Dad has been staying with me for a month, in transit from the temporary home in Chicago to his next temporary home in Bali - at least for a couple months. He'll be joining Lisa and Danai there, who are there to be near Lisa's husband as he's flying in Southeast Asia currently. After that, the plans get...fuzzy.
Dad and I have been packing in his stay here with exploration, new neighbourhoods, restaurants and pubs. This week has been the climax of the visit as it's been Dad's birthday weekend. I entered a charity raffle at work for football tickets and won a pair to England vs. Ireland at Wembley. Dad's become a massive football fan and Liverpool supporter in the past few years, so he was thrilled. Despite the 1-1 draw, it was a really good night - Dad was beaming.
This weekend I took Dad to Liverpool for his birthday present, and Mary Keany joined us. What a difference some sunshine and 15 degrees make! I went to Liverpool about a year ago, and it was awful. It was freezing and pouring, so it was an exercise of running from one hen-night-infested bar to another. This time the sun was out and, though not warm, it was near-to-warm, which, gauging from how Scousers dress, is about as good as it gets on the North Irish Sea.
Liverpool actually turned out to be quite charming, especially by day. It's a very agreeable, mostly pretty, walkable city, and the Beatles' legacy has ensured that there is an ongoing permeation of music and performance around the city. We had great food, great pubs, heard great music and went on great walkabouts. If it weren't for the dire state of the gay scene, it'd've been a perfect city weekender.
Now Dad's time in London is drawing short - leaves for Bali on Wednesday. It's been great having him here, hanging out with him and taking this trip. I hope he makes his way back here soon.
A little plug: Of the many performers dotted around Liverpool and its watering holes, I took cards from two to look up when I got home. Dave Pilla was playing guitar and singing on one of the pedestrianised city centre streets, and he sounded great, so I tossed £1 into his case and took his card. I just downloaded his premier CD from his site (just £4) and love it. So, if new artists and music is your kind of thing, check him out at http://davepilla.bandcamp.com/album/dave-pilla, have a listen, and support him by buying his album if you like it.
Pops outside Wembley.
Pops and me at his birthday dinner.
Liverpool is very popular with hen- and stag-does and all that implies.
Typical pretty city centre street
Matthew Street, where The Beatles famously began at the Cavern Club.
Radio City tower in the city centre.
The Liverpool riverfront from Radio City tower.
Liverpool is the only UK city with two functioning cathedrals, the Catholic one on the left, the massive Anglican one on the right.
Dad at the Cavern.
The Liver Building, one of the "three graces" that adorn Liverpool's riverfront and give it its recognisable façade. I liked this one the best, both for the building, and because of the liver birds at the top. It's said that the female liver bird is looking out to the port to see if the sailors have made it home safely, whereas the male liver bird is looking into town to see if the pubs are open.
The Catholic cathedral...
...and its inside. The iPhone can't do it justice, but it really is a very impressive, beautiful, warm, calming space.
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