Tuesday, 6 October 2009

More pictures from Blackpool

Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to ride along the front in Blackpool in a horse drawn carriage

So for our special trip down memory lane we did just that!

For Dave's recent birthday I bought him a fancy new Digital SLR camera and he had great fun snapping some of the iconic sights around the town

Posted by Picasa


It's been years since we've been to Blackpool. When the kids were little we used to enjoy our yearly trip up to see the illuminations but when they grew old enough to be completely embarrassed to be seen out with their parents we stopped going. We thought that to really appreciate the illuminations you needed to take little children to see their faces light up with awe and wonder as darkness fell and the illuminations were switched on.
I can still remember the thrill of a trip to Blackpool when I was a little girl sitting in the back of Dad's van, foot sore after walking the Golden Mile to the Pleasure Beach, tummy full after a special supper in our favourite cafe and excited to be allowed to stay up 'till it was dark and know that it would be way past bedtime before we arrived home.
The last time we all went to Blackpool was when Mum and Dad were staying out in a small hotel on he Queens Promenade, so it was especially poignant for us to start our day there and walk into town along the seaside prom.
I think that it is fair to say that Blackpool was devastated by this government's decision a few years ago not to allow them the 'Super Casino' as they had been planing for it as part of their regeneration programme. What the bloody politicians were thinking of by awarding it to Manchester god only knows. Blackpool would have been the perfect and most obvious choice. It has the space, the experience and it genuinely needed a commercial boost to the local economy. The days of Wakes Weeks when whole towns from Lancashire used to decamp to the seaside are long gone. Our tourism industry is having to reinvent itself to the needs of visitors in the 21st Century and a Super Casino in the resort would have brought in new investment.
That said, you can't fault the actions of the local council, they are investing heavily in a spanking new promenade and exceptionally fancy street lighting in the newly pedestrian areas behind the Tower but I'm convinced that the Super Casino would have made their task of regenerating what is admittedly in places, a rather run down town, a far easier task.
But when the sun is shining (which it did) and the sea is like a mill pond (which it was) there is nowhere finer than to stroll along to the Pleasure Beach, looking at the sights along the way.

Who needs Paris when you have have Blackpool Tower with its circus, ballroom and if you venture to the top, views of The Lake District

Where else can you find not just one but three piers?

and more trams than you can shake a stick at!

Posted by Picasa

Monday, 5 October 2009

A weekend exploring old haunts

As the big day approaches (we've all signed our contracts and now we are waiting for the Solicitors to get their act together and exchange them!!) we are still working down our list of 'let's appreciate what's on our own doorstep before we move' tour.

Even this far 'up north' we have been enjoying an Indian Summer, OK it's not been as warm or sunny as the South East but even so today is the first day I've woken up and considered putting the heating on, which is not bad considering its the 5th October. The trees around our garden are only just starting to show their autumn colours so what better time to wander through the woods at Norton Priory.

Norton Priory Museum and Gardens is one of the North West's hidden gems. It was originally the home to Augustan Canons for over 900 years before the Brooke family built their country pile there and settled in for the next 400 years. The museum has excavated much of the ruins of the old Priory and its undercroft and there are excellent displays of findings ranging from medieval tiles to Victorian buckles and belts. A short walk across the bridge takes you to a fine sculpture trail among the woods and a well kept walled garden. Autumn is a lovely time to wonder through the woods, the trees are just starting to turn and the conkers and sweet chestnuts litter the ground just waiting for small children to collect by the bucketfuls. We had a fine old time collecting windfalls in the pear orchard and sweet chestnuts from the path down to the walled garden unfortunately I was far too much of a wimp to collect any of the mushrooms springing from the woodland. Bella and Murphy were in heaven chasing the leaves being blown about in the gales and not even the imminent danger of being brained by champion sized conkers was going to stop Murphy from racing around trying to catch the lone grey squirrel who just about managed to out run him.

The winds on Sunday had calmed enough for us to take a trip to the coast. Ainsdale beach was our first stop, I'd forgotten just how evocative memories could be, no sooner had we parked and wrestled the dogs from the back of the car memories came flooding back to me. Sitting in the sand dunes heavily pregnant with Lesley watching James and his Granddad digging a big hole while his Nan prepared the picnic lunch - happy memories and I swear that the tears in my eyes where from the wind (honestly)

Next stop was the seafront in Southport and after convincing Bella to walk up the steps to the pier we strolled up into the town and met Ian for a drink al fresco in the afternoon sunshine. More memories, most of them of little kids and happy grandparents wandering down Lord Street when the hardest decision of the day was whether James and Lesley would be able to manage an other ice cream before they went to feed the ducks in Hesketh Park - lovely days that I wouldn't swap for the world!

This afternoon we are off to see the illuminations in Blackpool. More memories, more smiles and I promise no more tears - well unless the wind gets in my eyes again...