Peace Doves Yoga

In a change to the usual Monday evening programming, my friend Jane booked us onto a yoga class. Nothing too unusual about that you may think, but this was a yoga session on the floor of Liverpool Cathedral, underneath 15,000 suspended paper peace doves.

The incredible art installation, has been on display since May 2021, and has run all summer. Ending on the 30th of August, this was the last week the yoga classes were running, so we were lucky to bag our spot on a mat.

I got down early to the cathedral, after the tourists had left but before the yogi’s arrived, meaning I had time to meander and explore the exterior of the cathedral in a way I hadn’t really done before.

E3FFFE30-D94B-415F-AF7A-22A5B4762E6F_1_201_a

According to Wikipedia, Liverpool Cathedral is the 8th largest church in the world, and the largest religious building in Britain, which surprised me, but its position standing on top of St James Mount, does give it an advantage and adds to its impressiveness.

Work started on the building in 1904, with the Lady Chapel being the first part to be completed in 1910. Building work was delayed somewhat due to both the first and second world wars, with it finally being finished 74 years later in 1978, with Queen Elizabeth attending the opening ceremony.

Once I’d done a 360 on the cathedral, I headed down below, for a walk through St James Gardens, a tranquil, sunken cemetery, garden and spring. Hidden below Upper Duke Street, it can easily be missed, but it’s well worth a wander if you’re in the area.

Then it was back up to the cathedral, with yoga mat in hand to meet my friend and head inside. The yoga session was run by a lovely chilled teacher called Roisin, who is based at Yoga Therapy Liverpool. After a slightly shaky start due to issues with the sound, the class started and for the next hour, we breathed slowly, stretched deeply and completely unwound from the working day.  I haven’t attended an actual in person class for a number of years, not just because of Covid restrictions, but I haven’t found a class that suits since leaving Liverpool, prior to that I attended a hot yoga school weekly. Instead I try and do at least a couple of Yoga with Adriene classes a month, so I was a little worried what level the yoga would be pitched at, I needn’t have been concerned though, it was a good all round, all levels class, no head stands or fast paced astanga poses at all.

After the class, we were free to wander around the interior and get our selfie’s with the peace doves, so of course we obliged.

By the time we stepped back outside, feeling throughly chilled, the sun was just setting across the city, and I pretty much floated back home.

Post lockdown travel plans

Travel is starting to open up, but I’m reluctant to start booking many trips, as things are still so uncertain, and with 4/5 trips cancelled last year, I am hesistant to spend any more time emailing and spending hours on the phone trying to reschedule tours and claiming back refunds.

So, Peru that was scheduled for Sept 2020, its on hold till 2022, but im hoping to extend it to a longer trip to South America, covering a few countries.  It will be my first visit to that continent, so with almost 2 years of no travel, I plan to take full advantage and spend longer over there that I had initially planned, fingers crossed.

Until then, I hope to visit Portugal with my mother in October for a city break, and this summer will be full of walks, and trips within the UK, to catch up with all my friends I have missed this past year. . . .

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Once lockdown restrictions began to loosen up over the summer in the UK, I started to make plans to meet up with friends. Living in the North West, we still had limitations on who we could see and where we could go, so after a bit of research, a friend and I decided the massive outdoor grounds that house the Sculpture Park would be ideal.

Situated close to Wakefield, the open air gallery is situated within the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate, currently showcasing sculptures from artists even I had heard of, such as Damien Hirst and Ai WeiWei. In particular I wanted to see Damien’s ‘Virgin Mother’ statue and a gigantic Portugese cockeral by Joana Vassconcelos, which greets you as you arrive at the park.

40D64151-3080-4FA4-AF51-52523D8570BE

Covid has meant the park is run a little differently than before, you can only buy your ticket online, and a lot of the indoor spaces are closed, but with over 80 outdoor sculptures and installations to see, you can easily spend your day visiting just those. But, there are still indoor toilets and a gift shop that you can visit (masks mandatory) and they have converted their cafe to an outdoor take away space.

Tonnes of Covid friendly measures are in place, with one way arrows, hand sanitiser on gates dotted all over the place and the one indoor exhibition space, limits the number of visitors inside at a time.

We had a glorious day, I think my friend and I were just excited to be able to socialise again after lockdown, but there was some truely amazing, unique sculptures that really made you stop and think. My favourites were indeed the Virgin Mother, but I also really liked the Buddha by Saint Phalle, the Rabbit Madonna by Usagi Kannon II and Network by Thomas J Price.

We were super lucky with the weather too, and although it rained later in our visit, we were still able to enjoy a sunny picnic with some sheep in a field, overlooking the lake and it was almost like the virus had just been a bad dream.

I hadn’t paid too much to the indoor exhibit on offer, as I initially presumed it would be closed, but I’m glad we ventured over, as it was truely inspiring. It was curated by the Portugese Artist Joana Vassconcelos, who designed the giant cockeral at the entrance, but other works on display indoors, included the iconic oversized silver stilettos of Marilyn, made out of saucepans, which represented the division between women’s traditional domestic and contemporary public roles and I also loved the ‘Red Independant Heart #3’ made entirely of red plastic cutlery.

 

As far as my first post lockdown adventure went, it was a total success!

and then I gave up alcohol & started hiking

One of the things I wanted to do since getting a bit (ahem) older was start hiking and getting fitter. Getting out and exploring the local area, and ticking off local hikes, felt like something to keep my wanderlust alive inbetween seeing new countries. Also, since giving up alcohol in July 2020 I wanted to find a new social group in the area that also wanted to hang out alcohol free. I had searched the internet and just before Covid hit in March (2020) I found Bee Sober via Instagram, they had arranged sober meet ups, from full on night outs, hiking, coffee mornings and more. Of course, just as I found them, everything stopped as the country went into lockdown, but once things loosened in around July time, the group started up again, this time organising hikes as it was the only way we could meet up. So I joined and so far I’ve done around 6 weekend walks, and met a super bunch of like minded people.

Im going to write up my hikes here, as well as other hikes I’m doing to keep busy during this pandemic, but also with a view to hiking a few more exotic destinations once travel restrictions open up *fingers crossed*. Of course, I should have hiked Machu Picchu last month, but Covid had other plans. Ive also bought a digital camera, I’ve not had one for years, as I have a habit of breaking them, but I thought hiking new places and taking photos seemed like a good way of getting though this pandemic, and so far weather permitting, its working.

“Perhaps there is no thrill so great as that which comes with a walk in the freshness of morning air.”
― Hellen Keller

A7FE7A8F-A895-4B4E-A795-F1487B95182C_1_105_c