Saturday, February 21, 2015

Liverpool library

Liverpool's central library is awesome. I have missed English language libraries so very much. Since I have family and friends who are librarians, and I probably would have been one in another life, I thought that I would use today's blog post to showcase it.

The  Main part of the library was completed in 1860, with the Picton Reading Room (see below added in 1879 and the Hornby Library (also see below) added in 1906. Then the library was bombed in a blitz in 1941. Most of the building needed to be rebuilt, and then between 2010-2013 they rebuilt parts of it again. The result is a mix of modern and old, and it is charming in the extreme. Plus there is a cafe on the ground floor.

The outside of the building looks very historic.

The entrance is a touch more modern with a wide walk wide walkway with the titles of famous books.

This is what you see when you walk inside. A beautiful dome and floating stairways.

One of my favorite parts is the Picton Reading room.  It looks like something out of a historic novel. I wish I had a better picture of it, but it is a quiet zone and every sound is reflected back by the dome. That lotus lamp is massive, I doubt that I could stretch my arms to touch either side. and there are three floors of leather bounds books which you can get to by little iron spiral staircases.

If you walk through the Picton Reading room (built 1879)  you can come to the Oak room, where directly in the center of the room in a massive display case is an original Birds of North America by John James Audubon. The book must be a meter/yard tall!

The history of this particular edition, and ties between Audubon and Liverpool are interesting.

The walls of the Oak room have display cases where huge leather bound books are kept. Can you see that I took this picture as a tribute to Madrid?

The Hornby Library is also off of the Oak room, and it is a little library museum with rotating displays. When I took this photo there was a display to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Liverpool Philharmonic.

But when we visited in early January to look at houses, there were first edition Charles Dickens books, including amusing hand written correspondence  (click to enlarge).

If you love libraries, be sure to give this one a visit. I am sure that I have only just started to explore it (I haven't been above the first floor yet, I hear that there is a roof top terrace.)

We are all doing well, I hope you are too.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Liverpool Love

Ahh, where to start? Well first off I am now living in my third country. It is no secret to anyone who has known me that I have wanted to try living in the UK for some time. When Javi got the job I was thrilled and excited. That emotion soon became a feeling of being overwhelmed. That feeling has lasted through today. However with each day my anxiety seems to fade more and more. Today as I was happily walking around one of the many local parks to me I couldn't help repeating in my head "this place is so beautiful, I am so lucky to live here".

Even though I have wanted to live in the UK for 7 years or so, and oddly the first place I so desperately wanted to live is only 16 miles from where I currently reside, I was overwhelmed. Why? Because I strongly feel that I failed in Madrid. I was not expecting it to be so hard. I was not expecting for me to be so set in my ways and resident to change. I did adapt to the culture a bit, and I learned a ton about myself, Spain, and the world, but at the end I did not enjoy living in Madrid. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that I was unemployed, and my DH was desperately unhappy at his workplace. However, if Madrid was a person I would have broken up with it with the infamous "it is not you, it's me" line. Plenty of people are very happy living in Madrid, and I hope they get the chance to stay, but I wanted my place to be happy too. I dare to hope that maybe I have found it?

I was in a state of culture shock for a while, and will probably have bouts here and there in the coming months. As I write I have been living here for 3 weeks (it took a while to get broadband). 
I noticed one day that I was upset because I did not get to at least visit the US for a "reset" in between the two countries. I thought that it was unfair and that I would have been able to cope better with the change (and who knows? I might have been) but I think that is because I am desperately homesick. I have not really been to the US (except 6 hours in an airport) in over 3.5 years, and I know that soon I will have to surrender my passport for the residency card process which can take up to 6 months. At least I will be stranded in a country that I have always wanted to explore.

It is simply marvelous to live in a culture more similar to mine, and to be able to speak my native language. I enjoy it very much. Although some of the slight differences in the language are simply alarming and hilarious, like when the technician installing my broadband asked me "where is your master socket" (main phone jack) and told me that he would "knock me up if he could turn it on, love" (that he would ring the doorbell and tell me if he had turned on our phone line). (For any UK readers that means "I will get you pregnant when I turn it on, I love you".)

Anyway, let me take you through the highlights of my walk this morning.

I currently live in a victorian terraced house, much less grand than this one. I took this photo to give an example of the marvelous touches of stained glass that they can have. It is much harder to take pictures here, as more people are concerned with their privacy, so I snapped this of an empty house, and quickly.
A house on Queen's Lane

I live within 0.2 miles of the famous Penny Lane, and I thought that today I would walk from the bank to the Penny Lane Millennium Green. One of the things that I love is that there are so many parks and green spaces in Liverpool, especially within a 1.5 mile radius of my house. I took the back roads and discovered this church. I have no idea if it is still being used or not, but isn't it splendid?

Dovetail Baptist Church
I circled the green on three sides before I realized that the only gate open to me was the one closest to my house. I am guessing that it is the one the all the tourists take pictures of. (Am I a tourist? It is hard to tell.)

The green was small, but gave a sensation of walking in a meadow.

After the green I turned West and walked Penny Lane to it's end. I passed a charming pub.

I crossed over the train tracks.

I took a touristy photo.

Then when I reached the end of Penny lane I turned right and walked to Greenbank Park, and I am glad I did. it is fairly tiny, but so breath taking. There were Canadian geese, swans, herons, and at least three kinds of ducks.

I think that big nest is a heron's, thoughts?

 The daffodils, crocuses and snowdrops are springing up right now, though, we might have snow this weekend.

Everything is green here, even sometimes the trees.

There is a beauty shot of the heron, some ducks, the terraced house in the distance, the vibrant green lawn and the blue sky (which is not common here, click to enlarge).

There was a little corner of the park that had been set up as an English garden. It is not very impressive right now, as it is still winter, but I have a feeling that it is will be interesting to see it as spring progresses.

Doesn't it look like something out of Secret Garden? And through out the walk, the air was sweet, the birds called and the area was beautiful. After 5 States, and three countries, I hope that I have finally found where I belong. Do you see just how beautiful it all is?