I really like Liverpool, I always have. I have family there and its always sad leaving. It has some of the friendliest people in England.
Having said that after spending a Saturday night photographing my nephews band practice I had to drive round a burning car, a burning van, police across the main road, helicopter in the sky with searchlight shining down etc etc. It was slightly nostalgic, looking like Belfast during the troubles without the actual troubles bit.
Now with a good bright day spare before heading home I decided Id drive up the Lancashire coast and see Blackpool. Down the years I’ve given Blackpool a bum rap. It all stems from stories as a kid of people going to Blackpool on holidays and sort of describing it something short of Las Vegas and Disneyland all rolled into one. Now given my cynical views I thought this might be slightly over exaggerating.
It was further added to by an ex-girlfriend who kept suggesting it as a holiday destination when I was suggesting the likes of Hong Kong, Florida, Mexico, Carribean etc. I knew then it was never going to last.
So I thought Id be fair and although it was a bright almost summery day it was bloody cold and it was April in a no fly zone. The only other no fly zone Id heard of was southern Iraq. I didnt want to draw comparisons.
On the way to blackpool I heading into Southport, a lovely Victorian town which has seen better days and is aging as much as its residents. Gods waiting room really wouldnt be in it.
I stopped off at Southport Pier for some fish and chips and stupidly decided to walk the length of the pier, rather than waiting on the tram. Take it from me, wait on the tram!
After lunch which was hideously expensive (and why do people in England not give receipts?) it was off to Blackpool. I parked up on the seafront, got my parking ticket and headed off for a coffee. I looked back at the car and there was already a traffic warden checking my parking ticket and tax disc. Being a Northern Ireland registered car he spent a bit of time looking at it. Now he was wearing a bright red uniform and maybe Im slipping but I didnt see him the length of the seafront, so I can only conclude he was a stealth traffic warden. Maybe a cloak of invisibility or maybe they come up from the ground but it did make me set a reminder on my phone. I didnt see me getting a seconds leeway or being able to talk my way out of a ticket here.
Walking round Blackpool it really did make me realise that in Northern Ireland we have still no idea what this credit crunch/financial crisis is all about. We are going to be in for a big shock with this new government and when ultimately the axe will fall.
Im sure that Blackpool is a lot of things to a lot of people and Im blowing my chance of ever working for their tourist board but its not for me, Id say it would be a holiday hell for me although not packed it is full of interesting characters and a lot of them seemed to want to talk. Not really talk to me, more talk at me. Interesting.
I definitely got the ‘not a lot to see here, move along’ impression and after Id spent a fiver on a cup of scalding nescafe and 4 microwaved donuts I realised it was time to leave.
Blackpool, been there done that, didnt buy the kiss me quick hat or t-shirt.
The journey home was reasonably uneventful apart from a 3 hour delay on the ferry then an ‘incident’ breaking out on board. Alarm bells going, crew running up to the passenger area, walking through hurriedly, sweating, then going into the restaurant/galley area. Nothing to be alarmed about apparently, just a minor incident they were hoping to get under control.
Half an hour later the incident was ‘under control’ but there would be no afternoon tea.
That will be the scones that set the kitchen on fire then.
Meanwhile back at the ranch we’ve had 24 hour coverage of the ‘hung parliament’.
Thats democracy for you, still it kept the discussion on how shite England are going to be in the World Cup out of the headlines for another week.
More Liverpool photos here
More Blackpool photos here