Wednesday, 27 August 2008


I love the Superlambbanana and its little babies that have been wandering the streets of Liverpool for the 08 celebrations. Unfortunately I didn't get to see them all but if anybody is wondering what they can buy me for Christmas ...they are now being sold off for charity at a snip at £3000.....

Matthew Street Festival

The bank holiday weekend saw the return of the Matthew Street Festival to Liverpool so what better excuse to photograph the city. We went in early on the first day of the festival and stayed for about 6 hours! We had a great time wandering around all of the six outdoor stages listening to some good music and enjoying the party atmosphere. In fact we enjoyed it so much we went back on the second day and took in the extra stage at the Albert Dock.

A Heady Mix of Old and New

Dig those crazy colours!!

I think the that the jury is out on this one, Clever certainly, eye catching definitely, complementary to it's surroundings.. I don't think so

I think that in this street alone over 200 years of architectural style is represented and love it or hate it you can't say that it's boring.

I think that one of the signs of a confident city is in it's architecture and the bravery of the town planners to move away from the safe option and to allow innovative and challenging design.

Sure it can be controversial but I'd rather controversy than stagnation.

The new face of Liverpool

Researching for my first novel means that amongst other things I need to have a picture in my mind of how Liverpool City Centre would have looked in the post war years. So with my camera slung around my neck off we set for a photographic journey around the city. However I couldn't resist taking some shots of the 'new' buildings as well.

Liverpool 1 is part of the Duke of Westminster's multi million pound investment in the city and when it opens completely in the Autumn I think that it will be awesome. In fact even though it is only half open it is turning heads.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Trip to the Vet

Murphy has his check up with the Vet this morning.

The poor thing is so pathetically grateful for any outing that a trip to the Vet is a big deal. He gets so excited seeing the other animals in the waiting room and is as good as gold when we go in to see the Vet.

The Vet confirmed what we already knew that his back legs are getting worse. He's going to start hydrotherapy soon, not that we think that it will improve his condition much, more a special treat for him. I think he'll love the pool, let's face it he's spending half the day in our pond at the moment (I don't have the heart to tell him off)

The prognosis is not good for him but while he's coping we're determined to give him the best life we can for as long as we can.

There was a programme on the BBC the other night about Kennel Club registered dogs that are suffering with genetic conditions that have been caused by stupid breeding practices. Some of the breeds are so bad now the poor dogs are in a terrible state. I can't tell you how angry I am with the whole situation. Maybe we were naive but after already having one Labrador who lived a long and happy life with us we thought that going to a reputable breeder and buying a Kennel Club registered puppy was the best thing to do. Well weren't we living in cloud cuckoo land.

Those stupid people who run the Kennel Club and the frankly mad people who show their Frankenstein dogs should be shot. How can they possibly say that it is right for a dog that is bred so that it will have problems breathing can then be judged best in show. They are wicked people who if they were living on a council estate and breeding dogs that were so deformed that their brains were too big for their skulls they would be prosecuted by the RSPCA for cruelty. I suppose that being middle class and having the certificate from the Kennel Club makes these breeders immune to prosecution. Well it shouldn't, it just shouldn't!!

(Because of his condition I haven't taken any photos of the pups for a long time but what the hell, Murphy can't help having gammy legs - so expect lots of pictures very soon!)

Monday, 18 August 2008

People Watching in Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf Security or the Thought Police as I like to think of them, might want to reconsider their choice of canine partners. To be really scary you need a dog only one gene removed from a wolf, an Alsation for example. To me a black Labrador just sends out the wrong message - not so much fear me, I will rip your arm off if you come too close, as come up and tickle my belly 'cose I'm a big softy.

See the guy in the red fleece and baseball cap? His job is to empty the bins. All day he wanders around looking in the rubbish bins and soon as anybody drops something into one of them he wips it out and takes it to a big dumpster that is cunningly hidden away from the main square. I was sitting watching him and wondering how much job satisfaction can he possibly get but then I a saw that he was smiling and singing away to himself unlike the guy in the next picture -

Just how pissed off does he look? So what's his story? My guess is that he has the boss from hell. You know the type, the youngest boss in the company, slim, good looking, three years out of University and knows everything. This poor sap has probably been nagged all morning by the boy genius, work harder, think stratigically, be at your desk ready to work by 8 o'clock and don't expect to leave before I do ------or maybe he's just had a row with his personal trainer.

