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An ECHO Supplement

Autumn on the GO!

Your complete family guide to half term, Halloween and beyond


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Contents 8



Here to help you make the most of this autumn


EAVES are falling and the nights are getting darker. But it’s no excuse for staying in. There are more family friendly things to do in Merseyside this autumn than you could shake a stick at. So to point you in the right direction the ECHO has produced a fun-filled leisure guide. Over the next 30 pages we’ll to help you make the most of the season’s events and activities, beginning with Halloween – and there’s a host of ghostly goings on. Why not try your hand at pumpkin carving in the park or go to a spooky lantern parade at St Luke’s? Light up your Bonfire Night by checking what’s

on near you in our comprehensive Guy Fawkes round up. The traditional Sefton Park extravaganza promises to go with a real bang this year, taking Man’s first steps on the Moon. The city’s museums, art galleries and parks are a hive of kids’ activities during half term week, and they’re free. Or for a roaring good time, how about taking advantage of our offer two for one offer for Knowsley Safari Park? Some of the best family films and shows of the year are on in and around Liverpool in the coming months, including Disney’s Princess Wishes and smash hit Pixar animation Up, great for a rainy day treat. So come on, wrap up warm, get out, and see this autumn on the go!

LIVERPOOL ECHO EDITOR: Alastair Machray AUTUMN ON THE GO EDITOR: Emma Pinch DESIGNER: Cheryl Mullin PHOTOGRAPHY: Trinity Mirror photographers


22 Page 3: Halloween Frights

Pages 16 & 17: Art Attacks

Frightening fun on the farm

Art events to draw inspiration from

Pages 4 & 5: Spooky Events

Pages 18 & 19: Park Life

Halloween activities around the region

Make the most of the changing season

Page 6: Children’s Puzzle Page Scarily good puzzles, jokes and recipes

Page 7: Ghostly Liverpool Stroll through the city’s haunted streets

Pages 8 & 9: Bonfire Night Firework displays around the region

Page 10 & 11: Autumn Festivals

Page 20: Ness Gardens Exploring a winter wonderland

Page 21: Formby Squirrels Red squirrels making a welcome return

Page 22 & 23: Animal Magic Meeting creatures great and small

Pages 24 & 25: Thrills and Spills Daring activities for young thrill-seekers

Page 12: Go Penguins

Pages 26 & 27: It’s Showtime

Meet the loveable birds invading the city

Live shows for all the family

Page 13: Knowsley Safari Park

Pages 28 & 29: Movie Magic

Irish festival and comedy at Southport

Meet the makers of Pixar’s latest film - Up

Get money off your next visit

Page 30: Half-term Films

Pages 14 & 15: Museum Madness

What’s on the big screen

Half-term fun for the kids

Page 31: Sound Machine The big names playing the city


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Halloween Frights

Frightening fun down on the farm

Merseyside is turning to Hollywood for Halloween inspiration. Emma Pinch reports.


IGGER. Better. It might not be true of everything Americans do, but one event they do have cracked is Halloween. Halloween is a year round industry in the States. Comedy fangs and a night in watching the Omen part III on the box won’t do at all. And it’s not just for kids. Whole theme parks are given over to the Halloween experience visitors can ‘live’ the Certificate 18 terror scenario of their choice. It’s catching on here. Down dark leafy lanes in Merseyside people are lurking in wait to make your darkest nightmares come true. More precisely, it’s former farmers lying in wait, assisted by up to 100 actors drawn from across the county and the cream of new artists from local colleges. “Basically people love to be scared,” says former fireman Steve Ledsham, 60, who hosts a three-level terror experience in the woods at Church Farm, Thurstaston, Wirral. “Fear” is a hay ride on a trailer attached to his tractor which takes place in pitch black darkness. Once in the spooky environs of his 10,000 evergreen woods riders are forced to take their chances with whatever might lurk there. Harry Potter, it aint. Steve and his family began their haunted hay rides 13 years ago after realising their organic market garden, livery yard and Christmas tree sales weren’t enough to make ends meet. His son Matt had poached the idea from a Canadian newspaper. Bit by bit they ramped up the scariness. “What used to happen was people stayed on the tractor trailer for a 20 minute ride and went though various scenes, while actors jumped on the tractor,” says Matt, 32. “People felt quite safe. Now we get them off the tractor in the wood. You can really go to town with the frights at night.” It’s attracted a devoted following as far away as Manchester. The whole family gets dressed up and helps out. “My sister Sal is on the ticket booth. My dad tends to be driving the tractor, with horrible scars on his face. I’m lurking about in the forest, checking everything is OK,” says Steve. Farmer Mark Edwards prides himself on stretching visitors’ nerves to breaking point. He and actor and co-producer Richard Cottier between them produce Farmageddon in Upholland. They source their ideas in the US,

What’s that lurking in the woods at Thurstaston?, below, the stars of Farmageddon

‘Basically people just love to be scared’

Are you brave enough to visit Farmaggedon at Farmer Ted’s? travelling every year to Halloween trade fairs and on research trips to cutting edge haunted attractions. “In the States haunted houses are very much inspired by slasher style horror movies like the Texas chainsaw massacre and Freddie Kreuger,” explains Richard. “It’s an industry with a science behind it and animatronics and technology coming from Hollywood.” They attract a cult following. “They’re 20 years ahead of us there,” he adds. “There’s a place we went to where the final scene is like an Indiana Jones film. Perspex ceilings with hundreds of snakes writhing on them and a giant ball rolling after you. Amazing.” In the States haunted houses are built on a massive scale, sprawled

over 60,000 acres. One of the most famous, Terror on the Fox in Milwaukee, is a series of killer mazes, dungeons and haunted houses. The horror experience starts on the site’s own dedicated train where zombies attack passengers leaving them hanging on for dear life. The quantity of land required explains why farms are heading in the Hollywood direction. Mark’s family has farmed 8,000 acres of land at Flatman’s Lane for generations. Mark began Father Ted’s and then Halloweek for children when the pig farming business went into freefall, about five years ago he explains. They opened Farmageddon in 2007, in response to the demand for

something for adults. It’s spread across two barns named Terror on the Farm and Insanity. Tens of thousands of visitors have trooped through their bloodbaths and cobwebby corridors since they opened. American Industry magazine Haunted Attractions have listed Farmageddon one of the top 25 scary destinations in the world – and they’ve just been crowned Best Tourist Experience Attraction by North West Tourism. The scare experience starts driving into the countryside at night, says Mark. “People have a lot of phobias and we try to make sure we cover them, whether it’s claustrophobia, being chased or

clowns. The Vortex plays with your sense of balance and that gets 99 per cent of people.” “A lot of people say they haven’t felt like this since they were a child,” adds Richard. They plan to tweak it each year. This year a dentist’s chair has been added to the fun, complete with lifelike noises, and a very lifelike morgue. “We’re also using a lot of dolls this year,” says Richard. “In America they really freaked me out. Horrible little dolls with their eyes pricked out. Mark’s afraid of chainsaws. He’s just a big girl.”


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Halloween Frights

Uncover region’s Spooky goings on aplenty in Merseyside this Halloween. Test your nerve on a haunted hay ride or spend the night ghost-hunting at Croxteth Hall. While there’s no lantern parade and pyrotechnics at Sefton Park this year, there’s plenty more ghoulish family fun on offer. LIVERPOOL Palm House, Sefton Park Halloween Children’s Fancy Dress Party. Disco with face painters, creepy crawlies, spiders and snakes, DJ, fancy dress competition and lots of spooky goings on. From 5-7pm, Oct 31 - Nov 1. Tickets cost £5. Box office is on 0151 709 4988. Go to for details. St George’s Hall Experience Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein turned into a classical rock composition by Wirral-based musician Neil Campbell. Gothic extravaganza with specially developed visuals in the Small Concert Room. Runs 8.30pm (doors open 7.30pm) October 30. Tickets from £12.50 from the 0151 709 4988 or the Unity box office. SPLURGE: The Haunted Truth Be a real life ghostbuster at Croxteth Hall. For many years it’s been rumoured that Croxteth Hall was haunted. Earlier this year council bosses even investigated CCTV footage rumoured to have captured an apparition making its way through the grounds. They were stumped by grainy pictures of a ghoul-like figure at the ancient hall, bathed in a luminous white glow. There was speculation it could have been the ghost of the seventh Earl of Sefton, Hugh William Osbert Molyneux, who lived at the hall until his death in 1972. Another contender is the second Earl of Sefton, William Philip Molyneux, a prolific gambler who laid the foundation stone for Aintree Racecourse, under which he placed a cask of sovereign coins, in 1829. Croxteth Hall is inviting members of the public to join the UK Most Haunted Team plus special guest to be a real life paranormal investigator for the night of October 31. Tickets cost from £79. Tel 0151 233 6930 for details or go to SAVE : St Luke’s Church Halloween Fair The Liverpool Lantern Co will this year create its magical moonlit spectacle in Gothic surroundings in the atmospheric bombed out church. See St Luke’s gardens transformed into a ghoulish pedal-powered fun fair and magical lantern arcade Throughout the night apparitions will appear in corners, while crazy side shows entertain the crowds and long forgotten Halloween games are played. Prepare for stunning sights inside the walls of the church. In the run up to the event lantern making workshops will be held for all ages and abilities, and taking part in the workshop

ensures free entry. Each show will only admit about 300 people, so booking is essential. Show takes place at 5pm, 6.30pm and 8pm on October 31. Tickets £3 per adult, £2 for children, from Unity Ticket Office: 1 Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG 0151 709 4988 or

Family Lantern Making Workshops Make a lantern, bring it to the Lantern Fair and get a free ticket for yourself and one other person. Theme is Creatures of the Night. Cost is £6 per lantern. Book on 0151 727 3500. Lantern making at the Old Police Station, Lark Lane Mon Oct 26 noon – 6pm; The Blackie, Great George St Sun Oct 25 10am – 4pm and Mon Oct 26 10am – 4pm; The Greenhouse Project, Lodge Lane Sat Oct 24 10am – 4pm. Newsham Park Halloween Traditional Walk. Discover the fascinating myths, legends and traditions around Halloween in this event for all the family. Meeting on the corner opposite the police station on West Derby Road. Runs from 11am, October 31. Free. All 0151 233 3007 for more details. City Centre Shiverpool presents Hope Street Shivers and Auld Shivers. Take a walking tour round the most haunted corners of the city and learn its dark secrets. Prepare for some shocks along the way. Hope St – Fright or Flight – is recommended for families, 7pm, 8.30pm, 10pm; Auld City is recommended for business and tourist guests. £10 for adults, £8.50 concession, £8 child, £32 family (2 adults/2 children) Book on 0151 709 2030 or City Centre Irish Halloween. Irish fancy dress, Father Ted, leprechauns etc. Pogue Mahone pub, Seel Street. Saturday Oct 31, 9pm. Croxteth Hall Vampire Vault Venture down into the Vampire Vault, the long-forgotten candlelit lair of Count Cruentus Sefton. Intrepid vampire hunters Lazarus and Vivian Van Helsing want you to help save their apprentice. As you creep through never before seen passageways in the 210 room mansion drenched in blood red light the centuries will unleash their secrets and the undead come to

Uncover the city’s dark and sinister secrets on the Shiverpool tour earlier this year life. Croxteth Hall, Croxteth County Park. Timed entry every 15 minutes from 5pm October 20 (experience 45 minutes). Tickets £8 adults, £6.50 conc. Box Office 0151 233 6930.

KNOWSLEY Halewood Park Halloween Horrors. Make ghouls, bats and witches for Halloween. October 29 1-3pm. Contact Rangers service on 0151 488 615 The Youthy Arts The Youthy, Woolfall Heath Avenue, Huyton holds a performing arts session for 13 to 19-year-olds with a Halloween costume and make up theme on Wednesday, 28 Oct between 7pm and 9.3pm. Call Paul Brennan 443 5333. Mosscroft Community Centre Halloween Disco on Monday 2 Nov from 4.45pm to 5.45pm. Play activities, arts & craft, games & sport including call 443 5974.

SOUTHPORT Ainsdale Discovery Centre, The Promenade Halloween Horror. Bring a pumpkin and carve a Halloween lantern and make spooky decorations. October 27, 2pm-3.30pm.

0151 934 2967 for details.

ORMSKIRK Rufford Old Hall Children’s Halloween Activities at Rufford Old Hall, Liverpool Rd. Search for creepy clues in trails around the gardens and magically turn craft materials into interesting Halloween accessories. Craft tickets on sale October 27, 11am-4pm. Child entry £2.50 craft session, £1 gnome hunt, combined ticket £3. Tel 01704 821254

WIRRAL AND CHESHIRE Church Farm, Church Lane, Thurstaston Church Farm presents Scareshow, a ghoul-stuffed package of events for either children, teenagers or strong-nerved adults. Fun hay rides though the wood and farm attraction during the day for youngsters, Fear and Fright hay rides with nightmare circus, creepy cottage at night for older riders and farm attractions and boo farm for little ones. From October 23. Tickets from £9.50. Details from 0151 648 7838 or Birkenhead Park Ghost Walk in Aid of Claire House. Join the Spooky Ghost Walk in Birkenhead Park, meet at the Visitor

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Halloween Frights

darkest secrets

or, left, can you help paranormal experts at Croxteth Hall find the ghoul caught on CCTV Centre. Tickets £13 Saturday October 31 4pm to 7pm 0151 343 0883

ADULT CHOICE: Heswall Halloween Over 18s Party Night with Byker Groove. Three dish hot pot supper and disco (fancy dress optional). Heswall Royal British Legion. Oct 30 from 7pm – midnight. Tickets cost £15. Phone 0151 342 5694 for details. Port Sunlight Halloween Night at Port Sunlight Garden Centre. An evening of Family Fun in aid of the Hillsborough Memorial Appeal including pumpkin carving, face-painting, storytelling and fancy dress. 31 October, 6-9pm. Thursday 29th October – Sunday 1st November, 10am – 3pm. Family Halloween Trail – Wirral Country Park At Halloween our ancestors celebrated Samhain (pronounced ‘sow inn’). Have a go at our family self guided trail and learn more about your ancestors and their beliefs. Pick up a trail at the Visitor Centre and follow the clues. Small prize for all children who take part. Call 0151 648 4371or email Wirral Country Park Family Halloween Trail. At Halloween our ancestors celebrated Samhain (pronounced ‘sow inn’) to celebrate nature’s cycle of death and renewal, celebrate with games and apple bobbing. Pick up a trail at the Visitor Centre

and follow the clues on our family guide. From October 29– Sunday 1st November 10am – 3pm Tel: 0151 648 4371.

