Sunday, 22 January 2012

Visiting or just moved to Liverpool? Secret things and not so secret things to do! We're more than football and Beatles :)

This list is something I wrote for someone new to town, I really like this list as it's places I'm passionate about or I want to visit:

• Harp Inn @ Burton – Wirral. Sea has gone – now RSPB Bird Sanctuary. The pub looks like something from another century – ooh actually come to think of it – it is! SILLY ME!

• Meols Shore – just off New Brighton, my fave beach. No chavs, no litter, gold sand 

• Thurstaston – Wirral – Thor’s hammer, red rocks, ace views. Good for horse riding

• Wirral Way – cycling – starts Hooton, finishes West Kirby – it’s the route of the old train line and it’s even got an old station on it!

• Parkgate – Ice Cream from the old art deco ice cream shop. Handel sailed from here. Turner supposedly painted here too. The river has gone but the dock walls are good for sitting on and eating ice cream whilst looking out to Wales.

• The Thatch pub at Raby Mere – Wirral. (real name is the Wheatsheaf):

• Woolton Village – Lpool. for cinema. Nice little village with a good cheese shop

• Port Sunlight – Wirral. Home of Unilever. The village he built for his workers. I was christened here and my grandparents are buried there. My dad is captain of the veteran’s bowling team here!!

• Sheldrakes restaurant in Heswall – on the shore. Quite expensive though. Heswall is v nice though
• Croxteth Hall Jungle Parc!
I only just found out that this existed! It looks amazing. You can go in the hall itself - It’s seen better days but there is a big oak panelled room with a massive fireplace – I like that one.

• Monkey Forest (this is in Stafford tho) but the monkeys roam free and sit by you! Someone said they can be a bit vicious at times if they’ve got babies

• Alwen Reservoir – in Wales –a guy at the RSPCA recommended this to me. Only looked at web briefly but it must be good for your cycling. Pick a day when it’s not raining – this is very hard to do in Wales – everytime I cross the border it starts raining!

• Llangollen – well cute village in Wales, but like only 45 mins away. Steam train, waterfalls and river and little quirky arts places, good walks, ace ice cream and fudge is immense. Good pub/ resto in old watermill that overlooks the river (as it would being as it had to be by water to be a water mill hehe!). mega busy in Summer full on American tourists. You can drive to it by main roads or go via horse shoe pass – ace views and sheep everywhere on roads at times so you have to stop, I love that bit.

• Formby Squirrels – Red Squirrel reserve by the sand dunes

• St Georges Hall – loads of ‘firsts’, where the saying ‘send him down’ comes from, first law courts, first central heating system, beautiful ornate floor and organ and statues. My fave Scouse Heroine is getting a statue her soon - ladies fighting back as all statues pretty much male so far! Rock on Kitty Wilkinson..

• Yellow Duck Tour – touristy but you learn loads and the guides are usually hilarious!

• Speke Hall – it’s near me, everyone loves it, I know nothing about it at all, well, other than that it’s black and white!

• St Georges Hall winter market too, run by Open Culture (Christina and Charlotte who I know) every year (end of Nov/ start December)
• Lark lane farmers market is on every 4th Saturday of the month – it’s the biggest one.  And then veggie breakfast at the Greendays cafe afterwards. Hidden gem and a half that cafe is. ooh and you must go to Larks on lark lane and browse the vintage furniture - we have great fun in there on a regular basis

• Ghost Tour – starts at Peter Kavannaghs Pub (this place is great) and they do it for freshfields animal rescue centre and it finishes in Cathedral gardens and you go ghost hunting!

• Peter Kavanaghs Pub (aka Peter Kays) its one of the most mental pubs ever – full of characters and weird stuff on the ceiling. Live music on a Tuesday, we’ve been there at 1am singing around the piano before. Landlady, Rita, is terrifying during the pub quiz – which incidentally is a bloody hard quiz

• The Williamson tunnels - In any other city these would be funded as proper tourist attraction. They are immense. It’s just volunteers who work on it. It’s believed that Williamson built them basically as a philanthropic act to give men work when they had none after returning from Napoleonic wars.

