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.
The lure of the fairground
death defying machinery
to pay up and get on board
for a stomach churning experience
little faces wrapped in candyfloss,
tongues chasing runny ice cream
as it dribbles down
its once crunchy cornet
Mmmm … the smells
Hot dogs and sizzling onions oozing tomato ketchup;
salt and vinegar chips;
sugary donuts for dunking
in gloopy chocolate sauce
Food of the gods? For some!
If you’re lucky
you might win a goldfish
or a cuddly toy
– at a price
Lytham Club Day Fun Fair,
back for another year
… went to mow the meadow
A quintessential summer’s day. Birdsong. Buzzards. Butterflies. A startled hare, disturbed by the thrum of the tractor, dashed across the field. That wonderful smell of freshly mown hay.
The farmer didn’t waste any time collecting the results of his labour.
Another meadow full of wild flowers ready for mowing. A farmer’s work is never done.
Freckleton to the Naze is the start (or end) of the Lancashire Coastal Way. It follows the creek leading to the River Ribble where the River Douglas joins. A lovely spot for a picnic.
On the way back The Ship at Freckleton is perfect for a rewarding beer (and lunch if you’ve not already eaten a picnic) sitting in the garden overlooking the Lancashire plains with Winter Hill in the distance. Note to self: picnic not required next time.
Drizzle didn’t spoil her
in the serene grounds
of Preston’s beautiful Avenham Park
Whatever the weather,
the urgency of collecting food
for a nestful of hungry chicks
growing out of the cracks in the wall
of the railway bridge
Wildflowers along the River Ribble
Always something uplifting
to see on one’s travels
They’re back! About 130 pairs of common terns busy nesting on the floating pontoons at Preston Dock. What a racket as they jostle and squabble for a place in one of the purpose built next boxes, courtesy of Fylde Bird Club, Preston City Council and RSPB. The nest boxes provide shelter for adults as they incubate their eggs and, once hatched, the chicks are contained and protected from marauding gulls on the look-out for a tasty snack.
It’s a wonderful sight and sound. I’ll be back next week to see the hatchlings before they grow up. They’ll take off in August, to return next April.
Two pairs bred in 2009. Over 130 pairs in 2017. That’s an amazing success story.
There are other inhabitants sharing Preston marina with the terns.