A Day In Blackpool

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I smell the salty sea. I hear seagulls crying and the distant voices of excited children. Opening my eyes, I stay laying in the cloud like bed. At the half open window, the breeze moves the netted curtain back and forth as if it’s breathing. There is a waft of frying bacon.

I have eggs, bacon and toast then set off from the bed and breakfast. All day I walk around Blackpool. The morning is a little dull; heavy clouds fight with the sun, the sea waves over the dark sand of the beach. There is a handful of people about; dog walkers, families, old couples, a mini bus of school children.

I walk on the promenade. Going past all the shops selling tourist things; postcards, sticks of rock, magnets and beach toys. The cafes where breakfast is in full swing and their windows are dripping condensation. The arcades and casinos with their doors shut, locked until lunchtime. Ice cream stands, sweet treat stalls and fast food vans at every few steps trying to tempted me.

I walk on the piers. The damp wooden planks creaking underneath me. The sea crashing below trying to erode the iron supports away. The benches with their green iron frames awaiting weary bodies. The rusting memory plaques of people long gone who once loved this spot.

Just opening fairground game stalls with harsh looking aged men hanging up cheaply made soft toys. A closed beach shop, a closed arcade, a closed cafe and music hall. Near the end of the pier is a small collection of children’s theme park rides still hidden their covers. All these places will open in the afternoon when they make the better business.

Here, yet more food stalls; a white trailer selling burgers and hot dogs, a drinks bar, a sweet stand. There pink and blue candy floss swing in bags and giant ‘dummy’ suckers on red ribbon necklaces dangle next to them. In trays lay pick ‘a’ mix sweets, boxes of chocolate and fudge, mint hum bugs in jars with labels saying ‘A gift for you from Blackpool.’ Sticks of rock in all sizes stand out with their brightly coloured strips.

I buy a few sticks of rock and go to the end of the pier. I unwrap one and stand looking out to sea, sucking on the minty sweet. The waves are far out, blending with the grey sky. There are no boats or people in the water. Birds hover looking for fish. I think about being out there, surrounded by the waves.

Finishing the stick of rock, I walk back and go down a sand covered boat slipway. It sinks into the beach. I walk across the drying sand, noticing old bits of things the sea has left behind; seaweed, sticks, food wraps, drink cans, plastic bags, dead crabs, broken shells.

Close by, sad looking donkeys huddle together, their little bells chiming, their hoof prints deep in the sand. A middle aged woman in a high visible jacket gives the donkeys buckets of water and hay.

I walk pass them. The woman looks over her shoulder, sees I’m not a customer and ignores me. She pats one of the donkeys’ shoulders, muttering something to it.

I get off the beach via a long staircase which takes me back to the far side of promenade. I turn and look back. Over everything the Blackpool tower rises; a monster of iron.

It starts to drizzle. I feel the specks of rain on my face and hands. There’s only open space here, so I walk for the nearest buildings but the arcade isn’t open yet and the fish and chip shop has no seating inside.

Further on is a cafe but it’s closed, a few shops then a restaurant but going in would mean having to buy something. I cross the road and go into the shelter of rows and rows of buildings that are either eating places, shops, arcades and casinos. The rain gets heavier, the sky gets darker, I weave in and out of these places.

I realise I’m going in the direction of my B&B. I pause by a food van and get a greasy burger and a can of coke. I put them in my pockets and hurry back to my room. The front door is open, nobody at the small welcome desk. There is noise from deeper inside; a vacuum cleaner, distant voices.

In my room, I drag a chair to the window, open it and sit there. I eat the cool burger. Not enjoying it but it solves my hunger. I drink some of coke then leave the rest. I get changed out of the wet clothes and into something drier and warmer. I go back to sitting by the window. The rain is really coming down now. It sweeps across in sheets, pounding over everything.

I take another stick of rock and suck on it to get the bad tasting burger out of my mouth. I carry on watching the rain and I think about the people out there, the donkeys on the beach, the distant and constant sea.       

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Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

The ice cream went down well and afterwards, Raven let Cody and Kadie go back to playing in the sea. This time though, she watched them closely. The beach was getting busier as more people came out to enjoy the sunshine. The tide was also on it’s way out and some of the waves looked fairly big.

Raven’s thoughts turned inwards and she began to think of her ex-husband. She had been doing well not dwelling on him. The seaside had seemed to wash all those thoughts and issues away but her out burst before had brought it all back. She hugged her knees and just for a moment pictured how things had been four years ago. She had been happy, busy and enjoying family life.

