Time for a Friday-night treat yesterday - I handed in my PhD thesis and headed off for the early evening light of Morecambe.
A recent life-plan involved moving to Morecambe. It has some of the best real estate value in the country. My visit showed me why. (The picture, an official government one used to promote the town, suggests how much is on offer. What a fine bench that is!) I did enjoy striding along the promenade, and the whole town has a faded 50s / 60s air that is confortingly redolent of childhood gone. Acres have clearly been bulldozed flat, and given over to downmarket concrete supermarkets. Statues of gannets offer an endearing tribute to nature, and a stencil outline of the distant peaks of the Lake District, visible in haze across the Bay, was a reminder of how the wise folk of Macchu Picchu positioned rocks to reflect moutain peaks. There's a clutter of older buildings back from the shore, some fine bayfronted ones too, all with hopes that Urban Splash's regeneration of the Midlands Hotel will haul the place upmarket. At present though the place is unpeopled. A sunny summer holiday Friday, and it might as well have been midwinter for the sparceness of people.
The Old Pier Bookshop, mind you, is special. It's years since I've rummaged through so spectacularly dishevelled a place, books tumbled around your feet and stacked on shelves as they come in, mounds of them outside the front door. Over time of browsing the various chambers you spot some sense of original order, the science fiction section particularly specific, but the randomness is part of the charm. Some treasures are obvious on the shelves - and don't expect them to appear on abenooks any time soon. Make your way to Morecambe for a grand old rummage.
I went to Heysham Village for dinner - at the Royal Hotel. The coast goes upmarket here for a while. It was 2005 winner of the national village in bloom competition, no less.
My treat ended with 'Superman Returns'. 'It had no story' the boy ahead of me remarked on leaving. He was right. The director Bryan Singer clearly has some major father issues he was working out. Still, it's fun to have evidence that man can fly.
That probably rounds off the Morecambe experience for the rest of my life. Eastbourne however, I still have a hankering to return to live there. An Englishman needs a shore.