A belated review of our weekend break to Blackpool with not too many photographs as this weekend was really more about golf rather than Motorhoming.
The sole purpose of this outing was to visit The Open Golf Championship which was being held at the Royal Lytham & St. Anne's Golf Club.
We stayed at the Caravan Club's Blackpool South site which on the map, when we originally booked, looked about 3 miles from the golf course.
The site was okay, but only okay. The facilities were the usual high standard and the wardens were again excellent. In fact the wardens were probably the best Caravan Club wardens we've met and as anyone who reads our blog regularly will know my opinion of Caravan Club wardens had dropped quite low.
The site was fully booked up because of the golf and other than visiting the golf I don't think we would ever return to this site.
Our usual criteria are any site we stop on must have a pub and a shop within 1/2mile. Anything further and the sites are for caravans and not really motorhome friendly enough for us.
Obviously we made the exception to the rule on this occasion because of the locality to the golf.
It's not just the lack of a shop and pub within ½ a mile though that's against this site.
The site is located adjacent to a very busy roundabout on the A5230 which is less than ½ mile from the end of the M55.
We were on pitch No.17 and the constant traffic noise made it very unpleasant to sit outside and on the Sunday, while watching the golf on the TV, if the van door was open it was very difficult to hear Mr Peter Allis and co commentating.
We arrived on site quite early for us on the Friday, about 2 o'clock and promptly had a lay down, fell asleep and slept for the next couple of hours, it must be our age!
I eventually got up when I thought someone was coming to our door but instead it was someone walking across our pitch within a couple of feet of Myrtle.
This is one of the most annoying displays of ignorance I think you can see on a campsite and over the next few hours it happened quite a few times.
The short cut to the toilet block across our pitch must have shaved all of 4 foot 6 inches off the route had they followed the path.
The people walking across our pitch were all coming from the one motorhome which was pitched on the next row and at 90 degrees to our pitch. Beyond our pitch two more pitches had to be walked through to complete the 4 foot 6 short cut.
I decided to pop the canopy up in an attempt to deter them and although this moved them further from Myrtle it did not stop them using the short cut.
Not wanting any confrontation we enquired about moving to another pitch but by now the site was full.
The wardens were curious to know why we wanted to move pitches and we reluctantly explained to them while stressing we didn't want to cause any fuss.
The wardens were in total agreement that they shouldn't be walking across pitches and suggested we told them so.
It was my initial intention to put up with it and say nothing, after all we were going to be out at the golf for one full day, but eventually after one young man spoke to us while trotting passed I decided to mention it.
"You're not supposed to walk through other peoples pitches you know " I said as diplomatically as possible.
"I'm just going to the toilet, how are you meant to get to the toilets then?" he replied in a not aggressive but in a little bewildered manner.
"You're supposed to follow the road, it adds about 4 foot 6 onto ya journey" I replied trying to keep it light.
"I'll go that way then" and off he trotted.
A couple of minutes later the young mans mother walked onto our pitch.
"I've just asked your son, is it your son? you're not suppose to walk across other peoples pitches"
"Yes it is my son" she replied "why can't you" she enquired.
I explained that it was considered rude and that it wasn't very nice when you were laid on your bed and someone's head passes by your window less than a couple of foot away.
"It wasn't the done thing" I explained and quite surprisingly I also had to give her the alternative directions required to reach the toilet block!
"I never knew you couldn't do that" she said and still trying to keep the conversation light H chipped in with "well if you didn't know, you didn't know, that's alright but unless some tells you you're not going to know."
Anyway off she plopped, excuse the pun, to the loo's but that was the last time her or her two adult sons acknowledge us for the rest of the weekend although husband did say hello a couple of times.
I got the impression they thought we were being over the top or being anti-social but I would just like to say, I was less wound up by them ignoring us than I was by them walking through the pitch and wondering if someone was coming to knock on the door every time I saw a head going past!
We decided we would go to the golf on the Saturday and watch it on telly on the Sunday.
One reason being that although it's good to go to the golf for the spectacle of the event, it's not necessarily the best spectator sport and you get to see a lot more on telly.
The second reason, and probably the most influencing factor, was that tickets were £70.00 each so £140 a day when H isn't really that bothered is a lot of money.
On Friday night we got the E-Bikes out, which we've now named Lizzie and Ada, and went for a recce, the intention being we would find the way we were going to walk to the golf on the Saturday.
Well about 7 and 1/2 miles later, having got lost a couple of times, we found ourselves outside the course.
We re-calculated the distance we would need to walk and, taking in to allowance the fact we had got lost a couple of times, the actual walking distance from the campsite was going to be nearer 5 miles and not the 3 miles I'd originally guessed.
Now we're both up for a good walk but as H quite rightly pointed out, after walking 5 miles there in the morning and then walking around the golf course all day and then walking 5 miles back at night we'd be buggered for a week.
I had to agree and an alternative plan was required.
We quickly dropped the idea of getting a taxi as we thought given the traffic jams a taxi journey, although only 5 miles each way could take over an hour and could work out quite expensive if indeed there was a taxi firm willing to take the fare.
We would have to go on Lizzie and Ada, but where would we leave them that was going to be safe and what would we do with the batteries all day.
