Saturday, 7 November 2009


Arrived in Blackpool yesterday evening, for another of our periodic Radio Lads' Night Out enterprises.

Ah, Blackpool. I haven't been here since my Come Dancing days. Back then we used to spend a week or two at a time here, in February or March, because those were the times when the BBC could get the cheapest off-peak deal on the Tower Ballroom. It was always pelting with rain and blowing a gale. But that's Feb/March for you.

And November...!

The heavens well and truly opened as I pulled up outside the hotel. By 'eck it was wet.

Having put my stuff into the hotel room, I went to move the car to a suitable parking place. The local council has kindly provided a multi-storey just a couple of blocks away. With that great joined-up thinking for which UK Local Authorities are famed, they've set the tariff for overnight parking at £13 and provided ticket machines capable of ingesting only coins. No cards, no notes. Not even £2 coins, either. Do you go around with £13 in pound coins in your pocket? Just as I was pondering my options, I encountered a pair of local parking attendants. Was there, perhaps, a staffed payment desk, or a card-capable machine? "No, I'm sorry, there isn't" said the man. "But...", his face brightening considerably, "we are planning to get one in the new year.". I pointed out that, while this was undoubtedly good news, it didn't really help me tonight, now did it? He looked terribly crestfallen, but was forced to agree. Ho hum. Off to the newsagent to buy a Kit Kat and get some change.

On my way out of the car park, on one of those horrible grey dirty concrete stairwells, smelling of car park stairwell, I spotted this:

The Welcome Point door was grey, scuffed and not only locked but apparently nailed shut.

Yes, welcome indeed, to this great English tourist hotspot!

A great night had, though, with good company, fine food and scandalous gossip. It's what Friday nights should be!

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