Day 163. Monday 6th November. Crosby to Liverpool.
I'd walked as far a Crosby before jumping the bus down to Liverpool so I could catch the train home to Lincolnshire. My foot was getting better but the foot doctor insisted I go back to have my insoles checked and extra support added if necessary. You won't be surprised to hear, the first train from Liverpool to Sheffield arrived 20 minutes late and the second train, to Lincoln was cancelled. No explanation just a message on the board telling passengers to catch the next available train which was an hour later, obviously now twice as full so I had to stand for the first 45 minutes of the journey !!! Absolutely bloody useless, don't get me started... 🤬
I'd only been away for a week but it was lovely to get back to see Michelle for a few unexpected days, this challenge has made me feel very different about being at home, I'm so grateful now for every minute I have with my loved ones and each time I go back I long to stay there, it's becoming a real challenge to return to the walk. I nipped over to Wragby to have lunch with my mum who's mending well after her knee replacement operation, I saw the foot doctor who added some lateral packing to my 'spaz' insoles and I went by myself to pick Ava up from school. We don't have favourite kids or grandkids do we but Ava is definitely my favourite oldest granddaughter, Niamh is my favourite youngest granddaughter and obviously Reggie is my favourite grandson as I've only got one of them. Ava is now 10 years old, she is developing into a beautiful young lady and I cherish every second she graces me with her presence, she stayed over at our place on Thursday night so we had a chippy tea as a treat which gave us more time to chat about 10 year olds stuff and as Ava always has a spelling test on Fridays, I got a chance to practice her spellings with her, she gets more correct than I do !!! I'm pray I'll get the chance to have as good a relationship with the other two little monsters as they get older...
A couple of days at home, my foot checked, all of my clothes washed and I was ready to crack on. I was picked up by Stewart, yes, the same a Stewart that stuffed his bike into the back of a van in Scotland and was flown off the Isle of Aaran in an ambucopter with broken ribs and a punctured lung, yes that numpty !!! I'm pleased to say that although not fully healed he is healing well and I'm also pleased to report that he drives cars better than he rides motorbikes... 🤪 We drove down to the deepest south of Lincolnshire to pick up Andy, the Master of The FreeWheelers Motorcycle Lodge as we were then travelling down to Tenby in Wales to attend a Welsh Motorcycle Lodge meeting. The guys had booked us into an Airbnb for a couple of nights so after a 6 hour drive we settled in and headed for the pub. I may have mentioned before how bad an influence Andy is, 3am the next morning we left the karaoke bar and staggered back to the digs !!! When will I ever learn ?? Don't drink with the Navy, or with Andy B !!!
We had a very enjoyable meeting on the Saturday at the bike Lodge and fortunately we had a sensible Saturday night, the long journey back on Sunday didn't need to be marred with a hangover. Stewart kindly did a small detour and kicked me out at the Birmingham NEC so I could catch the train back to Liverpool and they continued home to Lincolnshire. Cheers boys for another fantastic weekend, it was great spending some time with you both
and our quest to travel around the country visiting other motorcycle lodges has at last begun.
Arriving back in Liverpool I booked into the same Hostel located on the edge of The Cavern Quarter but this time it was even cheaper, £16.07 for the night !!! Very handy for me to resume my exploring around this amazing area.
The area is full of bars but of course the most famous is the Cavern Club itself which played host to literally hundreds of legendary names, it was the Beatles 292 appearances and their eventual worldwide success that gave The Cavern Club a magical status. It closed in 1973 when the warehouse above was demolished to make way for a ventilation shaft to be constructed for the new underground railway system. The shaft was never built but the Cavern remained filled in until the early 80's when an exact replica was built on the same site using many of the original bricks. It was reopened in 1984 and it has been a thriving and unique music venue ever since with many modern bands playing there. I love to just wander around the area taking it all in, the front wall of the club has the names of the hundreds of artists that have performed there inscribed onto the bricks, it must have been an amazing place to hang around in the sixties watching all those pioneers of British music come and go.