The bikes cost over £400 a piece and I wasn't going to be happy just chaining them to railings this close to Liverpool or Manchester and what would we do with the batteries?
If we left the batteries with the bikes and they got stolen then it would cost us a couple of hundred quid a piece to replace them alone.
If we took the batteries off and put them in my rucksack then we'd probably have caused a major terror alert going through security on the way into the golf and then, if special branch did decide to let us through, we'd have had the pain of carrying the batteries around all day.
What to do? As we contemplated all the options, or lack of them, while sat outside a very nice detached house opposite the entrance I notice the owners of the house in their front garden.
Because we'd been parked on the path outside their house for a while I thought I'd noticed them look over at us a couple of times and the next time this happened I thought bugger it, here we go.
"Excuse me is this your house? Well, I don't suppose we could lock our bikes up in your back garden tomorrow while we go to the golf could we please?"
I don't know who was more shocked, them, H or me as I hadn't planned it or really thought anything through!
The couple, Paul and Liz came over to chat. Paul explained that most cyclist were using the railings surrounding a near by school which were using their playing field as a car park.
I explained our dilemma, the cost of the bikes and the battery thing and they understood our reluctance to chain then to the railing or pass a rucksack stuffed with batteries through security, which it turned out had an airport style x-ray machine.
"Of cause they can" said Liz and looked to Paul for agreement.
I don't know who was more shocked, me, H or them as they hadn't planned letting out their back garden or thought anything through probably!
They showed us through their gates which they said they'd leave open for us the following morning, as they'd probably still be in bed when we arrived, and showed us somewhere safe to chain everything up including the batteries.
We arrived at their house at about 8.45 the next morning and very quietly let ourselves into the back garden.
We had a great, full day, at the golf and left at about 7pm.
Rather than just take our bikes we knocked on Liz and Paul's door and thanked them for the generous use of their garden.
What a lovely couple.
We'd booked the Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights and were due to return home on the Monday.
Having been to the golf on Saturday we had decided to watch the final days events unravel on TV but coverage wasn't due to start until 1.30PM on the Sunday.
We therefore decided to get Lizzie and Ada out again and head out for a bit of a look around and to drop in at a supermarket on the way home for a few provisions.
The wardens were very good with their directions and had even created their own free map handout to help with directions.
The closest supermarket was Tesco but this meant heading inland along the busy A5230 which we didn't really fancy.
Heading towards the coast in the opposite direction, on a route derived by the wardens which made use of a bridal / cycle path and cut through an housing estate, was Morrison's and just a bit further on from Morrison's was the coast.
We set off in this direction and in no time at all we'd passed Morrison's and reached a T junction with a road that ran parallel with the sea. To our right was a Welcome To Blackpool sign to our left a St. Anne's sign.
We turned left and cycled along Clifton Drive and then North Promenade until we arrived at St. Anne's Pier.
Just before the pier we came across a bronze statue of one of my favourite comedians, the late Les Dawson who I believe had lived locally.
The plaque below his statue read:
"Les Dawson 1931 to 1993 Comedian, Writer, Musician. Unveiled by Tracy and Charlotte Dawson. 23rd October 2008. Sculptor Graham Ibbeson"
I think it should have gone on to say:
"Ibbeson used bronze ball bearings to recreate Les's blank or blanks"
And a badly tuned piano playing in the back ground would have been a nice touch to.
I remember when we were kids and on annual holiday at Bridlington one year we went to the Spar Theatre to see Les Dawson.
After the show we went to the stage door to get autographs (its what you did in those days) and then for some reason which I can't really remember we ended up stood next to him in the theatre bar, though I would only have been 13 or 14 at the time.
I remember how he carried on the show and had everyone in stitches.
Also appearing on the same bill was Tammy Jones, a female vocalist and a winner of Opportunity Knocks in 1975, (for anyone under 35 this was the X Factor of its day).
While Tammy Jones sat on a stool signing autographs Les Dawson stood behind her, removed his shirt and donned the small specs and turned into his character Cosmo Smallpiece.
Sorry I've indulged myself with a trip down Memory Lane when I was supposed to be talking about our bike ride, let me try again!
Let Me Try Again was Tammy Jone's biggest hit and in 1976 reached No.5 in the charts at a time when you had to sell millions to get to No.5.
Anyway, we continued along South Promenade to just beyond Fair Haven Lakes and the amusingly named Granny's Bay before turning around and heading back to the Morrison's.
Locking the bikes up outside Morrison's was easy and felt secure and putting the batteries into our shopping trolley and taking them around the store wasn't a problem either.
With the handle bar bags on Lizzie and Ada and with the rucksack it was quite surprising how much shopping we could comfortably carry.
We got back to Myrtle at around the 2 o'clock and I spent the rest of the day watching the golf while H finished reading the best selling, latest reading phenomenon and erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.
It was very tense and exciting finish, to the golf that is, although I understand the book had its moments too.
Well done Ernie Els and commiserations to poor Adam Scott who blew a 4 shot lead with 4 holes to go.
A BBQ on Sunday evening and a few drinks were followed by a lazy Monday morning and a steady drive home just after lunch.