CHESTER Chester Halloween Tour Tickets include entertainment, refreshments and 1hr30min walking tour of the ancient city’s most spooky spots. Prizes for fancy dress. From 6.30pm-9.30pm Friday Oct 30-31. Tickets from £5. St Mary’s Centre, St Mary’s Hill Call 01244 405626 for details. Neston Recreational Centre Neston Kidz Ink holiday programme at Neston Recreational Centre. Fri 30 Oct £20 pre-book, playscheme 9.30-11.30am £2.70, come dressed in Halloween gear face painting and crafts. Age 5 plus. Fully day £20. 0151 336 5741. Dunham Massey Redhouse farm Halloween festival. Fun spooky hunt, bouncy castle, fancy dress parades for younger children. Runs 10.30am-5.30pm 24-30 Oct. Tickets £4 child, adults go free. Maize Maze Fright Nights. Scary surprises lie in wait if you tackle the maze at night.

St Luke’s church gardens will be transformed into a ghoulish pedal-powered fun fair and magical lantern arcade

Corn cannon, barbecue and pumpkin soup served in the courtyard. Suitable for over 12s. Runs 6.30pm-9.30pm Oct 30-31. Tickets £5. Red House Lane, Dunham Massey, Altrincham, Cheshire. Ring 0161 941 3480 for details.

RUNCORN Paranormal Week Talks and workshops by experts on Graphology, Angel Communication, Crystal Healing, Palm Reading and Reiki, with paranormal investigators Para Projects, City Talk’s Roy Basnett, UFO whistle-blower Larry Warren, and coven leader and medium Wendy Binks. Events at 2pm and 7pm from October 19-24 at Halton Lea Library. Programme of events from Janette on 01928 565973. Twilight Forks High School Prom An event based on the best selling book series by Stephenie Meyer hosted by Headspace. Break out your prom dresses and tuxes or come dressed as your favourite character from the book. This free event includes food, contests, music, prizes, and much more. From 7pm on October 30 at Halton Lea Library. Pre-booked tickets only, available from library, tel: Janette on 01928 565973. Halloween at Norton Priory Halloween craft activities in the

Undercroft. Make bats and other scary Halloween critters at the Undercroft. No need to book just turn up.Oct 28 and 29, 1pm-4pm Activities are free but normal admission charges into the museum and gardens apply: adult: £5.50 conc/child (5-16) £3.95, family (two adults and up to three children 5-16): £13.50 Tudor Road, Manor Park, Runcorn, tel: 01928 569895.

WARRINGTON Gullivers World Ghoulishy Good Halloween. A Family Halloween event that includes attractions for all ages, alongside special Halloween shows and decorations, including Leonard’s Scare School, Percy’s Pumpking Patch Olympics and a huge fireworks finale. From Saturday 24th October 24 –30, 10.30am-5pm, Sat Oct 31 10.30am-8pm. Tickets £12.50. Call 01925 444888. Spooky World at Applejacks Farm, Stretton Wild west style farm fun by day but by night walk though the field of screams, take a scary hay ride or explore the haunted house. Stadt Moers Park Trick or Treat. Hunt for Halloween prizes on the Terrifying Treat Trail and look out for the ghosts and ghouls on the way. Runs 5-7pm, October 31. Call the Rangers service on 0151 489 1239 for details.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Halloween Fright


Did You Know?

HALLOWEEN has its roots in the ancient Gaelic festival known as Samhain, (pronounced ‘sow inn’) traditionally a celebration of the end of the harvest season, when ancient Celtic pagans would slaughter livestock for winter stores. They believed on October 31st the boundary between the living and the deceased dissolved, and the dead became dangerous for the living. The festivals would frequently involve bonfires, into which the bones of slaughtered livestock were thrown. Costumes and masks were worn to copy the evil spirits or placate them. In Scotland for instance the dead were impersonated by young men with masked, veiled or blackened faces, dressed in white. The festival became Halloween – or All Hallows Eve – when Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV moved the Christian feast of All Saints day from May 13 to November 1. As the Church measured a calendar day from sunset the day before, All Hallows Eve and All Hallows Day were actually on the same day.


Scarily tasty curry WONDERING what do with all that pumpkin flesh? Here’s a delicious dish to gently heat on a cold night.

Wagamama’s Thai Pumpkin Curry with Coconut and Ginger sauce. (serves two) INGREDIENTS 3 tbsps vegetable oil; 1 small pumpkin, peeled, deseeded cut into wedges; 2 courgettes, cut into small chunks; 6 button mushrooms, halved; 4 baby sweetcorn; handful of sugarsnap peas; 4 x 2.5cm (1in) cubes of firm tofu; 200ml (7fl oz) coconut ginger sauce ; 100g (3 ½ oz) brown rice; 2 handfuls of baby spinach; chopped coriander.

Coconut ginger sauce: makes about 500ml (16fl oz) 4 tbs vegetable oil; 3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped; 2.5cm (1in) of fresh ginger root, peeled and grated; 2.5cm (1in) piece of galangal, peeled and grated; 4 lemongrass sticks, leaves removed, finely chopped; 500ml (18fl oz) hot water; ½ tsp salt; 2 tsp sugar; 200g (7fl oz) coconut milk; 3 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander ; salt, pepper. METHOD SAUCE: Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan, add garlic, ginger, galangal and lemongrass. Cook gently for 6-8 minutes, stirring until softened but not coloured. Add the hot water and bring to boil.

Add the salt, sugar and mikku powder. Lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes until reduced by half. Stir in the coconut milk, heat for a further 2 minutes and remove pan from heat. Add the coriander.

METHOD VEGETABLES: Heat wok or frying pan over medium heat until hot and almost smoking. Add the vegetable oil. Add the pumpkin, courgettes, mushrooms, sweetcorn, sugarsnap peas. Stir fry for 2 minutes. Add tofu and coconut ginger sauce, and season. Continue cooking for a further 15-20 minutes. Cook rice separately, and divide between 2 plates. Scatter the baby spinach on the plate alongside and spoon on curry. Sprinkle with chopped coriander.

Funny bones

Do zombies eat popcorn with their fingers? No, they eat the fingers separately... Why do vampires need mouthwash? They have bat breath...

Why wasn’t there any food left after the monster party? Because everyone was a gobli-n What happened to the guy who couldn't keep up payments to his exorcist? He was repossessed. How does Frankenstein sit in his chair? Bolt upright. What is Dracula’s favourite fruit? Neck-tarines. Who did Frankenstein take to the prom? His ghoul friend! Why did it take the monster ten months to finish a book? Because he wasn't very hungry.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Halloween Frights

Ghostly legends from the dark past of Liverpool Liverpool’s rich history means it’s a city packed with ghostly legend. Emma Pinch is taken on a tour of its spookiest spots by one of its spectral residents. HOPE STREET VAMPIRE, fairy, demon, poltergeist – I’ve had many names over the years but now I’m known as the Shiverghoul. You’ll recognise me because I dress as I did when Victoria sat on the throne – the top hats, lavish capes and Venetian masks. It’s been my favourite fashion phase so far. Let’s meet at that old gin palace called The Philharmonic Pub, where the cry of the resident banshee still sends a bolt of terror through mortal spines. My tongue waters at the smell of all the new blood inside. Do you feel it? Like sniffing warm bread when you are so hungry you could die.

Did Will Mackenzie win his card game with the devil?

RODNEY STREET OFF now to meet old Will Mackenzie whose pyramid tomb sits on the corner of Rodney Street and Maryland Street. A wealthy Victorian railway engineer, he once played the devil in a game of poker, gambling his soul. He lost of course and now sits rotting in that old tomb, a winning hand of cards strapped to his chest to cheat the devil... HACKINS HEY NEXT to Ye Hole in Ye Wall on Hackins Hey, the oldest pub in the centre, sitting atop a Quaker burial ground. Never in my history have I encountered such depraved spirits as in that place. I too gladly take my leave from here. TOWN HALL BACK into the cool, freshness of the night air we travel to the Town Hall, constructed on top of secret tunnels where prisoners were dragged along from the Liverpool Jail, once opposite the Liver Buildings. The sad prisoners sometimes appear as clear as day, their faces contorted in anguish and pain then slowly fade away into nothing. FENWICK STREET NOW we go back in time to visit the

What spirits lurk around the city’s dark corners? Slaughter House Pub on Fenwick Street, once an abattoir. The legend here is of a butcher who developed a taste for human flesh. He could not however reconcile his evil acts so he hung himself. Observe the beam from which he did his awful deed. It’s not over yet my pretties.

MYSTERY EDIFICE THE moon shines down gently on our next secret location. Here’s a clue – it’s one of the finest

Will you be brave enough to venture out into the streets after dark?

buildings in Liverpool. Where it stands was once the lunatic asylum and the town infirmary and the building takes its lead from the classical structures. Now it’s home to some of the most malevolent spirits in Liverpool. The beautiful gardens outside were once a graveyard and the sleeping corpses there didn’t appreciate being dislodged from their resting spot to make way for flower patches. So they walk the night, hopeful of finding somewhere else to lay their weary heads.

UPPER DUKE STREET, LIVERPOOL WE arrive at our final destination, St James Cemetery below the Anglican Cathedral. Some 57,000 souls are interred here. Late at night footsteps have been heard around the large monument erected for the Victorian MP William Huskisson. Watch out – the ghouls have their sights set on you. ● Book a Shiverpool Ghost Tour on 0151 709 2030. Halloween tours cost from £10 per head.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Bonfire Night Wrapping up warm to gaze at fireworks exploding across the night sky is one of the simple pleasures in life. Make your Bonfire Night go with a bang at one of the region’s free public Nov 5 spectaculars. LIVERPOOL Sefton Park, Newsham Park, Walton Hall Park. (tel: 0151 233 3007) for details. ONE small step for man... One fabulous night of fireworks for Liverpool residents. Blast off your Bonfire Night at Sefton Park’s annual spectacular, which this year takes space travel as its epic theme. Liverpool’s largest fireworks display, and the simultaneous displays in Newsham Park and Walton Hall Park, will celebrate the 40 year anniversary of the moon landing. The dark autumn sky above Liverpool’s parks will shimmer and crackle with a gorgeous pyrotechnic display put to a specially produced space-themed soundtrack. The soundtrack will play out those fascinating original NASA communications and be interspersed with easily recognisable tracks The 20-minute spectacular begins with the emotive declaration to put man on the moon, supported by the orchestral theme to the film 2001 – A Space Odyssey. The journey then takes us through the launch pad countdown with music from Savage Garden and the original Star Trek TV series. Then it’s out into deep space with tracks by David Bowie and Toploader. The show takes the audience around the Dark side of the Moon, courtesy of Pink Floyd and then it’s all systems go for the final landing of the spacecraft Eagle in the Sea of Tranquillity. The show heads towards its spectacular climax with music from The Police, Louis Armstrong and the powerful and emotive Duel of the Fates by John Williams. Aimed at the whole family audience, the show promises to be a thrilling tonic for a dark November night. All displays are free and start at 7.30pm.

Remember, remember the fifth of November

WIRRAL Wirral Council displays, various locations. (tel: 0151 606 2000) All events are free of charge. ● Birkenhead Park, Park Drive, Birkenhead, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Central Park, Liscard Road, Wallasey, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Lingham Park, Town Meadow Lane, Moreton, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Mayer Park, The Village, Bebington, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Upton Park, Manor Drive, Upton, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. Mersey Park, Downham Road, Tranmere, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Woodchurch Community Centre, Carr Bridge Road, Woodchurch, November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. ● Leasowe Adventure Playground, Leasowe. November 5, 6.30pm-7.30pm. Prenton Park, 796 Borough Rd, Birkenhead. (tel:0151 608 3852) MARCHING bands, majorettes and Samba beats will accompany top notch pyrotechnics at Tranmere Rovers football ground this year. Organised by the Bebington Round Table, the event forms the longest, largest all-seated firework display on the Wirral. The ground has a seating capacity of up to 6,000, and organisers have put together a programme which will entertain on a similarly spectacular scale. Gates open at 6pm and after sight and sound displays by various bands on the turf, the firework display will kick off. Starting on November 5 at 7pm it will be by pyrotechnics and music specialists,

There are dozens of organised firework displays being held across the region, ensuring you have a safe and fun Bonfire Night Fantasia, and last between 20-25 minutes. Refreshments and parking will be available and all proceeds will go to local charities. Tickets cost £5 per seat and are available from Tranmere Rovers, Asda in Arrow Park and Bromborough, plus Bargain Booze in Borough Road and Grange Road West, both in Birkenhead, plus Bargain Booze in Upton and Somerfield in Bebington and New Ferry. Ring 07521 300099 for details.


Jubilee Fireworks. Free of charge.

Netherton Activity Centre, Glovers Lane FIREWORK display on the field at the back of the centre. Starts at 8pm, visitors advised to arrive 15 minutes beforehand. Free of cost Call 0151 934 4092 for details.


