Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Croxteth Park

Or Croxteth Hall and Country Park as it is actually called.

I used to love Croxteth Park as a kid. I grew up a 10 minute drive away, went to school nearby and had friends and relatives that lived nearby. I spent a lot of time there as a kid, playing and walking the dog, and loved the history behind it. I didn't know much of the history behind it but I could see there was history there and was fascinated by the idea of it. 

I remember writing a letter to a Russian penpal for school and going on and on about Croxteth Park and how interesting it was (along with how I loved James Bond films and Bryan Adams...nope, I don't know what I was thinking either). This letter was then read out to the class as an example of how a letter should be...much sniggering ensued. It says something that I remember being laughed at for liking Bryan Adams and James Bond more than I remember actually liking Bryan Adams and James Bond. 

We didn't have any money and the park was a free place to go. (Sometimes they would have events on that they charged admission for and we couldn't gain access to the park without paying. On those occasions we were encouraged by my dad to go through the bushes and climb over the fence, though I don't remember ever actually doing it.)

One of the reasons for my amazement with the place may be that it is completely at odds with what's going on in the streets just outside its gates (which sometimes also crosses over into the park too). Y'know gangs, drugs, guns...(Rhys Jones was shot on the estate that used to be part of the park's grounds) and of course normal families just going about their day to day business.

As I've grown up and learned more about the world beyond that which my family introduced me to (which was not much as it turns out), and thanks to the internet, I've learnt more about the history of the park, the hall and its residents. I don't remember the details clearly enough and I'm sure someone will come along and tell me off for getting it wrong so I'll refer you elsewhere for the historical info.

What I do remember was that the Hall was the home of the Molyneux family, the Earls of Sefton. I was thinking there must be a story behind their name, as it doesn't sound English. I found out by accident they are actually Norman French. The last Earl was married to an American lady but when he died, there were no heirs so, despite the American lady hanging on a while, the hall and the grounds were passed to Liverpool City Council (or the Corpy as they were known then) in the 1970s, which actually seems quite recent for an aristocratic home. I wonder what happened to the nice American lady...

Anyway, on Boxing Day I revisited the park for the first time in years and years for a run interspersed with a lot of walking around the park with my mum and dad's dog while I was home for Christmas.

Bess, the German Shepherd who won't sit still for a photo and is quite a handful when trying to run with her on the lead.

Here it is, Croxteth Hall. Look at the grandeur of it.

The Hall, as I understand it, is partly derelict. I look through the windows and try to see what's going in those rooms. Some windows have shutters on the inside. Through some you can see bare brickwork inside, through some you can see bits of discarded office furniture etc, some are totally blocked off. You can look around the non derelict parts of the hall and I believe it looks very nice - though I have never been in! I presume we never went in as kids as you had to pay for it but as an adult, the £3.50 entrance fee seems extremely reasonable so I will save that for a treat one day.

This picture is someone else's (Liverpool Picture Book). But look at all those people. That is the Hall in its heyday, 1919. Not that long ago really. I got lost in a vortex of Liverpool history when looking for this photo.

This neglected door is below that grand staircase seen above. When I was a kid, this was the entrance to the toilets which were in the rooms with the round windows in the above photos. As it is now, I found myself examining the floor for discarded needles and other unsavoury things as I approached this neglected corner. 

I think this is the service entrance, it leads to a courtyard. I think this is one of the later added wings. As a kid, I used to imagine this was the servants entrance. I suppose it must have been.

Writing this blog I am getting quite annoyed with myself for how little I actually know about this place that I 'love' and am 'fascinated by'.

West/East/South/North wing...another side of this great building. I didn't have a compass on me.

Each side of this building has extremely nice doors.

This helpful plaque is at the West Derby Village entrance to the park. West Derby Village has its own interesting history that I only know bits about. Just round the corner there are stocks, as noted on here!

I should add that Croxteth Park isn't just about the Hall. I've spent a lot of time talking about somewhere I haven't actually been inside. I have, however, spent lots of time in the park itself which is full of history. The hall is surrounded by neat grassed areas, duck ponds, a meandering river, woods, farmland with horses and cattle, a working farm, a walled garden and likely more I haven't discovered. The woods have outbuildings that likely have their own stories, used for cold food stores, hunting, gardening etc.

It's such a great place that I need to spend more time exploring through an adult's eyes.

P.S. If you're reading around Christmas 2016, look out for Croxteth Hall interiors and exteriors on telly in The Witness for the Prosecution!

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Mablethorpe - September 2016

We had a great weekend in a Mablethorpe caravan park in September. Our first stay in a caravan park, at least together and as adults.

I'm only just posting about it as it was ruined the very evening we got home by something happening that made me go on a massive anxiety bender for weeks. It was a bad 'un.

