John Dowie: Blackpool - a summer threat for the kids

Share

Two days of freedom left, and then the kids are on holiday again. What is it with teachers? You'd think if they enjoyed their work, they'd try sticking to it. But no. All that marking and preparation really takes it out of them. So, every summer they inflict six weeks of holiday hell on us poor parents, as a punishment for having sex and breeding, presumably.

Two days of freedom left, and then the kids are on holiday again. What is it with teachers? You'd think if they enjoyed their work, they'd try sticking to it. But no. All that marking and preparation really takes it out of them. So, every summer they inflict six weeks of holiday hell on us poor parents, as a punishment for having sex and breeding, presumably.

What on earth do you do with kids for six whole weeks? I dunno. I do know what you don't do, though. You don't make one of the biggest mistakes it's possible to make in life, and take them to Blackpool. "Miles and miles of golden sand", Blackpool declares about itself, as though this were something to be proud of. We went to look at the "miles and miles of golden sand". Never before have I seen two faces that so clearly expressed the phrase "So what?" I mean, what are they supposed to do with all this sand?

"Sit on it," I explain. "Make sand castles... er... " "Can we go home now?" "No." "Why not?" "Because we're here for a holiday." "Why?" "Because Blackpool has miles and miles of golden sand." They pause to digest this information. A moment passes. Then, "Can we go home now?"

Blackpool has more to it than miles and miles of golden sand, of course. It also has miles and miles of fast food outlets, all selling nothing but burgers and chips. If you don't like burgers and chips, don't go to Blackpool. There are no alternatives. Well, actually, there is, just the one, and it took us all day to find it. I never thought I'd be glad to see a Pizza Hut.

It also has the Pleasure Beach. The Pleasure Beach is very good indeed, assuming you enjoy being tortured. My idea of a good time is not being strapped into a machine that I think is going to kill me. Also, my children are sensitive creatures. It's embarrassing for them to be in the company of a 49-year-old man who is crying his eyes out and screaming, "I want to go home." And this is before the ride has started.

All of the above wouldn't have been so bad if my kids hadn't just returned from a holiday with their richer-than-me mum in Disneyland, Florida.

On our second day in Blackpool we were walking along in a freezing gale, hitting us straight from somewhere like Iceland. And it was raining. I could see that they'd had about as much Blackpool as they could take. Now was the perfect time for a father to wind up his sons. "So tell me," I said, "Which is the better place for a holiday? Disneyland, Florida? Or Blackpool?"

They didn't want to hurt my feelings. The youngest spoke first. "Well, actually, dad, we prefer Disneyland, Florida." "Why?" The older boy decided to help his brother. "It's like this, you see, dad," he said, employing that I-am-talking-to-an-idiot tone of voice which he has to use all the time. "In Disneyland, Florida, you can be walking along and you can meet Donald Duck. Or Goofy." "I see," I said. We turned a corner and there was Sooty.

Sooty was standing outside a theatre, handing out leaflets for his show. OK, the Sooty suit was looking a bit frayed. OK, he had cigarette burns in his fur. OK, he was clutching a can of lager and he was swaying a bit. And swearing. But it was definitely Sooty.

"There you are," I said. "There's Sooty. Anything you could possibly want from Disneyland, Florida, is also available to us in the north of England. Let's have a burger and chips to celebrate, and then go and watch the Sooty show. What do you say?" My sons said nothing. They looked at me in a pitying way. We left Blackpool half an hour later.

I don't think we'll be going again. Although, Blackpool does have its uses. It comes in very handy as a threat. "If you don't tidy up your room," I say, "I'll take you to Blackpool." But I don't mean it. I may not be the best dad in the world, but I'm not as bad as that.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Lettings and Sales Negotiator - OTE £46,000

£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Home Care Worker - Reading and Surrounding Areas

£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Day In a Page

Read Next
David Cameron visiting a primary school last year  

The only choice in schools is between the one you want and the ones you don’t

Jane Merrick
Zoë Ball says having her two children was the best thing ever to happen to her  

Start a family – you’ll never have to go out again

John Mullin
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn