle Street to seem more beautiful architecture. I think some Liverpudlians really are proud that their city was awarded the European Capital of Culture this year.

Liverpool Town Hall 003At the mouth of Castle Street lies Liverpool's Town Hall (pictured left). Another building hard to capture all in one shot, since it would be rather unsafe to stand in the middle of the street. This is one of the reasons why I love living here because there's real architecture, old architecture, Phoenix is just too new to have anything like this. On the corner of Dale and Castle Street was a Starbucks! I felt like treating myself to a nice iced chai tea latte among all these Victorian buildings and reading a Victorian novel, The Diary of a Nobody.

Royal Liver Building 001I must admit I didn't get all the way down Castle Street as a view of the Royal Liver (pronounced lie-ver) Building to the west distracted me and I headed down a side street to make my way towards it. I've only ever seen this building from Albert Dock (as pictured above). The building consists of two clock towers that can be seen from passing ships in the Mersey, the clock faces are larger than those of Big Ben in London. The two Liver Birds (mythical in nature, what started out as an eagle type bird in 1350 morphed into a type of cormorant with a sprig of seaweed in its mouth by 1797) sit atop the clock towers, one looking inland to watch over the city, the other to sea to protect passing sailors. A joke states that the bird looking inland is male and is making sure the pubs are open while the bird looking out to sea is female watching all the handsome sailors. Legend has it that if one of the birds were to fly away Liverpool would cease to exist, thus they have been chained to their domes to insure that they stay put.

St. James Cemetery 021I walked around Albert Docks and then worked my way towards the Liverpool Cathedral. At this point it started to get a bit overcast and I was a bit nervous about going into St. James Cemetery by myself. Not that I'm afraid of the dead, it's the living that had me worried. It's a nice park-like atmosphere and a lot of people walk through but a lot of hoodlums hang out here too and I've heard stories. Luckily after a small hail storm lasting a couple of minutes the sun emerged and the there were a few people walking their dogs and talking. In fact one old man talking to a younger couple turned to me and said, "Why hello there dear, aren't you pretty?" Now if we were the only two people in the park I think I would have ran but he seemed genuine and soon after passing he was commenting on someone's handsome Bull Terrier. But most of the time I was or seemed to be the only one in the entire cemetery.

St. James Cemetery 022I love St. James Cemetery. When I lived here before I used to come often but believe it or not after being here 6 months this was my first visit! The variety of gravestones and memorials is really neat and I love reading them and just being amazed by some of the dates and how old they are. There are quite a few gravestones belonging to children, one has an epitaph that I always find really touching, She is not dead, she sleepeth. I love how everything is green and mossy, there were beautiful purple hyacinth blooming here and there, they were so fragrant. It's really a peaceful place and the Liverpool Cathedral is one of my favorite buildings in all of Europe. I know there are much more amazing cathedrals out there (Notre Dame, Sagrada Familia, etc) but the Liverpool Cathedral just has real presence on its hill. Plus coming to Liverpool in 2004 was my first time ever in Europe (first time on a plane actually) and so it was really the first big architecturally beautiful building I saw.

Just before heading home I backtracked a bit down to St. Luke's Church otherwise known as the 'bombed out church'. It is nothing more than an empty shell left standing after the Blitz of 1941. There used to be trees growing inside the church that peaked through the windows (at least I think they were trees they would have to be pretty tall to be seen from the windows) but now they're gone. It's still a very nice place to visit. My journey ended down Rodney Street to say hello to good ol' William MacKenzie sitting in his pyramid (sorry for the lame excuse of a short story yesterday - ha!) then it was home again home again jiggity-jig.

I took 100+ photos and have posted quite a few of them on my flickr page, just click on 'photos' in the top navigation bar and then click on the Liverpool album to view them. I really need to get a Pro account, the free account only allows you to have 200 photos visible and so now some of my Egypt photos are MIA. I wonder how many miles I walked... all I know is that I was gone for more than 3 hours! I really must do that more often, maybe drag some other people around with me. I'd like to make it out to Strawberry Fields again and just see as much of Liverpool as I can.

