The Great British Holiday Day 2: Forton Services-Liverpool
We spend the night at Forton Services and have breakfast overlooking the M6. It’s the first time we’ve stayed at a Travelodge and not mentioned Alan Partridge. Head back to Blackpool because we spotted signs for a model village on the way out last night. Gotta love a model village. Tommy isn’t too impressed but Neil and I like it. It’s a beautiful day so we buy Tommy a kite and roam around Stanley Park for hours. I’ve never heard of this place but it’s lovely – huge, with an athletics track, boating pond, bandstand, Italian gardens and the usual parky stuff. It also has a big art deco café (real art deco with some cod art deco over the top) so we fill up on coffee and cakes.
Next stop Southport where we’d been before but on a miserable gusty day. Today it is gorgeous. We stop at Rotten Row on the way in to see what’s happening. There's a tiny train – big enough to ride, but so small you have to straddle it like a horse. Neil and Tommy go to see some radio-controlled car races while I feed Danny and read Brian Eno's A Year With Swollen Appendices. I never get time to read usually, so this is great, and Brian Eno is such a good person to have on the journey - a sort of sensible genius. We head for the pier, past another model village then we get on the Lakeside Miniature Railway which is the sort where four (smallish) people can get into each carriage. I am rapidly losing all sense of scale. We ride from Funland to Pleasureland, which is nice.
It’s evening now and we head for Crosby for Antony Gormley’s Another Place. It's one of the loveliest things I've ever seen. That’s enough for one day so we carry on to Liverpool. I love the drive through the outskirts and in along Stanley Dock. It's full of huge industrial structures that are quite grand. While Neil is out looking for the hotel Tommy & I talk about the Beatles. We all love The Beatles.
We spend the night in the city centre and attempt a family meal in Ask but Danny is restless and Tommy is jumping about like a chimp so we get pizza and take it back to the hotel. I feel vaguely defeated, seeing other families in there with kids (older than ours, admittedly) who can behave themselves. Lately I've been having a quiet mid-30s crisis, trying to reconcile what I am with what I want and what I have to accept I'll never be. It's peppered with depressing epiphanies and the day ends with another when I realise that I am not a hip young gunslinger, I am a sitting in a Travelodge drinking wine out of a toothmug.