I’d love to jump on a plane and take off somewhere new and exciting. It’s not possible at the moment so instead I’ve been thinking of some places and writing a short summary on them – a holiday in my head! Please don’t take offense if it paints your special place in a negative light. It’s just my opinion (often after only a couple of days) and I have strange views anyway! I would visit every one of those places again.
Green, lush with changeable weather. Wild North West with clear sandy beaches. 2 week summer. Friendly people enjoy talking. Historical Castles. Great for history buffs.
Magnificent ancient buildings. Colosseum. Hot in June. Piazza Navona Proposal. Over-eager flower sellers. Pantheon. Con artists. Cover arms in Vatican. Mopeds. Rude shop assistants. Loved.
Firm handshakes. Manly men. BBQ’s. OAP surf teacher. Unexpected weather. Awkward hitchhiker situation. Family. Gold Coast Blackpool. Best to drive in Suburbs. Great service. Good seafood. Patriotic.
Beautiful buildings. Cheap. Stunning Tatra Mountains. Schindler’s Factory entrance = security guard backhander. Upsetting Auschwitz-Birkenau. Important historical significance. Cool jazz club. Gorgeous Krakow Market Square.
Delicious chowder in a roll; Fisherman’s Wharf walks, Tiny car tour stuck on hill. Eclectic people. Interesting Alcatraz. Huge park. Free wine in hotel. Cloudy.
Grand buildings. Terror Museum with interesting WWII History. Historical Buda distract. Sad thrift sellers. Funicular train. Thermal baths. Big Park. Terrifying roads. Nice lakes.
Bling. Vast buffets. Massive hotels. Free cocktails. Cirque du Soleil. Exceeded expectations. Ostentatious. Fountains. Gambling. Newly weds. Desert climate. Great fun. Less trashy than expected.
The Grand Canyon
Lots of big rocks as far as the eye can see. Cool helicopter ride over Hoover Dam.
Try the language. Lovely architecture. Bad restaurant experience. Enormous museum. Run out of money. Camping stove Ravioli at bus station. Underground Catacombs. Eiffel Tower. Rodin.
South of France
Spectacular Alps drive. Posing yacht dwellers. Pleasant view from the hill in Nice. Frightening boat ride from Cannes. Sweet mountainous villages. Grasse’s Perfumed streets. Speedos.
Jovial folks. Some women initially seem intimidating. Lovely gabled rooftops. Prostitutes. Loud Brit’s. Anne Frank. Water. Bridges. Bikes. Thrift sales in pretty Delft. Enjoyable Utrecht.
Busy traffic. Cross road at own risk. Multi cultural. Petronas Towers with stunning view. Designer shops. Friendly driver. Humid. Offensive scales. Confusing toilets. Depressing Aviary.
Tall buildings. Friendly chatty people. Crowded. Noisy. Much garbage. Melting pot. Green spaces. Something for everyone. Treat for the senses. Repeat visitor. Real-life Movie set.
Huge, noisy and dramatic. Hilton hotel with best room view and breakfast buffet ever. Helpful Mega-Bus driver dropped us at door. Underwhelmed by local scenery.
Mainly underground. Fabulous apartment views. Good Aquarium. CN Tower most expensive meal ever but fun rotating restaurant. Cloudy weather resulted in two bus tours wasted.
Short visit. Business presentations. Late night shopping. Cold swimming pool. Confident serious people. Alone the second time. Nice tour on bus. Santa.
First holiday with husband. Narrow ancient streets surrounded by water. Pretty bridges and boat rides. Nice outdoor eating. Fun Camping. Frites and Mussels.
Husband had Flu. Noisy youth hostel. Startling close proximity New Years Eve Fireworks. Everywhere closed apart from McDonalds and 7/11. Extortionate alcohol prices. Slush. Fjords.
Beautiful Ana Maria; Captiva; Sanibel and Key West. Fun Clearwater. Miami Movie Cameras. Busy Theme park days. Discovery Cove is fake paradise with sad sharks.
Crowded. Good theatre scene. Reserve Sky Garden for views. Pleasant Thames riverside walk. Scary Underground. Interesting Royal History. Best in sunny weather. Slow bus tour.
I’ll always remember him. The rotund, cocky uncle of a friend. We often visited her grandparents on a nearby island and on this occasion he was there too. He suggested a few pubs and as we arrived at each one, we discovered money had been left behind the bar for us. We were around 17 and thought he was being a nice uncle. I’ve often wondered if he planned the night. Years later I discovered a friend of his sister had a similar experience to me. She was a woman 20 years my senior but she never told anyone else either. He’s dead now but I regret not speaking up. How many others did he try to violate? I always thought I’d fight someone off. I didn’t – I froze. My friend managed to get him off me. We’ve never spoken about that night.
I have friends with children who often come across overly-critical relatives/friends/random folk in shops, who believe their advice is best. I’m sure they often mean well, but many friends have felt like failures because they feel they aren’t doing the parenting thing right. Here is a poem to reflect this scenario:
No bottles love, the breast is best!
When baby sleeps, you must have rest.
He’s only small, don’t let him cry.
You must ensure that nappy’s dry.
No wipes on him, his skin in new.
You can’t do that, I thought you knew.
Not walking yet, I’d check that out.
Oh naughty boy, he must not shout!
You need to clean, house is a mess
You must calm down, he’ll sense your stress
He bit again, need that to stop.
Look there he goes, another strop!
When back to work, you must be bored?
You’ve fancy stuff you can’t afford.
