Thursday, June 21, 2012

UK trip Part 1

Earlier this week, I posted about leaving the camp, staying over in Dar es Salaam and finally boarding the flight to England as the start of our trip to the Isle of Man and subsequently, back to England. 

Arriving at Heathrow on 30 May, and connected with the Manchester flight. Kevin, an old friend of ours and my boss on the goldmines of Guinea, West Africa, collected us and drove us back to his home in Chesterfield.

Kevin's wife, Jane didn't stay on camp with him, but over the years while working for him, I got to know Jane - first on the telephone and later when we visited the UK in 2005. I'd not seen her since that year, so we soon were caught up in catching up on news! 

Four old friends meet up again after seven years : Kevin, Jane, Jo and Grant

On Thursday we rested, only going out for lunch in Chesterfield. Later Jane and I watched the French Open while the men made the final arrangements for our trip which commenced that night. Eventually Jane (who didn't go to the Isle of Man with us) went off to bed, while Grant and I sat and dozed in the lounge downstairs. We would be taking a taxi to Liverpool where we'd board the ferry. Kevin and a friend, Clive, Grant and I squashed into a medium-sized sedan, with the driver at the wheel,  and made the three hour-long journey northwards.

 The Liverpool harbour lights

The Liverpool Eye peeks out from behind the large buildings lining the shore

The ferry was due to leave shore at 4.45am, so we didn't have long to wait until we could board the huge vessel. I spent the first part of the journey, firstly freezing my fingers off, and then taking photos from the stern of boat. 

The wake caused by the huge turbine engines of the Seacat which was ferrying us up the River Mersey into the Irish Sea

The River Mersey, is approximately 113km/70 mile long, stretching from Stockport Greater Manchester and ending in Liverpool Bay, Merseyside. 

The river widens into a large estuary, which is five kilometers / three miles wide at its widest point near Ellesmore Port.

The estuary then narrows to flow between Liverpool and Birkenhead, where it is constricted to a width of 0.7 mile/ 1.2 kilometers , between Albert Dock in Liverpool and the Woodside ferry terminal in Birkenhead. The river then continues into Liverpool Bay on the Irish Sea.
The river is now internationally famous thanks to the music of the 1960s known as Merseybeat or the Mersey Sound and its strong association with Liverpool. The Mersey itself was popularized in the Merseybeat song Ferry Cross the Mersey by Gerry & The Pacemakers, which was released in 1965 and featured a music video in which the group performed their song on a boat crossing the river between Birkenhead and Liverpool. It has since been covered by Ferry Aid (for a 1989 charity single to dedicated to the victims of the Hillsborough disaster) and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. *

Eventually I couldn't stand the cold any longer and went inside to find our pre-booked seats. Grant and I drank coffee, he eventually dozed off while I read one of the magazines on offer in the lounge. 

As we were nearing Isle of Man, the sun was making its appearance. Once more, it was time to leave my warm seat, brave the cold and get some photos. I managed to convince Grant to come outside with me too! (Actually, I had to drag him out! Ha-ha! )
 The sun lights up the [cloudy] sky as we approach the Isle of Man
 A not-so-happy camper poses on the freezing deck of the ferry

I hope you're all having a wonderful week so far.   

* - * Note: Information on the River Mersey obtained from Google


  1. Oh, Jo!! During my blog break, I've missed so many of your posts and I feel so out of touch! I'm still only semi-posting (and a little reading) at the moment. I hope you don't think I've forgotten about you! I'll have to set my timer and allow myself to read, read, and read some more...the adventures of Jo and Grant!! And P.S. As soon as I read the River Mersey, I immediately starting singing (in my mind!) that old song!

  2. This sounds like the beginnings of a fun adventure.

  3. A fun time for all but if that is English summer, it is probably warmer herein our winter.

  4. Would have loved to have been in UK to see you! Instead we were in sunny Spain enjoying the loveliest of weather! Sorry! love Rose xoxox

  5. HI Jo, sounds like the beginning of a fun time. I enjoyed the post and the wonderful photos. I would have been out on the deck taking photos too. Looking forward to reading more about your England trip. Have a wonderful day.

  6. See? All I need to do is visit you and find out so many adventures you share with us. Thank you for sharing awesome photos always. God bless and protect you wherever you go!

  7.'s cold there and HOT here!Hahaa
    Love your travels Jo!!

  8. I've got a lot of catching up to do here, Jo. I see you had a cold holiday and got home safely.
    More soon. Hi to Grant, and cuddles to the cats.
    Luv, K

  9. Oh, that sounds like a cold crossing! I'm sure it feels extra cold to you, having just come from a place much closer to the equator!!

  10. That is an awfully early start and obviously a cold one.


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