Saturday, 26 February 2011


As the crow flies, I live perhaps a mile or two from a bustling, cosmopolitan and vibrant city with a huge range of cultural activities. Being unable to fly like a crow, if I want to go over to Liverpool, I have to get across the river Mersey, which means either driving through a choice of tunnels, or getting one of the frequent trains (every 5 minutes from Birkenhead, every 15 minutes from New Brighton) Or if I wanted to really push the boat out, I could get a ferry, although they're geared up for taking tourists on expensive jaunts up and down the river, rather than taking commuters and shoppers from one side to the other these days.

Yet I rarely get over the water, and when I do it tends to be either on the way to somewhere else, or to give my step daughter a lift to work. Or to give Bren a lift with her stuff for an exhibition or craft fair.

Today though, I actually got off my arse and went over with Bren. First of all we had to pick up some of Brens work from an arts centre in Toxteth, but having done so, we walked a mile or so into the city centre, and went for a meal at "Egg", which bills itself as the city's premier vegetarian and vegan restaurant. I had tandoori mushrooms, which came with mint raita, pasta, salad, and couscous or chopped nuts or a mixture of the two. The world on my plate!

On the way back we went to a Chinese supermarket and bought a few bits and bobs. It was an interesting experience, that supermarket. There were the occasional incongrously familiar things, like jars of nescafe amidst the unfamiliar packages. We bought some bags of star anise, for their fragrance more than anything. Bren gets frequent migraines, and artificial perfumes are a major trigger. So having a magic tree dangling from my rear view mirror is out of the question.

I also found some cans of drink called "Grass Jelly drink". Just had to give that a go, so when I got home I cracked one open. First surprise was that it was not in the slightest bit fizzy, despite being in a can. Second surprise was that it tasted of... well, grass. The kind that cows eat, rather than the stuff you put in bongs. So it shouldn't have been that surprising when a big glob of jelly landed in my mouth. I won't be buying any more, but we will have fun giving the other cans to our friends.

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