All roads lead to St Helens, eventually

Thursday is a holiday, this week any way. No work and a whole day away from the desktop, away from having to think about things I only think about because I am paid to and away from people who get paid to tell you what to do. I can wear my shorts and I can have a pee whilst watching the television (hygienically of course!), should I wish to. As it transpired, I only wished to do the former. I have tried the latter, but my wife didn’t appreciate the sight. 

Today was sunny. Today was that glorious type of sunny that can only occur in England. I admit and agree that is so very much because we have low expectations of the weather and, as a nation, are almost scared of the sun, but when it shines on days like today it is a wonder of nature. People stand taller, their heads held high like sunflowers, life is calmer if you are not stuck in a car and the earth seems to glow, radiate. 

I also had plans. Today, I would pack my camera and head off to the North West English coast, Crosby to be exact, Liverppol-on-sea, if you can imagine such a beast. I think it is fair to say without being too judgmental that Crosby beach is not one of the natural wonders of the world. The huge industrial shadows of Liverpool’s docks and the strangely English predilection for stashing used condoms and empty crisp packets on the sand had seen to that. No, I was here for only one thing, or one collection of things, only. Antony Gormley’s “Another Place” is wonderful, it is as simple as that. But then again, how could life sized iron sculptures of a naked man’s body not be? What could signify the British seaside more? 

There is a wonderful calm and serenity to the place, though as I arrived at exactly the point of the highest tide possible, there wasn’t an awful lot of calm and serenity occurring in my immediate vicinity. However, the seawater receded quickly and I was able to stroll to my heart’s and my camera’s content.

gormley5 in bw


When i had sufficed of Mr Gormley and to top off my calm and serenity quotas along with my the “trucker tan” of my right arm, I headed to St Helens. Again, for those of you who may or may not know, St Helens is rather more faded industrial than tourist hotspot. More chimneys and closed mining pits and less white sanded beaches and bikinis. The reason for my visit was a sight I had glanced inbetween bouts of ranting at other cars on the dreaded M62 motorway. As you pass along, strange white shapes appear indistinctly from the trees and as I now had the chance, I wanted to see. Having finally found the car park after 5 attempts, I made my way up a secluded path, turned a corner and there she was in all her glory. “The Dream” is a wondrous white structure, a lady at peace, eyes closed yet still watching you. It’s very odd and ever so slightly surreal. There, on a former mining site, in amongst what nature is reclaiming, next to a muderous motorway, in amongst an are of some deprivation is an enormous, beautiful female face with her eyes closed. Yet it looks as though it has every right to be there. Like she’s always been there. As with Mr Gormley, , Mr Jaume Plensa has created something special and something damned good to photograph. Thank you gents. 

dream1 in bw


4 thoughts on “All roads lead to St Helens, eventually”

  1. Another insightful set thoughts and photos. Serenity, apart from the motorway(!), seems to shine through. A gret way to end my evening

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