Thomas Wolfe was wrong.
You can go home. Ten-plus years ago, we spent 13 months in the United Kingdom. My son Max was 3, and turned 4 while there. He loved trains. We lived in a beautiful seaside resort town called St. Annes in Lancashire while I tried mightily to get the UK to build new Westinghouse reactors. We had a blast. We went everywhere and saw everything. The time went by in a flash, but we knew we’d go back someday soon. It turned out that soon was about 10 years. Now Max is a strapping 14 year old wannabe rock star who is as big as I am, and is about to start high school.
But the opportunity did at last present itself, and away we went. We flew into Heathrow and spent 3 days in London. Then we hired a car and drove through the Midlands along the west coast to Lancashire, After a bit of remedial left-side-of-the-road driving, we pulled into St. Annes and re-visited our lives. We finished up our trip with a jaunt up to Hadrian’s Wall in northern England, and some time in Liverpool.
But for today, Let’s go back home.
St. Annes, Lancashire
Denise and I went to the UK to find a place close enough to the Office of Nuclear Regulation in Liverpool, but nice enough that we would have a great time for the time we were there. We found both in St. Annes, where we rented a townhouse on a quiet street.
Where we lived was about 1/2 block from the Irish Sea. There were sand dunes at the end of our street where Max used to play. I would put on my roller blades, put on his crash helmet, load him into an umbrella stroller (push car in UK parlance), and whisk him around town. We were well-known among the good people of the Fylde for this. While we couldn’t re-create this with a 200+ lb Max, we did go back to some of the places we used to go.
Denise would take Max to the sand dunes to play with his trains. Max was a huge fan of Thomas the Tank Engine.
And then there was the Fairhaven playground. About half a mile walk (or skate) from our house.
The last place we visited was the Lytham playground which was brand new 10 years ago. It had a daunting jungle gym in the form of a space ship. Four-year-old Max would climb about half-way up, then lose his nerve and I’d have to go up and get him. On the last day we were there, I told him it was now or never, and up he went. I didn’t get a picture of him smiling from the top, but of all the things from our time there, this was the one thing he remembered about Lytham-St. Annes.
Max’s full name is Maxwell Spencer Wright. The “Max” is because my wife did not want anyone to give him a dumb shortened nickname. The “Spencer” is for one of my personal heroes, Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. During this trip to the UK, we spent two days touring London. In Westminster are statues of a lot of great men, including Churchill. Denise took a picture from 2009 and superimposed Max from 2019.
So this was the trip we took 10 years after we lived there. See the two day trips I wrote for what to do in London; London 1 and London 2, and the side trip we took up to Hadrian’s Wall. Also take a look at the bike tour of Liverpool that we did. In all, a very fun and full week in Merry Olde England.