When we went to bed last night, even with the double glazed window closed, we could hear – or feel – the heavy beat of the music at a nearby club. Tigger suggested it was no louder than the thrum of engines on our ferry crossing back from Jersey and indeed we managed to sleep through it.
Breakfast costs extra at Travelodge but we decided to take it here, not knowing whether there are any good cafes in the neighbourhood. Breakfast comes in the form of an eat-all-you-want buffet. The receptionist jokingly remarked that it would save us having to pay for lunch later. Good plan.
Our bedroom window looks out onto an interior light well so it’s difficult to know what the weather is like. We’ll have to wait until we can look out of the window in the breakfast room.
We found the sun waiting for us but also a vicious wind off the sea. It is one of those days when it is warm in a sunny sheltered corner but finger-numbingly cold elsewhere.
It was a toss-up between taking the train and using one of our four days of unlimited travel within the region, or taking the bus. As there was a bus about to depart for Preston, we climbed aboard.
The journey provided some interesting urban landscapes. We fell into conversation with another passenger, a lady on the way to Preston also. When she asked where we came from and we replied London, she said “Oh, southern softies” which though rude is probably better than “southern bastards”.
Preston, as far as we have been able to explore it, has some beautiful old buildings among the usual modern tat. One recent build proudly bore the date 1992 but I very much doubt that it will still be here in 2092, whereas many of the older structures claiming our admiration are well over a hundred years old.
There is also a huge covered market (see above) but it was not in operation today and all we could do was photograph the fabric.
We discovered Miller Arcade, a real gem, as impressively decorated within as without.
I do hope the future of this lovely building can be secured against corporate vandalism, civic inertia and developer greed. A local told us that plans had been mooted to convert it into apartments but that these seemed to have fallen through.
The few pictures I include below cannot do it justice. It needs to be seen in all its glory and beauty of detail.
At Waterstone’s, housed in another beautiful building, we found an impressive ceiling, well maintained and sensitively illuminated. How many customers, I wonder, raise their eyes from the shelves and tables charged with books to admire what is overhead?
Looking around for lunch, we found the pub called the Old Vic and had our meal there.
We decided now to take a bus back in the general direction of Blackpool and stop off somewhere en route. The place we chose was Lytham.
This is a charming town with many elegant souvenirs of its Edwardian past. We had a look around the town and had coffee and toasted tea cakes in a pleasant little cafe called the Coffee Bean. I also bought some Russian Caravan tea for the hotel and to take home to London.
By the time we took the bus to complete our journey back to Blackpool, my back was troubling me. I think the painkillers I had taken in the morning and which had dulled the pain a little, were beginning lose their effect. Sitting in cramped bus seats was painful so I spent much of the journey standing with my back to the cushion for wheelchairs. That would have been all right but for the fact that the driver seemed to think he was in a car rally, throwing the bus around and braking sharply in traffic or at the lights. It was a relief when the bus pulled into Corporation Street, the driver slammed on the brakes for the last time and we could disembark.
We have returned to our hotel where we have made tea and I have taken painkillers. While Tigger watches a DVD about St Anne’s, I am lying down, writing this blog entry and feeling relaxed as my back is pain free for now.
What will tomorrow bring? We will probably use our rail passes for the first time but where we go exactly will be decided nearer the time.