I arrived in Blackpool in pouring rain and nose to tail traffic, lights and banners overhead, and the pavements crowded with holidaymakers. There was a Red Arrows (the real Red Arrows? I think so) display over the beach so everyone was looking skywards. I could see the Tower up ahead and a ferris wheel beyond and when I was alongside the Tower I turned towards a sign to a carpark. Excellent. But it had a height restriction (Baa is 10ft tall) so I went to another, and that also had a height restriction - but it had an alternative entrance. It was crammed with cars and I must have spent 15 minutes trying to manoeuvre myself into an awkward parking space. Hot, but not bothered, I set off in the rain for the Tower, past colourful stalls and shops, arcades and fortunetellers.
I booked to go to the Eye – the highest part of the Tower, not like the London Eye. I regret not seeing the Ballroom but it was an expensive 'step back in time' and I could also have gone to the Circus, Jungle Jim's Playground and the Dungeons. But the 'all attractions' ticket would have cost me about £50 - no, less for concessions – and I didn't want to go that much.
Once through the turnstile, an arm stopped me walking in front of a laughing Indian family having their photograph taken. Me next, (“Would you like your photo taken?” “What does it cost?” “Nothing, it's just a bit of fun” “All right then”.)
“Look aaah! as though you're falling off the Tower!” I looked aaah!
“Excellent! Really, really good” (I was a natural!) “Now look thumbs up, excited!” I looked very excited.
Off we all went to the little theatre with special glasses for a short, 4-D warm-up fairytale film about a little boy flying round Blackpool (and, special effects, we got sprayed with water, but I was pretty damp anyway) and then up to the Eye. We squashed into the lift, me next to a girl who can't have been more than 15, with a ladder of cuts up the outside of her arm, the most recent one livid and painful-looking. She was with four or five others and they all looked pretty miserable.
|Looking through the glass floor|
Despite the overcast day (the rain had momentarily stopped) we could see up the beach and down the beach and all around Blackpool, and I could see Baa 500ft below in the corner of the carpark. When I left the Tower I took my ticket to get my photos – Durrr! Silly me. It didn't cost anything to have the pictures taken, but £20 if you wanted prints. They were very good, but not that good!
|Baa, right in the middle|
I went back to the carpark at about 5pm, the pavements crowded with people eating burgers, chips and fudge - we all waded through a sea of wet cans, plastic bottles and polystyrene food containers. I had a cup of tea before I could face getting out of my parking space (much easier getting out!) and setting off for Southport, just above Liverpool. I found a good campsite called Willowbank and felt quite sheltered in there on one of the stormiest nights they had had all summer.