Monday 14 August

Yesterday morning Storm carried out the annual maintenance of my bike and after I’d tided the boat and washed the floor I got on it and pedalled off to the supermarket.   Aldi was busy with long queues at the till.  Next door to it was Booths supermarket (a chain that I’ve only ever seen in Lancashire/Cumbria) and compared to Aldi, the store was quiet.  I don’t normally enjoy food shopping, but I quite enjoyed my leisurely stroll round the isles to make sure I didn’t miss anything.  I didn’t need a lot which was just as well as their prices were a little higher than I’m used to.

That was the extent of my “work” yesterday.  Pip put us to shame though as she’d donned her overalls early in the morning and was busy sanding, washing, rinsing, masking and eventually painting both gunnels.   By tea-time Oleanna was looking as good as new again.

Today though we had a plan.  While Pip and Mick popped home to see the North Sea, we headed west to see the Irish Sea.  We caught the 42 Bus to Blackpool.  A Lancashire Day Rover ticket cost me £7.80 and for this I could travel anywhere in Lancashire provided I travelled with Stagecoach.  Storm used his pass.  We sat upstairs so we could get a good view.  Forty five minutes later we arrived into Blackpool, and were dropped off close to the Tower and the North Pier.

We strolled down the pier to the strains of “If You Were the Only Girl in the World” and other songs of that era from speakers positioned at intervals along the length of it.

The sun came out just as we arrived into Blackpool and the showers that had been forecast didn’t materialise.

I’d last visited Blackpool as a small child when my grandparents brought me to stay in Blackpool and Lytham St Annes and my memories from that time are vague.     I recall visiting Blackpool Tower Circus and seeing my usually very straight-laced grandfather crying with laughter at the antics of the clown.  The circus is still here.

Leaving the pier behind us we strolled along the prom, making sure we stayed clear of the tramway.   Today the golden sand looked inviting but 50 years ago the beach was blackened as oil from the Torrey Canyon disaster off the coast of Cornwall had affected beaches this far north.

After a while we caught another Stagecoach bus to St Annes, just south of Blackpool.  This wasn’t the St Annes I remembered although I think this was where I learnt to swim in an open air swimming pool.   We found the site of the pool but learnt that it had been demolished a few years ago after years of neglect.

Today I discovered that Lytham is one place and St Annes another. I can recall a windmill which I’ve learnt stands in Lytham and we didn’t quite get there today.

Returning to Blackpool, which in places appears to be a shadow of its former glory, it can still surprise and we were drawn to the grandeur of the Winter Gardens where so many well known names have performed over the years.   There are signs that Blackpool is trying to return to that glamour era as some of its modern developments are quite exciting.

After a fun day out we returned to Garstang somewhat foot weary and now that we’re back it’s pouring down.

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