I've recently returned from a holiday on Anglesey, off the coast of North Wales. We stayed in a holiday cottage at Treaddur Bay which was owned by a woman who was a native if the island and her husband who was from the Wirral. They actually live about halfway between Liverpool and Anglesey as he works out of Liverpool as a pilot guiding large ships up the Mersey to the port.
That knowledge went a good way to explaining the presence of maps on the walls of the cottage. In the living room there was a large map of the world which fascinated, not only me but my husband and two eldest sons. Other maps were of places such as the approaches to Bristol, Glasgow and Gibraltar.
Since I was a young girl growing up in Liverpool I have found much enjoyment visiting the Pierhead and other places situated on the Mersey, the Dee and Welsh coast.
My grandfather Milburn was a stoker on one of the dredgers that helped keep open the ways between the sandbanks in the Mersey, paths the pilots had to be conversant with. In Medieval times it was Chester on the Dee that was the premier port not Liverpool but when the Dee silted up, Liverpool went from being a fishing village to
a town given a royal charter by King John and it is from Liverpool that most business was done with Dublin. Cattle would come by boat and be driven through the streets of Liverpool to the abattoir even within living memory.
When I was doing research for one of my sagas I read about a paddle steamer that used to be a mecca for gamblers that sailed to Wales. There were also ferry boats that travelled to Llandudno taking people on day trips and I don't think I'm mistaken but once up on a time there was a ferry between Liverpool and Holyhead, Anglesey, too.
I remember after the war there were buoys in the Mersey showing the sites where ships had been sunk, another danger that pilots had to be aware of.
Finally I must mention that although Liverpool no longer has the number of ships in the Mersey that it once did, it has resurrected itself and visitors, whether by air, train, bus or boat still find the city and its environs worth a visit.
At time of writing we've just had two of the hottest days of the year so far, so son No 2 took himself off first to the beach at Waterloo/Crosby and then the next day across the Mersey to New Brighton. Needless to say, he wasn't the only one making the most of sun, sand and glistening sea.