Bleak Blackpool and Dale Winton’s Tan

Emily met Dale Winton this week.  OK, so met may be a little strong, but she was in the same room for many hours.  I think it was Tuesday when she asked if she could go to the BBC at Salford to watch a recording of In It To Win It.  Her teacher had somehow got some tickets and offered them out to the class, so off she went.

It was at best OK, but the whole experience seems to have been blighted by the audience having to endure sub-zero temperatures so that Dale’s tan wouldn’t be sweated off during the recording.  As a student of Film and Media, experiences like this can only be good, and the endurance of low temperatures can only be good for the spirit in later life, especially as by the time she has her own place, heating it will require one of the lottery wins Dale so often introduces.

It was also good practice for our day out on Saturday.  We (the girls and I that is) went to Blackpool on Saturday.  A strange choice I hear you think…..but one sort of forced upon us.  Emily needed to get some more photographs for her latest photography course work.  The coursework is in two halves.  The first half taken in WDW last August, and the second contrasting piece now being taken in a bleak mid winter UK, at various theme and amusement venues.

So we set off at around lunchtime, and about an hour later were parked up on the prom just outside the Pleasure Beach in the shadow of the Big One, which by coincidence is the title of an adult film….so I am told!

All the pictures here are mine by the way, not Emily’s!

Pleasure Beach
Bleak mid winter

By Christ it was cold.  Of course as we left the house I went through the pointless ritual of telling Rebecca that what she had on was nowhere near sufficient for the expected conditions.  As usual I lost, and as usual I was proven absolutely correct as her teeth began to chatter within seconds of leaving the car.

So we wandered up the prom with Emily snapping away, and popped into a couple of amusement arcades, amazed that they were open, and not at all amazed that they were deserted.

Whilst Emily took her photos Rebecca began her onslaught of miethering to have a go on those bloody claw games where you give money away to operate a mechanical arm for a few seconds.  I was eventually worn down and kissed goodbye to a couple of quid, only to be amazed a minute later when Rebecca turned up with this.

Rebecca wins
The winner takes it all

I bet the owner of the arcade was gutted as she’d just wiped out his weekend’s profits.

Out into the cold again, and more photos down by the pier.

It was too cold for the sea to make an appearance

As we crossed back to the non sea-side of the prom it became apparent that times were tough, with nearly every other hotel being up for sale or boarded up.  Those still trading looked one bad weekend away from joining them if I am honest.

Blackpool hotel
Sunshine indoors

Still, we were having a nice time to be honest.  Spending time together like this is rare these days, and despite the slow onset of frost bite I was very glad we did it.  Even the girls were smiling.

Frozen fringes

Yes Rebecca does indeed have Toms on with no socks!

We walked for quite some time up the prom, but as we went it was becoming obvious that we had all the photos Emily was going to get, and we were more likely to die from the cold before she got any worthy of that sacrifice, so we turned back.

We made it back to the McDonalds and went in hoping for a hot chocolate to warm our frozen bones.  Alas, in keeping with the look and feel of the resort, the machine was broken, so we settled for coffee and cokes instead.  As we drank and watched the world go by, the weather worsened, and the drizzle became steady rain…cold steady rain.

McDonalds View
A window on the woe

I left the girls finishing their drinks whilst I walked the rest of the way for the car, and drove back to pick them up.  The fringes must be protected at all times.  After the usual nonsense of trying to find the road out of Blackpool, we eventually found the motorway and headed for home.

I know that mid December is no time to judge a resort like Blackpool, but it was grim, cheap, tatty and of course baltic.  I did jest with the girls that we could have holidayed there for the past ten years instead of Florida, but they knew I was bluffing.  There is just no way we could afford to holiday in Blackpool for two weeks!

Saturday evening was spent walking the dog, dropping off and picking up Rebecca from a friends and being very pleasantly surprised at how much we all enjoyed The McFly Show on ITV1.  I don’t know if it was the fact that it was a weekend show that didn’t involve any form of voting, or whether it was just genuinely funny and entertaining (apart from the odd Al Murray moment), but we really enjoyed it.

Sunday has been spent Christmas shopping.  Nearly all of it online of course as I am not mental, but we did nip out to an actual shop to get Louise’s gift.  She had asked for a bike, so it made no sense to either try to wrap that bugger or hide it away for two weeks so we went out to get her one.

