A solitary red flag stands on Blackpool South Beach
A red (or yellow) flag
indicates the beach is monitored by lifeguards
and it’s a safe place to swim
Not many takers on a pleasant day in May
Wish I’d had my cozzie – if only to give the lifeguards a giggle!
Once neatly packaged in twos and threes with a bucket and spade in a string bag, the Mouldies were free.
Their lives had been diverse. Loved one minute, rejected the next, chewed by the dog, washed away with the tide, returned to another place.
Bea Pool, an obsessive collector of beach treasures, rescued Mouldies. She had a knack of spotting colourful shapes hiding under clumps of seaweed, or half-buried in soft, silvery sand. Her ever-growing assortment lived in a bucket in the garden shed. Bea would do something with them one day. Maybe make a mobile, hang them in the lilac tree, glitter-spray them as Christmas tree decorations.
Today, there was an inkling of spring in the air. Daffodils and tulips bobbed their heads in the breeze. Excited blue tits were ecstatic to find the nest box on the garden wall still available. Bees buzzed in glee at the weak warmth of the first sunny day in ages.
Pottering in the garden shed Bea looked down at the bucketful of Mouldies. She felt sorry for them, and had an urge to return them to the beach. Once liberated, they might have a new life. Little people playing in the sand, with their families close by, might adopt the Mouldies to make intricate sand patterns (even though Mouldies were pretty useless at moulding sand, according to Bea’s disappointing efforts).
It was worth the gamble. Bea pedalled down to the beach with the Mouldies shuffling around in her rucksack. She released them.
The Mouldies were overjoyed. They had the freedom of the beach. In the distance the King and Queen of Spades and their courtiers were waiting to welcome them.
The March of the Mouldies set forth. The happy gathering posed for Bea.
Bea took pics of her plastic friends so she’d remember. The time had come to leave them to their fate. But she couldn’t. She scooped them up, shoved them into her rucksack and took them back to the garden shed.
Back in the bucket, that’s where they’d stay … … … until the next instalment.
What to do with a collection of beach toys? Write a toy story, of course!
ACT ONE SCENE ONE
Blackpool beach on a calm sunny day
Green Man, angry, snarling, waving his arms.
“Hey you! Over here!”
Little Yellow Blob, sobbing.
“Where am I?”
“Blackpool beach. Washed up, just like me. Been tangled in seaweed for weeks. Couldn’t be in a cooler place than Blackpool. Who’s that over there?”
Little Yellow Blob, not sobbing any more.
“Oh, that’s BEN098 from Alien Force. Saw him surfing the waves the other week. Weird dude. Never has much to say. Pity about his hand. Hammerhead got it.”
“Hi there! I’ve lost my keys. Can I join the party?”
Little Pony, galloping along the sands, shaggy mane blowing in the breeze.
“Neigh! What a journey. Those white horses were a bit fierce during the storm. On my way to Southport. Not a chance! When the tide turns I might make it across the Ribble, or Morecambe, or Isle of Man. Never know where you’ll end up. Anyone want a ride?”
“Ooh yes, please! I’ve always wanted my own little pony.”
“I’m going to hitch a lift in Hot Wheels. So awesomely wicked. I guess it took a wrong turn somewhere along the way.”
Little Yellow Blob
“Hmm – got choices to make. Either on the back of Sid the Driftwood Serpent or Elliman’s Embrocation. I could easily shuffle inside and use my back-end as a bung.”
“What about you BEN08?”
“Here comes my lift.”
Thundering along the beach, Dilly Dinosaur ambles up to the group.
Friends reunited chat about their hopes and dreams.
Will they stick together or go their separate ways?
Da da dah da daaaaaah …….!
END OF ACT ONE
Pick your way through wall to wall deckchairs, beach towels, fortresses of sandcastles, and happy holidaymakers. Punch and Judy, ice creams, donkeys, Ambre Solaire. Blackpool in its glory days.
At 4.30pm the beach emptied. Crabby, sunburnt children and exhausted adults scuttled back to their B&Bs for tea. 5pm prompt!
Lying in wait for the mass exodus, local kids lurked. It was time for serious beachcombing, on the hunt for left behind treasures and, with luck, pennies and sixpences.
Fifty years later, head down, and still looking for treasure!
Now, what to do with such a magnificent collection?
Meet the cast
An evening stroll
along St Annes promenade
as the sun sets
Cold, bright day walking from St Annes Pier
to Starr Gate and beyond to Solaris
The simplest observations
morph into snapshot subjects
Quite a severe frost last night for round here. Glad my fuchsias were well wrapped up and protected from the elements.
Went looking to see if the Desert Wheatear was still around. No signs. Hope it’s survived and moved on to warmer climes.
A pied wagtail foraged in the dunes.
A plastic duck hung around.
Stonechats flitted about in the Lytham St Annes Nature Reserve.
Oystercatchers mingled on the seashore.
In the distance the Lake District, its peaks capped in a dusting of snow, looked stunning.
The peregrine sunned himself on his regular perch.
What’s not to like about bright wintry days?