Blackpool and the pleasure beach

We love Blackpool, it can be gaudy, tacky and busy but there is so much to do. We used to go every year for a half term break, 5 days of busyness. However, life, work and lockdown has stopped us from going for the last 4 years.

After a few busy weeks in work and in between hospital appointments I decided to book a last minute weekend break for myself and the teenager. Having an adrenaline junkie child is a huge bonus. We love rollercoasters, the higher and more twists the better.

I booked a cheap B&B (although because of Covid they aren’t doing breakfast at the moment) and set off straight from work on Friday afternoon. The journey is usually around an hour and half, but it felt like everyone had the same idea so after 2 hr 15 minutes we arrived at the hotel. Parked easily and dropped off our bags. Then took a walk along the prom, got ourselves something to eat and saw the lights.

I had pre-booked tickets for the pleasure beach, funfair. It opened at 10am, so after a little lie in we walked along to a local cafe, had some breakfast and joined the queue to get into the park for 10am. The queue seemed huge, although it actually wasn’t. I’ve never seen it so quiet, although it is almost the end of the season.

We started by walking to the back of the park, and the newest ride Icon, we had a very short wait, around 10 minutes. Watching it was strange, it has lots of twists, an upside down loop but seemed very slow. We climbed aboard, pulled down the harness and clipped the safety belt in place. Then off we went, launched like a rocket, it was anything but slow. We laughed and laughed, it was brilliant. Next we walked to Infusion, again another ride we’ve not been on, again another twisty, fast ride and this time no queue, straight on the ride. It was so much fun. Having just had breakfast and 2 very fast, rides throwing us around we both felt wobbly. So we decided to go on Sky Force, the red arrows planes. These tilt from side to side, if you get the rhythm right you can turn 360 but I’ve never been able to do that.

One ride we always go on, but I hate, is Revolution. It’s a simple, straight track with one loop, then stops and does the same again backwards. I hate the backwards drop ! It’s the not knowing when it’s coming. Theres only one more big ride at this end, The Big One. We joined the unusually short queue, 20 minutes later we climbed aboard. Then off we went, at a slow place we made our way up the 235ft to the summit, then plunged down, it’s a huge drop but the views from the top are amazing. We laughed most of the day, walking from ride to ride. We went on all of the biggest rides, and most of the smaller ones including some of our old favourites, the Rockets and Derby Racer horses. We avoided all the water rides as neither of us wanted to spend the day soaked.

As I’ve said, Blackpool is an old favourite and a yearly guilty pleasure however we’ve never seen it this quiet or been on so many rides. The park closed at 6pm, but we’d been on everything we wanted, including a second go on most of the biggest so left around 4.30pm.

We walked along the beach, watching little ones enjoying building sandcastles and having donkey rides. The prom was redone a few years back and is lovely. The piers were busier and the lights were starting to come on as the sun was setting.

As always we finished our day with fish and chips. A brilliant weekend of fun and laughter.

News and a dilemma

Well here’s the thing…. I started this blog a few months ago after a few years away from a previous blog. The main reason for starting anew was because it was the start of a new chapter in my life with a new relationship, new job and a more settled life. However a few months in and the relationship hasn’t lasted. Sadly Simon and I have parted ways, as friends because he’s a good bloke but I just couldn’t give him the time and dedication he needed or deserved.

So now for the dilemma, the 100 list was created together, as a couple. There are lots of things on there that can (and will) be achieved alone however some of the items are for couples to do together. So what do I do ?

These are the ‘couple’ challenges from the list, these aren’t so easy to alter to do solo.

  • Cook a meal together
  • Kiss on top of a ferris wheel
  • Create a music playlist together
  • Have a movie night
  • Role play
  • Kiss/dance in the rain

Should I change them for solo things, maybe from the previous list that haven’t been completed ? Do I remove them and change the number ? Or do I just leave it as is (who knows what the future holds) ?

A night out

Saturday night in the pub ! What is this …

After all the busyness of holidays, work and an easing of Covid restrictions it was good to finally be going out to the pub, for a night out. There was a band on that I wanted to see.

The pub is local to home and it was a warm dry night so we walked there, got ourselves some drinks and found a couple of seats (we’re getting old) and settled in for some great entertainment. The band ‘The Bite’ are also local and the lead singer, Lee, has been a friend for over twenty years. He has a wonderful voice and being back watching him after all the chaos of the last couple of years made everything feel like normality was in sight.

