I decided to try and supplement the football excursion by visiting a couple of places before the match. My first stop was Britain's newest City. Preston. I bought a book at Christmas called "1001 buildings you must see before you die" and I was amazed to see that amongst the mentions of the Taj Mahal, The Chateau at Versailles, the Great Mosque at Mecca and the Chrysler Building, there was also a mention of Preston Bus Station.
As a regular user of that edifice during most of the 1980s, you’re making me all misty-eyed about the draughty wait for Fishwick’s 111 service to Town Gate, Leyland. I fear there’s two views of Preston bus station: from a distance (not so bad) and inside (pretty depressing – unless there’s been a revamp). Nonetheless I believe it caused quite a stir when it was built and those Boring Postcards books often contain views of Preston Bus Station By Day and Preston Bus Station By Night. For me the pièce de résistance was always the hideous subway entered via a grotty branch of Morrisons.
So then it was time to go back to Morecambe. I parked for 3 quid in the car park behind the car wash and then had a swift pint of Lancashire Blonde in the York Inn. Back to Christie Park again to pay the 13 quid to get in and then a bargain meat and potato pie with gravy and mushy peas (if you want them of course, I can't stand them!).
So you must have been heading for the York when I passed you on the main road from the town. I bet your Lancashire Blonde cost less than the coffee I’d just had at the newly refurbished Art Deco-style Midland Hotel on the sea front. All very stylish and – here’s a big advantage – the views are of Lost Lancashire Over the Sands rather than Morecambe itself. Enough to make me reflect (at 50p a sip) on the last year’s trips to Southport, Barrow and Morecambe which – we must trust – won’t be supplemented by a visit to Fleetwood next season.
Now Frontierland has closed – to be replaced by a shopping development (a sea front branch of Aldi adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the Morecambe experience) – I guess the main attraction is the wonderful Eric Morecambe statue just along from the Midland. And, coming soon to a site just behind the sea front, is Morecambe’s new ground. Basically – if travelling from Lancaster – you turn left at the roundabout just before Christie Park. Let’s hope we get the chance to visit next season.
Regarding Christie Park, I opted for pie and peas (I like the mushy stuff more than the gravy) and paid the extra two quid for a seat in the stand. There were probably nine or ten of us in total but, as we were heavily-outnumbered by a group of children on a birthday treat (well, in the absence of Frontierland, what is there?), you may not have noticed our presence.
And, for Chelston’s benefit, a solid B&B with no particular stories to relate. I can also recommend Grasmere to Ambleside (via Loughrigg Fell) as a good introduction to Lakes walking if you’ve not done any before. Furthermore, having a brief encounter at the “visitor centre” at Carnforth station would make a pleasant diversion from the M6 if you’re ever passing (Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard were there during those final days before the resumption of league football in 1946/47).
Ah yes indeed, for some inexplicable reason, I found myself humming Bring Me Sunshine all bloody weekend:
Bring me Sunshine, in your smile Bring me Laughter, all the while In this world where we live, there should be more happiness So much joy you can give, to each brand new bright tomorrow