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In Good Company: Breezy, Bracing Blackpool

You can’t beat a day out in Blackpool, says Enid Blackburn.

Although it’s not considered fashionable in these affluent times when working men’s clubs spend their annual trips at exotic places like Magaluf, for a good feed, a good laugh and a liberal helping of childhood nostalgia, you can’t beat a day at Blackpool.

It’s smelly, noisy, but oh boy, it’s matey and it’s fun.

Last week I persuaded the man about the house to let his remaining hair down and indulge us in a coach trip to this popular resort. The last time I travelled there by bus my dad offered a silver threepenny bit to the first one to see the Tower.

During the exhausting three-hour drive this was the only thing that kept my sister and I sociable.

What a difference today! The same journey takes just over an hour via the Motorway. Some friends often ‘pop over’ just for the night.

Departure time was 8.30 am. When we arrived five minutes early the bus was brimming with smiling day-trippers.

I could see why they were smiling when we were allocated our seating arrangements. Our three girls were eventually accommodated at the rear, dad in the front seat and me behind him. The emotion displayed by our daughters at this temporary parting would have been quite touching if I hadn’t remembered the packet of mints was in my handbag.

My seating companion was a middle-aged boy clutching a black and white dog to his chest. It was only when I stroked it and the black came off on my hand that I realised it was actually white. His devoted parents across the aisle kept in touch with little hand signals and occasionally pulled a few funny faces for the dog’s benefit.

The only other diversion was when another bus overtook us and we were treated to a glorious side view of the passionate back seat Romeo.

Blackpool Tower came and went unnoticed by everyone – except me.

Half-an-hour before we arrived, our driver pulled into a café car park and awarded us a thirty-minute break.

But eventually we arrived. Then follow the crowds past the fancy hats and the annual ‘closing down’ sales now being challenged by the ‘opening’ sales- and it’s all there. The same old promenade with its clanging trams and haunting smells. Hot sugar, fried onions with just a hint of the briny stimulating the nearly forgotten memories – sixpenny Fairyland rides – twopenny cornets from Pablos – the good old days when people could still spare a copper for the Salvation Army box.

Yes the Army band is still playing at the top of the beach steps, but the sound of dropping copper is coming from the insatiable ‘Pleasureland’ slot machines.
But the sight of all the enormous quantities of candy floss, ice cream and other goodies being continually masticated proved too much for my taste buds. I vulnerably succumb to my favourite – fresh mussels. Threepence a small plate, but who cares at Blackpool. The children watch in horrified disgust as they queue for a lolly.

But unfortunately the modern urge for ugly architecture is ripe here, too.

The Victorian aura is gradually being obliterated. No need to dash between the horses and the trams to reach the tower, there’s a disfiguring pedestrian bridge to carry you across.

‘The Golden Mile’ has forfeited some of its old glitter, but the happy teenagers in their uniforms of slogan T- shirts and denim jeans are too much in tone to notice. It’s either couples or gangs of predatory males or females all searching for the magic ingredient – love.

Makes you feel a bit conspicuous, but it’s difficult trying to hold your hero’s hand when he’s carrying a bulging picnic bag and doing his best to control three capricious daughters.

Although there is no lack of amusement here, one could spend an interesting hour just observing the crowds. Here is Hilda Baker-land at its funniest. There is an air of notoriety, people do things here they wouldn’t dare attempt at home. Grandads roll up their Sunday trousers for an icy paddle, while grannies sport a daring inch of pink interlock as they relax in the deck chair. Lads and lasses hardly out of their spots are locked together in full view. Snatches of their romantic conversations linger on their tobacco smoke. ‘Mind me new earrings, you dope,’ he says.

We ignored the tempting offers of any delight you could mention-with chips. My dad had booked our meal at the friendly boarding house were he was staying, just a small homely board residence, but the best value in Blackpool. We enjoyed a tasty three-course meal, then off to the Pleasure Beach to round off the day, with half-mile queues to subdue hubby and my pleasure. The day ended before we had time to visit one of the piers and they are packed with talent, as usual.

Yes, a happy day enjoyed by all. The change did us good, but there wasn’t much left at the end of the day.


Where is this sex discrimination farce going to end? It has now been decided that children’s books, which advocate mother being dependent on father, are out. John and Mary can still go to the dairy but Mary has to carry the can as well.

If this continues I can see our old traditional stories coming under censorship. Cinderella will have two ugly brothers, ladies in drag naturally.

What will happen to our history books? Should we let our children see Sir Walter throwing down his cloak for his Queen? Because of a moment’s courtesy will he now be branded Walter the Weak. The whole idea is too ludicrous! What is wrong with the idea that mother bears and breast-feeds the children, while father protects and provides. Let’s face it, there is a difference whichever way you look at it.


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