Continuing the theme of a winter that is full of sunshine [yes I know we’ve just had a very wintry week] we have managed to get away in our blue campervan at various times this last few months in the sunshine. In truth walking through the carpets of snowdrops at Bank Hall in Bretherton near Preston you don’t need the sunshine to make you feel good; the bright white snowdrops bring their own light and it is impossible to be unhappy surrounded by flowers that mean spring is just around the corner. We chose another sunny day to visit the wonderful Cobble Hey Farm on the slopes of the Bowland Fells looking over Garstang. Here a beautiful woodland garden has been created that shows the full range of different varieties of snowdrops; snowdrops with yellow stems, tall snowdrops and early flowering snowdrops are all here. In the barn we also met our first spring lamb.
Before Storm Emma arrived we spent a couple of sunny days around Blackpool. It was cold in the clear weather and we had a much better time than we expected. The Fylde coast around Blackpool is brimming with attractions from trams to public art, from history to the pleasure beach. We walked along the front taking in all the old and the new, munching freshly-made doughnuts from a seafront stall. Despite all Blackpool’s sights, the best show by far was the evening spectacular of the murmuration of starlings over the North Pier. Thousands of starlings swooped in unison around the pier and the Irish Sea creating black clouds in the sky before roosting. The starling’s captivating display was even more impressive than the stunning sunset that had hundreds of cameras clicking.
Away from the brashness of Blackpool we visited Fleetwood, a traditional seaside resort that I remember from childhood visits. I have always loved the Knott End Ferry, The Mount and the sense of a bygone age that Fleetwood has. I had relatives who lived in Rossall near Fleetwood and my family would house-swap with them for a week in the summer; they got a chance to meet up with relatives still living in north Staffordshire, we got a cheap week by the seaside. In 1969 I also stayed there for a week with my Grandmother while she house and dog sat. I treasured time with my Grandmother but this was a memorable trip for two particular reasons; firstly my Grandmother allowed me to stay up and watch the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon and secondly I found a wallet stuffed with money on the wide and generally empty Rossall Beach. My Grandmother took me and the wallet to Fleetwood Police Station where the Police Officer emptied the sandy and wet notes on to a sheet of newspaper laid across his counter so they could dry out. A few weeks later the grateful owner sent me ten shillings [a small fortune for a nine-year old] as a reward.