Llandudno Pier

It's day 4 of the holiday but day 1 of Pontin's. Nice to be somewhere we're going to stay for a while and it's another beautiful day. Neil, Tommy and Danny go off to hunt for Safari Sam (Captain Croc's nemesis) while I go to the laundrette. In the daylight I'm hugely impressed by the whole holiday camp set-up. l like the way that all the chalets are identical to the point that it's pretty hard to find your way home. There's lots of symmetry and clean lines. And all the chalets are arranged in U’s or triangles so everyone is looking onto some communal ground where the kids can play. It’s also very quiet, although it must be mayhem at high season.

In the afternoon we take a drive along the coast. We go through Rhyl, 3 miles up the road, which looks like it’s seen better days. I like seeing all these seaside places in various stages of decline/stagnation and regeneration. Most places are being regenerated now so it's always a surprise to find somewhere that is still a bit of a dump. Or am I being too hard on Rhyl? We pass through some other wee towns. Rhos-on-Sea is a nice surprise. I catch sight of the Harlequin Puppet Theatre – immediately my NTSH senses are tingling. It’s a marionette theatre pretty much unchanged since it opened in 1958. It doesn’t open til July and I press my nose up against the glass hoping that Mr Bim Bam Boozle is working away Geppeto-style in the back. No luck. Debate with myself: can I write about somewhere I haven’t been?

He's a tin soldier man

Head on to Llandudno. Initial impressions are good - solid Victorian hotels like Brighton or Eastbourne and a prom awash with pensioners. As Father Dougal says, like a big tide of jam, but jam made out of old women. We go for a drive around Great Orme and stop at the Rest and be Thankful Café for toasties. I’m still struggling to find anything Welsh.

The view round the bay is stunning and the weather really makes it. It’s like a tourist board advert. We go back to the town, park up, get an ice cream from Cadwallader’s and go to explore the seafront. Tommy collects huge stones from the beach; we admire the old Punch and Judy booth then head for the pier. It’s a nice old Victorian one with a kink in it. Tommy suggests that Neil & I go and do some “adulty funless stuff” while he goes on the slide. On the way back down he tells us how he’s going to be a fireman when he grows up - it's all very elaborate about what he's going to do, with a role for each of his friends and Danny working the computer. I'm a wee sister, so I can't imagine what it's like having a younger sibling, but I'm delighted that Tommy sees their future together.

We spend so long on the pier that we can’t really face going on the cable car (much as I’d love to) or visiting Happy Valley gardens. It’s boiling hot and neither of us can face pushing a buggy up a hill. I feel a bit sad as I’d been looking forward to it but there has been so much to do that I can hardly complain. And we've had a lovely day not doing very much. We try to find a restaurant on the way home as we've eaten nothing but rubbish since we left Glasgow. There doesn't seem to be anything that is both decent and open. So we get fish and chips in Prestatyn and get back to the camp exhausted.

Next: The Great British Holiday Day 5: Prestatyn-Abergele

Hi Anne, another fantastic read. This is a really great series of articles you're putting together. I was just at Scott's school finding out about the curriculum for Year 2 (that's Primary 3 to you Jocks!) and their history project is going to be The Great British Seaside. What a fantastic excuse for daytrips and weekends to places you hace to eat chips and ice-cream! I like that Tommy's future plans include Danny. Scott plans on living with Ethan in our neighbour's house when he grows up. He's taking his lava lamp with him and they're going to cook us our dinner on Sundays. Very elaborately planned. Apart from where our neighbour is going to go.

I like Llandudno too. The last time I was there there was a man at the entrance to the pier selling cassette tapes. Can't say there were many people buying! He was playing the original of "Movie Start" (I can't remember who it's by). Speak about being transformed back in time. The train down from Manchester during the school holidays is quite an experience too. Full of huge families who've taken most of their kitchen with them so there are all these piles of pots and pans and boxes of mugs and glasses and all sorts. The last time we went (we were only going as far as Chester) there was lots of good old fashioned working class banter (completely cliched working class banter I suppose but it came from Gorton and was all real) and there were people passing sandwiches down the carriage we were in. Fantastic!

Hi John. Wow, studying the seaside - that sounds good. I like the sound of the pots and pans although where were they going? The kitchen at Pontins was very well-equipped. Hats off to them!

My uncle used to take this huge pan he'd pilfered from the hospital he worked at to Spain every year and when he arrived he'd make a giant pan of soup and that'd be his meals for the whole holiday. This was a proper big pan; it covered all four rings on a normal cooker. On reflection, that doesn't really explain why people from Gorton take their kitchen on holiday with them I suppose.

No wonder they say Aberdonians are tight!

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