/ Scotland2016

Trains, art, and (of course) beer

Well Wednesday started badly, Brian's belt buckle disintegrated. Too much good living perhaps but it did mean a wander around Ormskirk's charity shops in search of a new one. Still we weren't doing much else on our trek from Southport to the next campsite at Maghull; the bitter winds and unpredictable showers meant both the RSPB site and the red squirrels at Formby were off the agenda.A surprise as we drive through Halsall - flat agricultural land with rich dark soil, we could have been in East Anglia. The campsite at Maghull is at the transition of this agricultural area and semi-detached suburbia. A working farm but on the edge of Maghull itself.One of the most famous residents of Maghull (its only famous resident, probably) is Frank Hornby of Meccano,  Dinky Car, and, of course, Hornby OO trainsets fame. So the stroll around inevitably ended up at the tribute to him in the form of a Wetherspoons pub! Interesting decor, including a full #4 Meccano set carefully encased in perspex to make an interesting pub statue.Too many people for pictures but managed to snap a couple

Mustn't let this diary forget the culinary side of the holiday. We decided to take Mr D's slow cooker, think saucepan that fits inside vacuum flask. The idea is to boil the food for a few minutes and then leave it slow cook for several hours insulated in some modern hay box. Yesterday was a cheap gammon joint cooked in ginger beer and very nice it was too, served up with Bulgar wheat and mixed veg. Enough for sandwiches today and another meal. Not bad for a £3.50 gammon joint and a 50p bottle of pop!Hmmm, is yesterday's bad luck still plaguing us? A late enough start to the day (it was warm in bed and cold outside) and then standing for 30 minutes at the wrong bus stop. Well, it would have been the right bus stop last week and probably will be again next week, but there's a diversion on at the moment. Never mind, a short stroll to another stop and a 35 minute ride passing both the Aintree track and the Everton ground found us in Liverpool. Now it's been 43 years since I last visited the Walker Art Gallery and Liz has never been. A very pleasant 2-3 hours well spent, especially since it was out of that bitter wind. Lots to see although I suspect much of their 20th century collection is now housed in the Tate down by the docks. Would have been nice to pay the extra to view the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition but there was more than enough to see for free. For example as we finished our tour we were in a small space at the top of the stairs to the exit. There were a few sculptures scattered about:  3 Rodin's, a Henry Moore and an Epstein, not too shoddy for a stair landing!Across the road, between the Empire Theatre and Lime Street Station itself is a fantastic old Victorian pub, recently saved by Tim Martin with a £2 million refurbishment and now Wetherspoon's North Western. A huge pub with a back room reserved for CAMRA AGM attendees and an additional bar with 10 local real ales complementing the 12 on in the main bars. An ideal place to stop and write this blog. You'd think! But this is Liverpool, sitting tapping on your tablet is seen as a sign of loneliness, and so any Scouser worth his salt knows his soul will not be redeemed unless he alleviates your boredom by engaging you in continual conversation.This blog entry was completed back in the van!