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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hold onto your ‘Kiss Me Quick’ hats, it’s the Gardners at the top of Blackpool Tower!

Towering Inferno of Love
Amelie’s fainted due to altitude sickness, vertigo and a general lack of biscuits. At that point, it was an hour since her last gingerbread man.

Anyhoo, the wind died down a bit yesterday and it stopped raining for about half an hour, so we decided the time was right to scale the heights of Blackpool Tower. Or ‘Blackpool Tower Eye’, as they’re now calling it for reasons which escape me.

If you’re not sure where Blackpool Tower is, here’s Amelie pointing it out whilst covered in strawberry ice cream...

It's Behind You!
Obviously that’s a lamppost, but it’s not good to tell children they’re wrong.

Fortunately her Daddy has a better sense of direction, so within minutes of parking in the town centre yesterday afternoon, we were joining a small queue of tourists and handing over £24 for two tickets to the top of the tower. Amelie gets in free until a fortnight on Sunday.

When I asked for the tickets, the lady on the till said “Is it just for the tower?”, which struck me as an odd question for someone on the ticket desk at Blackpool Tower to ask. I felt like saying “No, I’ll have two for the zoo as well”, but sarcasm doesn’t suit me. So we took our tickets, walked through the turnstile, and immediately saw signs to the ‘Blackpool Tower Circus’.

Anyway, if you think it’s embarrassing to be turned away from the doors of a circus, you should try heading upstairs with an excited toddler and being told that your tickets don’t cover entry to Jungle Jim’s Play Area either. It was like paying twelve quid to get into the Odeon and being told the films are extra. I was beginning to think they were going to charge us to use the lifts.

By the time we reached the entrance to the 4D cinema, I fully expected us to be barred from that too, but to my great surprise, I showed our apparently worthless tickets to the man on the gate, and he waved us through. And I have to say, the experience of that cinema made up for all the earlier rejection. Not least because I got to see Amelie wearing some 3D glasses...

It’s like Brains from Thunderbirds is doing his Roy Orbison impression.

When I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I had no idea what a 4D cinema was, someone (I forget who) suggested that it's "when they have someone concealed within your chair, who feels you every now and then". And he wasn’t far wrong. In reality, you watch a five minute 3D film about Blackpool whilst being sprayed with water and covered in foam, while the floor shakes and smoke comes out of the walls. That might sound like something out of Guantanamo Bay, but it was actually very good. Even Amelie said it was “Great”. Although she got in for free, so she had no right to complain.

Having emerged from the fourth dimension, we then joined the queue for the lift to the top of the tower...

Queue Tip
It wasn’t a long queue, admittedly. I think everyone else was in the circus or the play area.

Having gone up in the world with a young female lift operator who told us that they’ve had a lot of trouble recently with visitors touching up the tour guides, we emerged at the top of Blackpool Tower to the unbridled excitement of the Skywalk!

Look! Skywalker!
I don’t think Amelie knows the word ‘whatever’, but she’s managed to perfect the look.

Fortunately Lisa enjoyed it more...

Up in the World
And even I ventured out onto the glass...

Mile High Club
I was determined not to look down. Not because I’m scared of heights, but because I was afraid I’d see Amelie lifting up her dress in public.

Anyhoo, family photos are all very well...

Da Family
... but of all the pictures I took at the top of Blackpool Tower, my favourite was this one...

View from the Top
The red car in the centre of the car park at the bottom is my Skoda, and the white blob to the right of the lake at the top is our caravan. You can’t see all the speed cameras, but trust me, they’re there.

We made our way back down via the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, where we watched a beautiful old-fashioned tea dance accompanied by a bloke on a Wurlitzer which rose out of the stage, all in the most stunning of surroundings...

But not as stunning as my wife. So I chose to photograph her instead.

By this time, the guilt had set in, so we decided to throw caution to the wind, and pay the £5 a head required for Amelie to enter Jungle Jim’s Indoor Play Area. Unfortunately the gate was still manned by the woman who’d turned us away earlier, but swallowing my pride and hiding my embarrassment, I marched up to her with my wallet in my hand and confidently asked for some tickets. At which point she told me that they close at 4 o’clock. It was three fifty-five.

So we went to the amusements instead...

Up, Up and Away!
They're a lot cheaper, and you get to watch pensioners in wheelchairs playing bingo.


Phil's Mum said...

That was a fun-packed day - especially the amusements!

Anonymous said...

I've been to that ballroom - for a conference.  Have you had a ride on the trams yet?

Your card has just arrived.

Anonymous said...

That was me, Dave that said that.  Has it got it right this time>

Dave said...


Phil's Mum said...

At least it makes it look as if Phil has lots of supporters, Dave.

jon the bassist said...

whilst being sprayed with water and covered in foam, while the floor shakes and smoke comes out of the walls.

Phil, I once had exactly the same experience in a car wash with a faulty catalytic converter