Whitethroat – St Annes on the Sea

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This little bird’s scratchy song
announces his arrival to these shores

Whitethroat

Whitethroat

Atop a shrubby sea-buckthorn
singing his heart out

Whitethroat

Singing whitethroat

Whitethroats will be around
’til September
Then off they go to their
wintering quarters in Africa

 

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The Sooty Show

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Sooty & Sweep

Sooty & Sweep

I’m from the Harry Corbett era of Sooty & Sweep. By the time Matthew took Sooty’s reins I’d grown up, and Sooty & Sweep weren’t on my radar.

Life has come full circle! Hiding behind a great excuse to see The Sooty Show, my six year old neighbour accompanied me to the Grand Theatre in Blackpool.

It was a blast! The audience of little ones (and much larger ones) shouted, screamed, laughed, clapped hands, stamped feet and sang along with Sooty, Sweep, Soo and Co. There was the usual magic, mayhem and glitzy song and dance routines, along with the cheeky naughtiness of these delightful characters. Sooty’s magic contraption with various knobs and levers made all sorts happen. The biggest laugh, every time, coming from the farty noises!

None of this could have happened without Richard Cadell. His relationship with Sooty, Sweep, Soo & Co is so natural it’s hard to believe they are hand puppets! I felt a ting of emotion when Sooty played that familiar song on his xylophone. I’d not heard it for a long time!

Richard reminded us that Sooty was born in Blackpool. North Pier in fact, in 1948!  Sooty was delighted to be back in his home town.  (Aren’t we all!)

Richard’s energy, enthusiasm, rapport with the audience is full-on. After the show, a queue of eager children snaked around the theatre, waiting noisily to have a photograph taken with Richard and Sooty. Richard could quite easily have retired to his changing room to take a breather before the next performance. But no. He gave his time to sit and chat with hundreds of kids, and managed a genuine smile every time a camera or mobile phone shutter clicked. A lovely gesture. A lovely man.

My young companion’s face was a picture of glee throughout the whole show. She fell in love with Sweep. Looking around the theatre at all the Sootys and Sweeps, the merchandise man made a killing!

Izzy whizzy let’s get busy!

 

 

Lost property

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A mooch along
Blackpool’s empty beach
What’s that pink thing
near Central Pier?

Lost property

Central Pier

Lost property

What?

Lost property

Smile for the camera

Washed up by the tide?
Lost?
Forgotten?
Discarded?

Further along, beach toys
and no-one around
to play with them?

Washed up

Left behind

Later, on return leg of journey,
all lost property
had been reclaimed!

Fancy a swim?

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A solitary red flag stands on Blackpool South Beach

Blackpool South Beach

Safe place to swim

A red (or yellow) flag
indicates the beach is monitored by lifeguards
and it’s a safe place to swim

Blackpool South Beach

Anybody there?

Blackpool South Beach

Not one person around to take a dip

Not many takers on a pleasant day in May
Wish I’d had my cozzie – if only to give the lifeguards a giggle!

 

North Pier Blackpool

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Even though Blackpool’s North Pier is in a sorry state, there’s no getting away from its beauty. The pier’s rickety promenade deck, wooden benches decorated with algae and lichen, ornamental cast iron arms and backs pitted with rust, paint a different picture.

North Pier

Promenade deck

North Pier

Lichen and algae

North Pier

Ornamental cast iron bench back

The construction of North Pier started in May 1862 and was officially opened on 21 May 1863. It was the second of fourteen piers designed by Eugenius Birch and is the oldest of what’s still standing and in use today.  Back then, the cost of building this fabulous structure came to just under £12,000.  North Pier was designed as a leisurely promenade for the use of the genteel, well-to-do; Central and South Piers with their amusements, pleasure rides and outdoor dancing were good enough for lesser mortals!

It’s currently undergoing a time-consuming, costly restoration project.  It will be worth it to see this fine Victorian pier renovated to its former glory, reflecting Blackpool in its prime.

 

 

Garden delights

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Who’s that lurking
In a thick mat of cobwebs?
A handsome specimen
If you like spiders

Garden Delights

Incy Wincy

 

There’s lots of activity in, out,
and around the bug house

Garden Delights

Another creature to identify

Plants thrive
in the warmth of the sunshine

Cacti and succulents in flower