2.11.06

Up North again


Up North again, originally uploaded by fred pipes.

If it's Thursday, it must be Tahiti. Well, it would have been if the John Otway world tour had gone ahead. So, I'm back in chilly Brighton after my world tour of the North West, home of interesting pies and superior (and cheap) beer. The first gig, at Liverpool's Cavern did go ahead, tho I had to leave while Glenn Tilbrook (of Squeeze) was doing a mini-set, as I was being put up by friends in Crosby, in the house once lived in by Captain Smith, commander of the Titanic.

'Trudging slowly over wet sand' I sang as I approached the sand dunes and beach at Waterloo, between two lakes of wild birds, to cop the Antony Gormley installation 'Another place' last Friday. Not exactly Angel of the North, but impressive none the less, tho the locals have started dressing the more accessible ones. Then it was onto the train for the Liverpool experience, first a trip on the Ferry across the Mersey (excellent value at less than a fiver for an hour's cruise) in the freezing rain, then for a swift pint of Bowland's Vertigo in the White Star on the edge of the 'Cavern Quarter' (I'd had a pint of Bombardier the previous night in the splendid Volunteer Canteen in Waterloo, a great old geezer's pub), before embarking on the Magical Mystery Tour (again a great value two-hour Beatles-related coach trip around south Liverpool). A swift drink in the FACT cafe, where an Oxjam and some Biennial events were going on, then down to the hotter than hell Cavern 2 for Otway.

Saturday, I was going to explore the Wirral where Grandad was born, but the left luggage at Lime Street was £5.50 and my feet were killing me so I headed to Bolton, via Manchester (the train was a bit crowded - never travel on a match day!). Sunday, I discovered it was a steam event at the East Lancs Railway, with seven locos advertised, including Princess Elizabeth. She wasn't, as it turned out, but 71000 Duke of Gloucester was. Wow, I didn't see much of her (him?) but what a beauty, with the most sublime sound at rest, like someone blowing across the top of a stoneware sarsaparilla jug. I'm not really into tanks, but 80135 (made in Brighton) was also quite good looking in BR green and quite a monster with its backwards pacific wheel arrangement. Also in steam were the lovely jub 5690 Leander, mickey 45157 The Glasgow Highlander, jinty 47324 and class 4 oldie 44422. And the weather was perfect! Had a pint of Gunpowder mild at The Good Samaritan in Ramsbottom, and a tub of hot black peas from the kiosk by the station. Monday, I had a wander round Bury charity shops and Tuesday headed off to New Mills, where I had a quick tour round the spectacular Torrs Millennium Walkway over the energetic River Goyt. Home yesterday was by a long circuitous route (via Barnham) because of a fatality at Haywards Heath.

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