During my time at conference, perhaps because it was my first one, I attended most (all?) of the main conference sessions. I also tried to fit in as many fringe events as possible though I still missed plenty that I’d have liked to attend. So I spent most of the week rushing from place to place with a very full timetable.
It was my first visit to Liverpool, so it seemed a shame that my only glimpses of it were in the early morning commute from across the Mersey on my way to a pre-morning session fringe event, and late at night on the way back from more fringe events.
After the final session of conference, I wanted to put that right and see some of the sights of Liverpool. First I paid a visit to the International Slavery Museum, part of the Maritime Museum in Albert Dock. I was deeply moved by the stories related in the galleries. Tales of such inhumanity it was scarcely believable, yet the tale of Liverpool’s growth as a seaport on the back of the African and West Indian trade is well known. Worse still was the fact that it still continues today in some parts of the world. I wish I had more time to spend there but I had a ferry to catch.
The famous Ferry across the Mersey was next on my itinerary. However the ticket office was difficult to find, and then the entrance to the ferry itself wasn’t signed clearly either – I ended up going down the wrong gangplank, so that by the time I had reached the right one, the 2pm ferry had left. I used the hour until the next one to grab a panini and ice cream and to try to figure out whether I could still fit everything else in.
The trip across the river was short, and accompanied by a soundtrack which announced points of interest on the shoreline. I was more impressed by the wind turbines, however! Once in Birkenhead, I visited the local attraction of Spaceport. One aimed at the younger visitor, methinks, rather than the seasoned amateur astronomer, but the Wallace & Gromit exhibition was fun and interesting.
After a bus, a train ride back under the Mersey, and another bus ride, I was able to pay a visit to one of the largest Model Railway shops in the UK, Hattons. With my purchases in hand, and a smaller bank balance, I returned to my digs in Rock Ferry for the last time this week.
I am sure that, over the next few days, I will reflect further on conference, look at what I’ve learned from it and consider what we could be doing in Angus.