"We're doing a charity walk", Fran said. "What???" "It's only a mile..." she added hastily. Ah, well that's not so bad perhaps!
Mind you, walking for a mile along the cliffs at Bispham, north Blackpool is akin to walking ten anywhere else. Utter the words, "We've had fifty miles per hour gales!" to anyone from Blackpool and they'll look at you in contempt and say "That's not a bloody gale!" So off we went to find all Fran's mates from work. They had either all sensibly stuck a wet finger in the air and decided to stay at home or Fran got the wrong message about meeting place, time or day.
"Let's just go for a walk on our own then," I suggested as the wind whipped tears out of my eyes to the extent they were dripping off my chin onto my coat. So we walked from Red Bank Road (where the illuminations finish at Bispham) down to the Gynn (the roundabout on the Promenade road) and back. This is about 2 and a half miles altogether perhaps, half of it done at the trot with the wind behind us and the return with us leaning forwards at an angle of 45 degrees, enjoying the sudden but thankfully brief downpour. All along the way there were little groups of men in high visibility jackets working on the tram tracks. Given that Easter is next weekend I can with confidence say there's no chance of seeing a tram in Blackpool unless you nip up to the tram shed. They do seem to be getting on with it though.
From the cliffs we also had a good view of the stricken ferry, Riverdance, that as every Blackpool resident predicted, has stubbornly refused every attempt to re-float her and has now rolled over to an angle of 110 degrees and is busily engaged in burying her head in the sand a few more inches every day. Several weeks of being battered by the hefty winter seas as the tide comes in twice a day have had their toll and the structure of the ship is starting to get damaged. So presumably now they will start to draw up plans for dismantling her and hope to keep any leakage of oils and fuels to a minimum. Not an easy task I should imagine. It will be easier though to keep contamination down whilst it is above the sand than it would be if it sank down much further! Every time the tide comes in it washes sand away from around the hull, letting the ship settle a bit more then filling the gaps back up with sand.
Talking of disasters... Down at Uncle Tom's Cabin the long disused boating pool which had had some recent use as a go-kart track now looks even more attractive. Yes, this'll bring the families back... You know, with all the hotels and the council bemoaning the fact that families don't come to Blackpool any more you only have to look around and wonder what they would find to do that doesn't cost money. Yes we have one of the best beaches in the country, but when I think of all the things I loved to do as a kid, once away from the beach, pushing my toy yacht around a boating pool came high on the list. All that new expanse of tarmac on the new Promenade - I'm sure they could have included a paddling pool and a model boating pond.