Tag Archives: Coach Travel

A week in review – Birthday, Beer and Blackpool

Wednesday

It was a surreal day. We travelled up to London to visit my parents. My mother said happy birthday to me. Not having any idea of the date, I assumed she was correct. We then went for a birthday lunch at the Kingswood Arms, which I paid for. Then we went to see my father.
On the way back to my parents house we passed a sign advertising a fair in Ashburton Park, which informed us that my birthday was not until Friday. Actually the sign made no mention of me by name, or my birthday, but it did state that the funfair commenced on Friday the 24th, and so all was clear, I now knew when to celebrate. 😮
The day continued to be surreal. On the drive back down to New Romney in Kent we caught the tail end of a news story on the radio. It was about a vicious attack, but we had no idea of the location, or the nature of the attack.

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It was only once we had settled down for the evening in front of the news on television that we saw that it was a Jihadist attack on a soldier in Woolwich, London, an area we know well.
My thoughts are with the soldiers loved ones, and anyone else who has suffered loss, irrelevant of their religion, beliefs, nationality etc.
I’m saying no more about this sad news, mainly because I’m too tired to write a book, as that’s what my thoughts about it would result in.

Thursday

We had a houseguest coming, well, a caravan guest, so we headed down to Hythe to do a little food shopping.
We usually eat randomly, at various times, we don’t have a traditional routine, but we figured our guest would probably appreciate a proper meal during his stay.
We pulled into the crazily busy supermarket car park, found a spot, and just as Laura headed over to the Pay and Display machine there was a sudden violent hailstorm. Very bizarre weather for the South of England at the end of May. She rushed back to the car, soggy parking ticket in hand, and then we both made a dash for the supermarket. We were so taken by surprise as the large hailstones pounded and drenched us that neither of us thought to take a photo. We were more concerned with rushing across the car park to the warmth and calm (compared with the hail storm) of the supermarket.
It was as crazily busy inside the supermarket as it was in the small car park, but we whizzed round chucking whatever took our fancy in to the shopping trolley. Grub bought, job done.
Our guest arrived at about 8pm, we all headed to the pub for a couple pints, and then it was back to the caravan for something to eat. A fish pie Laura had spent the afternoon making. It was the first time she’d ever made it, and it was very tasty.
By the end of the night, which was about 3am the following morning, there were a lot of empty beer and wine bottles. We’d drank the caravan dry.

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Friday

A hangover day. There’s not much else to say.

Saturday

Feeling a tad better we took a short drive into Romney Marsh, and stopped for a beer at the Star Inn. Then it was back ‘home’ for lunch. Chicken cooked in cider, served with rice.

Sunday

It was our last day/night in the caravan so we spent most of the day packing our stuff. It only took us all day, on and off, because we’re shirkers by nature, not because we had a lot to pack. We hardly have any belongings at all.
Apart from packing we ate. Weird and wonderful concoctions of what was left of our fresh food. I’d purchased way too much food, probably because I’d been so pleased to be able to cook again, after so long travelling. What we didn’t eat, we boxed up to give to my mother.

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Monday

Just another manic Monday…
We drove up to Croydon from New Romney. It was a pleasant drive. Partly because we left at 6.30am and partly because it was a Bank Holiday Monday.
There was hardly any traffic on the road, so it took less than 90 minutes.
Once we arrived at my parents house we decided to have a look at the car rental booking form, only to discover that the Avis depot we were due to return our hire car to, was closed on the Bank Holiday Monday. After a quick phone call to Avis, we managed to sort out another return location. Victoria. This was a major result for us because we were heading to Victoria anyway. This meant we had one less tram and one less train to catch. Result!
We drove into London and dropped the car off at Victoria Coach Station. The very same station we were departing from.

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We then caught a coach to Blackpool, via Preston.
Yet again it was a replacement service and not the National Express coach we’d booked. Ergo no WiFi, no comfortable leather seats, no air-conditioning, and to top it off, the bus was also uncomfortable and dirty.
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En-route the coach stopped in Birmingham, and Wigan before it reached Preston where we changed coaches.

Birmingham
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Preston
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It wasn’t the most pleasant day of travelling we’ve ever experienced, the bus was hot and stunk of fuel, but we did get chatting to a lot of people. By we, I mean Mrs.R, she enjoyed a good natter with lots of people, some on our coach and others who were waiting for buses at Preston coach station.
After 12 hours of travelling we finally arrived at the guesthouse in Blackpool. We dumped our bags and headed out to get something to eat. We ended up a the Auctioneers (JD Wetherspoon). The beer was good, but the food was terrible. We both ordered the roast of the day. I wanted beef, but they didn’t have it, so I ordered the same as Mrs.R, chicken. The chicken was seriously overlooked, beyond dry, the ‘roast potatoes’ were in fact deep fried, the vegetables were mushy. If we hadn’t have been completely exhausted we would not have eaten it, but we simply did not have the energy to go anywhere else. It was the worst meal we’ve ever eaten in a Wetherspoon pub, and we frequent Wetherspoon pubs a lot. 🙁
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Tuesday

Our first full day in Blackpool saw us heading into the centre, it was cold, wet, and windy.
We popped in to the tourist information centre to ask about buses and various other things. Whilst waiting to be served we noticed that the group of women milling about outside were wearing sparkly dresses and vertigo indulging heels. Then we saw a few blokes dressed in suits. It was a wedding! Apparently you can get married above the tourist information office, because there’s a registrar office there. It was a surprising scene.

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Anyway, back to our tourist info needs, we asked about public transport, and then as we were leaving the lady said, “I don’t know what your plans for today are, but as the weather is so horrible, you could go in to the Blackpool tower ballroom and watch the dancing, if you go up to the stalls – for free”.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom

Mrs.R was grinning from ear to ear, she loves Strictly Come Dancing, and has wanted to see the glitzy ballroom interior, so how could I refuse? 😉 It’s not really my sort of thing, but it was pleasant to get inside out of the cold and rain, and actually it was quite interesting watching the couples trot around the dance floor. There were a couple of professional dancers, two women, who mainly danced with each other, as well as lots of older couples who were clearly enjoying their moment under the spotlights.

Blackpool Tower Ballroom
It was quite busy on the dance floor level, there were people of all ages, although the majority were pensioners. Several people were enjoying a cream tea, others were tucking in to jacket potatoes, whilst some just sat drinking beer. Directly across the dance floor in the stalls facing us, were two couples sitting watching the dancing whilst eating their packed lunches. It was a pretty surreal experience.
After we’d been sitting, shooting photos and video of the dancers, dancing, and the ornate gold interior of the ballroom, Laura took mercy on me and said we didn’t have stay any longer. It had been nice, but I was pleased to leave. There’s only so much loud organ music, and so many sequins twirling that I can take in one day. 😉