Off-Season

This week’s photo challenge is perfect for me.

For many years, when I was working seasons, I didn’t have an off-season. I would go wherever the people and the work were. However, I would still experience the off-season in my hometown of Blackpool when I returned to visit.

Due to the Illuminations, we have an unusually long season in Blackpool. Once the tourists do leave, the locals come out to play (albeit it in extra layers to keep warm). If you look closely, you can see snow on the fells in the background of this shot.

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Click here to take part in this week’s Photo Challenge.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Nostalgic

Every time I travel back home to Blackpool to visit family, something else has changed. The famous seaside resort is over 100 years old, and still has a lot of the features that it is known for, but it’s image has definitely modernised in recent years.

The rickerty old traditional trams have been replaced with brand new metro trams.

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The seafront has been given a facelift, with some added sculptures.

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I’m sure the sea even looks cleaner.

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It’s good to know not everything changes, though. The old ice-cream van is still there.

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This post is my entry in this week’s photo challenge: Nostalgic. Click here to see more entries.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Curves

I’m venturing back home for this week’s photo challenge.

I was born on the Fylde Coast in Lancashire. In recent years, the promenade has undergone a huge facelift, and looks very different to when I lived there. A lot of the new architecture is based on curved shapes. It’s not just aesthetic, although the sea front does look very stylish now, it’s also practical. The curve shapes help the structures survive against the harsh force of the powerful Irish Sea.

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Click here to see more entries in this week’s photo challenge.

Easter at the seaside

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My original idea for this Easter had been to go on my first camping weekend of the summer. Ha!

Due to the unwillingness of the British weather to comply with my plans, I instead drove up to Blackpool (home of the famous tower, above, and where I was born) to visit my family.

Although I was born in Blackpool, I actually grew up in a small village about eight miles from the town. Our nearest beach is Cleveleys, and I took a walk along the sea front there on Easter Sunday. Although visiting the beach at Easter is not so unusual, it’s usually because we’re experiencing the first hot weather of the year and not because we’re trying to make the most of the one hour of sunshine experienced over the whole weekend, even though it is still freezing outside!

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One of the biggest changes whilst I’ve been away is the introduction of the new, modern trams. I was really worried that they would be too modernised, but I’m happy to say they still have their traditional charm.

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No matter how cold it gets, you’ll always find an ice-cream van near the beach.

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Another iconic symbol of the British seaside. Due to vandalism in the past, the life buoys now have to be kept inside a plastic box. I still think they look pretty cool, though.

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I really love the design of the new seats that have been placed along the prom for people to enjoy the view. Not only are they sleek and stylish, they are also practical. At high tide, the waves crash right over the sea wall, and these seats are almost guaranteed to survive the force of the Irish Sea.

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Looking south towards Blackpool – you can just about make out the tower in the distance.

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And towards the north. To demonstrate how crazy the weather is at the moment, if you zoom in really close you can see the snow on top of the mountains in the Lake District! Although it was sunny when I took these photos, everyone was still well wrapped up against the icy cold winds.

Travel theme: Gaudy

Ailsa’s travel theme this week is Gaudy. This theme was written for Sandgrown’uns like me. ‘What’s a sandgrown’un?’ I hear you ask. It means ‘born of the sand’, and is the term used to describe people from Blackpool. Blackpool is the Las Vegas of Britain, and the UK home of everything tacky and tasteless. Local landmarks include a scaled down version of the Eiffel Tower, which has at times been painted gold and used as a giant advertising billboard, a huge Wagon Wheel on one of the piers and a bright red and blue roller coaster. Not forgetting the annual illuminations and the traditional trams covered in hundreds of colourful bulbs. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of Blackpool all lit up at night, but here’s what I do have.

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Our wonderful tower, in it’s regular red colour.
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The Wagon Wheel. The view from the top is the best in Blackpool, and during happy hour is much cheaper than the tower.

Out of all the wierd and wonderful things we have in Blackpool, I think my favourite is the big fibreglass dinosaur on top of one of the arcades. I love the dinosaur for it’s randomness – none of the buildings in the area have a dinosaur theme. Again, unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the dinosaur. I’ll try and get one next time I’m home.

The dictionary definition of gaudy is ‘showy in a tasteless way’. The word gaudy is often used in a negative way, but because of my hometown I love gaudy. I agree with Ailsa in that Las Vegas is the perfect example of gaudy, but whilst on the way to Vegas I travelled through another area of America that isn’t afraid to make a show if itself. Old Route 66 is one of the coolest, most out there places I have visited. Here are a few of my photos from the brief few hours I had there:

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I also took this last photo whilst on Route 66, at the Snowcap Cafe. I took the photo for my godson. When he was younger, every time we ate out at a restaurant he would ask for smily faces. I promised him that one day I would find him a restaurant that served smily faces. Guess what they serve at the Snowcap:

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The person whose dinner this was looked at me strangely when I asked if I could take a photo of their food, though!

This is my contribution to Ailsa’s travel theme: Gaudy. Click here to see more entries.