Sorry about the lack of reviews lately, I seem to be reading faster than I can write them up. Plus sometimes it feels like a chore and I don't like doing things that feel like homework. I will get around to them eventually but I think I'll stop promising to do so many by such and such time. I just really needed to get outside this weekend, I've been cooped up for too long. Now that we've sprung forward the sun sets just before 8 pm so there's a lot more daylight to get stuff done. I remember that in the summers it will be 11 pm and you can still just see a bit of sunlight on the horizon. It's going to get up to 59F/15C on Friday! Yippee!

. listening . send it up . vertical horizon . everything you want .

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posted by Ashleigh @ 12:26,


At 1 April 2008 at 04:30, Blogger Danielle said...

I've never really thought of visiting Liverpool before, but it looks like it is a lovely city actually. I love European cities and all those old buildings. The architecture is generally so much more pleasing than a lot of stuff over here. Our old section of Omaha used to have some gorgeous old buildings, but they wiped them out in the early 90s to make way for the ConAgra 'campus', which is just a lot of low, unattractive buildings. Blah. And what I love about Europe and hate about American cities are the strip malls and total lack of any thought here for pedestrians. European cities are many times so well planned and not just for automobiles! Of course I'm generalizing and I know there are lots of great American cities, too, but well, maybe not where I live. :)
I love The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie--I've read it twice and the movie is also very good! I really liked the Lisa See book, too, and have her new one ready to read (eventually). As for reviews--I know what you mean by they sometimes feel like work. Sometimes I just talk about them in passing and never really write anything proper about them. Of course if I really liked something I could go on and on about it. It seems like I get far fewer comments on review posts than when I just jabber on about new books or things I bought. I suppose there is more there to appeal to more people?! Sorry--that was on the long side...


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random field notes

    ashleigh (ash'lė) n.
    1: egyptologist; currently living in the uk attempting to obtain a phd in egyptology, hoping in the end there will be a job.
    2: literary; reading to escape reality, to improve conversation, for inspiration.
    3: crafter; crocheting and needlework, creating heirlooms, keeping the world warm.
    4: dreamer; head in the clouds, full of fantasies, wishing to be someone else, somewhere else.
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:: reading ::
: Ivanhoe . Walter Scott
: Schindler's Ark . Thomas Keneally
: The Amber Spyglass . Philip Pullman
: The Red Queen . Margaret Drabble
: Un Lun Dun . China Miéville
: A Handful of Dust . Evelyn Waugh
: Adjunct: An Undigest . Peter Manson
: A Kestral for a Knave . Barry Hines

:: recently finished ::
: Falling Man . Don DeLillo
: Written on the Body . Jeanette Winterson
: The Bell Jar . Sylvia Plath
: No One Writes to the Colonel . Gabriel García Márquez
: The Subtle Knife . Philip Pullman

:: book rating ::
5 : True Love
4 : Like
3 : Good
2 : Ok
1 : Why did I read this?

:: challenges ::
: 1% Well Read
: 888 Challenge
: Chunkster Challenge
: Decades Challenge 2008
: Novella Challenge
: Once Upon A Time II
: The Parisian Underworld
: The Pub

:: creating ::
: sadly nothing at the moment

:: recent posts ::
: do you want to play?
: bookish notes
: charmed
: cold comfort farm
: water for elephants
: books and statues
: more jeeves
: thank you, jeeves
: slaughterhouse-five
: the novella challenge

:: labels ::
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: liverpool
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:: archives ::
: 2008
01 :: 02 :: 03 :: 04 :: 05 :: 06

:: blogroll ::

:: bookish
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: a high and hidden place
: a striped armchair
: a work in progress
: bookie
: books please
: eloise by the book pile
: estella's revenge
: eve's alexandria
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:: crafty
: cosmicpluto knits
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: how about orange
: inside a black apple
: ma petite théière
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: not martha
: posie gets cosy
: ranger sarah
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:: special
: idyll thoughts