My wife and I (Now doesn't that sound regal!) have recently spent a delightful three nights on the streets of St Annes. (In our motorhome, not literally on the streets!) The weather was horrific; it rained, the wind blew and it wasn't exactly hot but who cares. We visited my daughter, son in law and grand-daughter, we shopped, people watched and a good time was had by all.
We, motorhomers are none too popular in this corner of the north west. Parking on the streets mean we have no hotel costs, which no doubt galls the hotel trade. Possibly the reason there is a profusion of signs in Blackpool in particular reading simply 'cars only'. And it's getting noticeably worse. A pity as my wife tried to boost the local economy on our visit, and I wasn't too far behind. So what did we spend.
For a start there were pubs meals in Wetherspoons: my two sausages, two bacon, four slices of toast, two eggs, a slice of black pudding and a tomato, £3.99; brilliant. Plus numerous cups of coffee and tea. Then there's the gluten free food (my wife's a Coeliac.) Biscuits, cakes, even gluten free liquorish sticks. A petticoat from Fleetwood Market (my wife's purchase, honest!) and posh leggings plus a bright red handbag bought in Blackpool. (My wife again, silly!) Chocolate bargains and other sweets from Freeport. A red coat (no other colour considered) from a charity shop and some serious spending in between; a seven piece bed set, not cheap but well worth the price. Oh, and a fur hat each, very fashionable for 'geriatrics' and worn at Derby County versus Portsmouth FC!
My wife's the main spender in our house, but I didn't do so bad either. An Elvis musical figurine purchased will take pride of place in my 'bar'. (Plays a non too musical version of Love Me Tender') and I couldn't resist the cruets imprinted with pictures of Cliff, Elvis and the Beatles. To complete the 'spending spree, books from my favourite charity shop, Barnado's in Lytham, price five for £1.99. (A Spread of Over 40's Jokes; A Handbook for All Word Puzzling; a book on Crime and Detection; The A-Z of Behaving Badly and Britain Land of Contrasts. Add fuel before returning home and I reckon there's £2oo plus gone into the north west economy; recession, what recession! Please think twice, north west councils, there's a lot of us and plenty of places that would welcome our 'dosh'.
And so to the deja vu. (See post dated 23rd April 2008). We spent the last hour of our short visit in St Annes. Hurrying back to our rather expensive motorhome we espied outside B and M a somewhat forlorn seller of 'The Big Issue'. I did the usual, avoided eye contact and hurried past. The wind was blowing, it was cold, my pockets were nearly empty and I needed the warmth of my 'motor'. And so to home, back to my comfort zone, a smashing break, but its home where we're happiest. Except that I retraced my steps before I left St Annes, had a chat with the young man outside B and M and bought a Big Issue. Evidently he was Romanian, selling the Big Issue with quiet dignity to keep body and soul together in a foreign, not always hospitable country. I am not interested in the arguments concerning immigration issues and the rights and wrongs of 'our country'. All I know he was a pleasant, dignified young man. I was glad, for whatever reasons I had returned and purchased one of his papers.