Chester Zoo calling

I love Chester Zoo, its one of my favorite places to go and i try to go each summer. We, as a family, visit the zoo where ever we are on holiday and we have been to quite a few over the past few years. We have enjoyed Longleat, Twycross, Knowsley safari park, south lakes wildlife park, New forest wildlife park to name a few. But you cant help compare them all to Chester zoo. We introduced a friends husband who came all the way from Tenerife, unfortunatley we went on one of the worst days of the summer and he renamed the zoo Chester Loo as we seemed to stop off at every toilet in the zoo ūüôā and hardly saw any of the animals as they were sheltering from the rain. Any way i digress, THIS time we had a gorgeous sunny day, the zoo has had a good breading year and we managed to see the tiger cubs, baby elephants and rhino, we didn’t see the cheetah cubs unfortunately but there were plenty of other animals to see.

Wanderings with Chris. Eastham, Wirral

Ok so here goes, My Mum has cancer. Phew hard one to say. But what has that got to do with Wandering with Chris you might ask. Well its my way of relaxing and having me time and our way of having time together because having cancer means you get to visit the hospital a LOT and i am the one person in our family who gets to do the caring. It’s much harder than i ever expected, i knew from a very early age that when our parents became older/pensioners that out of me and my sister, well it would fall on me to care. I am sad, my heart feels as if it will break, i don’t WANT my Mum to be suffering this way, who would and going out all day, just one day a week¬†¬†is my way of dealing with and getting a way from all of the appointments, hospitals, medications etc that go with his horrible disease. Chris is my back up, he is there whenever i need a hug or to cry or to rage and he is also my navigator (in more ways than one). I say i want to go and find, say, windmills or old buildings and he gets on google maps and finds us places to go, then directs us, my own personal tomtom sat nav lol. We have wandered a lot, around Wirral, Liverpool, Wales, some places we will go back to again, others were not really very good. This is about our wanderings in Eastham, Wirral.

So a bit about Eastham.,_Merseyside

Eastham is cited as one of the oldest villages on the Wirral Peninsula and has been inhabited since¬†Anglo Saxon¬†times. The name derives from it’s location:¬†ham¬†(“home”) situated to the east of Willaston, which was then the principal settlement.[3]¬†The original village is clustered around¬†St. Mary’s Church, whose churchyard contains an ancient¬†yew tree. Much of the surrounding land was once owned by the powerful¬†Stanley¬†family. (could possibly be related to my family on the BECK side)

Since the Middle Ages, a ferry service operated across the River Mersey between Eastham and Liverpool, the early ferries being run by monks from the Abbey of St. Werburgh. By the late 1700s, up to 40 coaches each day arrived at a newly built pier, carrying passengers and goods for the ferry. Paddle steamers were introduced in 1816 to replace the sailing boats, but the demand for a service declined in the 1840s with the opening of a railway link between Chester and Birkenhead Woodside Ferry. In 1846, the owner of the ferry, Thomas Stanley, built the Eastham Ferry Hotel and shortly after, the Pleasure Gardens were added to attract more visitors. The gardens were landscaped with rhododendrons,azaleas, ornamental trees and fountains. Attractions included a zoo, with bears, lions, monkeys and antelope, an open air stage, tea rooms, bandstand, ballroom, boating lake, water chute and a loop-the loop roller coaster.[4]

Entertainers performed in the gardens during summer, and included Blondin, the famous tight-rope walker who once wheeled a local boy across a high wire in a wheelbarrow. In 1894, the Manchester Ship Canal was opened by Queen Victoria, bringing added prosperity to the area and a Jubilee Arch was built at the entrance to the Pleasure Gardens in 1897 to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.

The ‘Bear Pit’ at Eastham Woodland & Country Park as it stood in 2006.

In 1854 the American novelist¬†Nathaniel Hawthorne, whilst in the position of United States¬†consul¬†in Liverpool, visited Eastham and declared it to be: “the finest old English village I have seen, with many antique houses, and with altogether a rural and picturesque aspect, unlike anything in America, and yet possessing a familiar look, as if it were something I had dreamed about.”[5]

In its heyday Eastham Ferry was known as the ‘Richmond of the Mersey’, but its popularity declined during the 1920s and the last paddle steamer crossing took place in 1929. The Pleasure Gardens fell into disrepair during the 1930s and the iron pier and Jubilee Arch were later dismantled.[4]¬†In 1970, to commemorate European Conservation Year, the area was designated a Woodland &¬†Country Park¬†and today, it is once more a popular place of recreation.

So it was to the country park that we went. We¬†haven’t¬†been there for many years and we were¬†pleasantly¬†surprised at how nice it was.


We wandered and chatted to some lovely people, there was a lot to see and nearing the waterfront there were boats going past, the sun was shining on the water, it was just a lovely day.


The park is large, we covered just a small section of it so we will have to go back, wandering with Chris is a great way to explore where we live and doing it with someone who means so much to me is a great way to spend a day.

Chris is @clawfish, velvetmedia.wordpress and clawfish soup on tumblr. Please, drop by and read his great poetry. Thanks.

Our Summer Holidays are now over! Officially.

Summer. You think of warm/hot sunny days, warm BBQ evenings and balmy nights. Well maybe in other countries but not in England this year. This year has been a bit wet to say the least. It has been confirmed that  summer 2012 in England and Wales has been the biggest washout for a century, with  the Met Office saying that it has been the one of the dullest, coolest and the soggiest since 1912.

We had been scheduled to go to Cumbria last week but received a call the day before leaving to ask if we still wished to go as they were giving out boards and tarps to all campers as it was a bit muddy. We decided to go to Derbyshire  instead! While we were there we read in the paper that  Cumbria was hit by heavy rain and flash flooding on Thursday forcing people to leave their homes and causing a train  to derail. A landslide is thought to have caused the derailment of the  train, which was travelling towards Sellafield nuclear plant.  Summer this year has had just 399 hours of sunshine, it has also been cool, oh really, with a mean temperature of 14C (57F),  0.4C below  average. We have experienced, some more than others, 366.8mm of rain, not quite the 384.4mm seen in the summer of 1912 but give it time.

But. Our Summer has not been all about bad weather. We have had three great weeks camping. Two weeks in Bath and Dorset and a week in Derbyshire. We have visited some fantastic places like Longleat, The Tank Museum in Bovington, Dorset, The National Brewery Centre, Burton upon Trent,   Donington Park Race Track, Derby, Twycross Zoo, oh lots of lovely places and visited with a cousin and his family not seen for many years. One of the high lites of my summer holidays was the visit to Brownsea Island off the coast of Dorset. I have been a Scout leader for over eight years and i have always said i would visit the home of Scouting and i have, we had a lovely day, it was sunny, walking around the Island and visiting the Stone which marks the site of the first Scout camp in 1907. There were several Scout and Guide groups camping on the Island and we were waved to and offered tea whenever we met a group, one leader even gave my daughter a rather long peacock tail feather which is sitting in a vase on my sideboard. We had a great day and enjoyed the boat ride back to the mainland. I dont think the children got bored all holiday but i know they wont want to go back to school this week, shame. Unfortunately we missed the Olympics but we will get to see the second week of the Paralympics  and will be able to cheer on our favorite athletes.

My holidays have been about reconnecting with my children, relaxing with my husband and taking lots of photographs, i think i have managed all three! It will be a wrench when everyone is back at work or school and life is back to normal but on the other hand it will give me SOME peaceful days in which to work on my photos and put them up on my blog, flickr, viewbug etc. I have  put a few photos below which are my particular favorites from this summer, i hope you enjoy them. Oh and here is looking forward to  October half term!