Posted tagged ‘Blackpool’

2.Exodus- Blackpool 1986

September 13, 2010

To the best of my knowledge all of the following recollection is true-

There were nine of us altogether. Me, my future wife, my future brother-in-law, my future sister-in-law, my future mother-in-law, my future wife’s auntie, my future wife’s uncle and a futureless male/female couple who were friends of the uncle. Not having learned to drive at this particular juncture the uncle and friend agreed to share the driving duties on the mini-bus they had hired from their work. At six AM we headed south on a day trip to Blackpool.

The early morning ride was uneventful and with good progress we’d made it to the service station halfway there. There were picnic seats outside and we ate some sandwiches. Unbeknownst to the uncle his friend was swigging whisky from a flask on the bus and felt the effects of the alcohol as soon as he hit the outside air. A bit of a scene occurred with the non-drivers complaining that they didn’t trust this man to drive us back. Eventually so as not waste the day for everyone, the uncle said he would do all the driving thereby forgoing drinking.

Amidst this mayhem the future brother-in-law and I went eye to eye. Not in a fighting manner, it was all to do with size. You see we are the same height and we measure ourselves constantly to see if one of us has grown or shortened. It really all depends on the footwear and usually if we know we’ll be meeting, platform boots are the order of the day. On this day our statures were the same.

The atmosphere on the bus was better as we neared and arrived at Blackpool. Just as a cheer erupts on a plane when it touches down, a Glasgow roar is shouted on first sight of the Tower. It was pre-nuptially agreed that the young ones and old ones would split up and meet again later in a designated popular pub. So that left me with three of my futures. My future wife was the only one of her siblings to be romantically attached at the time and what a catch she’d caught. Me.

Firstly we looked in a few of the market stalls and then had some drinks in a run down and rough hostelry. These were the days of the afternoon closing of pubs and so at 2.30 PM we were chucked out and dusting ourselves down we headed for the amusements. I bet even Omar Sharif couldn’t win on these dodgy, fixed penny arcades. And try as I might I couldn’t claw a gonk out of the squashed soft toy machines. Now it was time for a bite to eat.

The café was filled to capacity, standing room only left, and the waitresses were working like dogs. In a nearby table two young men were chatting with two young girls, it was obvious they’d just met. Holding on tightly to a girl’s hand one of the men said.

“Look. This girl can’t leave me alone.”

And they all laughed at his good-natured bonhomie. I envisaged my future brother-in-law in the future using this routine on a potential date and getting smacked in the face with the lady’s free hand. Time was getting on and we were still not served. Using the well-worn patter of the age, my future wife said.

“C’mon. Rubber it.”

We met up with the old ones in the busy pub and had a good dance and sing-a-long. This was no nostalgia trip, it was a real 80’s night in the 80’s. Incredibly, I saw a guy I used to play football with. We started talking about all the goals we’d scored; it was a short conversation. Going back to my company I bumped into an old schoolmate and later was tapped on the shoulder by one of my dad’s neighbours. This was like the twilight Zone. Bizarre.

Darkness descended and now it was time to go north. The uncle’s friend was snoring in the back of the bus, pure lightweight if you ask me. The future mother-in-law was talking incessantly and not accepting interventions. Mother Filibuster I christened her because she could sure fill a bus. Next to the car park was a small toilet and the future brother-in-law and me excused ourselves to ease our bursting bladders brimful of bitter before the journey back. In the confined space our eyeballs were fixed to the tiles in front of us and not a word was said. Just then, stumbling drunkenly into the wrong toilet was the future sister-in-law and she laughed a huge, hearty laugh.

“Tee-hee. Now I know which one of you two is the biggest.”