Day 29 26-05-2014 Mon Chester

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.

IMG_4675 IMG_4678 IMG_4680 IMG_4683 IMG_4686 IMG_4687 IMG_4690We 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.

IMG_4693 IMG_4697 IMG_4698 IMG_4699 IMG_4700After 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.

IMG_4704_crNext stop was at Thurstaston Common, a hill with a sweeping view over the Dee.

Thurstan Common pano

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.

IMG_4714 IMG_4715 IMG_4716 IMG_4717What 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.

IMG_4719 IMG_4722 IMG_4723 IMG_4724 IMG_4860IMG_0619 IMG_0620_cr IMG_0621 IMG_0622 IMG_0623_cr IMG_0627IMG_4725 IMG_4726 IMG_4729 IMG_4730_cr IMG_4732_cr IMG_4734_cr IMG_4744IMG_4746 IMG_4747 IMG_4751 IMG_4753 IMG_4755 IMG_4759 IMG_4760IMG_4762 IMG_4764 IMG_4768 IMG_4770 IMG_4771 IMG_4774 IMG_4776IMG_4779 IMG_4781 IMG_4786 IMG_4787 IMG_4794 IMG_4795 IMG_4799IMG_4808 IMG_4809 IMG_4810 IMG_4811 IMG_4830 IMG_4832 IMG_4838Back 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.

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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.

IMG_0636 IMG_0642 IMG_0652 IMG_4878 IMG_4883 IMG_4884IMG_4886 IMG_4887 IMG_4890 IMG_4891 IMG_4892 IMG_4898 IMG_4904IMG_4905 IMG_4909 IMG_4915 IMG_4924 IMG_4926 IMG_4932 IMG_4933 IMG_4935 IMG_4944At 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.

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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.

IMG_4980  On the way back we passed through the delightful Grosvenor Park with profuse rhododendron blooms.

IMG_4999 IMG_5002 IMG_5011 IMG_5016Near the hotel we were lucky to discover a Thai restaurant, where we had an enjoyable meal over a nice bottle of Chilean Sauvignon Blanc. We were somewhat perturbed by one of its ingredients though.

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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?

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