The next morning I jumped a bus back up to Crosby to carry on walking and was met by Andy, the ex Navy chap I'd met up in a bar in Cumbria and Tony, the Charity Steward and one of the Directors of the Freemasons Hall in Liverpool, both had offered to walk with me for the day. First though, we had a visit to make to The Tithebarn, The Royal Masonic Benevolent Institution Care Home in Crosby. The RMBI have 17 care homes located throughout the UK and I plan to visit the ones located on the coast to visit the residents, many of them Freemasons or the Widows of Freemasons.
This was my first visit to a care home on my walk, I've visited The Connaught Court home in York as that one is supported by Lincolnshire Freemasons and I knew from that visit that I would meet some great characters living in these lovely care homes, I wasn't disappointed.
Gordon had been the Worshipfull Master of a Lodge in Liverpool 3 times although sadly he couldn't remember the name of the lodge, what a lovely guy and we had a great laugh with him. There was also another brother who was to be celebrating 51 years as a Freemason the very next day but the most special part of the visit was watching a Lodge Almoner in action. Each of our Masonic Lodges has an Almoner and they do amazing work behind the scenes, often without any thanks or praise. They keep tabs on members if they become ill, they act as a reference point to assist a brother than may have fallen on hard times or be in need of some assistance or support and they do an incredible job keeping in touch with and looking after the widows of Freemasons, often organising raffles or other fund raising events through the year to ensure our Lodge widows receive a gift at Christmas time. In my mother Lodge, Eric had been our Almoner for the past 10 years and is about to hand over to his successor who will take on the role, Eric has been one of the pillars of our Lodge for as long as I've been a Freemason and I know we don't thank him often enough for the work he does, that said, I know every one of us is extremely grateful to him for looking out for us for so long. Thank you Eric for doing such an amazing job for so long. 🥰
Back in The Tithebarn, this Almoner from a lodge in Southport was here meeting with one of their lodge widows and I discovered when he left that he was also a very close friend of her late husband. It was clear that the lady was completely made up with the flowers he had brought for her and for the time he had spent sitting talking with her, a beautiful aspect of Freemasonry that many of us never see. Well done to all of you almoners out there, please keep doing your amazing work.
Sensing we were starting to get in the way as lunch was about to be served, we bid our farewells and walked back down to the waters edge where the river Mersey flowed out into Liverpool bay. We timed it perfectly as the heavens opened and we got a good soaking but spirits were high, there was plenty of conversation as we walked down to Bootle and 12 miles we arrived at the Royal Liver Buildjng on Liverpools historic docks.
The Anthony Gormley statues on Crosby beach are apparently modelled on his own body, 'Another Place' consists of 100 life sized cast iron figures, each one weighing 650kgs and they are all buried at different depths, some of them with just their head sticking up out of the sand. Having previously being seen in Germany, Norway and Belgium they are now a permanent fixture on Crosby beach, an odd sight to see lots of naked statues standing at various depths in the sea.
We walked past the new Everton football stadium which had signs everywhere telling passers by that they are not permitted to take photos or videos of the build to share on social media !!! Oops, I accidentally took a couple of pics of this £530 million pile of steel and I've now accidentally shared it on my blog !!! Maybe I'll get a knock on my tent door one night and they'll punish me...
We arrived back in Liverpool late in the afternoon, had a cuppa in the cafe at the ferry terminal, I thanked Andy and Tony for their company and we went our separate ways.
I headed back to the hostel for a shower, I had been invited to a lodge meeting in Liverpool the following evening but I was even more excited by a phone call I'd received from Stuart at Walk The Edge HQ back in Lincolnshire. He and Simon had been hatching a plan and organising a very special treat for me... to say I was excited would be something of an understatement, I was like a little boy on Christmas Eve... I was going to the Stadium of Dreams.... YNWA... 🥰😍