The Great British Holiday Day 1: Glasgow - Blackpool
This holiday is an experiment in compromise. The goal is to keep us all happy, particularly Tommy, within the confines of a low budget, sustainable parenting (i.e. not giving him everything he wants or it will be a nightmare when we get home) and having a baby in tow. Realising that journeys are frequent flashpoints (a constant harping of "How many minutes now?" before we've even left Glasgow) we're going to Wales slowly, with the aim of stopping at lots of places on the way. So first we stop at Moffat for a picnic and a play in the park then on to Blackpool.
Blackpool makes all other seaside resorts looks like amateurs. I think Tommy will love it but I worry that (1) it will overstimulate him to the point of madness, and (2) we'll have shot our bolt for the rest of the holiday. We head straight for the Pleasure Beach and try to get the hang of the ticketing system. It appears to cost £29 (each) to get in, but we check and it's free entry, you can buy a wristband to get on everything but otherwise it's pay as you go with "tickets" to ride. As I don't do anything scary, Neil doesn't do heights, Tommy is too wee to get on a lot of stuff and someone needs to mind Danny we're not going to be spending a fortune. Tommy immediately wants to go on everything but we just wander for a while which is entertainment enough. I've wanted a go on the Mary Blair-era Alice in Wonderland ride since I saw it first time I was in Blackpool about 15 years ago. Sometimes having kids is a great excuse for doing something that would otherwise make you look like a nutter or a perv. We try to buy tickets and the machine eats our money. There is a long wait until someone comes to fix it but so far everyone remains good-humoured. We're not in any hurry. I go and feed Danny and by the time I get back Neil and Tommy are eating chips from a bucket with a spade in place of a fork. Now that's holiday. Eventually we get into our Cheshire Cat and ride through Wonderland. It takes off with a rickety jolt that gives me and T the giggles. I realise we're actually having fun together. After that we wander around some more. Neil and Tommy have a few shots on things in the children's bit - I max out the picture card on my camera. There are so many beautiful old rides around like the Grand National and the Big Dipper. Tommy has his first shot on a rollercoaster and on one of those things that shoots you up a pole. He looks really happy. It's great to see him enjoying himself.
We've been here for hours and are getting hungry so we get ice cream and head for the pier. Tommy and I go on the Big Wheel which is fab. Great to be spinning so high up out at sea and it's a beautiful evening. As we head back to the car all the stag parties and hen nights are starting out and there are some truly hideous sights - 40-year old housewives dressed as bunny girls ripped to the tits before it's even 8 o'clock. But that's what I like about Blackpool - it's like your wildest dreams and your worst nightmares all in one. As we leave I feel very hopeful for what's ahead. This is only Day 1 and we've all had a good time. I think smugly how much Tommy must love us for this, and how we are great parents. Then on the way home Tommy says to Neil “Dad, why haven’t you got what cool guys have got?” Like what? “Like an earring and a necklace and a tattoo”, and I realise however hard we try we are never going to be cool.