Our hosts Bruce and Anice think we are mad giving up the prospect of a beautifully fine day in the Lakes District to go and walk the piers and promenade of Blackpool.
But its a bit like a pilgramige for Gretchen who for years used to tell our girls off when they had all the lights in the house turned on saying "its like the Blackpool illumination".She had of course never seen the illuminations except for on TV but she needs now to experience at first hand even if the lights won't actually be on because it will be daylight but to see at least what makes up those lights.
So with another fine and warm day ahead we started out down the M6 towards Preston after deciding that we would take the direct route there and the slow road home,if we had time.Because today is also a special day for Anice as it is her birthday and there is to be a celebration dinner tonight with me on the BBQ !!
The M roads certainly get you to your detination quickly in this country but they are boring with no real scenery to take in while you are driving.
Preston we switched to the A584 and headed west towards the coast.The land here is very flat and once you leave Preston there is not a lot of human inhabitation except for some small villages until you reach the coast at Lytham St Annes.
We took a stop here to walk what we thought was a promenade.When we had driven into the town we could see the sandbank stretched out ahead but we hadn't thought that there would be a beach especially when we noticed the promenade.
However that was the way it was a nice place to stroll but all we had to look at on the seaward side was miles of sandbank and reedy stuff.
LSA we read became the holiday spot for the wealthy while the lower social class went to Blackpool and here we were joining them,for at least a couple of hours.!!
There were some very nice Victorian homes across the road from the promenade and many were under restoration and although they were as close to beachfront as you could get their view of water would need a telescope!!
Then it was onto Blackpool but before we got there we took another stop as
the road turned the coastline and went in a more northerly course.Here we thought there must be a beach as Blackpool wasn't far away.
Not so!!The beach was there but still probably a mile away from the road.In the distance we noticed a digger and a couple of trucks loading up sand and driving back to the roadway.We found out later that they were building up snad on the Blackpool beach.And there was certainly enough sand to do that!!
A short drive on and we entered the beachside area of Blackpool.
The first thing that hits you are the decorations clamped onto the lamposts..........the illuminations at last !!!These went on for the 4 or 5 mile stretch of the beach strip and we can now clearly see why the place lights up so brightly when they are switched on.
There must have been thousands and thousands of lights and would put our home display at Christmas to shame!!Ruth and Owen we have some serious work this year!!!!!
The holiday season is not fully underway here yet as schools are still in so there was plenty of roadside parking available although we decided to stop near the south pier where we
had to find a park a couple of streets back from the beach.
The area we stopped at is also known as Pleasure Beach more we assume for the fact that there is a pier chock full of amusement machines and rides for the kids and also the big kids.We walked out onto the pier past the amusement machines.We hadn't played any of these things in years so thought it was time to relive the old fair days we enjoyed as kids again.
We both thought the machines where you dropped a coin through a slot that then fell onto a table going back and forth with a chance that coins and notes with prizes written on them would spill over the edge making us winners would be a good idea.
We started out on the 2p machine being the last of the big spenders.But after 5 attempts and 10p the poorer we gave on that one.
Right!! lets splash out and so it was onto the 10p machine thinking that the heavier coins would drop over the edge easier.
Two attempts and nothing although there was a little movement on the second but not quite enough.
We found another
10p and dropped it in and BINGO!!! four 10p coins fell over the edge and into the payout slot.We were even again!!And that was it,quit while at least you are even.
Further out on the pier were rides waiting for the summer influx including all the old favourites of the dodgems and ghost train etc etc.
We were tempted by the dodgems but it isnt much fun if there are only the two of you and no one else to avoid.
From the end of the pier there was expensive views out to the incoming tide still at least a hundred metres away and also up and down the beach.
This clearly was the best beach we had seen in England and so much space you could fit thousands and their deck chairs and still have room.
Today there were a few dozen sunbathers soaking up the rays for by now just after 1pm it was 30C and feeling very summery.There wasn't anyone in the water however and who could blame them when the sea water we guessed was cold and so far out to get to it !!
We strolled along the wide promenade taking in the trams,some of
them doubledeckers,plying up and down their tracks between the promenade and the road.
The business side of the roadway was hotel after hotel mostly relatively small in size with three stories being the maximum height.With no new hotels added for years the developers hadn't had the chance to build anything taller and perhaps that will never happen here so that the place retains its charm that people come here for.
Of course the English love their fish and chips and there were almost as many chippy shops or small restaurants selling the favourite snack lunch/dinner as there were hotels.Even at 30C with no wind and high humidity the chippy shops were doing a roaring trade this lunchtime.
On our return towards the car we went on a little further to get as close a view as we could to the maze of rollercoasters that dominated the airspace to the south of the pier.We countered 4 rollercoasters all seemingly jumbled together each one a different height and giving their patrons a need to scream at a different level depending on how high you climbed and then zoomed down towards earth!!Unlike the pier the rollercoasters were doinf a steady business.Perhaps the days
of the dodgems have gone as people seek more thrills.
As Bruce had never been to Blackpool before and it had been years since Anice had visited we brought then a stick of Blackpool rock to suck on to their hearts content and get the Blackpool feeling!!!Gretchen also found these liquor flavoured sticks as well and she has dreams of getting them home in one piece to try out on our friends...watch out R,O and J.
After a couple of hours strolling in the hot sun we moved on and drove the rest of the beachside road passing the world famous Blackpool Tower(which you can't miss when you are on the coast)and taking in more and more decorations that would be illuminated at night.The decorations came in all sorts of designs and even McD's had their own little stretch of 50 metres or so outside their restaurant for their own design strapped to the lamposts.
We wanted to visit Morecambe while we were in the area as it was another one of those places we had heard a lot about and was on Gretchens list of places to visit to see what was there.
We took the A588 north and
after getting lost found the route again.On past the menacing looking nuclear power station at Heysham and soon we were at Morecambe.
It had the look of a poor mans Blackpool,if that was possible,with many of the buildings after entering the beachside road in a poor state of repair and many empty.Things did improve as you got to the centre of the beachfront but it wasn't a shadow of Blackpool so we didnt stop to explore and drove a bit disapointed as we had for some reason expected more.
With the afternoon moving on we headed for home with the temperature still hovering around 30C.
I had offered to put together my 'world famous in NZ' meat patties for the BBQ to which 4 of Bruce and Anice' close friends would be attending.
Bruce admitted that they didn't do BBQ very often and I got the feeling that they were keen to have me show them how to BBQ kiwi style.
Thier BBQ was small but had a lid which meant cooking the food through well would be easier.
So with chicken legs in a mustard sauce,sausages and my meat patties as well as vegetables the BBQ got underway.
it all came out OK and everyone seemed to enjoy the slightly charcoaled flavour and Gretchen gave me the thumbs up approval which meant all the fine!!! Whew!!
We even did the Kiwi thing of the men standing around the BBQ to talk about anything in general while the ladies stayed at the table talking about what they talk about.Just like home!!!
We had found a bottle of Montana Rose at a good price at Booths supermarket and enjoyed washing down the BBQ ffod of which I must say there wasn't much left at the end of very enjoyable night which ended with the now usual nightcaps.
It had been another long but very satisfying day with another "must see"which we had enjoyed ticked off the list.
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