A canalside walk along the Grand Union
reveals contrasting scenes:
dereliction; beauty; serenity; wildlife;
vibrant wall art; volunteers;
all just a stone’s throw from the buzz of lively Leicester
Sometimes you need to hide behind a child to see something child-orientated. So I borrow one for the day. It’s not the first time 6 year old neighbour, and jolly good friend, Isabella accompanies me on a magical mystery tour. Illuminasia at Blackpool Winter Gardens our destination.
“This is a bit freaky,” shudders my little friend, eyes agog, as dragons sway to tinkly music; a ceiling full of dangling red lanterns; row after row of glowing Chinese solders; and the spectacular Emperor’s Palace.
We “ooh and aah” a lot!
“Who’s going through there first?” She gives me a shove and we’re in Dinosaur Zone: T- Rex, Triceratops, Brachiosaurus, little ‘saurs, flying ‘saurs – Isabella knows the name of every one.
Next, the Lands of the Giants where we find ourselves dwarfed by massive ants, ladybirds and butterflies; enormous spiders dangle from sparkly webs; huge snails lurk amongst toadstools; a giant puppy dog hides in the bushes where a cola tin, as big as a bus, is discarded; and garden flowers out-size Jack’s beanstalk.
We enter into The Deep – a watery world of clown fish, sharks, octopus, a jellyfish the size of a dustbin lid, and other weird and wonderful sea creatures. We end our journey admiring the Wonders of the World with the Sphinx, Leaning Tower of Pisa, London Bridge, Statue of Liberty, and our very own wonderful Blackpool Tower.
Illuminasia is fun and educational at the same time. It’s interactive. Visitors are given a Chinese Coin Trail to hunt for hidden coins; and a scratch card with clues to find answers. If you get them all correct you win a prize. We were rubbish at the Chinese Coin Trail and had to ask Zoey, one of the many friendly members of staff at Illuminasia, to reveal our missing answers. We did much better on the scratch card – all ticks!
Isabella gave Illuminasia ten out of ten and ten gold stars. That’s how good it is.
Youngsters and oldsters will enjoy spending a lovely couple of hours here. Make sure to catch Illuminasia before it disappears forever. Sadly it’s closing at the end of this year.
… when the livin’ is easy
Blackpool Tower is high
One of these mornings
You’re gonna rise up singing
And you’ll spread your wings
And you’ll take to the sky
(with apologies to George & Ira Gershwin)
Blackpool’s annual weekend Jazz and Blues Festival in the Winter Gardens. Popped in for a few hours to enjoy listening to and watching talented musicians enjoying their art.
A warm and friendly event promoting arts and culture in Blackpool. An appreciative crowd. No charge. All contributions/ donations supporting Trinity Hospice.
Thank you to Mr Stephen Pierre, volunteers, supporters and musicians for making it happen. A worthy event. Roll on 2018.