Today in the Wirral should have been a lighter day, but it turned out to be a packed affair after all. We started by retracing yesterday’s route to Birkenhead. We only looked at what we thought was the centre – Hamilton Square. While it was an attractive place it was totally devoid of human life – you could have shot a cannon ball down the streets surrounding the square.
We passed through Wallasey on the way to New Brighton, both of which we had seen from yesterday’s ferry cruise. NB was built as, and still is, a tourist destination with plenty of entertainment options along the riverfront.
After a walk around the harbour, we soon moved on because it was not that appealing to us. We followed the coast in a westerly direction, through Hoylake and West Kirby. WK was a very attractive place with a “lake”. When we reached it we could see what appeared to be people walking on water. The “lake” is formed by a long low seawall that people can stroll along when the tide is favourable. This is in the River Dee estuary. We learned yesterday that Liverpool can experience 30 ft tides in spring.
We stopped in Heswall to get a feel for Andy’s home town – it seemed very pleasant. We enjoyed our favourite Costa flat white coffee sitting under a large beech tree outside.
What Joan had been most keen to see however, was Port Sunlight, a model village created by William Hesketh Lever, later first Viscount Leverhulme, in 1889 for his workers at the nearby Sunlight Soap factory. He and his wife spent much of their fortune acquiring art works which they displayed for the benefit of the workers in a purpose-built museum in the village. We spent a most enjoyable time perusing some of the 20,000 pieces they collected. The village featured attractive houses along wide streets.
Back in Chester, we mounted an assault on the city wall dating from the Roman era, walking along about a quarter of it. The bridge with the clock we had seen yesterday actually sits atop the wall and this location affords a splendid view of the main street with its beautiful houses.
We visited the cathedral, which like its Liverpool cousin was built of the local reddish stone, probably a form of sandstone. While it had many colourful Victorian windows, they were a little too religiously-themed for my taste.
At the southern end of town was the actual River Dee, whereas what passes by our Mill Hotel is but a small canal. We watched the seagulls drifting onto the weir and then flying off, and rowers placing their shells in the water and stroking off upstream.
Here we had to repair to a local pub adjacent to the wall in a building dating from medieval times for a refreshing ale – the Bear and Billet. I was tempted by the special offer of 3 x 1/3 (pint) tasting palette of real ales. I found that I enjoyed the bitter the most. The attire of the male patrons in the pub confirmed our previous observation that every male between 8 and 80 almost exclusively favours blue jeans. We also observed that these do not look good on most blokes over the age of 40.
A weather observation: it had been mostly sunny all day, but after our visit to Chester cathedral, the sun disappeared. However, after our visit to the pub the sun re-appeared. Is there a message there?