Then her world had come crashing down. She still didn’t have the full picture of what happened, just like a jigsaw puzzle missing pieces. She could hardly remember what Dave had said, just that he was leaving her over and over again. She begged him not to go, told him they could fix whatever it was but all along he was sharing his bed with another woman.

And she had only found out two years later after the divorce when the kids had told her about daddy’s girlfriend. Then the story had come out; how they had met on a business trip and tried not to fall in love but then had given in. How Dave had tried just to say it was a fling, how they had broken up but Dave hadn’t been able to let her go. How Dave decided he needed to be with her and not even his responsibilities family could stop him.

Raven dropped her head and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and just listened to the sea. The sound of the waves rushing back and forth along the shore. The children laughing, dogs barking, music playing.

I want to move here, Raven thought, I need to start over.

She opened her eyes, she felt more determined that she had in awhile. Grabbing her handbag and making sure, she had all her personal items, she took off her sandals. Raven got up and walked on the cool sand. Avoiding a sand castle, she reached the edge of the water and let a small wave tickle her toes.

Kadie pointed her out to Cody and Raven watched as her daughter and son splashed their way over to them.

‘I don’t want to leave!’ Kadie moaned.

‘Just a few more minutes!’ Cody put in, ‘we just saw a fish!’

‘It’s okay,’ Raven said with a small laugh, ‘we can stay as long as you like. I just wanted to see what it was like.’

‘It’s cold but you get use to it,’ Kadie pointed out with glee and held out her hand.

Raven took Kadie’s hand and let her daughter led into the sea. The waves lapped stronger around her and the spray flew up, dappling her shorts and t-shirt. Raven took Cody’s other hand and they jumped a few of the waves, laughing loudly.

Raven forgot her heartbreak and nightmare again, letting the sea take it away on the waves. It was just her and her children and that was all that mattered right now.

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

Raven peered over her sunglasses and book at her two children playing in the sea. They were laughing and throwing buckets of water at each other. She smiled and looked up at the clear blue sky from which bright and warm sunlight was pouring from. Breathing the sea air deeply, Raven felt grateful that she was here. This was just the get away moment she needed.

Last week, she had laughed when she’s heard the weather forecast. How can we have a mini heat wave in the the middle of April? It was snowing two weeks ago! she had wondered. The weather presenter had insisted though and deciding to throw caution to the wind, she had booked a short break in Blackpool.

Leaving the kids, who were old enough to look after themselves for a bit, to carry on playing, Raven got back to her book. She was re-reading some classic novels and Frankenstein was her current mission. It was hard to disappear into the words though.

The beach was busy, other people having decided to chance the weather too. There were other children playing noisily, dogs barking and further up donkeys giving rides. Behind her came the noise from the Blackpool Pleasure Beach theme park; the echos of the roller coasters, the screams and the shouts. Music was playing from one of the restaurants or arcade places on the promenade. Further along the beach, noise was also drifted from the south pier; tinkling of music from the tea room and the rowdiness of fairground games.

‘Mum! Mum!’ a child shouted.

Raven looked up and saw her nine year old daughter, Kadie, running towards her across the sand. Raven put her book down, frowning and trying to see what was wrong.

‘He got water in my eyes!’ Kadie cried.

Raven snatched up a towel and as Kadie fell at her feet, she scrubbed her daughter’s face with the towel.

‘You’ll be all right,’ Raven said as Kadie started sobbing.

Raven looked up as her thirteen year old son, Cody, joined them. He was holding two buckets and looking flushed with the heat.

‘I didn’t mean it!’ Cody said as water dripped off him.

Raven handed him another towel, ‘I’m sure you didn’t.’

The buckets hit the sand and Cody dried off then sit down next to them on the picnic blankets Raven had laid down.

‘You okay now, Kadie?’ Raven asked.

The girl nodded and Kadie wrapped the towel around her. Kadie was sniffing and looked tearful still.

Raven pulled the cool bag over and took out two bottles of juice. She give one to each child. Whilst they drink, Raven found the bottle of water she had started and took a few sips of that.

‘Can we go crabbing later?’ Cody asked.

‘No. You know I don’t like it,’ Raven said.

‘Dad would let us,’ Cody muttered under his breath.

‘Yes, well,’ Raven snapped, ‘he’s too busy! Off with that whats her name, living the life of Riley, not caring about anything!’

Cody pulled a face and drink more juice. Kadie buried her face in her towel.

Raven sighed, ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t take it out on you.’

She pulled them both into a hug. Cody struggled against her and pushed his way out but Kadie snuggled closer. Raven breathed in the sea salt and sand in her hair.

‘Who wants ice cream?’ Raven said suddenly.

‘Yeah!’ shouted Kadie and Cody.

Laughing, Raven dug around for her purse.

To Be Continued…