Outside, the rain smacks the windows of the bus. Inside, I sit huddled pulling my cardigan close around me trying to stave off the chill that is settling in my bones. The bus peels away from the traffic lights and we pass the River Mersey looking murky and uninviting. Next to me, four men bray loudly sharing photos on their phones and laughing. One of them laughs like a whistling kettle and it makes my nerves jangle. I’m finding the noise jarring. Have I made a mistake? Why did I think that I could leave Jersey and my cancer behind for the weekend? It’s still here, sitting on my shoulder whispering dark thoughts.
Arriving In Liverpool
After about an hour we finally reach Liverpool city centre. Looking out of the window I spy one of Liverpool’s cathedrals. I know that our hotel, Hope Street Hotel, is near the cathedral so grabbing Mr C we dive off the bus and out into the pouring rain. We trudge our way down the pavement going in the direction of the towering cathedral. I’m not paying enough attention to where I am putting my feet and I slide over a grate, almost tumbling onto my arse. Just at the last second I manage to regain my balance, silently applauding myself for my skills.
We turn the corner and we see our hotel. It’s a welcome sight and we hurry towards it, hoods pulled tightly around our face. Stepping into the hotel the receptionist doesn’t look impressed as a pool of water seeps around us. We frantically start stamping our feet on the mat and take off our sodden coats. The hotel is busy but no one seems to make any noise. For a brief moment I wonder if I have booked us into a monastery. The silence is broken by Mr C explaining we have booked into the hotel for three nights but knowing the room won’t be ready could we leave our bags somewhere. The receptionist agrees and we both breathe a sigh of relief.
Filling Our Boots
Bags safely deposited, we step back out into the torrential rain. We haven’t had breakfast and it’s now lunchtime. The idea had been to go for brunch at The Florist but it’s too late. Instead, we warily walk down the road, finally stumbling upon The Everyman Theatre. We find a table next to one of the misted up windows and after hungrily eyeing the menu we settle for hearty sandwiches which are brimming with yummy fillings and come with a generous helping of salad. The price is unbelievable: it’s such good value. After sating our appetites we reluctantly decide to head back out into the rain and seek shelter in the modern metropolitan cathedral. It’s like no cathedral I’ve been in before. My eyes gaze upwards at the stained glass windows as I tiptoe around the edge of the walls enjoying the peace.
Desperately Seeking A Toilet
My tranquility is interrupted by the rumblings of my bowel indicating I quickly need to find a toilet. Fruitlessly scanning the cathedral for any signs of loos the panic begins to rise. I find Mr C and share my predicament. We head back out into the rain. At the foot of the cathedral steps is a cafe which I sneak into and dive straight into the toilets, phew, just in time; I breathe a sigh of relief. In Jersey I know where all the toilets are but Liverpool presents a new challenge – hunt down the nearest toilet.
We decide to head down towards the shops and take refuge in them, getting excited at the choice, so many shops – “An H&M home” I exclaim. “A John Lewis” I excitedly shout. “Lush, we have to buy a bath bomb”. We step into Lush and I don’t know where to begin. The shop is laid out over three floors and I hear someone say that it’s the biggest in Europe. After much indecision, I choose two bath bombs. At the checkout I wince at the price as it seems a lot to pay for a bath full of bubbles; I’m expecting great things from this bath bomb.
The Cavern Club
Next stop, The Cavern Club. Finally, we locate it and I scan the brick wall outside for all the other bands that have played there. We head down into the gloom and find it’s heaving. There seems to be a lot of Hen and Stag parties dancing away to the live music. We soak up the atmosphere. The walls of the Cavern are plastered with Beatles memorabilia, a red phone box lurks in a dark corner and I get very excited when I spot a photo of Liam Gallagher on one of the walls.
On the way back to the hotel Mr C marches ahead eager to get out of the rain. I’m flagging though and find walking uphill hard. I wonder if this could be the cancer or is it just me recovering from the operations. I feel wet through and my clothes are sticking to me so much so that we divert to The Philharmonic Hall Dining Rooms.
Mr C Doesn’t Do Fancy Loos
It’s a grade 2 building and the interior is stunning. There are high backed chairs, cosy corners and ornate ceilings. We grab a drink and settle into a corner sipping our drinks slowly whilst attempting to dry off, reluctant to leave the warm space. I tell Mr C that he has to visit the gentlemen’s toilets as I have heard that they are Grade 1 listed and amazing. He looks a little perplexed but agrees to do as I have asked. Mr C returns to tell me that they are all right; he seems rather underwhelmed by the fancy loos.
Finally, we dash to our hotel. A car splashes through a puddle as we wait to cross the road and we jump back in shock. We hurry into the hotel and again the receptionist looks less than impressed with our sudden sodden entrance. Our room is cosy and inviting with exposed brick walls, wooden floors and huge windows offering tantalising views of Georgian houses and their gardens. I’m most excited about the bath. We don’t have a bath at home and I’m eager to fully make the most of it.
In between sneezes I quickly strip off my clothes deciding a bath is needed to warm me up. Just as I start to turn the taps I hear a sound of panic from Mr C, apparently the television isn’t working. It looks like I won’t be having that bath. He rings down to reception and the hotel manager comes up. Both he and Mr C stand there appraising the situation discussing the finer technical points of the TV before they switch it on and off to no avail. They wriggle some wires behind the television. Still nothing happens. In the end, it is decided that the hotel manager will look at the television again when we go out for the evening. I breathe a sigh of relief and start running my bath.
Not A Rainbow Bath
Once my bath is ready I excitedly drop one of the pricey Lush bath bombs into the water. It is rainbow coloured and I’m having visions of bathing in a multicoloured bath. Instead, what spools out is a pale yellow colour and I’m left with what looks like a bath of piss. Easing myself into it I am relieved to find it smells okayish. I read my book and float in the bath for a bit. After I’ve warmed up I get changed for dinner and we head out into the never-ending rain.
Luckily our restaurant is just around the corner and as we munch on our food Mr C and I talk. We talk about everything and anything. Families, friends, those who have supported us. We discuss our fears and hopes, we reminisce and we talk hopefully of the future.
Most of all, we laugh, we laugh a lot and we haven’t done that in a long time.