In order to serve you better, the next couple of posts will emerge in an exciting multi-part serial format, with all the narrative runarounds and painful padding of a children’s television drama. And it would please me greatly if you could all try not to do anything notable during this period, so that I don’t fall further behind. All agreed? Good. So if you’re sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin…
For the first half of my Easter holiday with Lucy – the countrysidey bit – we were based in the Crakehall Watermill. This was an awesome B&B and exuded friendliness to the extent that our hosts were printing and annotating bus timetables with suggested visits, offering to give us lifts to the nearby village and bringing fresh milk in a little flask every evening. Reccomended! Plus, check out the surroundings…
On Tuesday we visited the village of Hawes (pronounced the way you wish it would be) to fulfil my primary life aim: to visit a cheese factory! And the most exciting part of a cheese factory, as you might imagine, is the free cheese. A very wide selection of free cheese samples, in fact. I think the countryside is onto a winner here, personally. As did the friendly old man sitting on a bench outside this dairy paradise, who started talking to us through the age-old method of opening with a joke (it wasn’t the best, but then it was better than most of mine) before moving on to extolling the benefits of the North. (Which was a bit of a running theme that day, actually, as a woman on the bus had already told her friend about the pressures of living at a ‘frenetic pace’ in, erm, Oxford.) The conversation swiftly moved on to why there “has to be a creator” because “a Big Bang would only be messy” and reached a bit of a low when he introduced us to a companion as “this man and his girlfriend or wife”. Beating a retreat, this man and his girlfriend or wife walked back through Hawes where the BNP had taken to handing out leaflets at the market. I really am annoyed at myself for refusing one with a smiling ‘no, thank you’ – damn British instinct – and would like to amend the record to a ‘fuck off, thank you’ if possible. But it did really highlight the peculiarities of a place that can be so warm and friendly to some and so viciously exclusionary to others.
We set aside the time on Wednesday to attempt a real and proper walk through the Dales. Armed with water, a few sweets, a map and a healthy sense of optimism, we made our way through the beautiful countryside to seek out the village of Redmire. There were ups and downs, of course. At one might we may have darted across a railway, jumped past a troublesome gate and had to scramble over a wall in order to regain some semblance of a footpath. And the mighty Redmire was perhaps a little too village-like, offering no possibility of lunch after all, but help was at hand in the form of a well-timed train, and we ended up somewhere slightly more populated tucking into the best burgers and milkshakes ever. Success!
Stay tuned for Leeds…
A few things about this holiday…
- We found a sweet shop, as pictured, which was the most glorious collection of sweets and chocolates you could possibly ever imagine. Eventually, I chose honeycomb, but it was a tough one.
- We played Monopoly three times. I was bankrupted first. Three times.
- We stopped for a night in Cardiff on the way back, and managed to take in Doctor Who filming locations, the Doctor Who exhibition and the Torchwood fountain thing. That’s what I call a family geek-out.
- Tasha’s iPod entertained us throughout the long car journeys, as did both parents believing Afroman to have released the popular novelty song When I Got Hot
- Wales is cool!
Well, I’m back now and apologies in advance for yet-another-Blackpool-post which you’re going to have to read. It’s inevitable when so many bloggers go away on holiday together
I arrived at Blackpool station at about 8 o’clock in the evening, fully refreshed from my fancy train sandwich meal. Unfortunately, the rest of the group were slightly less refreshed on the National Express coach, which managed to be rather late, so I settled down on a bench to read Female Chauvinist Pigs (blame Saoirse) and get slightly worried that I’d already got shouted at by some children. But then, they were shouting at everyone. Once the others (Nic, Chad, Lucy, Loretta and Max) arrived we set off in a cab to the hotel. Which Nic had already costed into what we’d paid him, because Nic is an event organiser by birth! Joined shortly after by Josie and Andy, we settled into the wonderful Applethwaite Hotel. My room may have been the size of a matchbox, but I didn’t care at all, especially with uber-friendly Keith there – the hotel manager \ future husband of most of the group.
The next morning, after breakfast (“Toast! Have some more toast!”), the thrill-seekers of the group set off for Blackpool Pleasure Beach, which was brilliant. Seriously, we thought there’d be a few rides and some stalls, but it was actually a proper theme park in there, with loads of great rollercoasters, log-flumes and an amusingly bizarre Dancing on Ice show with pretty-in-pink camp dancers. We’re tracking down the ride photo which we bought of all of us, which I’ll share when I can
Later we drank. Some of us more than others
OK OK, well, it was only me and Lucy who were up at a 9 for breakfast on Sunday. As everyone slept in, we went off to buy Tash’s birthday present (happy 15th for today Tasha! and later played air hockey, ventured onto the beach, visited the waxworks and got accosted by a man trying to rope us into a stall game, which didn’t work because we’re very well aware that hand eye-coordination skills are hard to come by in us.
Sadly our Blackpool holiday was almost at an end, but we spent Monday morning being hypnotised by the sound of 2p coins at the arcade before everyone else left on the coach. I returned to the train station, only to catch an earlier train than expected and find myself in Birmingham. Well, you know that, because I told you but after blogging I was generously invited back to Lucy’s house in a surprise extension to my holiday hurrah!
So yesterday we saw Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End which I agree with Andy about: good fun, incredibly complex, still not as good as the first film but happily sorting out the unsatisfying second. I finally arrived home (on the same train ticket from Blackpool – really squeezed value out of that one ) late last night, just in time for Natasha’s birthday today.
Phew, that’s it now I have to put everything away, catch up on beloved television programmes, do some revision (hah!) and get ready to go out to the theatre tonight. It’s the Tricycle again so it should be good
More photos, and in better quality than my silly phone photos, can be found at Josie’s Space and probably a thousand MySpaces by now. Enjoy!
With only a week or so to go, I finally got to Brighton and the Doctor Who Exhibition. Well if anyone was going to go, it would be me, right?
And without further ado, some photos…