Saturday, 25 October 2008

Bring me sunshine ....

Given our experience with the World's Coldest Picnic a couple of weeks ago, I was understandably nervous when my Mum suggested we go to Morecambe for a day out whilst she's on half term. Still, never one to turn down an adventure, I dressed both T and I in lots of layers and packed hats, scarves and gloves for both. As an aside, getting a toddler to wear gloves (well, in this case it's mittens) is blimmin hard work, he just doesn't get putting his fingers in one section and his thumb in the other, and bites them off as soon as possible. I need to craft some sort of 'through the back of his coat' string contraption so he doesn't lose them.

Anyway, we parked up and walked to the beautiful art deco Midland Hotel an iceberg of loveliness in a sea of boarded up tea-shops and long gone seafront thrill rides. T was entranced by the shiny shiny floor in the lobby, complete with original seahorse mosaic, which he sat on, poking the jewel-like pieces with his fingers, trying to pull them up to suck. Shiny tastes so wonderful! Not as wonderful as proper chips cooked in dripping though, evidently. We went to the Rotunda, the hotel bar which serves food, based on our asessment that lunch in the restaurant would bankrupt us. We picked a table by the panoramic glass windows overlooking the bay - don't look too far to the right, that boarded up tea-shop really spoils the view ;-) We ordered Lancastrian Tapas, a posh way of saying ploughman's lunch, and T was beyond excited with the ham, sausage, pie (it was a bit of a pork fest!) and local goats cheese which arrived on a big wooden board. And those chips of course. Once he'd eaten his fill he spent the next half an hour with his nose pressed up to that glass, steaming lip-shaped marks onto the view of the bay, but it kept him quiet and the staff didn't seem to mind.

Stuffed full of lunch we walked along the front, following a trail of bird art, part of the Tern Project. T fell asleep of course, buried in his coat up to his eyebrows, with only an inch or so of head exposed to the elements. It was a good job, although the sun shone the wind was biting. His nap allowed Mum and I to explore an Aladdin's Cave second-hand bookshop and have a good gossip as we walked the mile or so to what was once a beautiful Victorian pier, and which now only exists in paint form on the sign of the pub (The Pier, of course) on the other side of the prom, and back. Even Eric Morecambe, mid song, couldn't rouse a sleeping babe.

Standing on the seafront, we could see the little houses of Grange over Sands on the Cumbrian coast across the bay (well, obviously the houses themselves aren't small. I wrote that with the Father Ted sketch playing in my head 'Dougal, these cows are small ...') and it almost looked as if, at a fair pace, you could walk there.

On the way back to the car I looked up. Not at the blue sky, clouds scudding past at a rate of knots, but at the tops of the buildings. Above Woolworth's, what was obviously once a cinema, a triumph of art deco. Above the arcades, more beautiful facades, rich in detail and colour. Almost more beautiful because you have to look that little bit harder for them.

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