Owning a clown car these days I had to employ the services of my brother and his amazing bike rack to get it home.  Well, it serves him right for going to Florida the day after Boxing Day!

So a mini trip report has formed this week’s bloggage, which saves you from any sort of rant about crap TV, even worse traffic or just the fact that I didn’t win the lottery again.  We should do this day out thing more often!

Till the next time….




I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll photograph your door!

How’s your Sunday been?  I have spent mine taking photos of doors.  No, worse than that, I have spent mine watching someone take photos of doors!!

I’ve been driving Emily around trying to find her interesting doors to take photos off.  This isn’t some sort of Jim Morrison pilgrimage, no, it is for her Photography course.  Her first project is on the subject of doors.  You would not imagine the numerous ways, angles, scenarios and locations in which one can photograph a door.  I do.

I have had to explain several times to worried looking residents/park keepers/pub owners that we are not casing the joint in any way.  We are not some sort of Kick Ass style father and daughter crime team.  Instead, I have a daughter lucky enough to be able to study something she likes.

Anyway, here are a couple of my favourites.  I have no idea if they are any good from a technical point of view, but I like them.

Emily door 1

Emily Project 2

There are 136 others that I shall not share!!  By the way, both of those were taken at the local church were Louise and I were married!  Cute innit?  It was a new build back then.

Emily’s interest in photography is going to cost me, literally.  She feels she now needs to progress onto to a “proper camera” and get an SLR, rather than the bridge she has right now.  That’s her Christmas sorted out then.

For those of a photographic bent, she is probably going to get a Nikon D3000.  I’ve spent most of this week consulting with my vast army of photographic expert friends….both of them!!  The chances of me blowing one of my xmas gifts on something for school back in the day would have been nil.  This is mainly as I took History, Economics and English Lit!!  These new fandangled subjects!!

Rebecca is much more traditional in her giftage.  Yep, quite predictable really.  Just an iPhone 4S please Dad!!  Nice.

Oli’s growth continues in Digby style progress.  He doesn’t like going for baths, as evidenced by the look in his eyes here, which says, just wait until I’m bigger than you!!

Oli after bath
Revenge shall be mine!!

He really has become part of the family now.  I shall take a chance and declare him fully house trained!!  He has been for a good few weeks now, but the real proof was that we woke on Friday morning to find him lay at the side of our bed fast asleep.  Some idiot had left one of his cage doors open (dunno who that might have been!!) and he had at some point in the night wandered out and settled down in our bedroom.

Not one piddle or poop was had until we got up and let him out the back door.  He shall be allowed to stay after all.

Later tonight, the reality TV trilogy is complete with the arrival of the Jungle thing.  With Strictly, X Shambles and I’m a Celeb, there shall not be one inch of TV between now and Christmas without some celeb gyrating or eating something unmentionable or a celeb wannabe making something their own.  As you may have noticed, my tolerance for X Factor is very low, but now I am officially middle-aged I can tolerate Strictly most weeks, and, not that I will have a choice, but I can watch most of the Jungle stuff without poking my eyes out with a rusty fork.

I already know who we shall be supporting.  In our house it goes off who is “fit” and therefore Emily has declared that the Williams household shall be team Poynter.  For those who don’t know (yet) who he is, he plays bass in McFly.  It would seem that McFly have decided to embrace reality TV in a big way whilst still actually in the middle of their careers rather than after them.

Without getting too analytical about this (I don’t wish to appear sad!) but this is quite astute really.  As they mature, and leave behind some of the tweens they built their careers on, they now need to establish a wider fan base, who will buy their albums for the next ten years or so.  You may not remember that Danny off of McFly did the Popstar to Opera Star thing, Harry is currently in Strictly having to dance with that ugly bird with the bright coloured hair(!!), and now Dougie does the Jungle.

At the risk of extending this image of being a sad git, I quite like McFly.  They write some “proper songs” with  melodies and choruses, like in the good old days.  We are almost related too, as Danny’s Mum & Dad live around the corner from Louise’s Mum!!  I’m not one to name drop of course.  See, I can be in touch with the kid’s music in some instances.  However, in other instances, I can only shake my head at the ludicrous nature of the music industry, as evidenced best by the mere existence of Professor Green and his comedy rap accent.  He’s like a character off a comedy sketch show!!

As someone once said, Pop will eat itself.

Till the Next Time……