A couple of weeks ago my Mom and Dad made the journey ‘up north’ to see me and together we played the role of wide eyed tourists around the city of Liverpool. I don’t get to see ‘the olds’ that much so it was fun to hang out with them for a couple of days.

It’s been many years since I traipsed around the museums and galleries of a city with my Mom and Dad. The last time we would have done something like this would probably have been when I was a kid and when the pair of them stood taller than I. Back then, with my brother and sister, we headed into London on a few occasions to check out the sites and museums.

I remember standing on the platform of Chelmsford train station waiting for the big diesel train to rattle into sight slowly coming to rest in front of us. The adventure of getting onto a train and racing to a window seat was exciting. A few minutes later the conductor would come around and give us tickets from a machine that was powered by the turn of a handle. It’s funny how clearly I remember sitting at the window looking at the passing scenery swinging my legs that were too short to reach the floor if I sat back in the seat. Every so often the trains horn would sound sending a rush of delight through me. ‘Make way, make way! We’re going to London.’ I would think to myself.

It’s funny the things that stick in your mind. Like Dad telling me that he stood in the same place on the station platform every single day on his commute to London. He told me how he would sit next to the same people every day. “Do you chat to them?” I asked. “A little bit, but not really.” He replied.

As the train rattled and shook its way along the tracks to Liverpool Street Station, we would eat sweets like ‘Chewits’ with their different colored wrappers. Dad discarded his on the floor of the train and was swiftly told off by Mom. He was keeping someone in a job, a train cleaner he said. But Mom just fixed him the kind of look that told him without words that picking up the wrapper was the only option. He did so, putting it in his pocket as my sister, Louise, and I laughed at how he got told off.

I can’t really recall much about the museums and galleries themselves. The Science Museum was cool because it had space exhibits which you could walk in and out of, buttons you could press that would make things light up, and levers you could pull that would make noises. I do remember thinking that the Victoria and Albert museum must surely be a very boring place. A museum all about some couple called Victoria and Albert wouldn’t likely have buttons to press or levers to pull. It would probably be more like a stuffy old library with adults who tell you to “shush!” all the time, putting there finger on their lips as they look down at you sternly, I thought.

Yayoi Kusama - The Passing Winter

Just as we had done all those years ago, we again took the train into the city. Mom specifically wanted to see the Maritime Museum which was far more interesting that I thought it might be. Something I found a little amusing was the fact that this time, rather than it being me who was zooming past the display cases and carefully arranged artifacts, it was Mom who was speeding her way through the museum. It made no real difference though because the pair of us had to wait for Dad who took his own sweet time wandering through the history laden walkways.

The Tate Gallery was our next stop. It’s a modern art gallery full of pieces that make you wonder why it is you never became the kind of artist who could talk about something like an upside-down glass mannequin in such a way that makes other people feel that can’t say that it’s just an upside-down glass mannequin. There was one piece that made an impression though, ‘The Passing Winter’ by Yayoi Kusama was a glass box made up of mirrors with holes in which you could peer at the amazing infinite reflections.

To round off our day of sightseeing Dad suggested we jump onto an open top bus tour of Liverpool. We sat back and relaxed as it trundled around the city streets telling us facts and figures most of which I’ve already forgotten. If you ever come to this city I would recommend this attraction because you can jump on and off the bus as many times as you like in 24 hours.

Open top tour bus

All in all it was a great weekend. We spent a great deal of the time just chatting. It’s funny how the dynamic between us has changed over the years, yet in many ways it’s remained the same. It wasn’t always easy between us, we had our ups and downs as we all grew up, like most families I guess. But as I chatted with ‘the olds’ over dinner on Sunday I realised that these two people really did do a great job of raising three kids who, though I say so myself, have all turned out to be decent people. We might not be the Walton’s but I’m proud to be the second son of Alan and Jennifer Jones.