Yes, you couldn’t really have wished for a better day for monkey spotting, then yesterday – 18th April 2014 Good Friday – it was a perfect blue sky day. Earlier this week I’d been up north of Burscough for funeral business (yes a bit further afield than usual), but always enjoy the opportunity of exploring the ‘wider Liverpool’ area. Anyway, I asked Ronnie if he’d come on a trip with me, as I’d seen quite a number of monkeys and was keen to go back and catalogue them. Which then caused it’s own conundrum…. what reference letter do I use for monkeys that are not in Liverpool?
I’ve been using ‘L’ and a number for ‘Liverpool monkeys’ and ‘H’ and number for ‘Hereford monkeys’, which – up to now – have been my main source of monkey spotting. But now I was about to go north of Burscough (definitely not Liverpool), and also St Helens (likewise, not Liverpool). But where is the border? And what letter would I use? Ruminating on this in conversation with Ronnie, he said, ‘Well, it’s obvious, it’s already been decided for you, you should use the postcode.’ Ah! Obvious. Even if the postcode boundaries do not always make logical sense, they do at least provide a system for a way of geographically locating an area. Here’s the north west map:
So, as you can see, the area defined by ‘L’ for a Liverpool postcode is pretty wide, especially in the north where it extends all the way past Burscough, which in anyone’s terms is definitely Lancashire. Anyway, a system is a system, so for all cataloguing, the postcode letter is now going to be used. Which means that today you will see your first ‘WA’ monkey, shortly followed by a ‘PR’ one (that’s the postcode for Preston, north of Liverpool area).
Driving back to Liverpool the other day I took a diversion through Rainford and St Helens and was delighted to find a St Helens cluster. The first two are L35 and L36 – which are in the front and back garden of the same bungalow.
This is a suburban development on the A58, near Prescot. A delightful pair of monkeys – in the same house!
I’d spotted these driving in the other direction along the A58, but really, you couldn’t miss them could you?
And if you look closely you’ll see that there’s a nest in this tree. I’ve never seen a nest in a monkey puzzle tree before… I wonder what this is, a magpie nest perhaps?
Further down the same road, we have WA1. Yes, we have crossed the postcode barrier and are now in ‘Warrington’.
A younger specimen than its near neighbours, perhaps its planting was inspired by them? And looking very nice in the spring sunshine.
Our next St Helens tree is further away, near the crematorium. I’d seen this when working there, which I don’t do very often. We drove to the place I’d marked it on the map, on the A570, but couldn’t find it. We turned round in the crematorium drive, and whilst doing so, spotted this.
Yes, a baby monkey! We’ll come back to that, but first went to find the other monkey. Interestingly – to me at least – some monkeys are only visible when driving in one direction down a road… and our next specimen is a perfect example of this. Driving north on the A570 north of St Helens, you can’t see this tree, but driving south from the A580 towards St Helens on the A570, you’ll find this splendid tree.
It’s in the back garden of a large house on the A570. I got a slightly better view of it from around the back from Roseberry Lane, and also from the side road.
At times like these, when I can’t get a good view of a monkey, it’s tempting to knock at the door and ask, ‘Can I have a closer look at your monkey?’ but I’m not quite sure how that would go down – in St Helens anyway.
So, it’s back to the crematorium to see our last member of the ‘St Helens cluster’. A very new member.
I have wondered before if monkey puzzle trees have a special significance in gardens of remembrance… it’s a subject I’ll be returning to. But for now, I was pleased to see a young member of the monkey community here, with plenty of space to grow into a magnificent monkey. Heart warming on a perfect spring day. We did go on to see another 16 – yes 16 – monkeys on today’s trip. Just as well I have a cataloguing system in place. I’ll be back with more of them. So just to finish for now, here’s the lovely new growth on a young monkey. Delightful.