I am on holiday this week and all 4 kids are doing activities (film and video, drama and sports club) so Debbie and I are able to spend from about 10:00 – 16:00 on our own just relaxing in and around our home town – St Anne’s on Sea. At home I like nothing more than a mix of long walks along the coast (east to Lytham and West to Blackpool), simple Cafe food, cycling, meditation and reading and the last few weeks the weather has been superb, with glorious sun with a warm breeze. When the kids get home it’s time for swimming and beach games – perfect.
4 days into this relaxing routine and it’s also noticeable that my arthritis pain is fading fast, a few years ago and after a weeks holiday it would be gone completely, now it never goes completely but relaxation and many hours of exercise definitely still has a very beneficial effect.
This week was meant to provide me with a well earned rest, we planned to go to Arnside (South Lakes) for 4 nights, what actually happened:
- Thursday : Tessa gets virus infection, fever, sickness and diarrhea
- Friday : Stephie gets the same infection
- Saturday : Stephie and Tessa still ill
- Sunday : Stephie and Tessa still ill
- Monday : Tessa and Stephie both on the mend
- Tuesday : The day we go to Arnside : Anna very ill, I stay at home with her, Debbie takes Jenny, Stephie and Tessa to Arnside. I get crippling stomach spasms for 5 minutes but it goes away
- Wednesday : Anna still ill, I need to go into Hospital for some checks, Jenny Starts to feel ill but is still enjoying the holiday
- Thursday : Anna feeling better, we both go to join Debbie and the kids, it’s wonderful to be together
- Friday : I collapse twice, with sickness, very high fevers and joint and muscle pain, we have to come home a day early, Debbie has to go back on the train to get the second car
- Saturday : Jenny is ill and staying in all day, everyone else is feeling better, I still have a fever but I do most days anyway so it’s no big deal.
- Sunday : the forecast is sunny
So in summary – 1/2 a days holiday, still Arnside is wonderful, I am so glad we discovered it.
A few weeks ago Jenny won one of the main prizes at the Swimtastic awards which are run by the ASA. She had a wonderful time meeting the Olympic swimming team and got to swim with them which amazed her (they are a lot faster than me!) and got lots of attention. Jenny has a wonderful smile as you can see in this picture with one of the team.
Her award reflected her achievements in swimming despite the struggle she has with Systemic Sclerosis which causes her skin to get harder and tighter with age and also causes scarring of her internal organs. One of the side effects results in very poor blood supply to her fingers which makes them very cold and makes them very susceptible to infections, this means she has to keep moving in the water to keep the blood flowing which is a distinct advantage.
Last Sunday we went to an open day at Capernwray bible college, the older girls were really keen on going for one of the week long holidays over the summer and we wanted to check it out. We had a great time and they are really fired up about the opportunity of attending, but now that we have reviewed all the other stuff they are doing this summer it looks like it will have to be next year.
Blackpool’s new promenade has a huge sea wall which is made up of hollow interlocking hexagonal concrete blocks – sounds horrible – but in fact these blocks make up a huge geometric pattern which looks quite good from the beach. Even better sea weed, barnicles and other sea creatures have attached themselves to the concrete and the hollows have filled with rocks and plants. Now that they are naturalised we find they are a great substitute for rock pools with lots of crabs and tiny fish and shrimps living in them and getting refreshed at high tide.
About half of Blackpool’s promenade (about 2KM) has now been regenerated and although it’s dominated by concrete it still provides great views of the beach and the sea and also has a lovely smooth surface which is ideal for cycling. It also has some amazing art work all long its length. if you don’t like modern art then you might have a problem with it, but having watched all of the pieces being built and installed over the years I find that the work grows on you. We have recently had a variety of new lighting installed which really makes for a lovely summers walk and some new sound affects which can be a bit creepy on a dark night.
The first image is of a person swimming in the sea and has sound affects of kids playing on the beach. It looks really effective with the sun streaming through it. The next picture shows a rusting steel monstrosity in most peoples eyes, although when the light catches it right it casts a shadow of a broken heart. Finally we have this amazing – huge – glitter ball. At night 4 projects shine onto it and the resulting light show stretches for 20–30 metres on each side of the ball, walking past it you seem to be walking in a sea of swirling lights and it is a really great affect, although you feel a bit dizzy by the end of it.
If you want to find out more there is a web site with all the details here, with a bit of background from the site:
The Great Promenade Show originated from the major redevelopment undertaken by the then Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to replace and strengthen the 2km long South Promenade’s seawall flood defences. This £20 million project entailed removing the existing Victorian promenade and replacing it with a new well-designed concrete promenade on two levels. The upper level was to incorporate ’roundels’ every hundred metres, on which it was intended to site specially designed features, including wind shelters and visual displays possibly representative of the history of Blackpool.
A Millennium Lottery bid was made by the Council to this end, though a commitment to start building had to be made before the outcome of the bid was known. The bid was unsuccessful, but the sites for visual features along the new promenade remained, as did the Council’s commitment to occupying them. At this point, responsibility for managing the project shifted from the Council’s Technical Services Department to its Education, Leisure and Cultural Services Division.
I live in a small town just down the road from Blackpool. When I first moved here the image of Blackpool I had assured me that I would never visit it, but over the years I have gradually mellowed and now find that like almost everywhere Blackpool has a plus side, for example:
- Its regenerated promenade is a great place for a walk, and even better for scooters and cycling
- It has a wonderful beach, very clean and with lots of undulations that capture the water and make it great for beach games
- To the east of Blackpool the beach is effectively deserted
- The centre of Blackpool has a good selection of bookshops and some pretty good places to eat
- The central promenade is undergoing a £60M regeneration which is really interesting to watch if you like large scale civil engineering projects
- When the promenade is full regenerated it promises to look really good
- I can walk from where I live to the centre of Blackpool along the beach and it takes about 3 hours for the round trip
- You can have some great fun in the amusement arcades, and there are loads of games for kids (and adults) of all ages if you don’t like to gamble
- It has some good events (the picture is of some of the kids watching a carnival
- It has some great firework displays
- It looks better at night
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