Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mr Hardman, Mr Gormley, Spooner and Me in Liverpool

Spooner and I are just back from Liverpool, where we had a fab time. Before I write about the great stuff we saw, I have to fill you in on my mishaps. I did something I never, ever do. And then, not an hour later, I did it again. I lost stuff. First, as we were walking from the train station to our hotel, I took the pocket map out of my bag, checked it, and then put it in my back pocket. Two blocks later, when I went to check it again, it was gone. We backtracked and looked for it, to no avail. Not the end of the world, though. We went to the tourist info center and got another (not as nice as the one that I'd ordered from amazon.co.uk, but perfectly fine). I then folded up the spreadsheet of our Liverpool plans and put it in my back pocket. A half hour later when I went to consult it, I found that it, too, was gone. I put this down to wearing something other than my trusty, though not particularly stylish, cargo pants with button closures on the pocket flaps. I've never lost a map, spreadsheet, Oyster card, sunglasses, or anything I've put in my cargo pockets. Spooner says it's down to my age. From now on, screw wearing the nice pants. It's back to the cargo pants where my stuff will be secure.

Our first stop was a tour -- a very long tour -- of the house and photography studio of Mr Edward C. Hardman, a professional portrait photographer who lived and worked in a Georgian house (c. 1780) in Rodney Street. The house is just as it was when Mr Hardman died in 1988, and it hadn't been changed a hair since he and his wife Margaret, who ran the business and was an accomplished photographer in her own right, moved in around 1948 or so. And they never threw anything out, so the house is a real time capsule with clothing, dishes, furniture and even canned goods dating from the 1950s and '60s. It was quite enjoyable to listen to the knowledgeable guides and to peer into the Hardmans' lives and work, but the best was the room with the photos that Mr Hardman took as his avocation -- scenes of pre- and post-war Liverpool, its buildings and its people. (Note to self: do some serious decluttering when back home in Northampton so as not to leave 100 bars of soap or 40-year-old tins of tomatoes when I die.)

On the way to and from Rodney Street, we walked up and down the Ropewalks, which are very old streets dating from when the area was full of warehouses and merchants serving the shipping industry of the 18th and 19th century. Rope was literally "walked" down various streets, the length of which determined where the rope would be cut for the various sailing ships. The cobbles are uneven, the streets are narrow, and many of the warehouses are now derelict.

Monday's adventures saw us at the Albert Dock, the Pier Head, and up the hill to the Walker Art Museum. The Liverpool Biennial is currently going on all over the city, with contemporary art showcased in the museums including the Walker and the Tate, in galleries and the streets.

Spooner and I finished Monday with a train ride (20 minutes or so) north of the city to the
Blundellsands and Crosby station and then a short walk to Crosby Beach to see some of the 100 or so cast sculptures of/by Antony Gormley that are standing on the beach and in the water. The installation, called Another Place, was totally lovely to see at sunset, while taking photos of the sculptures and getting muck all over our feet. We both took off our shoes and socks and went into the low water, but I quickly returned to drier sand while Spooner walked quite a ways out into low tide to snap the sculptures. Lots of people were walking up and down the beach, some with cameras, others with kids or dogs. After the sun sank into the Mersey, as we walked back to the footpath and tried to clean off our mucky feet, we passed a man about our age who took one look at us and chuckled, "You're too old for that sort of thing." Yes, we might be, but we were glad that we could still act young(er) and stupid every so often.

Today (Tuesday) was all about the Biennial, including the Tate Liverpool, a stop at FACT, and a really quick look at some of what was on at the Biennial HQ. Then it was back to Lime Street Station for the 14:48 train to London.

Sunday stats: 16,009 steps (6.56 miles)

Monday stats: 22,208 steps (9.11 miles)

Tuesday stats: 11,538 steps (4.73 miles)

  • £22 for train to/from Liverpool
  • £77 for my share of hotel
  • £6.30 Sunday dinner at pub
  • £7.50 Liverpool tat for pals and myself
  • £5.50 lunch on Monday
  • £3.20 Blundellsands return ticket
  • £7 food and wine for Monday dinner
  • £3.50 snacks


  1. Yikes-losing stuff is always scary. No more stuff in the rear pants pockets.

  2. FABULOUS photo!!!