Wednesday, 11 August 2010

On People and Places.

We've just been away in our motorhome for a few days. Our travels may not be in the same league as George Orwell's (Eric Arthur Blair) but I've enjoyed the change.
We called at a scrap yard near Preston on the way up. Don't let my wife ever tell you I don't take her anywhere interesting. I'm sure many a lady would like to be taken round a scrap yard! I bought two brass signs for my bar. Corny, yes, but they amuse me. Why ever grow up when you don't have to.
We stayed the week on the playing fields of King Edward VII and Queen Mary School, Lytham St Annes, courtesy of The Camping and Caravan Club (Lune Valley D A). Within sight of my daughter's home, literally across the road. An ideal situation, close but not under each other's feet, so to speak.
I hadn't realised how elderly many caravaners and motorhomers are. Smashing people in the main, many in their seventies and no small number eighty plus. Brilliant that so many ' oldies' are still active in this day and age. Though I doubt that all drivers following cars and caravans on our crowded roads would agree.
St Annes up the road (And Lytham for that matter) have a gentile, affluent feel about them.. My mother in law, well into her eighties loves them. She says they have a better class of charity shop than most. (I counted six at least in St Annes, charity shops that is, not mother in laws!)
Whereas Blackpool, not too far down the road has no pretensions of grandeur. Many people in Lytham and St Annes are rude about Blackpool. snobbery to a degree, but I can see why. I must admit I have seldom seen so much obesity, so many people smoking and so many tattoos for many a while. And that was only the ladies! (Only joking). I met a delightful man and his father who lived in Stoke on Trent, the son had had retired this week after thirty eight years in teaching and they always holidayed in Blackpool. Stoke, Blackpool and thirty eight years in teaching, the mind boggles! Nevertheless I like Blackpool.
Fleetwood is unique in its own way. A port, though perhaps somewhat in decline, not particularly attractive, certainly not pretty; it's biggest claim to fame appears to be its markets, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The numerous parked buses testament to the many day trippers who descend on the markets week after week. And I have never seen so many geriatrics, and geriatric aids for that matter in one place. The market heaves with ancient old dears intent on a bargain and woe betide anyone not quick on their feet who momentarily blocks their path in the search for the holy grail. If I have learnt nothing else from this short break, I have learnt that the average age of the British population is high in the extreme. Either that or they've all migrated to the north west.
I did meet one interesting young man by the name of Andrew. He wandered over to our motorhome on the seafront at Fleetwood. He insisted on telling me a large proportion of his life story. Andrew is twenty seven, married into a travelling family, with children and has recently moved from Rochdale, having run up several hundred pounds in debts owed to the council. (I was unclear as to whether the money is still owed.) He and his brother make a precarious 'living' collecting scrap metal with the aid of an old van. evidently 'scrap' is worth around £170 a ton but was £200 not long ago. Andrew had recently been arrested for 'stealing by finding'. Taking scrap without permission, even though it's been lying round for some considerable time. You learn something everyday if you're prepared to give a little of your time.
Andrew was waiting for a friend who was 'in front' of the magistrates in the nearby courts, (a favourite parking spot of mine) charged with numerous motoring offences. Ok, so Andrew was not 'the sharpest pencil in the box' and maybe he'd had a drink. But he was totally friendly, polite and civil and no, he didn't 'tap me up' for money; I am ashamed that I considered that might be his motive. We shook hands and parted, Andrew informing me that his ambition was to move his family up the coast to a quiet life in a nearby village. I hope his dreams come true. (Back home we are visited by three different groups collecting scrap metal on a regular basis. I have not seen this happen for many years; it must be a sign of austere times.)
One other memory. Life consists of millions of individuals seeking contentment, success, pleasure in their brief lives. The punk groups in Blackpool, there to attend concerts in the Winter Gardens were a joy to behold. A non conforming, colourful, good humoured presence, piercings and Mohican's to the fore, they were a joy to behold; thanks lads and lasses, you made my day.
And at the end of the week, what did we take home. Five books, second hand from a charity shop and a pair of shoes each, new, though in the sales from a 'proper' shop and a cardigan for the wife (that sounds a good swap to me). A watch (I never learn, can't get it to work yet but there's hope) plus some meat of all things, both from a car boot sale. (I hope the marks on the meat are not made by a saddle.) Plus a Colocasia Black Magic and a Musa Santa Morelli from a garden centre. Oh, and memories to savour on the dark nights ahead. Roll on Christmas!


Dumdad said...

Sounds like a fascinating trip. I've never been to Blackpool. I should one day. As you show, if you're prepared to take an interest in people then there are some great tales all around us.

Valerie said...

It is such pleasure to visit your blog. I used to love Blackpool when I was young and foolish, strange how tastes change! I have smiled and giggled throughout your narrative, Ken, and I think those bar signs are to die for.

the fly in the web said...

There! You made me want to visit Lancashire!
As to following caravans and motor homes on the road, I knew someone who -when so doing - referred to caravans and caraclap and motor homes as carapox.

Keith said...

" must be a sign of austere times...". Don't you mean "..a sign of this bloody deep depression that sucessive Governments have created."?

I think that covering things up up with nice words is stupid, i.e., using "spin" instead of "propaganda", etc.

-From another grumpy "Senior Citizen" which is a government term meaning "Downtrodden Old Age Pensioner"!

Troy said...

My wife and I visited Blackpool once in the car - we drove all the way throught it, as far as Fleetwood, but didn't stop as it looked quite depressing. Scarborough, Filey, Brid. and Whitby on the Yorkshire coast are so much nicer. However it does have a Premier League football club which is quite an achievement.

Oh, I've done some research on the internet in respect of your problem with the new watch. It seems they need winding up to get them to work. Sorry, haven't got a link I can send you.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

true concerning people. You must go to Blackpool, there's nowhere like it. Mind you, many people hate it!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Thanks! You sound as daft as me, great isn't it!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

fly in the web
Fascinated by carapox and caraclap. New ones on me, your blog does not indicate where in the UK you came from.

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Brilliant! Thanks for visiting, I went to your blog and was very impressed. Come again!

Grumpy Old Ken said...

Hi. Blackpool is an acquired taste. In fact I think its far superior to scruffy old Yarmouth. I am totally jealous of Blackpool FC but I dont begrudge them their success one bit. Us next?

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