Bootle Leisure Centre/North Park – November 5 STARTING at 8pm, firework display by

FIREWORK Display provided by Maghull Town Council at Whinneybrook Field, Eastway (nr junction with Deyes Lane), Maghull. November 5, 7pm start. Fireworks provided by Jubilee, sound and light show by Discoworldonline, Maghull, catering and concessions. Free of charge.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Bonfire Night

Spectacular displays can be viewed across the river

HALTON RUNCORN’S annual firework display has become the biggest community event in the calendar. Last year the free event was enjoyed by more than 55,000 people, who watched fireworks explode over the Mersey. This year the sky over Halton will be illuminated by a riot of colour in a display lasting 20 minutes and accompanied by a specific musical theme. There will be street entertainment from 6.30pm and the display will start at 7.30pm Visitors can view the display from Mersey Road, Runcorn and Victoria Promenade, West Bank, Widnes. There’s free parking in Runcorn and Widnes town centres and also the Catalyst Science Museum car park, Spike Island, Widnes and West Bank Dock Estate. Takes place November 5. For further information please ring 01928 516117. For a warmer view of the action and a hotpot supper, Catalyst Museum is hosting a deluxe fireworks night in its glass-walled rooftop gallery. Tickets £8 per person, available at reception or by debit/credit card over the phone to collect on the night.

SOUTHPORT SOUTHPORT’S annual firework spectacular has been turned into a sparkling family fiesta this year. The event is being put on by Southport and Hesketh Round Table who have raised almost £50,000 with their free firework events in the last two years. It’s being staged in Victoria Park, where the smell of cordite has only just faded since the National Musical Fireworks Championship this month. Gates open at 4pm and the fun finishes at 10pm.

There will be two funfairs to keep spectators amused, one for children, one for teens and adults, and the Dune FM Roadshow team will be on hand to provide the music. In keeping with the family flavour of the event there will be refreshment stalls but it will be alcohol free. The main event will be staged at 8pm, and it promises to be a display worth waiting for. Pyrotechnics are courtesy of Reaction Fireworks, former British Champions of the art. Up to 8,000 people are expected to make their way to the park. “The theme of the whole event is family entertainment, it’s free to go to and a way of having fun in these hard times,” says organiser Tom Bradshaw. “We raised £28,000 for Queenscourt Hospice in 2007 and more than £14,000 for the hospice and North West Air Ambulance last year. This year it’s going to Southport Inshore Lifeboat. We’re hoping people will have a great time and want to make a donation.” For more information go to or phone 0870 8905777.

ST HELENS SPARK in the Park, St Helens Council's popular firework display, will be lighting up the night skies above Sherdley Park once again next month. The dazzling display will be choreographed to music and will start at 7pm. A family funfair will be open from 6-9pm. Sunday November 1. Admission is free. Car parking is available at Lea Green Station, Sutton Leisure Centre and High School and Sherdley Park. All parking is £3 per vehicle. For further information please contact St.Helens Council’s Events Team on 01744 675326 or visit the

Fireworks in Sefton Park


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Irish Festival

Celebrating city’s special Irish links

You’d never guess there was a recession on given the generous scale of this year’s Liverpool Irish Festival. Returning for its 7th year it features a line up of Ireland’s finest contemporary and traditional Wednesday/Thursday October 21, 22, 7.30pm The Beauty Queen of Leenane, at the Studio, Southport Arts Centre. Martin McDonagh’s award-winning, darkly comic dale of Maureen Folan, a plain, lonely woman in her 40s and her manipulative mother, Mag. When Mag interferes in Maureen’s chance of love, a terrifying chain of events is set in motion. Suitable for 14 plus. The Studio, Southport Arts Centre. Tickets from £12. Tel 01704 540011

musicians, storytellers, comedians and footballers. There’s a wealth of entertainment to suit all, from heritage walking and coach tours across to films, plays, talks and ceilidhs. The two-week

festival celebrates the historical links and enduring affinity between Liverpool and Ireland. It ends on October 31 with Liverpool Irish Festival’s All Star Concert at St Bride’s Church on Catherine Street.

FAMILY CHOICE: Sunday October 25, 5pm Youth of the North. Showcase of the talent and skills of the young musicians of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (‘Gathering of Musicians of Ireland’). Bring the family and inspire the kids. The Casa, Hope St. Free. Wednesday October 28, 8.30pm St Michael’s Supper Ceili. Dance to the Liverpool Ceili Band and enjoy a plate of Irish stew. St Michael’s Irish Centre, Boundary Lane, West Derby Road. Tickets £5 adv from St Michael’s on 0151 263 1808. Wednesday October 28, 8pm Michael McGoldrick and Friends. Founding member of Toss the Feathers, Flok! And Lunasa this outstanding flute, whistle and Lilliean pipes player takes traditional music to new territory with adventurous collaborations with Afro Celt Sound System and many others. The Studio, Southport Arts Centre. Tickets £14 from 01704 540011

Youth of the North on Sunday October 25 October at The Casa, Hope St Friday October 23, 7.30pm Hear My Song. Comedy/musical about the search for the real Josef Locke, the Irish tenor on the run from the Inland Revenue. Philharmonic Hall. Tickets from £5.50 from St Michael’s on 0151 264 1808. Saturday October 24, 1pm Gaelic football exhibition match. See at first hand one of the oldest and exciting competitive sports in the world played by John Mitchel’s top club. Greenbank Park, Mossley Hill.

Thursday Oct 29, 9pm Cuff ’s Irish Session. Traditional Irish Music Session at Cuff ’s Café Bar, 63-69 High St, Wavertree. Thursday October 29, 7.30pm Speaking Ill of the Dead. Historian Robert Vance talks about the Great Famine and its impact on Irish Society. Third Room, Everyman Bistro, Hope Street. Free. Friday October 30, 9pm Celebrate Samhain. Traditional Irish music session at St Michael’s Irish Centre, Boundary Lane, West Derby Road.

Saturday October 24 Liverpool Irish Heritage Walking Tour 1pm-3pm, Sun Oct 25 2pm-4pm, south city centre. Starting at St Luke’s Gardens local historians Dr Ian McKeane and Greg Qiuery coax the secrets from familiar landmarks in this colourful and surprising walk. Tickets from £5. To book your place call 0785 4415721. Saturday October 24, 7.30pm LFC Irish Legends Night. An evening of celebration with legendary Irish Reds John Aldridge, Ronnie Whelan, Jim Beglin, plus a special guest. It will be introduced by Nicky ‘One Night in Istanbul’ Alt and feature launch of book Irish Kop by Johnny Hynes. The Shankly Suite, Liverpool Football Club. Tickets £20. To book email or phone 00 35 3861215677. Saturday October 24, 8pm Martin Hayes and Dennis Cahill. Irish fiddle player Hayes and Chicago-born Cahill have reached almost cult status on the international music scene and they are bringing their magic to Liverpool for the very first time. St George’s Hall Concert Room. Tickets £15 adv from

Traditional Irish dancing to celebrate the city’s Irish Festival

Catch Jinx Lennon at Static Gallery, Roscoe Lane on Friday Oct 30, 8pm. Saturday October 24 12pm Pogue Mahone’s Live Irish Session; 9pm Traditional Irish dancers, live music and food festival at Pogue Mahone’s, Seel Street Friday October 30, 8pm. Jinx Lennon and Captain Moonlight. Dundalk-born punk poet/singer Jinx Lennon reflects on Ireland’s collective Irish breakdown. He’s joined on stage by his partner Paula Flynn. Static Gallery, Roscoe

Lane. Tickets £8 adv available from

Ted, leprechauns etc. Pogue Mahone pub, Seel Street.

Friday October 30, 8pm Battle of the Bands Final. Bands with a connection to Ireland battle it out at Osqua’s Oldham Sq. Tickets £3 on the door.

FAMILY CHOICE: Saturday October 31, 8pm Liverpool Irish Festival’s All Star Concert. Duo Sam Proctor and Chris O’Malley top the bill supported by Des Hurley, Stevie Byrne and Tad Sargent. Performed in St Bride’s Church, Catherine St (entrance in Percy St). Not licensed but you are welcome to bring a bottle. Tickets £5 adv from Live Irish acts every night during the festival at O’Neils, Wood St, Raven at the Albert Dock, Flanagan’s Apple on Mathew St, McHales Shamrock Bar & Irish American Bar, Lime Street.

Friday October 30, 8.30pm Heidi Talbot with Ewan Robertson and John McCusker Former lead singer with the Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies performs at the Philharmonic Hall. Tickets £10 adv from Saturday October 31, 9pm Irish Halloween. Irish fancy dress, Father


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Southport Comedy Week

Andy Parsons brings his show, Citizens, to Southport Arts Centre on Saturday Oct 31 Catch Brendan Riley’s Happy Days at the Fox and Goose, Cable Street, Southport on Tuesday, October 27

Jimmy Carr, left, brings his show, Rapier Wit, to the Southport Theatre and Convention Centre on Monday, October 26

A rib-tickling week of comedy


HEN the nights get darker anything that brightens our days before Christmas is warmly welcomed. Southport’s comedy festival (October 23-31) boasts some of Britain’s biggest comedy names, as well as some of the quirkier acts in the business. Jimmy Carr and Andy Parsons headline, but there’s lots more for the family to enjoy too.

FRIDAY OCTOBER 23, Tom Wrigglesworth’s Open Return Letter to Richard Branson. Tom Wrigglesworth hit the headlines last year when he stood up to be counted against Virgin Trains officialdom. Wrigglesworth’s hour-long performance recountsthe tale of an OAP forced to break into her grandchildrens’ Christmas gift fund

to pay £115 after boarding the train half an hour early. Amplified by digressions about his observations and thoughts – the cup of tea he can’t take back to his seat for health and safety reasons, the Virgin Trains mantra of “we aim to exceed expectations” and observations about fellow passengers. His consumer campaign – see – meant Virgin subsequently changed its rules. Tickets £8. Southport Arts Centre, Lord Street.

MONDAY OCTOBER 26, 8PM Jimmy Carr – Rapier Wit. Master of the two-liners Jimmy Carr brings his deadpan humour to Southport to headline the festival. Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, Promenade, Southport. Tickets are £22.50. Book on 0844 847 2380 TUESDAY OCTOBER 27, 7.45PM Brendan Riley’s Happy Days. Happiness doesn’t just happen by chance; it’s a state of mind. Revelations from Brendan at the Fox and Goose, Cable Street,

Southport. Tickets £5. Tel 01704 501894.

THURS OCTOBER 29, 8PM Pluck – Musical Arson. The hilarious string trio tackle Bach to the Beatles, blending comedy and suburb musicianship. Southport Arts Centre, Lord St. Tickets from £8. Tel 01704 540011 to book. THURSDAY OCTOBER 29, 8PM Impro All Stars. A fast, funny show where audience suggestions are turned into sketches. Starring Stephen Frost of Whose Line Is It Anyway and Blackadder, Andy Smart and Richard Vranch. Southport Theatre and Convention Centre, Promenade, Southport. Tickets from £16 SATURDAY OCTOBER 31, 7.30PM Andy Parsons – Citizens. King of political comedy Andy Parsons issues his hilarious rallying cry to the nation. Tickets from £15. Southport Arts Centre, Lord Street, Southport. Tel 01704 540011.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Go Penguins

Why the city’s going potty over penguins W

HO needs snow when you’ve got penguins? A month from now landmarks like the Pier Head will be transformed by an invasion of brightly plumaged flightless birds. Penguins will be sticking their beaks in everywhere – from the central reservation of the Strand to the roof of the Unity theatre. They’ll be revealed in all their glory and unlikely locations on November 22 where we can expect to find more than 200 of the flightless birds clustered in groups in easy-to-reach city centre spots – making penguin-spotting the perfect afternoon out with the kids. The march of the five foot fibre-glass penguins follows – or waddles – in the footsteps of


2008’s most visible public arts projects, Go Superlambananas. The story behind them goes that the loveable birds have been displaced from the Polar perch because of the melting of the ice-caps. The project has been designed to dovetail with Liverpool’s Year of the Environment. So far 115 artists have been commissioned to create unique designs on the giant fibreglass penguins, while 93 schools – 86 primary and seven secondary – have also signed up to take part, making it the biggest schools’ art project in the UK this year. Schools and artists have joined forces with corporate and public penguin sponsors such as Merseyrail, Tate, NML, The Royal, Home Bargain, City Talk and the Empire, and

Come for your day out with Thomas & Friends at Llangollen Railway Saturday 24th October 2009 until Sunday 1st November 2009 Meet Thomas, his friends and The Fat Controller at Llangollen Station. Enjoy scenic journeys through the Dee Valley. Lots of fun to be had at our “Imagination Station”. Face Painters, Storytelling and much more - come and enjoy the fun. 01978 860979

community groups like Addaction housing association to produce eye-catching penguin designs. One Polar emigre in particular is grabbing starting to demand attention. Phil Redmond has part of the story and he’s called on ECHO readers to fill in the gaps. “Sometime soon a very special penguin called Patrick will arrive in the city,” explains Phil. “Patrick is a young, teenage rock hopper penguin. “He has attitude. Because he is mad. His ice cap is melting and he wants it fixed. He has heard Liverpool is the centre of the creative universe and social justice, so if there is a solution to be found it will be with the Scousers. “This will be my own contribution, working with the local media, to provide, just like on Brookie, a back-story of how the penguins actually arrive in the city. For six weeks I will be writing here in the Liverpool ECHO about where and what Patrick gets up to in and around the city while he summons and waits for his colony to come and support his environmental campaign. Throughout this time Patrick will occasionally appear and be spotted in odd places as he drums up support for the penguins’ arrival and I would welcome any ideas as to where Patrick should go to make his case heard. “Hilbre Island and Chester Zoo are obvious targets for him to meet and talk with fellow penguins and gulls, but where else should he go?”

