Autumn leaves are beginning to disappear, and the other week-end Snowdonia had a very wintry chill!
Nonetheless, half-term brought some fine weather, and there were groups of children and coach parties to boost the winding column of people on the Pier Head landing-stage ramp.at noon on Friday 27th October.
More good news is that the evening cruises re-introduced this year have been successful and will be repeated – a facility Friends of the Ferries have long advocated.
Not all has been well on the Ferries, however, and there have been a series of breakdowns to test the patience of regular travellers, and to disappoint tourists and visitors. Overall, my cycle commuter friend confirms that regular cyclists’ numbers are being maintained, and that Liverpool hire bikes are often seen crossing the Mersey to and from New Brighton and the Wirral coastal route. Breakdowns mean buses for foot passengers, but cyclists have a long way round to Hamilton Square Station with the Four Bridges replacement works. Excellent and friendly staff help smooth these upsets, I’m told, and the river is still the best way to travel to work! On November 8th, when trains and buses were on strike, two vessels were in service - a feather in the cap for Mersey Ferries! Friends would award even more feathers if the Royal Daffodil was brought out of lay-up to fill the occasional gaps, and also earn some charter work revenue.
Our summer Dock and River Cruise at the end of May was very successful – almost a sell-out – enhanced by plenty of vessels on the river and in the dock system, ably commentated on by the ever-cheerful Stuart Wood and Andy Ball. We all enjoy their company. As many of you will know. Stuart, a retired Mersey pilot, now takes turns to command the beautifully restored Ship Canal steam tug Daniel Adamson, which has now completed its first full season of cruises. He and Andy broadcast “River Watch” each Saturday at 7.50 am. on Radio Merseyside, well worth a listen.
On the river, we can observe from the ferry the emerging hull of the Sir David Attenborough, the new Antarctic Polar Research ship being built at Cammell Laird. In late August, the stern section was barged around from Hebburn on Tyne to be joined to the rest of the hull. At the Liverpool 2 Seaforth Dock, a second phase is commencing within the dock system - another 3 giant cranes are to be installed. Last week, Stuart drew listeners’ attention to the plan for a new Isle of Man terminal at Liverpool, just north of the Cruise Terminal. The land has been purchased from Peel Ports by the IoM Government, which has a 25 year investment strategy during which a reliable and economic service is to be provided, with new vessels.
The provisional date for our 2017 Dock and River Cruise is 25th August 2018, somewhat later than usual as Mersey Ferries has an extended Ship Canal Cruise programme next year. Make a note in your diary!
Our Newsletter edited by Geoff Holmes is enclosed, and please find tickets for our ever-popular Christmas Draw run by Gordon Ditchfield. Membership receipts or reminders are also enclosed. Joan Roberts continues to attend local events and fairs with her sales stall - see some items below for Christmas presents! My very best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year!
Sales items for Christmas may be obtained from Joan Roberts 10 Bayswater Gardens Wallasey Wirral CH45 8LB Tel.0151 639 1435.
For full sales list send SAE. Cheques for SALES ITEMS PAYABLE to Joan Roberts, please.
Colour postcards of the three current ferries, plus 1951 Royal Iris (18p); some black and white cards of historic ferries (10p).
Friends of the Ferries retractable biros (30p). SAE please.
Don Woods DVD’s: Mersey Cruise; Wallasey Past and Present; Liverpool; £8.50 each; CD Songs of the River £7.50; all incl. p&p.
Also, some Norman Colbourne paintings printed as cards, with envelopes (6”x 8”) suitable for greetings or framing: The Old Routine passengers walking around the deck of J.Farley, and Evening Boat with Egremont off Seacombe, plus famous liners at Pier Head with ship history on back: £1 each plus postage (1 or 2 cards 56p; up to 9 £1.22; over 9 £1.58).