Lunch time in Canary Wharf

What does the dynamic young City worker do in their lunch break when the sun is shining on Canary Wharf? The really lucky ones will have arranged a business lunch and then they can sit at on a proper seat at a proper table and enjoy lunch at a posh eatery like Smollensky's or Carluccios, on expenses naturally.

And providing there isn't a gale blowing through the docks the rest will look for somewhere to sit and eat their posh butties. Any where will do, you can find them sitting on walls and benches or even bum numbing stone seats.
Otherwise they stand around talking on their mobiles and have a crafty drag on their third cigarette of the day.

Monday, 11 August 2008

Around and about in Canary Wharf

In the last posting I had trouble thinking of comments for the pictures, this one however holds no such the two security staff in their high speed vehicle... I kid you not they really do travel around in golf buggies and they are everywhere.Dave and I christened them the thought police, no special reason just that the whole place reminded me of George Orwell's vision of the future in 1984

I loved this, there amongst all the glass and steel was an old VW camper van. If you look closely you might just spot a house boat in the dock, the driver was unloading the van onto the boat. I was worried that the Thought Police (TP) were about to come wizzing around the corner and fine him for having an old thing in the middle of all this new stuff, there must be a bylaw prohibiting so much colour in one place!
Amongst all the glass there are some green areas and very welcome they are too. Now I am all for public art and love to see sculptures and monuments in even the most incongruous places but can anybody tell me just what this is supposed to be?

This lovely old building houses amongst other things a museum which tells the story of the Thames and the docks in particular. I spent a very happy couple of hours wondering round it and learning that this is one of the very few dock buildings that the Luftwaffe managed to miss in the Blitz.

And just to prove that not everybody in Canary Wharf wears a suit here are some workmen from one of the hundreds of building sites, mind you I think the TPs are onto them, probably for wearing the wrong boots or something.

I've seen the future and it's Canary Wharf

I've been racking my brain trying to think of witty or irreverent comments about these buildings but as much as it shames me to admit it they are really quite spectacular in their own inimitable way, it's their juxtaposition with the social housing that left me gasping. But more on that to follow in later posts.

All change

For once the 'current economic climate' isn't to blame, it was just bad management that kept Dave waiting 5 weeks (and still counting) for the job in Reading. But as they say everything happens for a reason and it would have been a nightmare if the job had have come off when it was due to. The poor chap has been hurtling up and down the M11 every week for the past 8 weeks helping his brother following the loss of their Mum and in the middle of all this he was offered another contract, this time in Canary Wharf.

As a contractor you are part of quite a small world where your 'name' is literally your calling card so in the normal course of events if you have been offered one contract you wouldn't interview for another one. However the time delay for the Reading job was becoming unacceptable, even for someone who was in no rush to start work, so Dave felt justified in going after the job in Canary Wharf.

Have you ever been to Canary Wharf? It is like a vision of the future, all concrete and glass sky scrapers set around the old London docks on the Isle of Dogs. It is one of the strangest areas of social manipulation ever. On one side of the road are vast areas of social housing while on the other side are million pound apartments. The city gents stick on the whole to their side of the road with it's wine bars and Waitrose while the original islanders have the pubs on the street corners and a 24 hour Asda. I took lots of photos around dockland and will bore you with them in a seperate post.

I went down and stayed in Greenwich with Dave for a couple of days last week before his contract started on the Wednesday. We had a fine time travelling around on the Dockland Light Railway (DLR) and the wizzy Thames river bus looking around for somewhere for him to stay for the next 6 months.

One of the worst things about working away from home is living out of a suitcase and staying in ananymous hotel rooms, so for this contract Dave fancied renting an apartment and while they aren't cheap it's still a damn sight cheaper that forking out for hotels in E14.

Luckily we found a nice clean place about a 15 minute walk from the office so he won't even have to commute and with the hours he will be working that's the last thing he want's to be doing. I am going back to London on Wednesday this week to take the keys for the flat and help him get settled in. He really won't have the time to make a trip to Asda (or Waitrose) after work to buy the essentials he needs (or that's what he's telling me!!) so that's my week sorted...