Blackmoor Park Junior School pupil Suleman Qazi helps unpack the first penguins being delivered by Joe Morris; operations director for Go Penguins sponsor, Home Bargains

Where to p.p.p pick up a penguin

THE colony will be unveiled on November 22 and they will form a trail round the city for seven weeks. They will all stand in groups of at least two, as a nod to the fact that penguins mate for life. It’s worth drawing up a plan or getting your hands on a route map before you set out to see all of them. Here are some clues as to where you might pick up a penguin. Some will stay close to the water. Check out the Albert Dock, next to the mast and in the Britannia courtyard; Duke’s Dock; Salthouse Dock’s stage



and Quay, the Arena and Conference Centre, the Atlantic and Edward Pavilion, the Tate, the Maritime Museum, Pier Head: Ferry Terminal, Beatles Story, the central reservation of the Strand, in front of the Liver Building, Malmaison. Many will flock to the shopping areas like Liverpool One, John Lewis, Church Street, Clayton Square, St Johns, Clayton Square, the Bluecoat, the Metquarter and in Utility on Bold Street. The culturally inclined will march straight to St George’s Hall, the Empire,

Penguin Activities

WALKER GALLERY Penguin Playmates: Drop in and make your own penguin model Dec 19, 20 December, 1 – 4pm

Day Out With ThomasTM Thomas The Tank Engine & FriendsTM Based on The Railway Series by The Reverend W.Awdry © 2009 Gullane (Thomas) Limited

the World Museum, the Walker and the theatres and Suitcases sculpture on Hope Street. Some might even find their way inside the Anglican Cathedral and the Town Hall, and up onto the roof of the Unity. Naughty birds. Meanwhile 20 giant penguins will be decorated by community groups in the five council “neighbourhoods”, and there will be penguins in Wirral and St Helens. A number of the models will be auctioned off for the Lord Mayor’s charities at the end of the event in January.

Go potty about penguins: Create a crazy penguin using a

variety of collage materials. December 12, 1 – 4pm

MERSEYSIDE MARITIME MUSEUM The wonderful world of penguins: Fun-filled craft sessions Nov 21, Dec 5, 12, 27, 28, 1-4pm.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Days Out

What’s your idea of a perfect day out? It was the classic childhood day out. Lion-watching over the scrape of the car windscreen wipers and a scrap over a pack of Opal Fruits. But what’s a good day out for the staff of Knowsley Safari Park?

‘Eating sandy sandwiches’ MATT Dodd, visitor services manager, from Southport, remembers childhood days out “running around the dunes and then eating sandwiches that all had a sandy crunch”. He says: “My dad was an art teacher and I can remember a few trips being dragged around art galleries. I actually like them now but a couple of hours in an art gallery to an eight-year-old can seem like a lifetime.”

Golden memories give him inspiration. “My best friend’s dad used to organise a day out for a group of us at Formby Point – loads of us just piled into the back of a transit van. “We’d spend the day going mad in the pine woods and dunes, with a swim in the sea and then have a barbecue. We’d arrive home late after stopping off for a chippy supper. It was the highlight of the summer holidays.”

I met King Arthur at Camelot ELEPHANT keeper Stephen Cunningham, from Knowsley Village, has fond memories of trips to his grandparents’ caravan in North Wales. “My nan and granddad would spend most weekends there and most of the family would turn up. “My worst day trip was when the local play scheme took a coachload of us up to Morecambe in the October school half term.

“It was raining heavily and most of the attractions were closed because of the weather.” His best was aged nine when his oldest brother and his wife took him to theme park Camelot. “The highlight was when I got lost and ended up in the main office. While I was waiting there King Arthur came in and stopped and talked to me and even let me hold his sword.”

Paintballing with friends

ZOO-KEEPER Nick Parashchak, originally from Rochdale, loves going out on adrenaline days like paintballing. “The last time I went on a day trip with my family was to the Welsh town of Betws-y -Coed to go hiking. It was a brilliant day out. “My worst day out as a child was a school trip to “Eureka” the children’s museum. I managed to get lost from my group. While

trying to find them I slipped and badly bruised my knee. In the end I just stood crying until somebody found me. “My favourite trip was about two years ago with a group of friends paintballing. I’d never been before so I was really excited to try it. “To start with I was pretty rubbish but it didn’t bother me because I was having such a good time. “A really good day out, one I’d love to do again.”

Half-price entry to This voucher provides half-price entry to all the passengers in a car. Valid from Saturday October 24th 2009 up to and including Sunday November 1st 2009. Not be to used in conjunction with any other offer

(including family ticket). Car entry only. Normal entry price £12 Adult, £9 Child/OAP. (Amusement rides not included in admission). Offer price £6 Adult, £4.50 Child/OAP.

See the lions at Knowsley Safari Park

Day trips to the local pool RACHEL Saunders, an elephant keeper, from Bedfordshire, says the local swimming pool was the destination for most of her childhood family days out. “We’d mess about on inflatables or go floating in the rapids. Afterwards we’d have a stroll around Bedford Park to feed the ducks and swans and get an ice-cream. “The worst day trip I went on when I was little was to a garden show in

South Wales. We all got soaked, especially me as I was too short to be sheltered by the umbrella.” Her favourite day out also involved a soaking. “It was Wicksteed Park when I was 18 on the boating lake. My friend tried to swap seats, but lost his balance and fell out of the boat. He ended up hanging onto the boat with his bum in the pond-weed. I was helpless with laughter.”

Strolling along the beach SIMPLICITY is the key to a good day out, insists zoo keeper David Pennington, from St Helens. “The last one I went on was a walk on Southport Beach with my girlfriend. It was a bright sunny day without a cloud in the sky. The wading birds and gulls were out in force, feeding in the sand and calling out to each other. Just being out in the fresh air and watching our dogs Boris and Macy

enjoying their freedom, and seeing the seasons change, all for free. I love it.” His nightmare day out is a busy fairground with loud music. “One of the worst days out I have experienced was at a travelling fairground. All the usual rides were there and I opted for what I thought would be a safe bet, the waltzer. I survived the ride but I was very sick when I got off.”


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term fun

African Beats at the Slavery Museum

World Museum Liverpool boasts a staggeringly rich collection of Egyptian artefacts

From African dancing to Roman sandal making, the city’s museums offer a wealth of hands on activities to keep children amused during half term. Many of the museums provide a great opportunity for different generations to have fun together – like Jive dancing and war time stories at the Maritime Museum. The activities are all free so roll up your sleeves and get stuck in. WORLD MUSEUM, WILLIAM BROWN ST, LIVERPOOL. TEL: 0151 478 4393 Planetarium TRAVEL to outer space without leaving your chair in the space and astronomy show. Suitable for adults and over fives. Monday to Friday from October 26 Autumn/Winter Night Sky, noon and 3.15pm; Magnificent Desolation, 2.30pm; Wonders of the Solar System 4.05pm. Saturday and Sunday: The Sunshine Show 1.15pm; Autumn/Winter Night Sky 1.45pm and 3.15pm; Magnificent Desolation 2.15pm; Wonders of the Solar System 4.05pm. Tickets available up to five minutes before performances. Treasure House Theatre at the World Museum: Death on the Nile TWO bungling robbers have sneaked into a museum but get more than they bargained for when one of them opens an ancient scroll. Over fives. Samurai Armour EXAMINE the armour of a Samurai warrior in this demonstration using replica armour. Food for Thought

VISIT the Time Travel café with an intrepid chef and waiter to take a journey on the history of food. For times and dates call 0151 478 4393.

Family workshops HANDS on activities at the Weston Discovery Centre including Middle Eastern dancing, African story-telling, batik printing and Roman Sandal-making. Every Sunday October 25, Nov 1 2.30pm-4pm. INTERNATIONAL SLAVERY MUSEUM African Wood-carving WOOD carving in the Life in West Africa gallery. Suitable for all. Nov 1, 1pm-4pm African Arts & Crafts TRY your hand at African art and make a mask to take home. Suitable for all. Oct 27, Nov 8, 1pm-4pm African Batik DROP in for a fun-filled afternoon of craft activities and learn about the art of African batik. October 25, 1-4pm. Carnival Crafts ARTS and crafts session inspired by the

Discover about our

colourful world of the carnival. Suitable for all. Oct 26, 1-4pm.

FAMILY PICK: African Beats FEEL the beat with an afternoon of African drumming and tribal dance. Suitable for all. Oct 24, 25, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm. Mrs Seacole stories AN inspiring performance about the amazing life of Crimean War heroine Mary Seacole. BSL interpreted. Oct 29, 2pm, 3pm. MERSEYSIDE MARITIME MUSEUM, ALBERT DOCK, LIVERPOOL. TEL: 0151 478 4499 All Hands on Deck DISCOVER why a ship is always a “she” and what a Fid is with the museum’s resident demonstrator. October 24, Nov 1, 1-4pm. The Royal Charter Wreck LEARN about the history of emigrant shop Royal Charter and how its passengers perished on the fateful night on October 26, 1859. October 24, 2pm.

Nautical Arts & Crafts LIGHTHOUSE-THEMED arts and crafts session. October 26, 1-4pm. Spotlight on the Titanic JOIN the resident demonstrator to discover the facts and dispel the myths that surround the Titanic. Oct 24-28, Nov 2 11am. Titanic – the Quartermaster’s story HEAR the story of the man at the wheel of the Titanic when it hit the iceberg, told by a resident actor. Oct 28, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm. Shiver Me Timbers FIND out about a pirate’s life on the ocean wave in an interactive story session. October 29 at intervals between 1-4pm. Wartime at the Piermaster’s House MEET Rose the Piermaster’s wife as she prepares for another day of rations and blackouts. Oct 26, 27, 28, between 1-4pm. Never At Sea JOIN Liverpool Wren, May Hatton, to hear


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term fun

more world about the vital work carried out under the streets of the city during the Battle of the Atlantic. Nov 1, 1.30pm, 2.30pm, 3.30pm.

Strictly Come Dancing with the Jiving Lindy Hoppers AN exhilarating evening of live music and dance. Bar and refreshments available. October 39, 7pm-11pm, Maritime Dining Halls. Booking necessary. Go to or call 0151 478 4441 SEIZED – REVENUE AND CUSTOMS UNCOVERED (INSIDE MARITIME MUSEUM) Rummage SEE if you’ve got what it takes to be a customs officer. October 25, Nov 1, 1pm, 1.30pm, 2pm, 3pm, 3.30pm. Ticket free in the museum foyer. Customs Contraband HANDLE Customs’ contraband collections. Oct 22, 30, 1-4pm Storytelling with Customs. Hear about the flora and fauna customs officers try to protect. Oct 24, 1pm, 2pm, 3pm.

Help archeologists find buried pottery and put it back together at the National Conservation Centre

There’s lots to do and see at the museums this half term


last year underwent a revamp. On show for the first time since before World War II is the vividly-coloured belt of the last great Pharaoh Rameses III. The exhibition, which features many items from nurse Florence Nightingale’s collection, also includes treasures collected by swashbuckling author and tomb raider, Sir Rider Haggard, thought to have been the inspiration for Indiana Jones. His artefacts on show include the mummy said to have inspired a classic fantasy adventure novel, She, about a beautiful queen who lives for 2,000 years waiting for her lost love. Also in the exhibit are a two-year-old child mummy, a cat mummy and stunning gold and carnelian jewellery.

Creepy Crawly Tour GO behind the scenes and get up close to the Centre’s six-legged collections. Big Draw ZOOMING Marvellous. Zoom in on the miniscule marvels at the National Conservation Centre with the experts from the British Science Association, and put pencil to paper. Oct 24, 1-4pm. Meet the Conservators DEMONSTRATION and hands-on activities with the Conservation Centre’s specialists. Oct 29, all day. Going Potty HELP the archeologists find buried pieces of pottery and put it back together. All ages. Nov 7, 1-4pm CATALYST SCIENCE DISCOVERY CENTRE, MERSEY ROAD, WIDNES, CHESHIRE. TEL: 0151 420 1121 The Big Bang EVERYDAY substances like icing sugar and custard powder are investigated by presenters at this interactive science museum – with some explosive results. Mon 26 Oct -Friday Oct 30. Events cost £1 per person and admission is £4.95 for adults, £3.95 for children (four and under free) and family tickets £15.95. All the above events cost £1 per person when paying full admission to Catalyst, but

tickets are limited and are allocated on a first come – first served basis. Groups paying reduced admission rate will need to book and pay for a separate workshop just for their group – please ring for prices and availability.

The Beat Goes On IT’S the last chance for music fans to tune into The Beat Goes On – From the Beatles to the Zutons. This exhibition at the World Museum bursts with music, costume and fascinating film and captures the energy, edginess and creativity that’s made Liverpool the capital of pop for the past 50 years. Until Nov 1.



Egyptian Collection THEY say you often take the treasures on your doorstep for granted. If the last time you visited the World Museum was when you wore knee-high socks it’s well worth taking a second look. World Museum Liverpool’s staggeringly rich Egyptian collection – a glittering haul of some 1500 ancient artefacts – is widely regarded as one of the finest on the planet and

Megaphones and Magnetos Exhibition MALE members of the family will get revved up at Prescot Museum’s Megaphones and Magnetos exhibition, which charts the history of the machine. The display includes a range of riding gear, photographs and owners’ manuals, trophies and memorabilia and a selection of motorcycles. Prescott Museum, 34 Church Street, Prescott. Tel 0151 430 7787 for details.

Get close to Egyptian treasures at the World Museum Liverpool


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

Artful way to get y

Art isn’t a spectator sport at the city’s galleries this half term. The Big Draw marks its tenth birthday this year and Liverpool is bursting with free art workshops to help you and the kids to get creative. At the Walker Art Gallery Big Art continues to draw the youngsters in with craft and story-telling fun. WALKER ART GALLERY, WILLIAM BROWN STREET, LIVERPOOL. TEL: 0151 478 4199 Half-term workshops Fun art workshops inspired by artists such as Bridget Riley and Ben Johnson. 26-30 October, 1-4pm. Big Draw Get to grips with your inner Michaelangelo at the Walker Art Gallery and discover new ways of drawing in workshops led by professional artists. There’s the chance to add to public artworks with a wire drawing to add to the sculpture exhibition. From 11am-4pm on October 24, 25, 11-4pm. Great for adults Big Draw: Breaking it Down Explore texture, layers and line drawings on Ben Johnson’s Liverpool Cityscape and create your own interpretation (Age 7 plus). 1pm, 2pm, 3pm on October 24, collect ticket on the day. Big Draw: Sculpture drawing Be inspired by the gallery’s sculptures and pick up tips on better drawing and different materials at the Walker’s sculpture drawing session. 1-4pm October 26. Story-telling week Discover the Rise of Women Artists exhibition with a story teller. Suitable for over-sevens. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 October 1, 2, 3pm. Big Art for Little Artists The Walker’s vibrant children’s gallery that brings art to life through paintings, sculpture, toys and costumes. Guided hands-on activities including firework collage-making on Nov 6, 7, 1-4pm. Open daily 10am-5pm, guided craft activities 11am-4pm. SUDLEY HOUSE, MOSSLEY HILL ROAD, AIGBURTH. TEL: 0151 724 3245

The Edwardian Family Album exhibition is on at the Lady Lever Art Gallery from October 23 gallery. Fun activities include magnetic drawing, mystery object drawing and feely drawing. Every Sunday, suitable for ages 3-12.