• Dingle disused railway station, the terminus of the old Overhead railway (aka the Dockers Umbrella) – we went on a ghost hunt down here. Totally and utterly fascinating. There are loads of vintage cars down there just left to rot, old corporation van, there is rope everywhere (some made and some not) this would all have been used on the docks – the roper maker died and all his stuff was just left there. The actual station platform is now a car mechanics garage. There was a fire here in early 1900s when a train caught fire and as it entered tunnel it met with lots of flammable stuff – 8 people died so it’s abit eerie being down there thinking of that

• Now I mentioned the ghost tour – it ends in the gardens of Anglican Cathedral….one of my heroines has her grave here (well her headstone) I sometimes take flowers to her….Kitty Wilkinson – she pioneered wash houses in UK, was first warden of a UK wash house and she saved all her poorer neighbours (unknowingly) from Cholera etc by allowing them to wash their clothes in boiling water etc in her house. She was Irish and she lost her baby sister and her dad in a storm out in Irish Sea). Huskisson is also buried here – the first man killed by a train in UK, it was by Louis Stephenson’s rocket on the day it was launched. He lost his leg and subsequently died, his ghost has been seen by loads of people, limping around the gardens at night. Sometime they open the original Oratory building which is where they used to hold funeral services and blimey it’s like stepping into Rome or Greece!

• Steve’s Binns talks and walks etc – he’s the blind historian I was telling you about. Amazing. He holds a lot of his talks at St Georges Hall. He is a national treasure, hear his talks here: Steve Binn's audio talks

• The Philharmonic. Loads of good classical stuff, the head conductor is a Russian dude at the mo, Vassily Petrenko. They also show old films on the super duper old cinema screen that rises out of the floor!

• The Philharmonic pub – old gin palace type affair, loads of little cosy, wood panelled rooms, haunted and the men’s toilets are so spectacular they are Grade listed and people go see them as part of a tour!!!!!!!!!!!mental!

• LAST BUT NOT LEAST the Kazimier. kind of a sister bar to the Kazimier’s club. They do allsorts of crazy stuff there. All the furniture is shabby and vintage, it was born out of the market and space they used to have (where I used to have a market stall) closing down and being demolished to make…a car park! I was gutted when it happened. It closed at Christmas and it made me cry. Liverpool missed a trick with it as it was really starting to grow and the location would have been ideal to ‘grow out’ a Camden type Sunday thing.  Try Mello Mello's Sunday Roast - they do a vegan version too. Oh my god it was so nice I even at the parsnips!

• Dr Duncans – ok so it’s just a pub – but there is one room in there that is amazing – takes you back in time. I pinched this off a website about Dr Duncan: The name commemorates Doctor Duncan, a relentless campaigner against poor living conditions in the Liverpool of the Victorian era, and the first Chief Medical Officer of Health to be appointed in the UK.

• The Egg cafĂ© - tbh their websitedoesnt do it justice. Take your own wine. Full of art and characters and Stan sometime plays his harp in there and it’s fab. Summer's evening with windows open - lush!

• Note on Stan and his harp – Stan is omnipresent – at most of the above places you will see him. He goes to the Kazimier and everyone loves him. He’s like 80 or so. We booked him for an event we did last year at he was great – telling tales and poems and singing songs his dad taught him from the wars etc. Every city should have a Stan.

There is also a book which a taxi driver recommended to me and for life of me I cant remember. I know they have it in Waterstones as I called to ask them, but can I find the note of his name – nope!

I better stop now as I’ll end up writing a book here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XX

Wise words from Ghandi..

I stumbled across two more quotes I really like early on this morning whilst I couldn't sleep...

“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result”

" It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver."

Happy Chinese New Year - Year of the Dragon :)

The new studio, "Studio Six"
 Well since we posted, we've had a few changes, a nice Christmas and New Year and a good start to 2012.

New Year greeted me (whilst dressed a Marie Antoinette in a flowing curly white wig) to a car crashed into the gates of the vicarage where I live, with a massive police cordon and ambulances - quite a way to see in the New Year - they were unscathed (unbelievably) though sadly the grade 2 wall and gates weren't.

And we got a 3rd bunny rabbit into the satsuma house as she couldn't go to her intended destination we had her.

Oh and yes we moved studio last week to a lovely bright and airy studio, sharing with the fabulous Artist, Sophie Green, so we are lucky enough to see her new creations as they come to life and then Jan who does ceramics based on photos (amazing) has joined us too. The view of the sunset over the Liverpool skyline is breathtaking and very inspiring and I feel more creative than I have done for months...

What else we are starting a new site called very soon and also another one will be up and running shortly selling food for wildlife in your garden to keep them fed and happy during all seasons. More details to follow.

The mail order catalogue is my focus for next two week's in the evening and we will be looking for agents to sell our goodies if you fancy getting involved drop me an email to

Best wishes for a safe, healthy, fun and prosperous 2012 one and all.

Jane, Little Satsuma xx