For those of you who couldn’t work it out, or don’t follow me on Twitter, I have spent the past few days in the lovely little fishing village known as Blackpool, on the north west coast ouf our fine land. There was actually a group of us going, around 20 or so, from the place I go to on a Tuesday night. This included Chris, who you shall remember from countless other trips, and posts on this blog.
After a brief 45-minute stop at Tebay services (Yes, I thought it sounded like a Yorkshire based auction site too), we arrived in Blackpool at 12:30. The weather all the way there was diabolically bad, so I was happy to see that it had brightened up by the time we’d got there.
We arrived at our room on the 4th floor. I say ours, because we were sharing a twin room. Turns out that was one of the reasons it was so cheap.
Oh, and the fact that the hotel itself is actually in the middle of nowhere. Thanks to the wonderment of Google Streetview, I knew this wasn’t going to be a problem, as there was a tram station right outside. What anybody neglected to tell us is that the trams only run for certain times of the year. And the middle of January is slap-bang in the middle of their off-season. Buggeration. This means that trips outside of the hotel were going to be limited to how far we could walk.
The first impressions of the room left a lot to be desired. Fair enough, the bed and carpets were clean, but everything else seemed to have either a layer of grime on them, or were damaged in some way. The pubic hair on the edge of the bath really, really didn’t help matters.
After a few minutes, and a quick change into something less comfortable, I headed down to the bar area, to find that it was already in full swing – at least two thirds of the congregation had a pint down them. I had a couple too – it would be rude not to, but I didn’t want to get drunk. Instead, me and Chris went out to explore the area. One thing we both do when visiting anywhere is to find the closest shop, and a place to eat. Obviously, meals would be provided by the hotel, but neither of us are a fan of set meals. We’re also not a fan of out-of-date biscuits, meaning the ones the hotel provided weren’t exactly suitable…
After a quick walk up the beach we arrived on Red Bank Road, in an area called Bispham. It appeared to have more shops than hotels on it, so we headed down it, and struck gold. There was a Sainsburys, but more importantly, there was an indian restaurant on there, namely the Sunam Tandoori. Gold struck.
I’d forgotten to bring a razor and toothbrush (the most obvious things that weren’t in my case), so after a scoot around the Sainsburys we headed back to the hotel. On the way back, I was startled by a pair of concrete doves who, I thought for a split second, were real. I’m an idiot sometimes.
We got back to the room, and not a moment too soon. Now, I don’t know if it was the beer that caused this, or some of the rubbish I’d eaten on the coach, but I ended up with an epic bout of the squits, which lead to another issue with the room… the bathroom didn’t exactly have any type of ventilation. Chris stepped foot in the bathroom shortly after one of my several explosive visits. His expression was like someone out of a movie, being thrown back from a doorway, following a bomb going off. We probably should have picked up some ‘Oust’ in Sainsburys…
Things eventually “dried up”, and I went out to photograph the sunset. Over the tram tracks are two sets of gates. As I walked through the second gate, I let it close behind me… two old biddies, who were miles away, thought I should have held it open for them, greeting the closure of the gate with a sarcastic “Oh, thank you, sir“.
Yeah, I’m talking to you two.
Anyway, the sunset was amazing. I’ve taken lots of them over the years, but this was the first one on the west coast.
Unfortunately, little did I know this was the last time I’d actually see the sun on this weekend.
As the sun disappeared behind the clouds on the horizon, I headed back to the hotel, and watched a bit of snooker before getting ready for the night. The indian opened at 6PM and the free bar at the hotel was from 8PM until 11PM, so there was plenty of time to get the food knocked back and walk back. I went for the chicken madras. Normally, I’d go for the vindaloo, but following my colonic escapades earlier in the day, I thought it would be best to go for something a bit milder than my normal vindaloo.
It takes a lot for me to say this, but it was, quite honestly, one of the best indians I have ever been to in my entire life, and trust me, I’ve been to planty of them. The staff were friendly, the food was delicious, and I have no idea what they do with the naan bread, but it was beyond perfection. We had already made plans for the next nights meal, we were going back there.
We arrived back at the hotel with plenty of time before the free bar opened. there was a “pub” section tacked on to the end of the hotel, with the most important feature of any pub – namely a pool table. At 50p a game, it wasn’t cheap, but nothing is these days. They could have reduced the price of the game bay saving on the electricity costs of the lighting they used…
Forgive the blurriness of the camera photo I’ve used here, but it shows the fact they’d used a full-strength studio light to (partially) light the table. It was like playing pool while staring into the heart of the sun. chere Chris was stood, you couldn’t actually see the other end of the table, it was too dark. the last match ended with Chris doing an absolutely spectacular pot on the red, sneaking it cheekily into the middle pocket. A wave of pride ran over his face, and he looked at me with one of those “What do you think of that?” faces.
“You’re yellows”, was my factually accurate reply. The black went down, and I won 2-0. Ho ho, and indeed, ho.
Off we went to enjoy the free bar, and enjoy we did. Now, we had a choice, go and see the “entertainment” in the main room, or just sit in the quiet bar area and have a good conversation with whoever didn’t want to be deafened by the music. The bar area was our place of choice, along with Colin and Lynne. According to all other reports, we made the right choice.
By far, the funniest part of the night, for me anyway, was while I was in the toilets, having a piss… some guy comes in, lets out an belter of a fart… without even thinking, I shouted “I’ll name that tune in one…” It’s not often I make myself laugh, but that was one of the moments I could have given myself a round of applause.
There was a moment of panic near the end when it emerged that because we didn’t show up for the dinner, we weren’t guaranteed a seat at breakfast. Oh, my GOD. Plans of going to bed, then getting up for a bowl of cornies and some hotel toast were thrown in to DISARRAY. What were we going to do? Well, we stayed up longer, I hammered the spiced rum and cokes, and Chris knocked back the…. *wretch*…. advocaat. Eventually, we crawled back to the hotel room, I think I was asleep before my head hit the pillow. But… Would we be able to attend breakfast? Stay tuned for day two…