Hello, I'm Chrissie. I can't get over how lucky I am to be living at the seaside - I still love living at Cleveleys after being here for more than 15 years. I hope you enjoy my slightly cock-eyed look at life - come back regularly for a look at living beside the seaside, our mad family life and my view on local and topical current affairs. The weather often features, along with the very different things that you get to see and do when you live somewhere like this.
Sorry I’ve been missing for a few days but as I said we've had a few days off this week for a bit of rest and relaxation as they say, so as we’ve been going out every day I just haven’t had the time to do a blog. In spite of the weather, we’ve had a good time although I must admit I am getting a bit tired by now with all the walking and fresh air that we’ve had, but lovely tired if you know what I mean.
We stayed in yesterday afternoon as Jane and I had been to the Regal coffee morning, so that took care of that as by the time we’d finished talking our heads off then doing some shopping it was sort of 12.45 before we sat down to eat our dinner, which had been left for the men to do with instructions of course! So as a result, by the time we’d got cleared up and put some things away (that I’ve been trying to move for a few days) we decided that as it was blowing its head off out there and overcast and not madly warm, we would catch up on some jobs so here I am, the proverbial bad penny!
Anyway, on Wednesday, we decided to go to Blackpool and pretend we were tourists as you do, so once again we got packed up and off we went, dogs also as we fancied strolling in the afternoon sunshine and having a look at what tourists see, if you know what I mean.
It was a bit overcast but very warm on Wednesday on the seafront
We parked in the Houndshill and came out the back way opposite the Winter Gardens and then went down the road at the back of M&S. It was a lovely sunny relaxing day for us, so we sauntered past all the seats against the back door of M&S which were full of people enjoying the warm weather. By the way, have you ever noticed that when there are lots of people sitting on seats they stare at everyone going past, it’s like you are under scrutiny and as the seats were full of ‘staring’ people, they looked as though they were all at a tennis match with their heads turning simultaneously as they eyed us up and down with our doggie pram. It’s quite comical actually and I suppose we all do that as people pass by.
Anyway, digression over, as we got to the corner of Hinds the jewellers at the back of the Grand,and there was such a commotion as a man came up the road and turned the corner down the little alley there and was shouting his head off at no one in particular it seemed, when all of a sudden as we were watching him he suddenly started fighting with a man who was with his partner and two very young children.
From what we can gather the family man had said something back to the shouting man which was all it took and in a second there was a serious fight unfolding in front of us. To say it was scary was putting it mildly as they were fighting like boxers believe me, the trouble causer was doing his best to get the family man onto the floor which he did and then sprawled full length on top of him so that he was pinned down and couldn’t move.
By this time, his partner waded in to try and help her man while she and the children were crying their heads off! Jane got straight on the phone and rang the police who did turn up fairly quickly but by this time the offender had gone but the poor family man had his tshirt ripped off him completely, it was in tatters with his back and the back of his head very red and scraped by the road. It really was a nasty fight with a lot of shouting, so by the time the police came, the mum and children were distraught. They just looked like holidaymakers out for a stroll on a nice day and ended up in that state, what a good impression of the town they must have had!
The worrying thing was, Kevin was going to go and help the family as he said if it had been Jane and I he would have wanted someone to help us, but there we were yelling at the top of our heads for him not to get involved as the man was clearly dangerous. I admired his sentiments but in this day and age he could have got a knife stuck in his ribs for his pains so there I was little me, hanging onto his arm like grim death and pulling him back.
Eventually we moved off to continue our stroll on the prom, having a sit on the headland and then popping into the RNLI shop. We came back to the town centre via the Danfo toilets at the bus station on Central Car Park and round the corner of Coral Island back to Bank Hey Street, which is somewhere we don't often go. When we go shopping we have a route around our favourite shops which takes us in a circle through the town centre.
So having gone off our beaten track, we all said that we were amazed how many down and outs there were, some obviously off their heads on something, and all very dirty. One woman who said she was homeless was stopping everyone to give her some money and although I feel so sorry for them as they were once probably like us and life had pushed them down their path of misery, it’s not a good look for visitors to be approached. I've not seen so many unfortunate people in one afternoon, we all were amazed.
I know that the council have been working with the BID who look after the town centre and a new group of town centre businesses to try and do something to stop this from happening, both by moving people on and by trying to help them. I know it’s not just a matter of waving a magic wand as the story is far more complex than just giving them a bed for the night and because it's a resort it does attract people to come here who are in a sticky situation to enjoy being by the sea - all seaside resorts have the same problem.
But seeing drunks sitting in shop doorways and who are shall we say rather dirty seems to be doing the opposite of what Blackpool is trying to create so what the answer is I don’t know, I wish I did because there but by the grace of God go I, which is very true, as it can happen to anyone.
As they always say at the end of Crimewatch, don't let this put you off and scare you - from going shopping in Blackpool rather than going to bed tonight. As we all commented, this isn't something particular to Blackpool, it's happening in every town and city in the country and it's an indictment on society rather than a particular place.
A few weeks ago they were running news stories on BBC North West Tonight about people taking Spice in Manchester city centre. The reporter was right in the middle of the shopping area in the city and they were filming people frozen to the spot having imbibed in the drug. Banned as a 'legal high' it's apparently now being taken as a street drug.
Why people (dealers) have to be so depraved as to peddle this kind of substance to vulnerable people who don't need much encouragement I don't know. But I don't like it. If what goes round comes round let's hope that they face some kind of particularly unpleasant day of atonement.