The start of a new year and it’s time to make a to-do list. Thing is with to-do lists comes expectations, like going to all the old haunts and getting the shots you got before....only better! Experience though tells me that this isn’t always the case, areas that had an abundance of this and that suddenly have nowt, the old adage comes to mind when they are there, fill your boots.
So what to do in January? Well as it happened I had no plans at all and sometimes that is the best plan to have, as it turned out that proved to be the case.
The second day of January was bright and sunny and my good friend Mike was keen to get out, so we arranged to meet down on the coast to see what the high tide would throw up, well as it happened it did us proud.
Spectacular light on waders resting from the high tide, redshank, turnstone, dunlin, but best of all a bird I hadn’t seen at close quarters for a number of years purple sandpiper.
Passersby would disturb the flock from time to time, but with a few well chosen words and quiet diplomacy they soon got the message and buggered off.
Now and again I have had the odd passing blackcap through the garden, but they never hang around. However, one visitor before Christmas again put in an appearance throughout January. Initially it fed on fruit, but now seems to prefer biscuit crumbs and sunflower hearts, strange especially as I have a row of ivy running the full length of the drive.
I am not a twitcher and I don’t as a rule chase after rarities, but a lesser spotted woodpecker drilling out his nest hole somehow grabbed my attention. Fearing a large crowd which is the norm at these events, me and crowds don’t get on by the way, I therefore went to the site with a little trepidation fully expecting to turn round and head for home, but I was pleasantly surprised to find only half a dozen lingering around so I joined them. And glad that I did as we were treated to no less than four appearances in the space of two and a half hours. Not the best light for the shoot but a lesser is a lesser.
What else could January have in store for me, well the last Tuesday of the month came round (Morrison’s Day, it’s the law by the way) and the weather wasn’t good so probably a day to delete a thousand images or so when I got back. Then, unpacking the groceries Margaret yelled FOX!!!!! I wasted no time in grabbing the camera and jumped in the car and drove down the drive in the hope of getting a shot using the car as a hide. The fox had disappeared, but I didn’t have long to wait before he trooped out of the vegetation and started to sniff about on the “LAWN”. He looked up and locked on to me before I had a chance to compose a shot, damn, I thought I had blown it, but no not at all, foxy was more interested in me than I of him and he did no more than trot over to the car. Eventually standing right outside the car door looking me in the eye so close I could have stroked him. Does life get any better than this........well yes?
The fox went walkabouts and vanished from view, after ten minutes I got out of the car to investigate. I sneaked down the steps onto the “LAWN” and there he was in the “ROCKERY” eating food dropped from the bird table. I felt completely at easy with my friend so I decided to approach him. As I stood six foot away from him he just sat down, I was now regretting the fact I had no food to give as I am sure he would have fed from my hand.
Then the fox decided to move on, but not down the fence line behind the bushes, instead he came straight past me brushing his body against my leg. I sat down on the wet grass as he did a couple of circuits of the lawn, then into the bushes and off he went. What an experience.
A long long time ago when I was a child, children of my town were shipped off in charabancs to Blackpool for a few days or a week if we were lucky. Nostalgic memories are locked away somewhere of what remains of my brain. Boarding houses thick with year on year paint. Inside dining rooms had clean linen table cloths adorned with charming cruet sets. These were the envy of every mother and aunt who frequented the same establishment year on year and a most sort after item in the local tat shops.
Showgirls on the North Peir
The waft of stale beer as you walked past the many ale houses, and the smell of pies and black peas along the Golden Mile. Combine that with the clatter of noise coming from the penny arcades as the ball bearings whizzed around a mind boggling array of contraptions only to drop into the hole that said LOST!
The Suits on the door at The Legends Bar
Bill boards with Arthur Askey and Jewel and Warriss hanging from classic Victorian theaters, anybody who was anybody was on in Blackpool, Joe Locke or was it Mr.X, was the biggest pull at the time before he eloped to Ireland with revenue men in hot pursuit. Lights and more light even when it wasn't “The Lummies”, toffee-rock and toffee-rock colours painted on all the welcoming signs enticing you in see the tallest man, the fattest woman and the shrunken head in a bottle!
A stroll along the pier, threepence to get in from a ticket man in a smart uniform, time to chance my arm and ask for a bar of chocolate usually refused on the grounds that it would spoil my tea.
All the fun of the fair on the Central Pier.
The rain, Wigan weeks nicknamed pack-a-mac fortnight, but it didn’t matter as the pictures opened up and put on wall to wall cartoons and after a chippy it was off to the Fun-House for the afternoon.
The New Tram System
A ride on the tram to Fleetwood market, the bone shaker of a tram was great, but what was that market all about.
The dizzying view from the top of the tower and the circus, Charlie Cairoli, lions, elephants, and just how did they flood the ring at the end of the show?
Herring Gulls at Sunset
After Tea (Dinner) a shillings worth of pennies for the penny hands, “Come back with a packet of fags” I was told, but the hand never griped the cellophane packet, and a tanner for a comic to read in bed while my "carers" went to a show and then the pub. Happy Days.