The pub, Stanley’s is a tiny place and it was packed out, the band had set up in a corner but everywhere was full. Every table with many other people standing. When the band started, the music filled the place and people sang along, while others danced. It was wonderful, normal and fun.

After a few hours of loud music (they play heavy metal, rock music) and a couple of drinks it was midnight and time to leave, with ringing ears and happy hearts. We walked home, talking about how good it felt to be out listening to live music, sitting with friends and laughing again. Everything the last couple of years has been so serious and quiet. It felt like the old normal had returned.

A new challenge

I am taking part in a weekly photo challenge. One photo (more if you want) per week, with themes set as listed below.

  • Week 1 – Someone you love
  • Week 2 – Silhouette
  • Week 3 – Mirror
  • Week 4 – Expression
  • Week 5 – Window light
  • Week 6 – Black and white
  • Week 7 – Meaningful location
  • Week 8 – Night photography
  • Week 9 – Hands
  • Week 10 – An activity
  • Week 11 – Emotion without a face
  • Week 12 – Sun Flare
  • Week 13 – Repetition
  • Week 14 – Love
  • Week 15 – Triangles
  • Week 16 – An animal
  • Week 17 – Reflection
  • Week 18 – Balance
  • Week 19 – Favourite colour
  • Week 20 – Squares
  • Week 21 – Something that inspires you
  • Week 22 – Nature
  • Week 23 – Circles
  • Week 24 – Clouds
  • Week 25 – Street
  • Week 26 – Complimentary colours
  • Week 27 – Words
  • Week 28 – Something old
  • Week 29 – Trees
  • Week 30 – Patterns
  • Week 31 – Flowers
  • Week 32 – The floor
  • Week 33 – Unlucky for some
  • Week 34 – History
  • Week 35 – Metal
  • Week 36 – Keys
  • Week 37 – Modern life
  • Week 38 – Zig zag
  • Week 39 – Buttons
  • Week 40 – Art
  • Week 41 – My hometown
  • Week 42 – Get Close
  • Week 43 – Self portrait
  • Week 44 – Feet
  • Week 45 – A dislike
  • Week 46 – Vehicle
  • Week 47 – Photo of a photo
  • Week 48 – Twisted
  • Week 49 – Food
  • Week 50 – A pair
  • Week 51 – Leaves
  • Week 52 – In a row

I am going to do this on a Friday, separate to the normal Tuesday blog post, starting next week. Feel free to join in if you wish.

At home

Looking to this blog you would think I was out and about all the time, but that’s not the case. Most of the time I’m at home, shouting a teenager out of bed, off to school, or in to bed. I do work 3 days a week, for the NHS. It’s a busy, chaotic job and so when I’m not in work I enjoy some quiet, down time.

When the weather is decent (and sometimes when it’s not) I can be found on the allotment, trying to grow some vegetables and fruit. More for pleasure than to sustain us totally. Although in previous years the tomatoes, peppers, peas, broccoli and sweet corn have lasted for many months and are much tastier than any supermarket variety.

This year hasn’t been so good, the combination of Covid (working extra hours/shifts) lockdowns, some ill health, and having a new partner meant a reduction in the time I had available and everything suffered. So I put a plan together and slowly over the last few weeks I’ve been spending a few hours each week working small areas and getting everything cleared, covered, fed and prepped for next years growing.

I’ve decided to change a few things around to make life easier for myself. Mum used to help out a lot, but the last 2 years she’s really slowed down and isn’t as able as before. She still has a go though. So I’m creating smaller beds and covering the unused ‘path’ areas with weed membrane and covering with bark chipping. This will cut down on weeding and less to worry about. I’ve also added another pond area, this can be left for wildlife once fully planted up and one less area to worry about.

The greenhouse is my biggest concern at the moment, it was built about 20 years ago by Frank, the previous owner, and whilst it’s a wonderful structure it isn’t the most stable any more. The wood was thin to start with and although it’s been treated every year is really starting to show it’s age. The glass is the old fashioned thin greenhouse glass, single panes, that crack every time one of the allotment cats walks over the roof. So this will be next years big project, I would like to reuse old double glazed units and again build something myself that will last for years rather than buy something ready made, probably plastic. I will keep you updated on the greenhouse build.

It can be hard work, but being outdoors is a necessity for me. I find being indoors makes me grumpy and miserable. When I’m not at the allotment I go out walking, with or without the dog. I need those hours outside even in the winter, rain and cold. Being in nature is what grounds me and calms me. I’m looking to join a rambling group next year to get out and do some proper walks in the hills and mountains of Wales, Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Cancer Research Shine Walk 2021

After what seemed like a very long week at work we took to the streets of Liverpool, along with hundreds, possibly thousands of other people on a Friday evening. It’s been a few years since we’ve taken part in one of these night walks.

