Sunday, 20 February 2011

Bring me Sunshine.

I was toying with using a more Dickensian opening for today's blog:  "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" to symbolise the fact that in the past two days we have visited 2 of the big local towns and fought some epic battles over the house - but "Bring me Sunshine" won on account of the fact that a) Eric Morecambe always makes me roar with laughter and b) a little sunshine wouldn't go amiss up here.

Barrow Dock Museum
Yesterday we headed off to Barrow-in-Furness, a place that has held a certain degree of appeal for me ever since the Chewits advert of the 1980's which declared they were "Chewier than Barrow-in-Furness bus depot!".   If I'm honest I wasn't expecting a lot but we ended up having a fascinating afternoon.  Steve had spotted the Docks Museum on a flyer so we headed for that and found it wedged between the docks, BAE systems and a Tesco Extra.  The main attraction was that it was free entry and free parking so we thought we'd kill half an hour or so in there.  Two and a half hours later we emerged grumbling as we'd been kicked out at closing time before we'd finished watching all the films and checking out all the exhibits.  Heaven knows how they've managed to keep it all free, it's a huge place with loads to see and do.  A full history of Barrow (which oddly enough shares a very similar history to the region of the West Mids where I grew up, apart from it being a port) and a detailed history of the shipbuilding which took place, including some amazing scale models of the most important ships built there.  I'd thoroughly recommend it if you're ever passing.  Which is unlikely as Barrow-in-Furness isn't the sort of place you'd pass by accident.  However, if you're ever in the Lakes and it's peeing down it's a very cheap and informative way to pass an afternoon.

View from Walney Island back toward Roa Island
Having been unceremoniously booted out of the museum we headed over to Walney Island, a wierd and eirie place which is very hard to describe in words alone.  Check it out on a map, it's very isolated and it has a strange air about it, but the sand dunes are never ending and there is an enormous wind farm just off the coast.  If you spin around and look in the other direction you'll find Piel Island with it's haunting castle and it's own monarchy.  Whoever owns the Ship Inn on the island is crowned the official King of the island and is able to appoint their own knights who must "be free drinkers, smokers and lovers of women".  Sounds like a fun place to live but sadly the only permanent residents are the king and his family.

"He'll not sell many ice creams going that speed!"
Having headed off to the west yesterday today we decided to head south and check out Morecambe.  I'd heard a lot about it's promenade and was rather hoping for something a little like Bognor.  (Those who know me know my love of Bognor knows no bounds.)  However I was sadly dissapointed.  The Promenade was fabulous with loads of interesting bits and pieces, especially along the new stone jetty, and the Eric Morecambe memorial was wonderful and had me chuckling at some of his infamous quotes such as "he'll not sell much ice cream going at that speed", but that was about it.  Maybe it's because it's still out of season but the place looked rather shabby and tired and it is by far the worst place for dog pooh I have ever encountered.  There was loads of it everywhere, even on 3 foot high boulders along the prom, which was a real shame and meant you had to watch every step you took.  We walked along the prom for a couple of hours in the biting cold wind and took temporary shelter in a wonderful cafe in a strange silver pod which served us gorgeous toasted fruit loaf and enough tea to sink a battle ship, but after that we called it a day and headed back to the warmth and jam packed lunacy of the camp site.

I think we were just very spoiled in January having the entire place to ourselves most of the time but since half term kicked off yesterday there is barely a spare pitch to be had.  Our quiet and tranquil corner of northernmost Lancashire has been transformed from an idyllic reclusive retreat into a bustling housing estate with screaming dogs and barking children.  Or maybe that should be the other way around?  Either way it's not nearly so lovely or relaxing, but hopefully it won't be long now until we have a real roof over our heads.

Right now I'm sat in the cafe area as it's the only place with WiFi but the noise is deafening - I thought your childhood was supposed to be a happy & carefree time?  If that's the case why do so many kids spend so much time screaming and crying?  Of course I'm sure I was a perfect child who never cried or caused any fuss over anything whatsoever.  As soon as I'm done typing this we're heading back to Delores for a quiet night in and a little relaxation ahead of another week battling with lawyers and insurance companies.  Wish us luck!