“The only thing I know is that I know nothing” – Socrates
It’s been six months now. Six months since we left behind the winding roads and rice terrace’s of China’s Yunnan province and arrived back to the familiar sight of the green patchwork fields of rural England. An England that along with the rest of the UK, decided to wave goodbye to our friends on mainland Europe and embark hesitantly into uncharted waters. Not to our surprise we found out that it wasn’t just us that didn’t see Brexit coming, but most of the country. It’s going to be interesting…
After a prolonged bout of head scratching and almost permanent looks of confusion, we came to the realisation that this was indeed real. Steve got a job, Betty started nursery and Nay had the task of being ‘the world’s best mum’ all over again, this time to Betty’s new little sister Nancy! The decision to return to the UK was made well before we arrived in China. Nay found out she was pregnant way back in Bali and it was then that we decided to head back home. Truth be told, if we had found somewhere we’d connected with and were able to have stayed put for 6 months, we may well have done so. We would have gone back to Oregon in a heartbeat, however finances and visa rules meant that was off the cards. We would have to leave that one for another day. It was rather apt then that on our return to England we should decide to settle in Liverpool. The historic port city with strong trade links to many parts of the world but in particular China. London’s Chinatown may have the shouty waiters and bright lights of the West end, but Liverpool’s is home to the oldest Chinese diaspora in Europe. I’m not sure though which tongue is harder to decipher, Mandarin or Scouse?
The plan is not to settle in Liverpool long term, however for the time being it suits just great. It has been strange though living in a city centre, something which we’ve not done for any length of time. The hustle and bustle I guess is not really an issue when your readjusting after having returned from the worlds most populous country. To put things into perspective, there are 119 cities in China as big as Liverpool (800,000). There are only 69 cities in the whole of the UK, the smallest being St Davids in Wales with a population of just 2,000 people. 2,000 people in China is a mere gathering.
Liverpool though is something of a surprise. A city overshadowed somewhat by its bigger neighbour down the road Manchester, it may have been off the radar a few years back, however judging by the number of different accents heard wandering around the docks on a weekend, its well and truly on the map. You see Liverpool has more museums and galleries than any other city in the UK outside of the capital and the calibre and quantity on offer is staggering for a city of its size. What has also impressed us has been how child friendly the city is and how many cracking places are within striking distance. On a good day we can be kicking back on the white sands of West Kirby beach in less than 40mins from the city centre!
The travelling hasn’t quite stopped since we’ve been back…
We have managed to take in eight of England’s numerous counties whilst visiting family and friends. From the Lake District in the North, to our old home of St Albans in the South, we once again clocked up the miles, this time though we had the added bonus of the relative comforts of our own vehicle. Over the past couple of years Betty has grown accustomed to life on the road and all the travel that comes with it. She could handle Twelve hours on a Filipino ‘Bone shaker’ with the best 3 year old out there, but being told that she needed to be strapped into a toddler seat every time she now climbed into a car, didn’t go down so well. On the bright side, at least she has little Nancy noodles to keep her company now!
Anyway if your reading this and thinking about a visit to the North West of England, then pay Liverpool a visit. I can guarantee you will have the most bizarre conversations with some of the friendliest locals in the country. You might even take to hair rollers!
Visit on a Saturday afternoon and you’ll understand 😉
- Amazing parks – Calderstones being a staunch favourite, including an ice cream parlour and storybarn.
- Central Library – A beautiful building with the best selection of children’s books of any library we’ve ever been in.
- The museums – The greatest collection of museums in the UK outside of London. Child friendly with free activities both midweek and on a weekend.
- West Kirkby – Brilliant for kite flying, collecting shells or searching for star fish.
- Formby beach – lovely red squirrel nature reserve with massive sand dunes for racing down!
- Scousers, thats slang for locals, what a great bunch of humerous, open and kind people.
- Filter and Fox – Cosy, unpretentious coffee shop.
- Princes Road synagogue – A hidden gem among Liverpools collection of many listed buildings.
- FACT – Arts centre not just for the grown ups.
- When are we going on a plane again? – Didn’t take Betty long then did it.
- My names not Betty its Moana!
- Whats her name again mummy? – Glad Betty bonded with her little sister then.
- Daddy your names Elvis and your from Pontypandy Ok? – Fireman sam’s a favourite.
- Che Che – Betty still drops in a little mandarin every now and again!
- Where’s my purple card gone!? – She’s got quite attached to this library card.
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