The start time was 7pm with warm up dancing from 6.45pm, we arrived dressed in our T-shirts with number attached and our ‘I’m walking for’ cards written. I say we, it was Simon, myself, my teenager and step-brother. After gathering and having a little boogie it was time to get going.

It was an organised 10km walk through Liverpool city centre, taking in all the main ‘sights’ – we started from the Beatles statue at the Pier Head, outside the Liver building. Then it was a walk along the front to the Albert Dock, up through Liverpool one, and onto to Chinatown and the beautiful Chinese arch. From here it was a short walk up to the Anglican Cathedral, through the grounds and back along Hope street. This took us past the Liverpool Philharmonic and Playhouse theatre and to the Catholic Cathedral (yes we have two).

At this point it was dark and everywhere was beautifully lit up, especially our next venue the Victoria Gallery, part of the University campus. From here it was all downhill, walking along the plateau of St George’s Hall and into William Brown Street in front of the Walker art gallery and World museum. The last section was through the busy restaurant and bar area near the Town Hall. Here there were lots of people cheering us on and it was a lovely boost for the last 2km.

Finally we had made back, almost to where we started, a quick walk around the ‘new’ Museum of Liverpool (it’s 10 years old so still new to us locals) and then on to the finish line to be greeted by more cheers and a medal.

The walk took us around 2 hours and thankfully it wasn’t raining. In fact it was a beautiful warm evening and was a great way to finish a hectic week.

We didn’t raise the biggest amount but it all adds up, and we still have a fundraising page set up to collect until the end of the month. We did have a good time, chatted all the way round and met some interesting people along the way. All ages and abilities were taking part, solo participants to large groups including some still undergoing treatment. It was inspirational and emotional. It was well organised and I would recommend taking part to everyone.

The adventure continues

After spending many days travelling around North Yorkshire, visiting family and days out to revisit memories of childhood, we set off to East Yorkshire to meet up with other relatives and make some new memories.

We arrived in Hull, checked into our hotel, dropped off the bags and went out to explore. The hotel is overlooking the Humber bridge so we decided to take a walk through the park and across the bridge.

From here we were only a short drive away from family, living in Beverley. I’ve not visited this town before and was pleasantly surprised. I had imagined it was a little village type place, but it was bigger than I thought. It was beautiful. We walked through the town, with our very own tour guide. We saw the cathedral, the Wednesday market and Saturday market, both are squares that hold markets on respective days.

The following day we decided to head to the beach. I’ve never been to Bridlington and once again it wasn’t too far away. So off we went. We stopped at the park and ride at the South shore, it was beautiful. The beach wasn’t very busy, so we decided to have a paddle and get our feet wet again. We walked all the way down to the harbour.

The fishermen had brought in there hauls and were cleaning the lobster pots along the quayside, restocking boats and brushing down the hulls. It was busy, especially with all the tourists. We noticed a pirate ships was doing tours of the bay, so jumped aboard. It was good fun, however as we got off we saw they also did speedboat rides and we couldn’t resist. It was fast, bouncy and exciting. We laughed a lot.

We spent the following two days with relatives, eating lunch and evening meals catching up and enjoying being back with family again after all the lockdowns and uncertainty. It was a wonderful time.

We won’t leave it so long to visit the East Coast again.

Ilkley memories

Ilkley was the home of my grandparents for many years and a place I remembered fondly from my childhood. I was a little apprehensive about coming back after so long, places change but Ilkley is one of those places that never seems to alter.

First we drove up across the moors to the Cow and Calf rocks, avoiding sheep as we went. The weather was decent so we parked up and climbed up to the top of the rocks and looked down over the town. It’s been over 30 years since I last did this but it felt like yesterday. Scrambling up and down the rocks like a youngster was good fun also. Even the teen was impressed when I picked the difficult route and managed it easier than him.

We drove down off the moors and past where my grandparents lived, it looks exactly the same ! We parked up and walked along The Grove, the shops haven’t changed, the independent book store, dress agency and Betty’s tea rooms. There is always a queue for the tea rooms so we decided to buy and take away. No visit would be complete without a Fat Rascal and some macaroons.

Our next walk wasn’t so successful, we walked down, over the bridge to the Lido but it was closed for renovations. So instead it was back to the river for a dip and a walk around the park to dry off.