GREETINGS from Great Marton!
It is two years since my last Gazette column, which ran back decades under different titles to when the paper moved from Victoria Street in Blackpool.
This new column will appear every Thursday. But it’s purely a labour of love.
I am retired from the Gazette and journalism. Still, it will be a joy as I consider myself fortunate to reside on the beautiful and diverse Fylde.
Although surrounded by verdant countryside, we have bustling town centres with more nightlife and leisure facilities than similar sized towns or satellite suburbs of London and other cities.
Of course, there’s also the sea, our ozone-laden, invigorating air and a refreshing range of environments.
Early retirement has allowed me to explore our coast more fully, while more leisure and reduced income give different viewpoints on life. Being free, in the words of the poet, to stand and stare is an eye-opener – while prices in trendier places are eye-watering for a former freeloader!
Armed with bus pass and carefully counted brass, I now hop on buses which wind around the houses through places I never knew existed, while also wondering why school kids get discharged so early in the afternoon.
We have a car but I prefer to wander freely, now time allows. Besides, She Who Knows is usually in the vehicle – rushing between shopping and hairstyling appointments. Someone has to keep up standards at Edmonds Towers!
I also recommend our coastal railway, an inter-borough but mind-boggling trip from the depths of South Shore to leafy Lytham (and beyond). It takes about 20 minutes but is like travelling between two planets, from down-heeled to well-heeled. It’s humbling and instructive to reflect upon this contrast at a Clifton Drive café with Americano and cake for £7, after mug of tea and bacon butty back in Waterloo Road for a couple of nicker!
Yes, the coast is full of variety but also ever changing. Blackpool, as always, is reinventing itself. This has a painful side, with familiar landmarks and favourite haunts gone. But now, at least, we can travel in high-speed comfort along Prom tram tracks towards a rejuvenated Cleveleys and salty but grand Fleetwood.
You meet all sorts along the way. Some, as anywhere, are best avoided. But with most folk you get a cheery response. Why not? For, above all, one thing I have learned and want to share with you . . .
Blackpool is not the last resort, humour is.
n Roy has not been totally idle. His novels and humorous memoirs are available locally at Plackitt & Booth, Lytham, and online. See www.royedmonds-blackpool.com for details.