Two and a half years after fetching up here I still love Liverpool and am glad it was here I fetched up. I won't be here forever, hope to end up somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales, my favourite place in the whole universe, where I'll stride the moors daily with three or four collies skittering around my shins. For now though Liverpool will do.
For a city (and a vast city at that, irrespective of its modest population) there's an awful lot of nature reasonably close by. There are three parks - Sefton Park, Green Bank Park and Wavertree Mystery - within ten minutes walk of where I live and the jewel of them all, Calderstones Park, is maybe half an hour away on foot. But I've always lived near parks and woods and fields and the like. I've never before been so close to beaches, however.
Depending on what you fancy there are a number of beaches to select from. I've still to check out Gormley's Another Place at Crosby but I try and get over to West Kirby several times a year. Stride across the Dee estuary at low tide, blasted by warm Atlantic winds, to Hilbre Island where the seals aren't. There's a vast muddy wasteland with a desolate pier stretched across it and cut-throat razor shells scattered about at Southport and no improvement on the Old at New Brighton.
These photographs aren't from any of those places, however. These were taken (by my brilliant partner, Ms Suomi-Suolmate) on several visits to Formby Point, the only beach that Queen has visited so far. It can get very busy (the crowds, sadly, bringing and leaving their litter) during school holidays but it stretches off into forever, especially at low tide, so there's always peace and solitude to be found if you keep walking north and west.
Queen loves the beach. It's where we first saw her play. She loves to snuffle up starfish, bury her nose in the sand, charge off to the horizon and back again. And sometimes, she just loves to sniff and stroll.
(You can see all the photos of Queen I've scanned in so far here)