Friday, 3 September 2010

Great North Fun Day 37


The end of the adventure.

Well it had to happen - the final full day.  Tomorrow we sadly travel home but for today there was much more fun to be had in Blackpool.  Owing to Blackpool being the least bicycle friendly place we've visited on our travels we drove to the sea front.  It's clear they're planning to launch a cycle hire scheme here very soon but they really need to sort out some cycle paths/ routes first.  Yesterday we spotted some unrestricted parking south of the Pleasure Beach where a number of motorhomes seemed to be overnighting so we figured we were safe enough there.

We started off with a stroll along the prom and a game of crazy golf which Steve obviously won.  Then we went in search of the elusive beer and chips.  I call them elusive because although it sounds simple enough, most pubs won't serve them because chips only count as a side order.  Sure enough the first pub failed as it refused to serve any food outside despite having lots of seating outside and being on the prom.  Thank goodness for the Toby Duck just along the road which came to our rescue.  Mind you sitting on the prom meant sitting right next to a busy 'A' road and washing down lungfuls of car fumes with each glug of beer.

Back in the Pleasure Beach we revisited most of the rides from yesterday plus a few others for good measure.  Top marks to the guy in charge of the dodgems who bucked the 'surly' trend and was happy, friendly and chatty with everyone. Having watched many of the staff there today I can't say I altogether blame them for their lack of smiles.  The public generally ignore them completely, no pleases or thank yous and leaving litter, or in one case throwing litter, around the ride.

We nipped back to Delores to check on Monty and I have to say he's behaved impeccably throughout the trip.  We've not been able to let him out nearly as much as we'd hoped but he's been brilliant.  To be honest I'm worried about taking him home now as there's a large black cat that lives nearby and beats up all the other local cats including Monty.  At the moment it's nice to see him without any battle scars.

Robbie Williams was somewhere in town performing & switching on the lights but as I've never been a massive Robbie fan and as pressing a large light-switch doesn't rate high on my "oooohhhh how did they do that" scale, we opted to give it a miss and grab some food.  As most people seemed to be distracted by the whole "famous guy pressing a button" routine the restaurants were refreshingly empty.

Once the lights were on we aimed for the prom with the intention of visiting an arcade before catching a tram back along the length of the lights.  Fat chance!  The arcade part worked out well but owing to the fact that a large number of people couldn't figure out that walking on the tracks in front of several hundred tons of moving metal wasn't a great plan for longevity, the trams weren't running properly.  In fact in our direction they weren't running at all so after 25 mins we gave up and walked back down to Delores.

The lights were pretty enough but are definitely suffering from too much corporate sponsorship. The section designed by Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen was a refreshing flashback to how things used to be.  The vintage trams also looked fabulous as they made their way very slowly through the crowds.  Other than that it was mainly flashing lights advertising burger bars, tv shows and jewellers.  Not that most people bothered with the lights south of the Pleasure Beach which is a shame because a) that's where the best display was, complete with music and fountains and b) that's where they were collecting funds towards the lights to hopefully reduce the dependance on corporate sponsorship and advertising and get back to how they used to be.

Very sadly tomorrow sees us head for home so it's unlikely I'll be around - too busy sobbing into my steering wheel the whole way back - but on Sunday I plan to do the Summer Tour Awards 2010, picking out the best sites and things we've done along the way. For any motorhomers reading this I'll also be jotting down the things we've learned along the way in case you're thinking of trying something similar. But until then I bid you farewell, my steering wheel and a box of hankies await me.