UK Tour 2002
Tuesday 26th March 2002
After last night I'm surprised we did anything today. But Louise bobbed in to the lounge where I am sleeping and started to ask me lots of questions, so even I was brought around, eventually. Colin's outside smoking in his pajamas saying hello to passers by, Helen and Nikki are giggling away in their bedroom and Louise finally asks the one question I've been waiting for. "Do you want a cup of tea?"
The eventual consensus for today is to drive to Formby and from there to Liverpool. I can barely walk, after the dancing last night, so I decide to leave the others at Formby Point, which is an area of sand dunes on the sea front.
I want to spend some time searching out an Internet connection as I need to upload my latest diary pages. Louise decides to have her Legs waxed and hair cut, after all she is a performance artist.
In Formby I try my luck at an office furniture shop where I'm told that there's an Internet cafe in Crosby, a town situated a few miles away towards Liverpool. When I get to the town I can't find the cafe so I decide to ask an oldish man walking past me if he knows where it may be. I can hear a voice in my head say that this is not a good idea. 5 minutes later I'm still explaining to him what an Internet cafe is, at this point we both decide he doesn't know where one is.
I drive out of town and see on my left a mobile phone shop and thinking they are more likely to be a bit more with it I stop and ask. The main man there says I can use their connection, which is very kind. Unfortunately they've recently installed Window ME and I am unable to upload any pictures, if I try then their computer hangs. For the following day, much to my embarrassment, the site will have pages on it that will either confuse readers, or make me look very inept. Thank you Mr. Gates!
The main man from the shop, John, asks me what I'm up to, so when I tell him about the diary and the problems uploading the site he tries to sell me a lap top computer Internet connection system. I almost go for it. Having listened to this man dealing with customers I am more than impressed. People had come in to the shop for a minor telephone accessory but had gone away with a new phone a new contract and a lot more. He reminded me of a time in my life when I frequented auctions. Things I'd never normally think about buying filled my home because they were such good deals. John looked in to my eyes and saw my weakness!
Recently I'd bought a copy of Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Trouble Water" album from an Internet site because it was so cheap. When I received it I went to put it in my CD rack labeled "S" only to find I already had the album on CD! Anyway.............. I can't afford to buy the lap top Internet system so I decline the offer.
There's a bit of a silent pause after which he asks me if I'd like his shop to partly sponsor a lap top Internet system and connection for me for a year. Now that is a good deal!
Normally I'd resist charitable funding because often there's an element of dishonesty in such situations. But this John tells me is sponsorship which he sees as a much more straightforward situation and says that his company see the process as mutually beneficial to everyone. Firstly the community gets to benefit through funding that comes its way, secondly his business gets positive exposure, and thirdly local media gets something interesting to report about. For me too getting further interest in the site won't do any harm. My main concern strangely enough is a worry about whether I can get him an appropriate amount of exposure given his out lay. So in order to give him a clear indication of how many people visit my diary site I check this weeks site statistics. They show that over 500 people have read the diary in the last 7 days (I forgot to tell him that my Mum did 499 of them and I did the other 1).
When I leave the shop it's left in the air for all of us to have a think about.
By this time I'm running late so have to rush to pick everyone up. Louise is standing on the roadside doing an impersonation of a model in a shampoo add, while the others, on not finding me where we'd agreed to meet, had gone in to the forest next to the sand dunes to climb trees.
We make our way to Liverpool and begin to see what an interesting and beautiful city it is. Because I live in London I found it similar in a dreamy way. It felt as if parts of London had been picked up and moved into another city especially on the approach to the Lime Street area. So far, of all the Northern cities I've ever visited, this is one of the grandest (I didn't say best so I don't want any complaints please).
We head off for a Chinese meal in Liverpool's China Town, compared to New York's it should really be called China Hamlet. (10 days in New York and I'm beginning to sound like an American Tourist!) As we get out the car Helen hums a Chinesey sounding tune loudly, so I tell her to "Ssshhh", she laughs in embarrassment. Last night we had been talking about "Terret's" syndrome, which is a condition, that can manifest itself in many forms, and can include small uncontrollable convulsions or tick like movements of body parts, as well as inappropriate verbal outbursts, I'm no expert so excuse me if I'm wrong. Both Helen and I had said that occasionally we have had quite nasty thoughts, for instance I had once thought while sitting down for a cup of tea at someone's house "I wonder what would happen if I kicked the coffee table over", of course as my mind thinks it I squirm with embarrassment inside. Suddenly I notice my leg is swinging a bit. "Don't you dare!" I'm saying to myself. I wonder if this is a bit like Terret's? Now if ever I come to your house and my leg starts swinging while we're drinking tea please don't shout at me.
When we arrive at the camp site Helen and Nikki go back to the caravan. Colin and I stop at the social club for a drink where there's ballroom dancing. At first Colin, who's 40, sits there giggling, I ask him to stop but find my self uncontrollably doing an impersonation of a car starting. After a few minutes we revert to people closer in maturity to people of our own age and appreciate the dancing.
As we watch we start talking to a couple who are living in the caravan opposite us. I don't realise this at first but apparently Colin has already struck up a rapport with them during his early morning "smoking in pajama" sessions. I'm surprised they'll even talk to us after that experience but they do do so, so they must be quite brave. ("do do so so" ........... it's not often in life you'll see that in a sentence!)
Joyce and Derek live on the caravan site most of the year round. Derek had been a successful entrepreneur in the "Fruit and Veg" business as well as owning a night club, and had decided when he came to live here that he wanted to simplify his life. Joyce had brought up her children single handedly. As we talked it became clear that the camp site operated very much in the same way as a small village does, in other words below the surface it's all very political.
We are just about to leave the bar when we are told we have to remain there as there's a leak from one of the caravan's gas cylinders ("typical" I thought "I go to New York, Belfast and Israel but get blown to "Smithereens" in a camp site near Southport"). Other families enter with their sleepy children as they are evacuated from their caravans. After a while teas and coffees are given out by Gill the site restaurant's chef. (Next time I don't have any money and I'm thirsty I shall loosen a caravan gas cylinder).
Derek and I have a conversation about money. He tells me about some of the misfortune he has had, which would in fact be difficult to take by anybody's standard. He said money can't give you happiness, to which I couldn't help but think that I'd rather be unhappy in comfort though.
Tomorrow we hope to visit the Lake District