'Being thick isn't an affliction if you are a footballer, because your brains need to be in your feet.' Brian Clough
There is much in the Cotswolds to make us complacent. We are relatively privileged and can we be blamed for feeling just a tad smug? But I am back from a visit to Liverpool chastened for falling for old stereotypes and prejudices.
Surely Liverpool would be grimy and comic in a Liverbirds sort of way, trapped in the sixties and with a surly resentment for its more blessed visitors. Shame on me! A couple of days anywhere doesn't qualify as an expert but it has made me an enthusiast. For a start Liverpool isn't 'up north'. Ignorant as only a Londoner can be about her own country, I thought it was somehow a suburb of Glasgow whereas it is nearer north Wales and the centre of Britain.
Competition between the Rolling Stones and the Beatles had me firmly on the side of the Stones, being a southerner, and I expected the city to be dominated by its most famous sons. Far from it. There is more than a nod to the Beatles contribution to the fame of the place but there is so much more to Liverpool than a clinging to thin tunes and sentimental lyrics.
But why be rude? From what I saw the people of Liverpool are very far from rude. They are friendly to visitors and, as far as I saw, to each other.
It is an easy city in which to travel on foot. You can get from anywhere to everywhere in fifteen minutes. I visited Tate Liverpool (don't bother), the Museum of Liverpool, the Maritime Museum, the Walker Art Gallery, the International Slavery Museum (an absolute must), the Cavern Club and the Titanic experience (surprisingly engaging given that I am sick to death of hearing about Titanic). They have their own Wheel to view the city from on high. And viewing is a must. An extraordinary hotch potch of buildings has come together to form a stunning panorama and this is a place that knows how to use the spaces between buildings. Brilliant tree planting and greenery.
And then there are the shops. Fantastic shopping especially if you have the money and taste of a Wag. For this is the city of football. I went to a dinner at Anfield and was shown behind the scenes. Here teenagers earn £100,000 a week and learn to drive in Ferraris. In the club within my hotel there had been a bar bill of £210,000 just a few days earlier. It was the talk of the town. It would take the life-saving surgeons with whom I dined a long time to make that money. It's a mad world. But fab.