For those of you who followed twitter/facebook/flickr, you’ll have seen I attended the tall ships buildup today. It’s not even officially started, yet the jovialities have already started. There are a few things which became quite clearly appearent, which may help you, should you visit. I type the following in a clearly vain attempt to help anyone before they attend…
Firstly, and most importantly…
1) Wear good footwear. Seriously. None of this sandal / high heel shit. Big, thick trainers are the order of the day. The “village” is set on derelict dock area, meaning that there is not a smooth surface in sight. I’m suffering at the moment because I wore “normal” shoes, as in, not trainers (no, not high heels either.. someone is bound to comment on that) but didn’t realise just how bad the ground was.
It is a “working surface”. Thousands of cars were parked there once. It’s a mixutre of dolomite and broken tarmac. You probably weren’t allowed in there without a hard hat until today.
2) Asda is open normally. It is 0.45 miles from the entrance to the “village”. If you’re talking the family, do one of two things. Take them there first of all, get as much packed lunch material as you can possibly carry, and use that. Should they stop you carrying bags of shopping onto the site, a McDonalds is close, along with a Burger King and a Pizza Hut. Promise the kids one of those. I normally wouldn’t notice this, but thought I’d better mention it when I noticed one place was charging £6.50 for a portion of noodles.
3. Bikes. I saw many people taking their family on a “bike ride” around the area. Look, just don’t. It’s too crowded. You’re going to hit more people than you avoid. Little Jimmy will complain that the ground is too uneven, and before you know it, he’s fallen off his bike, and you’re rubbing Savlon into his badly scratched knee, whilst hoards of confused tourists question why you brought the bike in the first place. Andy the Iridium fan left his bike parked up, and explored the site on foot. Ten million bonus points instantly earned.
4. Umbrella. The site is huge, and there’s not much cover. It is Hartlepool, and something interesting is happening. It’s going to piss down.
5. Asthma / other respirotary diseases. If it fails to rain, the uneven dolomite / tarmac surface turns into a dust bowl the second a breeze hits it, so beware. But, we have the Headland carnival on Saturday, so we’re practically guaranteed a thunderstorm. Wear a mask, just in case. You can pretend you’re in Japan, and purchase some ridiculously priced noodles!
6. Alcohol. There is beer onsite. You can’t take your own in, whcih means it’s probably very expensive.
7. Bikes. Seriously. I’m not going to be there, but I’ll be hoping for an accidental shower of tyre-puncturing needles.
8. Shoes. Please take my earlier advice seriously. Failing that, I’ll be happy to book an appointment with anyone willing to suck the liquid out of the blisters I’ve accumulated from “normal footwear”
9. Food. Seriously, Supernoodles are 50p a pack, if that? You could buy those, a dish, and a fucking kettle for £6.50
I’m a bit gutted I’m going to miss the majority of it, especially after the temporary bombshell “Employment Palace” dumped on me earlier in the week. It’ll be interesting to see the legacy it leaves, unfortunately, I have a feeling it won’t be very much… seriously though, I’ve been a little tongue-in-cheek, but I’m serious. Your feet will hurt, everything is expensive (despite shops nearby), it’s a bit dusty, and bike riders will struggle.
And I can’t go. Grrrrr.