Cedar Farm 

We spent the morning cutting wood for the fire. Remember the shed? Well there is a kind of stove we set up outside in which we can burn wood. I think we got quite a lot cut, don't you?

It's mostly trees from the garden.

In the afternoon I visited my old friend and his family. He lives in a very pretty village and a short walk away from Cedar Farm. At Cedar Farm we fed the animals and then went for a coffee at the Cedar Farm Cafe which had some of best coffee I've ever drank. Apparently they roast the coffee at the cafe using this huge ancient machine and it certainly seems worth it. I left with two bags of their Italian Blend which as I write this I can still smell from two rooms away! Powerful stuff!

Also found a well stocked art shop where I picked up a special gift from my daughter...

Here'a picture of a pig;

...and one of a goat;

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Liverpool (again) 

Yesterday was mostly sight-seeing in Liverpool but I had really wanted to do a bit of shopping (and before we go any further let me say that for shopping Liverpool has really improved.) So I left my son with my parents and headed into Liverpool alone. It wasn't all shopping though, yesterday on the duck we had driven past a few places(well one place really) I wanted to check out, so I took a rest from walking around shops to go and take a look.

Located up the hill from the city centre are two cathedrals, main office churches if you like, located at both ends of Hope Street. This is the Catholic Cathedral, a very modern looking structure;

I was trying to take a picture of the Anglican Cathedral but there were some trees in the way, so I took a picture of the Philharmonic Dining Rooms instead.

This has been described as England's most ornate pub and on entering I could see why. I didn't take any photographs inside but it seemed that almost every other customer was. Surely it must be England's most photographed pub!

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Liverpool...the centre of the world. Not exactly, but Liverpool is a grand city. It was built on the back of sea trade when England ruled the waves and half the world was pink. Liverpool was at the centre of this trade and it has never quite forgotten its importance. I have been coming to this city for many years, having grown up quite close, so let me show you some of my favourite places.

These three buildings dominate the waterfront at Pier Head. They are from left to right; The Liver Building, the Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building.

On top of the Liver Building you can find these two Liver Birds. This bird is a symbol of Liverpool and can be found on Liverpool Football Clubs logo. Many stories exist about the birds on top of this building, my favourite is that the female is looking out to sea to check that the sailors are safe, while the male bird is looking into the city to check that the pubs are open!
By the way, the clock face you can see is bigger than Big Ben!

Liverpool sits on the River Mersey, and looking out from Pier Head we can see a Mersey Ferry making its way across the river. There's a famous song by Gerry Marsden about this called simply, Ferry 'Cross the Mersey. It can usually be found in the karaoke boxes of Tokyo, and I have sang it many times.

Moving on from the Pier Head we come to the Albert Dock. This was the world's first fire proof warehouse system. Built from cast iron and brick it was a major improvement over the wooden structures that had existed before. It also allowed ships to unload/load their goods directly from the warehouses, speeded everything up.

This is a new addition to the things to see and do in Liverpool. It's called a duck (because it can travel on land and water) and offers a guided tour of the city. Lots more fun than a boring old sightseeing bus!

Here it is in the Canning Dock!

If you are ever in Liverpool I can't recommend this enough. A big thanks to John and Chris who were our driver and guide on our tour. Thanks for the informative tour and a bigger thank you for the jokes and entertainment!

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An Englishman's Home is his Garden Shed 

It is often said that "An Englishman's home is his castle" but from what I can see this should be changed to "An Englishman's home is his garden shed."
For those who don't know what a garden shed is let me explain; as most houses in England have gardens there is a need for somewhere to store all those gardening tools, bags of compost, plant pots etc. So traditionally most gardens have a small building made of wood for this purpose 'the garden shed.' In recent years the garden shed has undergone a transformation and now you can custom order your shed to your own specification. (If you want to see some examples of custom made sheds follow this link to West Lancs Sheds, I went to school with the owner.)
That is what my parents did and now it has become a kind of extra room, with not a garden tool to be seen.

In fact inside it has several comfortable chairs, a table and at night can be lit up with numerous candles. During this stay we have sat in it during many evenings enjoying a glass of wine.

Some more of the items in the shed from their many visits to Japan. Last year when I first saw the aka-chouchin it was hung upside down!

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Rivington Pike 

Today we went to Rivington Pike. It's a popular walking spot and offers some great views over Lancashire. On the walk up to the top of the hill we passed through the Rivington Terraced Gardens. These were laid out by Lord Leverhulme at the turn of the 20th Century but over the years have become neglected. Now it is an amazing adventure where you can see remains of the gardens and try to imagine what they must have looked like when new;

This I think was a summer house, or some sort of shelter. There are actually two of them looking out over a large flat space.

This tower at the top of the gardens was another summer house, apparently used by his wife for sewing! From this point you can see for miles.

And finally, this was a Japanese Garden. There are photographs in the visitor center that show a tea-house and a replica temple but the actual buildings have been sadly lost over the years.

As you can see it must have been very grand when it was built.

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