Mablethorpe beach was stunning. It was a shock to find such a gorgeous beach on the east coast of England - not least in a seaside resort like Mablethorpe, which I presumed must be as dirty and grim as I think Blackpool is. How wrong was I?

Special finds.

First full day, and this is what we were greeted with.

We went to Skegness. It wasn't as bad as I expected, even in the pouring down rain.

Lots of nice wildlife in our caravan park. Rabbits running around and everything.

The sun emerged for the following day on Mablethorpe beach.

It really is a glorious beach.

I took a walk around the caravan park as the map promised lots of nice lakes and interesting things. The best thing I found was a load of these very particular speed limit signs.

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Friday, 28 October 2016

Better safe than sorry

I am a rational person. A sceptic. Somebody who doesn't believe in destiny and doesn't believe that our fate is mapped out for us. Someone that believes in facts and evidence.

Despite this, my anxiety makes me irrational and it makes me superstitious.

I know as an intelligent, rational person that it makes no difference which route I take home from work, which knife and fork I use, whether I put paperwork away, whether I make any change such as wearing a new pair of socks or changing the earrings that I am wearing from day to day... I know that any changes I make to my routine aren't going to affect the outcome of anything. By anything I mean the thing that I happen to be worried about at that time.

However, there's something at the back of my mind that tells me that it just might. And if it just might then it's not worth taking the risk is it? Better safe than sorry. Anxious me says that changes to my routine can affect the thing that I'm worried about, that if I wear that different pair of earrings something bad might happen and it will be my fault for making that change.

Although I know that in reality these things can't affect the situation I'm worried about, anxiety is like that little devil on my shoulder whispering into my ear "but it might and do you want to take that risk ? You don't want to regret it do you?" The little anxious voice in the back of my mind gets stronger and stronger and eventually overtakes everything and any sense of rationality. 

I find that little nagging voice creeping in when I am doing basic things like throwing an empty pill packet away. If I allow myself to think it, if I let that whisper of a thought fully form in my mind - and I do because I can't stop thoughts from forming can I?- then I have to act on it, because I've thought it now and if I don't do the thing I've thought about doing or not doing, then something bad might happen and it will be my fault. So the empty pill packet has to stay on the side rather than get thrown out until the subject of my worries is safely out of the way.

I thought I just had a weird thing about changing routines, but then I realised, I am superstitious. I've never believed that the number of magpies that I see will give me good or bad luck. I've never believed that walking under a ladder is bad luck. Instead I believe that using a different knife and fork than usual is bad luck. And when I'm anxious I will make sure to avoid walking under that ladder and I'll salute that magpie, just in case.

Does anyone else do this?

Saturday, 8 October 2016

I feel like this image is a decent representation of me as a person.

I feel like this image is a decent representation of me as a person. That is all.

Credit to @liverpool1207 for the image.

Saturday, 3 September 2016


Took a trip to London. Stayed with a friend. A friend who has a very different lifestyle to me but I still like and am friends with. I usually resent people who are 'comfortably off', but not this one. She is also older than my mum and an American. An unlikely friend, indeed.

I wanted to see more of the everyday life there and less of the touristy stuff. We did a bit of both. I found myself looking at the people living their every day lives and thinking, how can you just be walking around going about your daily business, when you're in London, the big city? Where everything happens and all the cool people are? Don't you realise you are 'it'? I suppose it's because I see London, London people and London lifestyles as this 'other' thing. But when you're in it, it's not other, it just is.

Not that I would want that for myself or anything. I have no desire to be like those people. Whatever that is. Though I would like to be able to be the person I am and go about my daily business and not be thinking about how I am seen or how what I am doing is seen. Like those people. All those different types of people, I might add. I am saying 'those people' as if they are one homogeneous mass and they're definitely not. I'm just very judgemental.

Anyway, here's some pics.

Only pic of street art that I got, and it's shit street art. I didn't see any good stuff.

London cat. No fucks given. Was not interested in our cooing.

This is apparently how they do allotments. In bags. My friend showed me her collection of scented geraniums.

My guest house. Can you believe it?! I told my friend to Air BnB this shizzle immediately.

Only the best shop in the world. No comparison to the Copenhagen store though.

The V&A. Just wondered around lost until I was tired. Which took about 5 mins. Impressed by the grandiosity of the building itself more than the collections.

Apart from this room. Went in and was like, "Wow". Huge ceilings, Huge paintings. So grand.

Tourist dinner but was nice to do it instead of getting a Greggs pasty.

Radioactive butterfly in the Natural History Museum's butterfly house.

Nice houses.

Impressive library for a branch library.

Always with the libraries.

This is where I stayed. Where my friend lives. Wow.