When I woke up this morning, I found that my back was worse than yesterday. Just getting up from the bed was difficult. But we have made our plans and paid our money so off we go! I took two painkillers with my breakfast and hoped for the best.
Our journey comprises two stages. We start at Euston, taking the 9:05 to Leeds and change there to a train that takes us to our destination, Blackpool. We have reserved seats on the first train but not on the second.
The ticket clerk had not been able to find us seats together. We found we had window seats, one behind the other. All seats in the carriage were reserved but we were lucky: neither of the occupants of the seats beside us turned up, so we were able to sit together after all.
It is a beautiful day, sunny and warm, a good start to a holiday. If the weather stays like this we shall be fortunate indeed.
As the train hurries north, the view through the window of lush green countryside is relaxing and pleasant.
Our change at Leeds went smoothly and at 3 minutes to 2 we at last reached Blackpool. As our hotel wasn’t far from the station we went on foot rather than take a taxi.
The hotel is a Travelodge with an unusually discreet entrance. At reception we were informed that “early registration” requires a fee of £10. Eh? Apparently, “normal” registration is from 3 pm onwards and if you register before that, you have to pay. I regard that as exploitative to a degree.
Nonetheless we went along with it as otherwise we would have had to find somewhere to sit with our luggage until 3 pm. We made a cup of tea and then went out for a walk along the famous sea front. At present this is somewhat spoilt by ongoing works though I have no doubt that these are necessary and will improve the promenade.
As this is bank holiday weekend, the town is crowded. There are stag parties and hen parties and all sorts of parties. The entertainment is loud, the humour crude and the taste unsophisticated but, so what? As long as people are having fun and not inconveniencing others, where’s the harm?
We soon spotted the famous tower which, though smaller than the Eiffel Tower which it superficially resembles, tends to be visible wherever you go, just like its cousin in Paris.
I was quite impressed by the trams though we didn’t ride them today. The route runs along Blackpool’s seafront and all the way out to Fleetwood. The rolling stock is mixed, to say the least. No two trams are the same. There are single-deck and double-deck trams, plain ones and decorated ones; for example, there is one, sponsored by Fisherman’s Friend that has been converted to look like a trawler.
We took a bus out to Fleetwood. After the noise and crush of Blackpool, Fleetwood was refreshingly quiet and calm.
At 7:30, we took the bus back and reached Blackpool in time to watch the sun setting on the sea, a rather novel experience for someone brought up on the south coast.