Big Draw: Joyous Machines Taking inspiration from the exhibition Joyous Machines: Michael Landy and Jean Tinguely, visitors are invited to bring in their old wind-up and battery-powered toys and transform them into their own drawing machines, or create large scale drawings in the studio. Suitable for ages 5-12) Oct 24-31, 1.30pm-4.30pm. In the education studio, no booking necessary. Ring 0151 702 7400. DELAMERE FOREST, FRODSHAM

Movement in Squares by artist Bridget Riley at Tate, Liverpool as part of her Flashback exhibition

Big Draw: Victorian Drawing Explore the Victorian obsession with botanics and create your own Pre-Raphaelite style picture at Sudley House, 1-4pm on October 30, or join a professional artist at the Lady Lever Gallery’s art workshops and take part in a range of activities. From 1-4pm October 28 & 29

Seascapes Paint your own seascape inspired by The Wreck Buoy by JMW Turner (over fives). Oct, 31 1-4pm LADY LEVER ART GALLERY, PORT SUNLIGHT VILLAGE, WIRRAL. TEL: 0151 478 4136 Big Draw Pick up a pencil and be inspired by the grand gallery. Oct, 28 and 29 1-4pm. TATE LIVERPOOL, ALBERT DOCK TEL: 0151 702 7400 Tate Explorers Collect a map or activity bag and join a journey of discovery to see, feel and learn about the art in the

Big Draw Volunteers of all ages can make their mark on a unique piece of forest art. It will take shape as people drift past and add their very own installation. The project takes advantage of the bountiful autumnal treasures the forest has to offer at this time of year, with a woodland walk to gather colourful leaves, fruits and seeds which will then be used as objects to fill a giant canvas with charcoal

drawings. Visitors will be given magnifying glasses to take inspiration from natural textures and shapes and forestry staff will be on hand to help. Runs from October 26-29, 11am-3.30pm. Tel: 01606 889792 or go to

EXHIBITIONS WALKER ART GALLERY Flashback Adults and children alike will find Bridget Riley’s new exhibition mesmerising. One of Britain’s best-known artists she specialises in eye-bending optical illusions. Flashback takes a long view of her work. Until December 13 at the Walker Art Gallery. MOUNT VERNON, KENSINGTON Title, Author, Genre (TAG) Grafitti is turned into bright sculpture on top of a

Kensington pub as part of Liverpool Biennial’s Winter Lights programme. The work, named Title, Author, Genre (TAG) takes grafitti tags from the area and works them into two neon sculptures. Mount Vernon, Kensington. Until Feb 2010. Call 0845 220 2800.

SUDLEY HOUSE, LIVERPOOL A Sweet Life: Fashion in a Liverpool Sugar Merchant’s Family Emily Tinne would have given any Topshop-addicted city fashionista a run for their money. This South Liverpool doctor’s wife loved clothes and her pre-war haul, from handbags to shoes, gowns and accessories is on show at Sudley House. It gives a fascinating glimpse into styles from one of the last century’s most elegant eras. Until Spring 2010.

Stephen Shakeshaft’s Liv

LADY LEVER ART GALLERY, PORT SUNLIGHT VILLAGE The Edwardian Family Album Take a peak at how two sisters in an ordinary Wirral Edwardian family spent their days out together at the Lady Lever Gallery. The Edwardian Family Album is a fascinating snapshot of a turn of the century family at play – on the sands of New Brighton, fishing, playing with kites and on an exciting trip to the Lakes. From October 23. NATIONAL CONSERVATION CENTRE Liverpool People Former ECHO photographer Stephen Shakeshaft’s candid snaps of local people going about their lives puts a human face on Liverpool history. Taken over the last 40 years, this exhibition at the National’s Conservation Centre is a real treat. TATE LIVERPOOL The Seagram Murals A modern art legend is exhibiting at Tate Liverpool this month. Teens interested in art and design won’t want to miss this rare chance to catch the work of abstract painter Mark Rothko – famous for his bold stripes and squares – work in Liverpool. The Seagram Murals will be exhibited against the grey walls and atmospheric lighting he insisted on in previous instructions. See or call Tate Liverpool on 0151 702 7400.

Help a giant artwork tak


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

yourself inspired

verpool People exhibition is on at the National Conservation Centre

ke shape at Delamere Forest

Get the family inspired this half term with Big Draw at various galleries around Merseyside

Mark Rothko’s The Seagram Murals exhibition at Tate Liverpool


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

Get out and about to experience autumn The region’s parks are stunning at this time of year. But there’s more going on than just a pretty view. During half term there are activities by the bucket-load, from wildlife conservation sessions to kite-making and conker competitions. All are free of charge unless stipulated. LIVERPOOL WOOLTON Discover Reynolds Park: Take a sedate stroll through the history of this small but beautifully formed park. Nov 4, 1pm. Meet at the main gate of Reynolds Park, Church Road, Woolton. LIVERPOOL CITY CENTRE Discover St Nicholas’ gardens, a lost part of Liverpool’s green heritage. Meet outside Tower Buildings, Water St, Liverpool. Nov 5, 1pm, tel 0151 233 3007. SEFTON PARK Salsa evening: A fun evening of Latin salsa at Sefton Park Palm House, all ages and levels welcome. Oct 23, 7.30pm. Tickets cost £7. Call 0151 726 2415 to book.

in front of the Gladstone Conservatory. Free. Call 0151 233 3007 for details. Memories of Stanley Park: Join the Rangers and Isla Gladstone Conservatory to find out about it behind the scenes and bring back memories from the past. Refreshments available. October 30, 11am. Meet at Stanley Park café. Ring 0151 233 3007 for details.

BROAD GREEN Half term workshops at the National Wildlife Centre, Court Hey Park, Roby Road Oct 26, 1pm, 2pm: Autumn collage, £2.50. Book on 0151 738 1913. Oct 27, 1pm, 2pm: Lantern making, £4 (age 7 upwards). Oct 28, 1pm, 2pm: Printing, £2.50. Oct 29, 1pm, 2pm: Minibeast drawing, £2.50 (all ages). Oct 30, 1pm, 2pm: Lantern making, £4 LIVERPOOL – VARIOUS LOCATIONS Conservation volunteering: Join the Liverpool Local Nature Reserves Conservation Volunteers on the first Saturday of every month for practical conservation work. Call 0151 233 3007 for details and locations.

Black History Month food feast: Stalls, performances and mouth-watering dishes from various cultures. Oct 25, 12-6pm, in the Palm House. Free. Contact 0151 726 2415 for details.

GREENBANK PARK Environment and Greenbank Park: Get active and come for a walk in the beautiful and historic park. Oct 29, 1pm. Meet outside the Brookhouse Pub, Smithdown Road. Call 0151 233 3007 for details.

GARSTON Garston Coastal Walk: Explore the coastal environment of Garston coast (five hours long, bring packed lunch). Oct 23, 11am. Free. Meet at car park at the bottom of Banks Rd/Blackburne St. Call 0151 233 3007.

FAMILY CHOICE: OTTERSPOOL Kite-making: Bring your children to learn the skills of kite-making as they make their own kite and fly it next to the River Mersey. October 25, Children playing at Otterspool Park 11am. Meet at the visitors centre, on the side of Otterspool Inn NEWSHAM PARK, TUEBROOK near Jericho Lane at Otterspool Park and Healthy family ramble: Bring the children Prom. Booking essential. Call 0151 233 3007 and keep fit while enjoying an informative for details. ramble around Newsham Park. October 30, CROXTETH PARK 1pm. Meet at Tuebrook police station. Call Make a Difference Day: burn calories with 0151 233 3007 for information. a morning of practical conservation work. October 24, 10.30am. Meet at the café entrance ALBERT DOCK Spooky spiders at Bugworld. Halloween of Croxteth Hall. Free. Contact 0151 233 3007 activities including pumpkin mask making, It’s a Lord’s Life: Join the ‘Earl’ at Croxteth spider pencil tops, insect trail quiz, feely Park and share in his extravagant lifestyle as boxes, frightening facts and a witch’s lair. we discover how the Edwardian aristocracy From Oct 24-Nov 1, free with admission. The spent its time. November 1, 1pm. Charges Bugworld Experience, Albert Dock. Tel 0151 apply. Call 0151 233 6930 for details. 708 4938 for details. STANLEY PARK Discover trees and shrubs at Stanley Park: Some of the more interesting trees and shrubs in the newly refurbished park are revealed.Oct 24, 1pm. Meet at the bandstand

KNOWSLEY MILL FARM ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND, KIRBY Adventure playground: arts and crafts, pool,

Children's half term activities at National Wildflower Centre computers, football, outside games (age 8-12), free. From 3.15pm –6pm Oct 24-29. Contact Mark Grealy 0151 443 4383.

Astronomical Society using powerful telescopes at Halewood Park. Nov 13, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Call 0151 488 6151 for details.

NORTHWOOD COMMUNITY CENTRE Play Club: Arts and crafts, outdoor play, football. Cost 50p. 3-6pm. Oct 24-29 0151 443 4307.

HENLEY PARK Conker competition: Try your hand at this age-old autumn game. Prizes for different age categories. All conkers provided. Henley Park, Oct 25, 1pm-3pm, arrive at 1pm for registration. Call 0151 489 1239 for details

KIRBY LEISURE CENTRE & TOWERHILL COMMUNITY SPORTS FACILITY Sports camp: range of sporting activities (age 7 upwards). Free. Oct 24-29 0151 443 4407. STADT MOERS PARK Stars in your skies: Discover the stars and planets in the winter sky with Liverpool Astronomical Society using powerful telescopes. Nov 6, 7.30pm-9.30pm. Call 0151 489 1239 for details. Conservation task day: Ranger-led practical tasks to conserve the park. All tools provided. October 24, 10am-1pm. Call 0151 489 1239 for details.

HALTON PHEONIX PARK, RUNCORN Storytelling: Hear the ancient tales of the Merry Men in Robin Pye’s tales of forest hero Robin Hood. 1-3pm Oct 24. Call 01928 564472 for details Autumn senses stroll: A gentle stroll and reminisce through the nature in autumn. Nov 2, 7, 1-2pm. Call 01928 564472 for details.

WIGG ISLAND, RUNCORN Starry, starry night: Patrick Moorhead-Miller, five, at the conker Watch the stars and pick out planets. Oct championships Conker contest: 30, 7pm. Call 01928 563 Try your hand at this 803 for details age-old autumn game. Prizes for different age categories. All conkers provided. Oct 24, MILLWOOD 1pm-3pm, arrive at 1pm for registration. Autumn in Millwood: Investigate nature’s harvest in this environmental haven. October HALEWOOD 22, 1pm. Meet at Alderfield Drive at rear of Stars in your skies: Discover the stars and Margaret Thompson Health Centre. Call 0151 planets in the winter sky with Liverpool 233 3007 for details.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

SEFTON CROSBY Bird feeders: Create a feast for the birds to enjoy in the winter in your garden. Meet at Crosby library. October 24, 10am-12pm. SOUTHPORT Birdwatch: A spectacular on Southport Pier event watching the migratory waders as they fuel up before going south for winter. Meet at seaward end of Southport Pier. 1-3pm Oct 25. AINSDALE Wrecks of our Coast: Join guest speaker Martyn Griffiths and learn about the buried treasures on our beaches. Meet at Ainsdale Discovery Centre. Nov 4, 7pm.

NEWTON-LE-WILLOWS WIGAN Mesnes Park Guided Walk: Explore autumn in this environmental haven. Oct 25, 1.30pm-3.30pm, ring 01925 229021.

WIRRAL NESTON Half term boredom-busters at Ness Gardens: Mask making and Halloween crafts, pumpkin carving, picture frame design and much more. Activities cost £4-5 per child and must be pre-booked. October 26-30. Tel 0151 353 0123 for details. Magnificent Trees at Ness Botanic Gardens: Enjoy one of the most colourful seasons of the year at Ness with a family guided walk. Walks last 1h 30mins. £3.50 per adult plus admission price of £5.75 October 20, 27 at 10.30am. Self-guided walks such as

Family Trails and Forest Trail also available. Tel 0151 353 0123 for details.

Wirral County Park, Thurstaston The Wirral branch of the RSPB is giving advice on feeding and looking after the birds in your garden at Wirral County Park. Suitable for all the family. October 24, 10am-4pm. Tel 0151 648 4371 for details. HESWALL Heathland restoration. Join the rangers cutting back scrub and trees. All tools and training provided. October 24, from 10.30am-3.30pm. Meet at Dale Farm entrance, Oldfield Road, Heswall off Quarry Road West. No dogs. Booking not necessary. Tel 0151 677 7594 fro details. ROYDEN PARK Falling Leaves: Join the ranger on an informative stroll through Royden Park. Meet by the Walled Garden. Oct 31, 1.30pm-3pm. Call 0151 677 7594 for details. Autumn Wildlife: Join the Ranger and discover how wildlife prepares for winter. No dogs. Booking not necessary, meet at the Rangers’ office. Nov 1, 10am – 12noon.

LEASOWE Leasowe lighthouse open day. Take a guided tour to the top of the 18th Century lighthouse in the middle of North Wirral Coastal Park. Tours cost £2 per adult and £1 per child. Total of 130 steps. Nov 1, 12-4pm. Last tour 3.30pm. Call 0151 678 5488. BROMBOROUGH Walks and talks on wildlife conservation at Dibbinsdale local nature reserve. Suitable for children of eight plus. No dogs. Booking essential. Tel 0151 334 9851.

Beautiful Ness Gardens in Autumn


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Winter Wonderland

Shedding light on the gardens at Ness Ness Botanic Gardens will turn the spotlight onto its Asian roots this Christmas

Ness gardens throws the spotlight on its exotic roots this December. Let IllumiNess dazzle you


HEY sailed halfway across the globe and risked their lives scrambling among the rocks and gullies of the freezing Himalayas – simply to bring back plants. George Forrest and Frank Kingdom Ward’s Chinese expeditions saw them establish plant species in Ness Gardens never seen before. Many of those they collected are still common in Britain today; others form part of a unique repository for breeds now rare in China. This Christmas Ness Botanic Gardens, near Neston, will turn the spotlight onto its Asian roots, and pay homage to the adventuring duo who fearlessly went to out to collect them. Cotton merchant Arthur Bulley started his garden in 1898, part of which he opened to local residents, laying the foundations of one of Britain’s major botanic gardens. Bulley wanted to introduce new plant species from abroad, believing Himalayan and Chinese mountain plants were ideal. He sponsored expeditions to the Far East and launched the careers of plant collectors George Forrest and Frank Kingdom Ward. The familiarity of garden plants like Pieris, with its splashy red, yellow and green leaves, makes you

forget they are only relatively recent fixtures. They all derive from one large Pieris Formosa Forrestii, snug in Ness, found by George Forrest in Yunnan, China, in 1910. “We had one Liverpool University alumnus from Yunnan and she was delighted to recognise the Pieris and other plants from home,” says Kevin Reid, who has been director at Ness for three years. Bully’s enthusiasm for plants from the Far East caused uproar when he proposed to introduce a plant named after himself – Primula Bulliana – onto Snowdon’s slopes. Two species introduced by Forrest, Rhododendron griersonianum and Camellia saluenensis, have both been used in hybridisation programmes resulting in many hybrids common in Britain today. The positive side of his plant-mania was Ness Gardens, which showed his desire to share that passion. Bulley died in 1942 and, in 1948, his daughter, Lois, presented the Gardens to the University of Liverpool with an endowment of £75,000. Bulley was not interested in garden design and more naturalistic settings were created

Gardens Director Kevin Reid with the old Bees potting shed at Ness Gardens by Ness director Ken Hulme, from 1957-87. The size of the ornamental gardens increased from six to 46 acres and the collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, cherries and heathers were established. Ness Gardens is one of the finest gardens in the North of England, with a £2m visitor centre, opened in 2006. It will also be represented next year in the Liverpool Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, which has made Christmas the perfect time for the illumination of the garden’s

Anglo/Chinese roots. IllumiNess will consist of nine days and 13 light and music compositions in December with a grand finale in the Rock Garden. The image of collector George Forrest and his dog will be projected onto one of the plants he brought back from China. There will be a water curtain in the Pingo prehistoric garden, home to Ness’s Supersteggybanana fibreglass mutant dinosaur. Chinese lantern boats will be featured to highlight the plants

brought from China, and to salute Europe's oldest Chinese community, in Liverpool, whose descendants arrived by boat from China, like Bulley’s plants.” ● See the garden in a different light with the IllumiNESS event within the Gardens, Sat, Decmber 5 – Sun, December 13; Pre-booked admission: adults £12, concessions £10, children, £8, under-threes free, family ticket £38; Ness Gardens, south Wirral, CH64 4AY (off M53 J4, A540); tel: 0151 353 0123.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Half-term Fun

Residents making a welcome return to Formby One of Formby pinewoods’ best loved residents is making a cautious return. Emma Pinch reports

organisations like Save Our Squirrels zealously removed dead squirrels, kept tabs on surviving squirrels, organised fundraising walks and helped create a three mile buffer zone around the pinewoods to keep grey squirrels out. It’s believed the buffer zone gave the tiny number of remaining squirrels the toe-hold they needed to survive. T’S time to go back into the woods In addition a PhD research project has again according to Formby wildlife been commissioned to look at how infection experts. The abundant red squirrel is spread and any immunity to the disease, in population along the Sefton Coast was case of further outbreaks. decimated by deadly squirrel pox, “Things are much more positive now and which raged up and down its wooded fringes. no dead squirrels have been found for several Across the whole of the colony, from months,” affirms Brockbank. “We’re all of Formby point up to Ainsdale numbers the opinion that numbers have stabilised and plunged from 1,000 to about 100, while we’re hoping for a good breeding season next Formby’s population was March. “Our hope is that by sliced down to just 15. the start of next year there Instead of squirrels at the will be a group fit and of the popular natural attraction, right age and in the same up-ended bags of nuts became sort of area to breed.” the most common sight, as The best case scenario for visitors went away Sefton’s red squirrel colony disappointed. will be if it mirrors what Now nature experts are happened in Cumbria, where cautiously optimistic that the was a savage outbreak of fortunes of the ravaged Sefton Squirrel Pox in 2003. red squirrel have taken a turn “Over the next five to six for the better.” years the population “People have a good chance recovered to something like of seeing a squirrel now,” original levels, and that’s reveals Formby Natural Trust what is there now,” says manager Andrew Brockbank. Brockbank. “That’s what we “Over the last two months hope to achieve, although Red squirrels are making a we’ve been getting about 10 they probably won’t return return to Formby woods sighting per day. I’d say your to the numbers we had in chances of seeing a squirrel Formby before because we now were about 50/50.” probably won’t go back to offering supplemSquirrel Pox hit the around November entary feeding. It’s because of the risk of 2007, killing 85-90 per cent of the resident attracting greys and further infection.” population. The cruel disease left them blind In the meantime, there’s other flora and and barely able to climb and seemed to fauna to look out for in the Sefton pinewoods spread through contact. this autumn. It’s thought they contracted it from their “Lots of seabirds are coming in to spend bigger, more robust and more aggressive grey their winter on the Alt, the Dee and in the cousin. The grey squirrel can carry and Ribble valley, which you see along the sea spread the disease but does not become ill. shore,” says Brockbank. “The best time to A combined force of the National Trust, come is when the tide is low. There’s always Natural England and volunteer conservation something to enjoy.”

Other visitors to the woods


SANDLING Migrant from the high Arctic, flying 3,000 miles to winter in southern Europe, Africa and Australia. Small, plump wading bird, pale grey on top, white underneath with a black bill and black legs and feet. You often see one or two running along the tide line.

PINK FOOTED GEESE Comes from Eastern Greenland to winter in North Western Europe. The body is mid grey-brown, medium sized, with a pink bill, legs and feet. It produces a medley of high-pitched honking calls, being particularly vocal in flight, when long skeins appear across the sky flying to roosting sites making a noise that is almost deafening.

STOAT Small, carnivorous animal with long chestnut brown-furred body, short legs a creamy underbelly. Moves in a sinuous motion when stalking prey, often appears as a long flash of brown fur going into hedgerows.

EARTHSTAR FUNGI Fungi comes into its own in October, with red cap and yellow cap fungi common in the woods. A more curious type to spot is the other-worldly Earthstar fungi, which appears as a central sac supported by tripod-like legs when it releases its spores, towards the end of October. ● Pick up a National Trust audio-guide on the treasures of the pinewoods at the Trust kiosk at the entrance to Formby Squirrel Reserve on Victoria Road, Freshfield. Costs £2, last issue 1:30pm in winter. Deposit and ID required. Tel 01704 878591 or email WCs close at 5:30pm in summer, 4pm in winter.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

Animal for the family

A Halloween treat for the elephants at Chester Zoo

From dolphins in the estuary to red squirrels in the coastal woods, Merseyside teems with animal life. But if you don’t fancy going out and hunting down the region’s shyer residents, there’s a host of animal attractions to make your half term go with a roar. Here is our pick of the best. CHESTER ZOO The UK’s number one zoo attracts more than 1miillion visitors every year and it’s not hard to understand why. Chester Zoo is home to more than 7,000 animals and 400 species, many the most endangered on the planet. Highlights include the Realm of the Red Ape, an Indonesian forest themed exhibit that immerses visitors in the world of the forest canopy and its teeming biodiversity. The exhibit houses the zoo’s threatened Sumatran and Bornean Orang Utans including two Chester Zoo bred new arrivals – Iznee born in May and Kirana in February. Other exciting new arrivals include an Eastern black rhinoceros calf born to mum Ema and Bella the giraffe. Another must-see is the £3m Asian Forest replete with hornbills, squirrels, peafowl, Arowana and Probarbus fish, rainforest flora and fauna and the zoo’s herd of Asian elephants. Special events for October include a screening of hard-hitting environmental documentary, End of the Line. The film investigates the parlous state of the world’s fish stocks afterwards there’s a Q&A session with director Rupert Murray. Then make an

origami fish to your show support of the campaign. October 27, 7pm, tickets cost £4.50 and include refreshments.The 110-acre zoo is open from 10am every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Car parking free. ADMISSION: Tickets cost £13.55 per adult, £9.95 per child, £45 per family, under twos go free. Chester Zoo, Cedar House, Caughall Road, Upton-by-Chester, Chester, CH2 1LH. Tel 01244 380280 for details.

KNOWSLEY SAFARI PARK There’s more to Knowsley Safari Park than baboons. But baboons and indeed all the apes remain some of the most popular inhabitants of this famous drive-through attraction. They now have more than 100 baboons in the troop, all born at the park and most of them as curious about their visitors as visitors are about them. Knowsley is also the place to view some of the world’s rather larger, fiercer wildlife. There are African elephants, lions, tigers, endangered white rhinoceroses, ostriches and emus. Recent summer arrivals include a

Meet and make new friends at Acorn Farm bison calf, a camel calf, ankole cattle and meercats. The sea-lion show is particularly popular with younger children. Educational and entertaining it showcases each animal’s amazing abilities and enthusiastic play. Be astounded as Biffo and Max, the park’s resident Californian sea lions jump, run, do impressions of seals and leap from the water in a spectacular finale. ADMISSION: Adults £12, children (3-15) £9, family ticket (2 adults, 2 children) £37, pedestrians £7. Knowsley Safari Park, Prescott, Merseyside, L34 4AN. Tel 0151 430 9009.

ACORN FARM, KIRKBY Acorn Farm was created in 1985 on four hectares of derelict land, which had once been a dumping ground for builders’ rubble. Beginning with just a rabbit and two gerbils it’s grown into an award winning visitor attraction, which is home to a wide range of farm animals and employs 28 full

time, part time and seasonal staff. The project has strong roots in the local community. They have a range of animals including sheep, cattle, goats, pig, horses, poultry rabbits and guinea pigs. Activities include petting small animals in the Petting Pavilion, including the opportunity to milk a goat, groom a rabbit and hold a chick (charge £1 per half hour session). Visitors can also get a taste of horse riding on the farm’s two horses Jack and Murphy, every weekend and afternoon during school holidays between 1.30pm and 3pm (£2 for two circuits of the riding arena, last ticket 2.45pm). Horse riding for the disabled is also on offer, £5 for 20mins on Friday mornings, available for block booking of lessons. ADMISSION: £2 adults, children £1 (under 3s go free). Acorn Farm, Depot Road, Kirkby, Knowsley, L33 3AR. Tel 0151 548 1524.


magic whole

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

Get lost in a world of animals at Knowsley Safari Park CROXTETH HOME FARM Children and adults will enjoy the sights and sounds of country life. Get close to all the animals – cows, pigs, horses and sheep – on a real working farm. See the traditional Victorian farmyard, home to an important collection of rare farm breeds of the past. Also learn about modern farming, watch the livestock grazing in the Country Park and look at the small animals collection. New this year is feeding time on the farm, at 3.45pm each day. ADMISSION: Open 10.30am-5pm, adult £2.60, child £1.80. Croxteth Hall & Country Park, Croxteth Hall Lane, Liverpool L12 OHB, tel: 0151 233 6910 TAM O’SHANTER URBAN FARM, BIDSTON Situated on Bidston Hill on the Wirral the Tam O’Shanter historic cottage and urban farm is run by a charitable trust with the aim of providing an enjoyable and educational experience for all.

Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm is home to pigs, sheep, goats, chickens and geese. It’s a great opportunity for children to learn about farm animals up close. Warm up in the farm café or if it’s sunny sit outside and enjoy a snack in the picnic Get up close and personal with a staggering variety of marine area. BLUE PLANET AQUARIUM ADMISSION: Open 9.30am – 4pm every day. Discover one of nature’s most complex and Free, though donations are welcome. stunning ecosystems at Blue Planet. Sharks, Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm, Boundary Road, rays, redknobbed starfish, clownfish and Bidston, Wirral, CH 43 7PD. different types of coral will educate, amaze and enthuse you for the beauty of this natural KENYON HALL FARM, WARRINGTON world and the need to protect it. Get up close to and handle birds of prey At the Blue Planet Aquarium discover the including hawks and falcons, three types of staggering variety of marine life that exists in hunting owls, a vulture and more at this different aquatic environments around the traditional fruit farm. Oct 24-Nov 1. world. Meet the catfish, piranha and electric ADMISSION: Free. Open 11.30am-3.30pm, eels of the Amazon and learn about the rich Kenyon Hall Farm, Winwick Lane, Croft, life of Lake Malawi. Reef Magic demonstrates Warrington. Tel 01925 763161. the beauty and value of the ‘nurseries’ of the seas with a 2,000 litre freestanding tank so you

life at Blue Planet Aquarium can view 15 types of rainbow-coloured fish and 20 varieties of coral at 360 degrees. It also boasts one of the world’s longest aqua tunnels, where you can get close to the aquarium’s five varieties of shark. New for 2009 include two rare zebra sharks, two sand sharks and old man of the sea, the Nautilus, a deep-sea species related to squid older than the dinosaurs. ADMISSION: Open daily from 10am. Adult £14.50, child £10.50, family £48, (2 adults, 2 children), groovy grandparents (2 seniors, 2 children) £44. Blue Planet Aquarium, Longlooms Rd, Ellesmere Port, CH65 9LF Tel: 0151 357 8800.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun Fancy zooming along a zipwire a la James Bond? Fighting aliens , blasting into space or getting up close and personal with a tarantula? If you’re thirsting for an adrenaline experience, there’s plenty to tempt in and around Merseyside. The Bugworld Experience, Liverpool City Centre Experience insects – see them, hold them… and even eat them at the UK’s first insectarium at the Albert Dock. Meet the Preying Mantis and the Salmon Pink Tarantula in Bugworld’s simulated rainforest habitat, the Death Stalker Scorpion in the desert and in the woodland zone, the deadly Australian Redback Spider At the Encounter Zone experience how a giant African millipede feels on your skin, handle a stick insect and listen to a hissing cockroach, with experts on hand to dispel myths and teach you about conservation work. At Base Camp taste yummy bugs such as leaf cutter ants and Mopani worms, and learn about bug recipes in everyday meals. ADMISSION: Opens 10am. Adult ticket £10.95, child (5-14) £6.25, family (2 adults, 2 children) £30, children under four go free. Bugworld Experience, Grand Hall, The Colonnades, Albert Dock. Tel: 0151 703 9390. Spaceport, Wallasey Blast off on a virtual journey though space and time at the £10m space themed attraction at Seacombe Ferry Terminal on the Wirral. Explore space in the planetarium show in the space dome, narrated by Doctor Who himself, David Tennant, and experience the wondrous sights and sounds that an astronaut does in space in the 360 degree total immersion AV simulator. New exhibition, One Small Step, celebrates the 40th anniversary of man’s first steps on the Moon, and blends images, original films and detailed model to describe the journey up to July 20, 1969. It also looks at the future of space travel. It’s recommended you have at least two hours to enjoy everything on offer. ADMISSION: Tues, Wed, 10.30am, last admission 4.30pm, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun 10.30am, last entry 1.30pm. Tickets cost £9.50 for adults, children £6.50, family (2 adults, 3children) £26.50 703 Spaceport, Victoria Place, Seacombe, Wirral. Tel: 0151 330 1333 Alien Wars, Wallasey Billed as a terrifying total reality experience Alien Wars is new for 2009 and part of the Spaceport attraction. Here, runs the story, scientists have taken the top secret delivery of a live alien, placed deep in the bowels of a research facility. But is it secured? For 15 minutes visitors are taken round in a group by a marine through a maze of corridors, research rooms, lift systems and dark smoky tunnels and might have some shocking extra terrestrial encounters on the way. ADMISSION: Open Thurs-Sun 2.30pm-6.30pm.Not suitable for children under 8. Tickets cost £9.50 for adults, children £6.50, family (2 adults, 3children) £26.50 703 9390 Alien Wars at Spaceport, Victoria Place, Seacombe, Wirral. Tel: 0151 330 1333 Wowballs, Liverpool and New Brighton Walk, run and skip on water without getting wet. Wowballs – walk-on-water inflatable balls – are totally enclosed two-metre high hamster spheres. Totally robust, you can run and skip in your Wowball and bash friends and family in theirs. You can hire them at Dukes Dock at the Albert Dock – between the Arena and the Albert Dock and at the Marine Lake in New Brighton. They require calm weather so calling ahead first to ensure they are running

Plenty of things for daredevils to do this half term

Have a splashingly good time at Europa Pools is essential. ADMISSION: Open weekends and school holidays. £5 per person (one person per ball) for 10 minutes. Tel 0151 639 0466 (office) or 07999 788605 for information.

Adventure Ropes, Knowsley Make like a monkey at Knowsley Safari Park on its aerial Extreme Adventure Ropes experience. It sets you at up to 37 aerial obstacles from speedy zip wires, mid air jumps, suspended gravity-defying climbing walls and much more. The clip and go safety system means you’re always connected to an overhead support line throughout your trip. For smaller daredevils

Alien Wars at Spaceport is billed as a terrifying total reality experience there’s a junior rope course (height up to 1.4m) with 24 obstacles (lasting about 45 mins), while larger adventurers (1.4m plus) can go on the Adventure Course of 37 obstacles (up to 2 hours). No experience needed, ages six to 60. ADMISSION: Open 10am-4pm. Adult (16 plus) £10, child £10, family (2 adults, 2 children or 1 adult, three children) 10 per cent discount. Adventure Ropes, Knowsley Safari Park, Prescot, Merseyside, L34 4AN, tel 0151 430 9009 for more details.

Jungle Fun, Childwall Let the kids burn off excess energy at this indoor adventure centre.

It offers climbing experiences for children of all ages, from toddlers up to adults.It’s got slides, soft areas for tots and a 7-metre high adventure room for older children and even adults. Also toddler sessions offering story-telling, craft sessions, singalongs and other activities designed to stimulate. ADMISSION: Tickets from £3, open 10-6pm, 7 days a week. Upper floor, Belle Vale Shopping Centre, Hedgefield Road, Childwall. Free parking. Tel 0151 498 4770 for more information.

Jungle Parc, Croxteth Embark on a high wire forest adventure set

Tuesday, October 20, 2009



Half-term Fun

Swing from the trees at Jungle Parc treetops adventure playground, Croxteth country park

Walk, run and skip on water without getting wet with Wowballs at the Albert Dock and New Brighton, Wirral in wonderful countryside and developed to encourage you to swing, glide and climb through from tree to tree. There are 44 different activities on the way from zip wires, cargo nets, Tarzan swings, flying trapeze to suspending logs and wobbly bridges. There’s an Adventurer course for beginners and young children (from age 4, 1.05m minimum height), with four different levels of difficulty, and an Explorer course for families and teens, beginners to daredevils (height minimum 1.03m). A longer, faster zip line finish has been installed for 2009. Activities last for up to two hours.

Blast off in a virtual journey though space and time at Spaceport

For those with energy left, new for this year is an orienteering course. Participants will be provided with a compass, pen, map and answer sheet. The challenge is to trek around the country park, find the clues and solve the puzzle! This activity is also ideal for groups with disabled participants, it’s on flat pathways. ADMISSION: 10am-4pm. Explorer: Junior ticket £15, adult £20, family (2 adults, 2 children) £65; Adventurer: child £10. Booking is essential. Jungle Parc, Croxteth Hall Country Park

Experience insects up close at Bugworld, Albert Dock

(Muirhead Ave entrance) Liverpool 0844 879 4378 for details.

BUDGET PICK: Huntfun, Liverpool City Centre Wrap up warm and test your wits with a city centre treasure hunt. Download the clues and a map and embark on a voyage of discovery across the city, trying to beat friends and family to the answers. No prior knowledge of the area is necessary, and in case you’re stumped, the answers are in the back of the book. Either order the treasure hunt booklet by post and pay by cheque, buy one from Waterstones or pay and download

via the internet on ADMISSION: Runs dawn to dusk, cost from £4.99. Starting point outside the Tourist Information office on Whitechapel. 01904 491549.

Europa Pools, Birkenhead Whizz down the breath-taking water chutes and get swept away in the Beachbreakers wave pool with waves, geysers and a water cannon. There’s also a kiddies lagoon and training pool plus poolside spas. Europa Pools, Conway Street, Birkenhead, Tel 0151 647 4182.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It’s Showtime

Comedy, drama and live thrills on the stage join us for some




17th October-1st November Bug Fancy Dress • Creepy Crawly • Come in Bug fancy dress and Crafts* receive a Goody Bag 24th & 25th October • Pumpkin Trail • Create your own One for children & one for teenagers & adults

Witches Lair • Dare you enter?!!!

spider pencil top • Pumpkin mask making • Interactive games on the smartboard • Spooky feely boxes

*All visitors to the BugWorld Experience® will be able to join in the activity sessions between 11am-1pm and 3-5pm free of charge!!!

All children must be supervised by an adult at all times


Voucher One child free with every paying adult LIVERPOOL ECHO PROMOTION

Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer Valid until 31/12/2009

For full terms and conditions visit:

Long dark nights provide the perfect excuse to indulge in some uplifting showbiz razzle dazzle. The autumn programme of events for Liverpool’s stages offers entertainment for all ages and tastes. EDDIE IZZARD – STRIPPED ECHO Arena, October 31/Nov 1 (0844 800 3680) Tickets £30 THE cross-dressing, marathon running comedy maestro brings his sell-out show Stripped to Liverpool after a record-breaking stint at London’s West End. It’s his first UK tour in six years and tickets for his five week West End residency sold out in less than 48 hours. Eddie’s surreal musings have earned him countless awards including two Emmys and several forays into Hollywood and US drama. By all accounts however his time away from Blighty hasn’t changed him at all. Stripped is as unstoppably stuffed with talking squirrels and nonsensical meanderings as his act ever was. In Stripped he takes evolution as his theme, seamlessly blending semi-improvised fantasy journeys with his own brand of unarguable logic as he tackles subjects like the existence of God.

are created using magic. Pixie dust helps Tinker Bell fly, while Princess Aurora is sent to sleep for 100 years by a wicked fairy’s spell. But, when the spectacular Disney on Ice comes to the ECHO Arena in November, there will be a very human pair of hands behind the apparent enchantments. Production designer Robert Little is in charge of creating the perfect setting for the Princess Wishes show – a backdrop for revealing the dreams of seven Disney princesses, with special guest Tinker Bell whisking the audience from tale to tale. “Most of the set pieces are influenced by her,” he says. “She comes in on a trail of pixie dust to literally make these stories come to life. “In the Aladdin scene, Tinker Bell causes the bazaar and marketplace to magically appear on the ice. “And, for The Little Mermaid, she transforms the set into a seafaring ship with ropes, sails and cargo.” Robert used a great variety of materials to THRICE UPON A TIME create Pixie Hollow, Tinker Bell’s home. Unity Theatre, Liverpool (0151 709 4988) Lush with green hills inspired by the Tickets from £5 textures of the rainforest, the set transforms THIS modern-day tale bears witness to the to far away lands – from the arid desert to a courage that children need to have in a magical world under the sea. forbidding world. A magical waterfall serves as the focal point Through movement and imagery, it tells of a for the production. young boy stranded on a mysterious island. “Who wouldn’t be inspired to wish for their He encounters an outlandish creature who dreams to come true at such a beautiful, asks for his help in defeating an evil witch. To magical place in the woods,” says Robert. do so, he will have to However, actually venture down a deep bringing this vision to dark crevice with life was quite a two friends. Perched challenge. He had to on the edge of the find a way to make the world, lost on a waterfall a cascading, mysterious island or multi-level piece, while burrowing under the it contained the water earth, the young lad off the ice to prevent must overcome his melting. qualms, arm himself He also designed a with courage just larger-than-life dragon like his friends the for the Sleeping Beauty Monkey and the number. Lonely-Girl before “My favourite part of going down into an Sleeping Beauty is when abyss and destroying Prince Phillip battles the cause of their the brambles and the misfortune. dragon to get to Coupled with the Princess Aurora. movement, the live “To make the dragon music and really come to life, we soundscape decided to build it grippingly and 20ft-long,” says Robert. evocatively depict “Skaters inside the the courage of dragon glide it across Eddie Izzard’s Stripped show comes to the children in our often the ice which allows it ECHO Arena on Oct 31 and Nov 1 forbidding world. to move and be Suitable for 7-12 menacing in all kinds of years. interesting ways. “The effect is truly magnificent.” THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW Empire Theatre, Nov 9-14 (0844 8472525) THE BFG Tickets from £13 Liverpool Playhouse, November 3-7 (0151 709 IT WAS a dark and stormy night and newly 4776) Tickets from £9 engaged couple Brad and Janet found FAIRY Light and Royal & Derngate themselves in the middle of nowhere with a Northampton present the Roald Dahl classic, flat tyre. adapted by David Wood. Little did they know that knocking at a Roald Dahl’s enduringly popular child nearby castle for help would change their lives classic about the 24-feet-high Big Friendly forever. Giant and a little orphan called Sophie is Dust off your corset, fish out your fishnets brought to the stage. and prepare to get those hips wiggling – as When little Sophie is snatched out of her Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show returns bed in the dead of night by the BFG, she fears to the Empire. An incredible 34 years after the the worst. His grisly neighbours, the cult classic film first premiered the show is Bloodbottler and the Fleshlumpeater, like more popular than ever. nothing more than swallowing human beans, Most of the songs will be familiar to you especially nice little childers. But the BFG is a already – from their introduction to Dr. Frank dream-maker and not a man-eater and he’s N. Furter, a bizarre and self-proclaimed “sweet about to take Sophie on a journey she never transvestite” from Transsexual, Transylvania’ expected! to the infectious Timewarp. They must team up to save the children of Prepare for some eye-popping costumes – England from the child eaters. and that’s just the audience. Luckily they have some weighty support in the form of the Queen of England, the heads of DISNEY ON ICE: PRINCESS WISHES the Army and Airforce with their helicopters. ECHO Arena, November 25-29 (0844 800 3680) The BFG is classic Dahl and this brand new Tickets from £11.50 stage show promises to mix up ALL fans of Disney know that Cinderella’s heart-pounding adventures with life-long pumpkin carriage and Aladdin’s three wishes friendships, jumbly words and even some


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It’s Showtime

Disney On Ice presents Princess Wishes at the ECHO Arena, November 25 to 29

THE BFG comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from November 3 to 7 whizzpopping in front of the Queen.

PINOCCHIO St Helens Theatre Royal, Oct 24 (01744 756 000) Floral Pavilion, New Brighton, October 25 (0151 666 0000) Tickets from £7.50 BASED on the original production by award-winning writer Richard Gill, the enchanting tale of shoe-maker’s puppet Pinocchio comes to Merseyside. With stunning designs by Elizabeth Waghorn it stars Don Maclean as Gepetto. It was originally a huge success at London's famous Mermaid theatre and now it comes to the region, first to St Helens then to New Brighton. This spectacular new show starts with the story that everyone loves – Pinocchio's birth in Gepetto's magical workshop. It follows with his well-known meetings with favourite characters like the funny Fox and Cat – then sends him across the world on a new and

Spymonkey’s Moby Dick comes to the Liverpool Playhouse from October 20 to 24

fabulous adventure to find a heart and become a real boy. Runs for 1hr 35 minutes.

