May 12th, 2001.

A perfect day.

Every so often you have a day that when you climb into bed at night you think to yourself 'that was a perfect day'. Today was one such day.

The heat of sun rays beaming through my slightly open window woke me this morning. I'd spent the night at a friends house that overlooks the River Mersey toward Liverpool. She was already downstairs in the kitchen and as I got dressed I could smell the aroma of fresh coffee. The day was certainly off to a great start.

I wandered downstairs just as Lizanne was setting up breakfast on her garden table. Some kind of world music, typical of her taste, was playing as we sat outside chatting, eating toast and marmalade, drinking coffee, and watching ships coming down the River Mersey in the now warm morning sun. This wasn't a breakfast to rush, and neither of us had any plans to do so.

At about a quarter to eleven, I headed off to the beach on my own to take a few pictures and enjoy the sun, which was making its first major appearance of the year. New Brighton beach might not be the most amazing place in the world, but this morning it was superb; wonderfully hot, and not at all crowded. In fact, it would best be described as nearly deserted thanks to the fact that today was the FA (Football Association) Cup final. I walked along the beach watching huge ships coming and going, disturbed only by the occasional squawk of a seagull. My perfect day was on track. It's a Grand Prix weekend so today was qualifying. The session would be televised so I would have to decide to either miss it and continue to enjoy the sun, or go home and sit inside watching it live. I rarely miss Grand Prix qualifying sessions but equally so, I didn't want to miss this glorious weather. After some consideration, I decided to drive back home and video the session to watch it later.

The journey from New Brighton back to Bebington isn't far, and with luck, at the lights, you can be there in no time. Another element to my perfect day was that journey. Traffic was sparse and the lights were all green.

I decided to head back to another part of New Brighton to enjoy the afternoon in the sun and Irish Sea breeze. But as I approach there were diversions all over the place? Is this where my perfect day gets a little off track?

Not at all. Instead, the day just gets better because today they are racing Rally cars on New Brighton seafront roads, hence the closure. I park the car and walk down to the seafront to spend the afternoon watching race cars scream their way around the roads I know so well. The speakers echo the voice of a commentator and the large crowd mill around drinking and chatting in the sun with the noise of engines in the background.

I venture into the crowd and then hear a formula one engine. A formula one engine? This is a Rally car event, there wouldn't be a formula one car here? I make my way to where the noise is coming from and then as I turn the corner my day has another surprise improvement. A huge TV on the side of a truck is projecting the live Grand Prix qualifying to the crowd! I chuckle to myself in amused disbelief.

After watching Michael Schumacher take pole position for tomorrow's Grand Prix I wander off to watch the Rally cars. It would have been nice to see David Coulthard get pole position, but all in all, that's not important. I want him to win tomorrow, but from seventh on the grid his result tomorrow might be the only thing this weekend that doesn't end up being perfect. Right now though I am not concerned with that as I watch the brightly colored Rally cars scream around the makeshift circuit.

A couple of hours pass and I decide to make a move. So I head off to various friends' houses making short fleeting visits, enjoying a bit of this sunny day with all of them.

Back at home I catch up with Saturdays emails and return various phone calls. As it is turning out to be a nice night I elect to delay having something to eat and wash my car in the sun instead.

I haven't washed a car by hand for years, this is mainly because I haven't owned a car worth washing. So as tedious as this might sound, I enjoy this bit of my day too. And with it looking all gleaming a shiny I decide to drive to the petrol station to get some fuel.

While driving back I notice that it looks like the sunset, that is quite a way off, could turn out to be an amazing one. So I call my friend Lizanne and ask her if she would like to go out for an evening bike ride on the seafront. She enthusiastically accepts the invitation so I head straight for her house and we set off on the bikes into the sunset.

The evening is hot and loads of people are out catching the last of the rays of the sun. The wide pathway alongside the mouth of the River Mersey is full of cyclists, roller skaters, skateboarders, and people walking. The pubs are packed and crowds of people fill the beer gardens all laughing and talking. The local football team (Liverpool) was victorious in the FA cup final so the atmosphere is especially good-humored.

As the sun begins to set I can hardly believe this is England. We cycle slowly along the beachfront looking out over the Irish sea before we stop and take up a position to watch the sun dip below the horizon. It's amazing. Normally the clouds catch the sun before it can disappear into the ocean, but tonight we are going to see what one of my friends calls a 'Jamaican Sunset'.

For ages we just sit there, the sun has gone and we just watch life go by. The sky is clear except for the lines drawn by planes taking people to what I hope are wonderful locations. We debate their flight paths and the times of their arrivals. A scruffy dog is making its way toward us having been leaping around in the sandy puddles left behind when the tide went out. This point is as good as any to get back on the bikes and head back to Lizanne's house.

As we cycle back along the Mersey riverside, the lights of Liverpool begin to glow into a darkening deep blue sky. A plume of smoke emanates from somewhere on the Liverpool side of the river, we stop and debate with others what could be on fire. Eventually, it disappears just as we arrive back at the house.

We make something to eat and with the air still and warm we sit outside in her garden chatting and looking at the stars. I look up searching for a rare sight of a satellite. Lizanne says she has never seen one, and right on cue a satiate appears above us slowly making its way across the night sky.

It's been a long day, so I jump in my car to make the short journey home. What could have made the day more perfect? Nothing. Not a thing. Today was about as perfect a day as anyone could hope to have.


[David Coulthard did indeed win the Austrian Grand Prix the next day from seventh on the grid!]