Her down the road, she’s never home.
Her mother’s got those kids alone.
You’re such hard work, what’s wrong with you?
I’m not allowed to say what’s true!
Not critical, just good advice!
You’ve hurt me now, you’re never nice!
I’m fortunate that I have an amazing mother who doesn’t get offended if I take or leave her advice. I often leave it 🙂
I walked past the old building yesterday. It’s been boarded up for years now, the boards thick with layer upon layer of bygone Circus and Fairground events; stuck on by people who don’t see the point in removing the one below. The grimy steps are usually home to the local friendly guy (previously wrote Junkie but I’ve no proof), who has marked this as his daytime territory. He doesn’t beg, nor terrorise – what he gives is a smile and an “Awright” as you pass by. I’m sure he has a home, but I wonder why he sits there? Perhaps the fresh air and company are good for his mind.
The building was built in 1931 and housed the largest cinema in town. As a seaside town, it was buzzing in the summertime with the folks from the big smoke (Glasgow). People flooded the seaside towns to go “doon the watter” and most of the locals took in lodgers for a fortnight every year. My dad recalls making money during the Glasgow Fortnight by collecting the passengers bags from the train station and delivering them on his newspaper delivery bike. No doubt most of his money went on a night out to the pictures (cinema). It is this cinema where my parents had their first date at the tender age of 17. Back then it was common for people to go to the pictures most nights, so it was always busy. I loved this place when I was wee, with its huge screen and upstairs balconies it seemed there was no place grander. Tourism had died off with people now preferring to holiday in Spain, but locals still liked a night out at the pictures. I remember the intermissions and getting a Lyons Maid Ice-cream tub from the tray. One time I was there with my granny and brother and we had to leave early because I was terrified of the film. It was The Empire Strikes Back and my brother still hasn’t forgiven me. The curtains closed for the final time on the old cinema in 1985 when I was 10 years old, with the one across the road following suit shortly afterwards. People were staying at home and playing their new video recorders.
Four years later there was a buzz about the town again. A big fancy new nightclub was moving in to the building and it was going to rival clubs in Glasgow. I was fourteen at the time but luckily they had an under 18’s night. This came at the right time for us – we were interested in dressing up, experimenting with make-up, music, dancing and boys. This ticked all the boxes. That first night most of the girls in my class were going and excitement was sky high. We tried to look older, with our heels and Culottes and perms with fringes sprayed high at the front. I remember trembling when going in. What if the door steward said I was too young? I got in, but a 13-year-old friend wasn’t so lucky. Nobody wanted to miss this and although the girl cried, none of us left with her (poor soul). It was more than we had expected inside with three floors, three bars and a restaurant. We danced to “Blame it on the Boogie” and ended the night with “Walking on Sunshine.” I left with a new date arranged with a boy from a local school. If this what it was like to be a grown up, I wanted more!
At 15 my mother allowed me to go to the Over 18’s night with a friend as long as my older brother supervised and I didn’t drink alcohol. What was she thinking?! I may have looked a little older but I reckon 17 at a push. Waiting in the queue to get in probably rates in my top five most nerve wracking life experiences – but alas, the door steward smiled and directed us inside! It was Christmas eve and I drank Long Vodkas all night, kissed a much older boy (man?) on the dancefloor and didn’t see my brother once. I remember the second last song was James “Sit Down” and I think of that night every time I hear it. The lights went up to “Walking on Sunshine” as it would every time I was there in the future.
Fridays was the night for the locals, where chart music of the day was played and I would arrive with seven friends and lose every one as soon as we were through the door. It didn’t matter; in fact it added to the excitement. Everyone was local and we had new friends to meet. At 18 I was working full time but decided I needed a part time job. Full of confidence, I asked the owner for a job as a glass collector. He took me into his office and interviewed me, insisting I would “look good behind the bar.” I declined the offer of Bar Maid, but collected glasses for a few months. How strange to be offered a job after several pints of cider.
Saturdays was ‘Ravers Night’ and the buses would arrive from all over Scotland and for a few hours our little towns population doubled. Most of my friends didn’t go to ravers night. Friday was the night for alcohol; Saturday was the night for drugs. Ecstasy, LSD and (less frequently) Cocaine were the drugs of choice. I did go a few times. I tried the LSD and Ecstasy and danced to the likes of TTF’s ‘Real Love’ and Rhythm Quests ‘Closer to all your Dreams’ but drug taking and raving weren’t my scene. I preferred indie music and studious boyfriends who played guitar and frequented the pubs where you could get a seat. Collecting glasses on a Saturday was a joy though because everyone drank from bottles of water and were full of love; obviously because they were high on drugs! Fridays were a different story where aggression and leeriness often accompanied the drunken haze.
My parents courted there; I feasted on ice-cream whilst watching the latest block buster; danced; sang; laughed and kissed many boys there. I’ve broken hearts; listened to the words of a song wrote for me (and was ungrateful); cried on a friends shoulder over too many boys; held friends hairs when they were throwing up down the toilet and discussed the meaning of life with friends and strangers alike. I did many things I’m not proud of – drinking in excess and experimenting with drugs. Nine years after my first visit, I danced to “Walking on Sunshine” and walked out of those old doors without realising it would be the final time. I moved to the city and met my husband a year later. The old building closed it’s doors in December 2011, after 54 years as a cinema and 22 years as a nightclub. It has been derelict ever since.
As we walked past yesterday my son said “that’s where you used to go dancing, isn’t it?” and I replied “yes son” remembering so much more.