Thursday, 31 May 2012

who needs Lego

My first ever go at building anything is a distant memory at the house of a 'boy', as girls just didn't get to have brill sets like Bayko back in the day!

And I finally got to see this stuff of legends at the Museum of Liverpool the other week with their Empire State Building - too big to photo in one go.

Memories of thin metal rods swaying on green bases until you managed to slide in a few wall bricks and windows!  Then the realisation you forgot the door and had to unthread loads of bits of wall . . .

can only assume this Leo guy also got his brick order wrong at some stage in that long four years!  And I see by a quick google that there are Bayko fan clubs galore and even a Baykoman - but lets not go there . . .

Monday, 28 May 2012

stone walls and the grass is green

with huge apologies to the wonderful Saw Doctors (for the title that is) but just sprang into my mind as I realised I'd not mentioned our stone wall spotting of late

in Mull - a perfect example of the traditional Highland dry stone wall - a jumble of huge boulders in a single layer that you can see through (lovely late at night)

 and in Carreg - a true example of the intricate Llyn walls with the grassy infill

spottings inspired by our trip last month to the National Stone Centre and it's amazing Millenium Wall - read here for more about:

Highland walls


Llyn walls

and if you want to catch up with the song, it's N17 by the Saw Doctors and here's some great early footage

Friday, 25 May 2012

watchin' the river flow

So, start off by playing this wonderful lazy ballard of Bob's, with a bit of a Sheffield twist from Joe Cocker, and imagine us lunching at the top of the Panoramic watching boats and ferries tooing and froing across the Mersey millions of miles below

or for the purists, I found this wonderful clip of Dylan himself in 2005 (thanks to Steven Pate) - just click here

followed by a sunny afternoon on the Pier Head at the new Museum of Liverpool . .

short-cutting through the churchyard of the wonderful St Nick's where great grandpa Waugh played the organ

and where Jane spotted a rival Liver bird lurking in the trees

past the mighty Liver Building

the wobbly three graces - sorry for the jaunty angle!!

and the Custom House reflected in the new Museum of Liverpool

and, inside, the wonderful old carriage from Docker's Umbrella and memories for Mum

and here's a clip of it in it's heyday

and an unexpected poetry treat in the museum, courtesy of Roger McGough

then it was goodbye river and lamb-bananas

and the most exotic ventilation shaft ever - for the Birkenhead tunnel

great statue outside the ferry terminal

and another at our 'leaving of Liverpool' at LIme Street station

another brill day in my Liddypool home . . .

and I'll leave you with the songs:

The Leaving of LIverpool - The Dubliners


In my Liverpool Home and Liverpool Lou

Thursday, 24 May 2012

red carpets and palm trees

At the wonderful Palm House in Liverpool's Sefton Park the other weekend for a stupendous family 'do'.

my first entrance on a red carpet

and so spectacular inside

and you're wondering when all the people will arrive . . .

for the most amazing party ever

with speeches for the birthday girl

 great dance moves from Norman Killon, former DJ at the legendary Erics

 and incredible music from The Christians

A magical night and this is how it looked as we wended our way home

Friday, 18 May 2012

all things must pass

SATURDAY AGAIN - and six sadly depart

last view from the front door

bags packed

goodbyes to Gillian

ferries caught

lunch at the George at Inverary

then a blast down the M6 and home

and that - oh my best beloveds (with apologies to Rudyard Kipling) was that.

Happiest memories of the best of times

Thank you everyone - sensational sixers one and all

And if you want a re-read then click here: 2012 adventure on Mull all over again

(and as a postscript to this, I must add that we went back again in 2013, the same merry crew - and here's our 2013 Mull adventure - enjoy!!)

Long John Silver eat your heart out

FRIDAY - Six find treasure

What a WONDERFUL finale today turned out to be.

Last breakfast round the huge table, all so sad to be at the end of this amazing week and wondering how to spend this final day of sunshine.

Then Gillian suddenly dropped in the golden ticket suggestion - we might like Erraid.  An island on the tip of the Ross of Mull accessible over the sands at low tide.  We could park in her mate John's field and very few people go there . . . . .

So, it was over to the Fionnphort ferry cafe for more butties from Teresa then off along the single track road over beautiful open moorland with the Sound of Iona blue on one side and hills gently rolling on the other.  Past the sandy inlet where we'd seen the mountain hares with Bryan and onward and upward to the end of the farm track at Fidden.

Then it was just a hop, skip and a jump (for joy) onto the most amazing incredible fantastic beach ever!

lunar patterns in the sand 

And is if that wasn't enough, it turned out the whole island was ours for the day.

Didn't see another living soul.

Wondered far and wide across the granite strewn landscape with absolutely no footpaths.  Huge erratically dumped white boulders, steep drops high above rocky bays, incredible views across the deeper blues of the Atlantic and white beaches below bordered with basalt columns.

Sang at the top of our voices as we marched along - got lost loads, squelched in peaty bogs, scrunched through heather, clambered up rocks and got blown to bits by gusty sea breezes.

Even found ancient hut circles.

And all around the horizon loads of little islands dotted out to America.  Absolute bliss

 After a couple of hours we headed back to the bay we'd arrived at but it took some finding

and found this incredible rocky cove on the virgin sand to have our picnic.

Paradise . . . that was until the tide came in around us and we had to up-butties and hop to safety

past the amazing shipwreck

And that was when we spied the gigantic burrows . . .

Here is Miss Marple investigating

and footprints too

and then, walking back up to the farm, our first sign that humans had ventured here before us 

or was he the guy from the giant burrow . . . he retained his right to remain silent so we shall never know - but he was cute!  The jury is currently still out on the footprints, but we're voting for either otters or mountain hare.  Votes in the comments box at the bottom please.

We joked as we drove back that we'd found our own Treasure Island - a Robert Louis Stevenson / Enid Blyton / Famous Five / Secret Seven sort of a day.

but wait to hear this . . . .

Later, back at Ardness House, it was a quick google to bring up the amazing discovery that it really was Treasure Island!!!!!  Robert Louis Stevenson's father was a lighthouse builder and he was building the Dubh Artach lighthouse off Erraid between 1867 and 1872 when our Robert was just a young lad.  So of course, Robert spent visits with his family on Erraid, loving the landscape and the huge granite rocks and wandering around the island fervently wishing he could be a writer and not a builder of lighthouses, so the story goes.

He subsequently used Erraid as a backdrop to part of his novel Kidnapped, where the hero, David Balfour is shipwrecked on the Torran Rocks and washed ashore and in Treasure Island, Jack Hawkin's chart bears a resemblance to Erraid. 

So basically, when he wrote Treasure Island and Kidnapped he based chunks of them in Erraid.  Isn't that just incredible.

I'm probably boring you rigid with this - cos I kept on reading I was so amazed.  But to keep it short I'll just put in some webpages you can click and read if you feel the urge:

more about Erraid  more about Treasure Island - - - and even more

and if you really want a detailed piece of research on the history or Erraid, try here.

And Andrew Motion has just published his sequel to Treasure Island (read reveiw here
So that was our most wonderful final day on Mull and, for our last supper, more amazing fresh mussels, copious wine, lots of laughs and final hugs from Gillian, who was off to the market at 5am the next morning selling calves in Oban.

There'll be a final report on our journey home tomorrow if you have the energy to read more then click here

oh and yes, as Colombo would say, just one more thing . . .

this is going to sound so soft and corny - but we did find real treasure.  It was in each other's wonderful company and friendship in one amazing week in May.