Monday, 1 July 2013
Sandgrown? No, I just washed up on the beach.....
When I was growing up it was just 'Blackpool', a cheap and cheerful seaside resort, somewhere you get to by coach or car and spend a weekend in a small labyrinth like B and B (two steps up down a all 8 steps down anyone??), enjoy the funfair, the beach, the donkey rides and the novelty.
Over time, Blackpool has suffered with quite a lot of negative publicity, about stag and hen do's, drunks and dossers, the TV show '999 whats your emergency' did the town no favours either, painting the town as some kind of hedonistic haven. Yes Blackpool has it's problems, but to be honest, so does the rest of the UK.
During the summer I tend to have a lot more visits from family and friends, which allows me to see the town from a different perspective. It's no longer just somewhere I come in to work and then leave at 5, its is a bright, exciting place to visit.
Walking along on a lazy Saturday afternoon, I actually feel like I am on holiday, there are smiling, happy people of all ages walking along the Promenade admiring the public art, reminiscing over the old comedy sayings found on there, laughing at new ones, sitting outside for a quiet drink on the new bar/cafe on the Promenade.
Even walking through the town centre, I half expected to be falling over drunks in fancy dress on stag/hen do's, but was pleasantly surprised to find a jovial couple in fancy dress trying to entice you into the Tower Dungeon, although this is not really my kind of thing, I did have a look at what else is on offer at the Tower and was very impressed. Again there were mostly families and couples walking along, doing a bit of shopping, enjoying the sunshine.
My elderly grandad wanted to visit the Winter Gardens, as he had last visited in his youth. Having visited a few years ago, I was expecting to be disappointed, it looked tired, empty and devoid of any warmth/personality. When we got there, I was amazed by how different it looked, clearly a lot of work has gone into this. It looks amazing.
As a town it has seen better days, it has also seen much worse, but there is now some real change in the place, not only in the improvements/investments in the buildings, but in the people, in the atmosphere.
Now, whenever I tell people I live near Blackpool, I always get a groan in response, almost pitiful, but, you know what? I may not have been born here, I may even have only moved here relatively recently, but I am proud that I live here. I feel happy walking along the Promenade during my lunch, playing crazy golf on my day off, taking my son for a walk on the beach at the weekend.
It is a great town, with some of the most genuinely nice people I have ever met, it's just a pity I had to be a tourist in my town before I noticed. So, my advice, if you live here lift up your head and take a look at what's around you, take your head out of the sand and don't take if for granted, if you don't live here? You really don't know what you're missing, give it a try, you may be pleasantly surprised.