SPYMONKEY’S MOBY DICK Liverpool Playhouse, October 20-24 (0151 709 4776) Tickets from £9.50 WOULD Herman Melville redraft Moby Dick after seeing Spymonkey’s version of the maritime adventure? Would he be tempted to pop in a mermaid and cast wandering sailor Ishmael as a lively Spaniard? The theatre company, whose members live in London, Brighton, Bilbao and Vienna, got together with a director in Paris to create their “re-telling” of the well-loved story. It follows the theatrical tradition of a play within a play, but plenty that is not traditional about the show. “A theatre company is putting on a classic production of Moby Dick and the three of us

have other designs on the show,” explains the only female Spymonkey Petra Massey. “We’re genuinely trying to tell the story but we keep getting sidetracked.” Put simply, the plot is made up of key scenes transcribed from the film version with the Spymonkey bits in between. So it’s recognisably Moby Dick, with Captain Ahab chasing the great white whale, but also perceptibly not. The show came about because Stefan Massey (“the German”) had happy childhood memories of watching the film with his brother. “They’d play Moby Dick versus Ahab on the sofa and hit and punch each other,” reveals Petra. “We were driving back from a gig and chatting about what the next show could be and he suggested it. We’re a bit of a yes company so we all said yes.”

SANTA SPECIALS 28th/29th November, 5th/6th, 12th/13th, 19th/20th, 21st/22nd/23rd and 24th December Llangollen Railway The Station, Abbey Road, Llangollen, Denbighshire. LL20 8SN Tel: 01978 860979


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

High-flying adventure from Pixar The must-see half term film for all the family is new Pixar/Disney Film Up. But will you have the courage to watch it in 3D?


HE brains at Pixar have the finest cartoonists and freshest effects at their fingertips. But director Pete Docter reveals that realising the value of family relationships lies at the heart of new smash hit film, Up. Up is based around the adventures of unlikely hero Carl Fredrickson (voiced by Edward Asner). Lonely and miserable after the death of his wife, the old man decides to head off on a great adventure to the wilds of South America, and is inadvertently joined by young explorer Russell (Jordan Nagai) and talking dog Dug (Bob Peterson). The film tugs at the heart-strings, perhaps even more so than previous Disney-Pixar offerings. Pete Docter used his own experiences to help build Carl’s journey towards finding the true meaning of life. “What the world is really about is relationships, and that’s what Carl comes to discover,” says the Oscar-nominated filmmaker. Carl embarks on his journey in

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Carl sets out on his adventure breathtaking, fantasy fashion. His house is attached to thousands of helium-filled balloons, which lift it into the sky. But as a character he’s rooted in reality. “It was based out of that feeling everybody has,” says Pete, who directed the film. “There are days when the world is too much, you just have to get home, and hide under your bed or go to your happy place, and for Carl, his happy place is this floating house.” Early on, Pete and his co-writer Bob Peterson came up with the image of a floating house held aloft by balloons, which, he says, “seemed to capture what we were after in terms of escaping the world”. “That, coupled with wanting really to do something with an old man, a grouchy, old curmudgeonly guy who would have a lot of strong attitudes and opinions about things,” he continues. “Bob and I had some fun thinking about an old man character like the ones we love from the George Booth cartoons and all those great Spencer Tracy and Walter Matthau type of guys who are grouchy but you still like them.” Pete drew on his own discoveries to make the story resonate with viewers. “A few years ago, I went to Europe with my wife and kids. We stayed in fancy hotels, ate amazing food, visited castles and had this big adventure. “One night, we were having hot chocolate at a small department store cafe in Paris – nothing special – and I was laughing and joking with my kids. It was an amazing trip to a fantastic place, and what I remember most is the small stuff. It’s great to see the world, but spending time together as a family is equally, if not more, important.” To research Carl’s amazing South American trip, the crew hit the road.

“Production designer Ralph Eggleston, gave us a documentary about the tepui mesas (tabletop mountains) in South America, and as soon as I saw the DVD, my hair stood on end. I knew this was where we should set the movie,” says Pete. “This was a fantastic weird world I’d never heard of. One of the biggest challenges on this film was to design a place that looked other worldly and yet was still believable enough that audiences would feel like the characters are actually there. “We knew we had to go there because there’s something fundamentally different about experiencing a place versus just seeing pictures or film.” He soon regretted the trip. “It was like your worst nightmare,” he reveals. “It was about a six-or-seven-hour climb to the top and I had on way too much gear. When we got to the top, we had to hike across uneven terrain for another hour and a half. It was already dark when we got to our camp. When we saw our tents, most of us just sat down and started crying. We were so happy to be there.” The 3-D effect enhanced the filmmaking experience. “When Carl’s alone and quiet, we would try to squash space, and when you have dramatic moments of action or when he’s floating up his house, we try to push it so colour and lighting becomes a way of communicating that,” he explains. Despite his two decades of experience, Pete says making movies never gets easier. “There are always new ways the story conspires to trick us, to fool us into thinking we have the right solution. It’s only with a lot of reworking that you get good stuff. “I hope we never think of ourselves as experts – we learn something new on every film.”

Carl and Russell head off to explore


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Half-term Fun

Pixar need to know ●

Toy Story was the first Disney-Pixar collaboration. Released in 1995, it was the first feature film to be made entirely by CGI (computer-generated imagery). Since then, they've had box-office hits with A Bug's ● Life, Monsters, Inc, Finding Nemo, Cars and The Incredibles to name but a few.

Nearly 70 animators worked on Up during the peak of production. A crew of nearly 375 at Pixar had a hand in creating the film. The future is 3D for Pixar films. “Even though we're ● using the very latest, greatest, best technology, the focus is always on the story and characters,” says Pete.

Upcoming Disney-Pixar movies include Toy Story 3 with Tom Hanks and Tim Allen reprising their roles as Woody and Buzz Lightyear (below right), Cars 2, and Pixar's first fairytale, The Bear And The Bow featuring voices from Reese Witherspoon, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson.

O! PLANET 28th - 31st OCT BOO! BO

Free entry entr en try tr y for f one child in Halloween fancy dress** **one free child when accompanied by two full paying adults.

Offer only valid 28th – 31st October 2009. Not to be used in conjunction with any other offer. Terms and conditions apply.

Find us at Cheshire Oaks, CH65 9LF Tel. 0151 357 8800 Carl relaxes in his flying balloon house


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It’s Showtime

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is a comical fantasy about one man's pursuit of his dreams

Blockbuster movies for the whole family The big screen is packed with family blockbusters at the moment. Some, like Up, are already tipped as Oscar contenders. Grab the popcorn and enjoy. THE FANTASTIC MR FOX (PG) WES Anderson’s first animated film gives Roald Dahl’s classic childrens tale a contemporary twist. George Clooney's smooth Mr Fox is in theory a mild-mannered newspaper columnist. But by night he is a daring robber and – without telling his wife – he plans to rob three farmers of their livestock just as stylishly as Clooney's Danny Ocean famously knocked over three Vegas casinos. First, though, he needs help, starting with the dopey possum who fixes the sink in his new tree home. Then he employs the teenage cousin Kristofferson, who has come to stay in the family home and study at the local school – to his son's chagrin, Kristofferson turns out to be a natural athlete and martial artist who furthermore winds up going steady with the class babe. The farmers begin a military-style fightback against the lupine invaders and Mr Fox and his crew have to

The late Heath Ledger stars in The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

George Clooney lends his voice to The Fantastic Mr Fox

Fame has been updated for the current generation

dig for victory – and survival. And naturally, with Mrs Fox voiced by Meryl Streep and their moody teen boy by Jason Schwartzman, the good guys are American. The baddies, led by Michael Gambon, are Brits.

younger viewers whooping with glee. The visuals are astounding in their vibrancy and miniscule detail, and you soon forget that you are watching something that has been created meticulously on computer hard-drives.

Tancharoen, begins with Debbie Allen's classic line: fame costs. And right here is where you start paying... in sweat.” Allen is back in a new role as principal at the NYC High School of Performing Arts, where 10 young students seek to fulfil their dreams. It's like a gritty version of High School Musical, without the basketball. Naturi Naughton is the standout performer – remember her name!

UP (U) THE latest computer-animated masterpiece from the wizards at Pixar (WALL-E, Ratatouille, Finding Nemo) is an airborne adventure in the company of a cranky 78-year-old Carl, left, and an excitable eight-year-old boy. Parents would be well-advised to pack a family-sized box of handkerchiefs. By turns hysterical and heartbreaking, this rumbustious romp is guaranteed to have even the hardiest and most cynical soul choking back tears long after the lights go up. Even more exciting, Up is the first film from the Disney-owned studio to screen in Digital 3D at selected cinemas, promising eye-popping thrills and spills to keep

THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS (12A) AUDIENCES will flock to witness the final performance of Oscar-nominated actor Heath Ledger before his accidental drug overdose part-way through principal photography of Terry Gilliam's film, which is every bit as disjointed and befuddling as it is visually arresting and fanciful. The director had to hastily cast Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Farrell as stand-ins for Ledger. Lily Cole, Christopher Plummer, Andrew Garfield take centre stage as an immortal circus frontman has to deal with The Devil. FAME (PG) THE update of the 1980 smash hit, remade by young choreographer-turned-director Kevin

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS (U) BASED on the beloved 1978 children's book by Judi and Ron Barrett, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs is a comical fantasy about one man's pursuit of his dreams. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller's computer-animated film is also a colourful morality tale about the gluttony of the West, where bigger is apparently always better. Bill Hader voices the inventor whose contraption causes food to rain from the sky, while Anna Faris is the inexperienced weathergirl asked to cover this meteorological phenomenon.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009


It’s Showtime

Music fans spoilt for choice this autumn There’s a musical feast for all this season as the city prepares to play host to some of the biggest names in the business.

P!NK Oct 27, ECHO Arena (0844 8000 400) HER European tour next Spring sold-out immediately, her Australian tour next Summer has broken records. Rebel songstress P!nk, below left, is giving her Liverpool fans another chance to catch her Funhouse tour. Expect hits such as Just Like A Pill, Leave Me Alone (I’m Lonely) and U & Ur Hand. And not forgetting tomboy anthem Trouble, which in April had 10,600 backing singers in the crowd threatening to drown out her acoustic guitar. ELTON JOHN – THE RED PIANO SHOW October 28, ECHO Arena (0844 8000 400) HE’S a hit with young and old thanks to the power of his personality, self-penned melody and musicianship. The Red Piano Show still sounds fresh despite the fact he could probably do it in his sleep. Elton’s show began at The Colosseum at Caesar’s Palace five years ago and ran for 243 performances, drawing on the mountain of hits he’s produced throughout his long career, such as Rocket Man, Candle in the Wind and Daniel. Elton, above left, is right at home on the larger than life set, complete with iconic Yamaha red grand piano. FIRE & ICE Liverpool Philharmonic, October 29 (0151 709 3789) A CELEBRATION for the young at heart as Vasily Petrenko and the Phil give the first ever performance of the dazzling Symphony: Magnetite by Birkenhead-born Emily Howard, winner of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Composers. Latvian virtuoso violinist Baiba Skride powers through the fire and ice of Sibelius’s popular Violin Concerto. LIVERPOOL MUSIC WEEK SUPER FURRY ANIMALS Nov 5, Nation LIVERPOOL Music Week is billed as the UK's largest indoor winter music festival and will be staging over 80 events, across 26 venues and will play host to over 250 live bands. The festival format is a combination of ticketed shows and free shows, with artists including the UK's biggest live acts as well as new emerging talent. Kicking off this year's festival will be Reverend And The Makers, with The Enemy, Brand New Heavies and Soft Toy Emergency bringing up the rear.

Kasabian play the ECHO Arena on November 16 REVEREND AND THE MAKERS Nov 7, Nation (0151 709 1693) THE ENEMY Nov 8 Liverpool University (0151 794 6868) CALVIN HARRIS Nov 10, Liverpool University BEYONCE November 11, ECHO Arena (0844 8000 400) THE Queen of R n B, below, seems to be Crazy In Love with Liverpool. She is stopping off at the Arena with her sell-out I Am .. Sasha Fierce tour for the second time in three months. The diva, who enjoyed number ones with Baby Boy and If I Was A Boy, brings her incredible 10 piece all-female band, and a selection of traffic-stopping Thierry Mugler outfits to perform hits from her chart-topping album, I Am ... Sasha Fierce. Beyoncé’s third solo studio album is a two-disc record which unveils her alter ego, Sasha Fierce. The American superstar rose to fame in the 1990s as the lead singer of girl group Destiny’s Child – the biggest selling girl band of all time. She released her debut solo album, Dangerously In Love, in June 2003. It became one of the most successful albums of

that year and won her five Grammy nominations. Her second album – 2006’s B’Day – included the UK number-one singles Déjà Vu and Beautiful Liar and the worldwide hit Irreplaceable. That same year she starred in the comedy film The Pink Panther and played the lead role in the film adaptation of the 1981 Broadway musical Dreamgirls, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination.

KASABIAN November 16, ECHO Arena (0844 8000 400) FORMER Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher is such a fan of this band, when his band split he announced he would join them on tour. Only a hop from his former Manchester haunts, will he appear on stage with the indie rockers? Frontman Tom Meighan said: “We’ve got our arena tour in November. Noel will be calling us up nearer the time for sure saying, ‘Lads, I’m going to come perform with you on tour.’ “He’s a performing machine, and loves playing live so he jumps at the opportunity whenever he can join us.” Kasabian have enjoyed a phenomenal year and will bring it to a close playing their first gig at the Arena as part of Liverpool Music Week.


The Southport Fireworks Championships in full colour with the Ramada Hotel on Southport Promenade and Marine Way Bridge providing the backdrop Picture: GARETH ROBERTS

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Autumn on the GO! An ECHO Supplement  

Your complete family guide to half term, Halloween and beyond.

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