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

C# Developer (C#, ASP.NET Developer, SQL, MVC, WPF, Real-Time F

£40000 - £48000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Devel...

C# Swift Payment Developer (C#, ASP.NET, .NET, MVC, Authorize.N

£45000 - £60000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: C# Swift...

Front-End Developer (JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C#, GUI)

£55000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Front-End Deve...

Graduate C# Developer (.NET, WPF, SQL, Agile, C++) - London

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Graduate C# De...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Would you fork out to spend time on Sting's Tuscan estate?  

Happy to pay for the privilege of picking olives? Then Sting might have a job for you...

John Walsh
Clockwise from top: Zafran Ramzan, Razwan Razaq (main picture), Adil Hussain, Umar Razaq and Mohsin Khan were sentenced for grooming teenage girls for sex in 2010.  

Nothing can make up for the trauma of Rotherham's abused young girls, but many more heads must roll

Jane Merrick
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone
Amazon is buying Twitch for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?

What is the appeal of Twitch?

Amazon is buying the video-game-themed online streaming site for £600m - but why do people want to watch others playing Xbox?
Tip-tapping typewriters, ripe pongs and slides in the office: Bosses are inventing surprising ways of making us work harder

How bosses are making us work harder

As it is revealed that one newspaper office pumps out the sound of typewriters to increase productivity, Gillian Orr explores the other devices designed to motivate staff
Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl records

Hard pressed: Resurgence in vinyl records

As the resurgence in vinyl records continues, manufacturers and their outdated machinery are struggling to keep up with the demand
Tony Jordan: 'I turned down the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series nine times ... then I found a kindred spirit'

A tale of two writers

Offered the chance to research Charles Dickens for a TV series, Tony Jordan turned it down. Nine times. The man behind EastEnders and Life on Mars didn’t feel right for the job. Finally, he gave in - and found an unexpected kindred spirit
Could a later start to the school day be the most useful educational reform of all?

Should pupils get a lie in?

Doctors want a later start to the school day so that pupils can sleep later. Not because teenagers are lazy, explains Simon Usborne - it's all down to their circadian rhythms
Prepare for Jewish jokes – as Jewish comedians get their own festival

Prepare for Jewish jokes...

... as Jewish comedians get their own festival
SJ Watson: 'I still can't quite believe that Before I Go to Sleep started in my head'

A dream come true for SJ Watson

Watson was working part time in the NHS when his debut novel, Before I Go to Sleep, became a bestseller. Now it's a Hollywood movie, too. Here he recalls the whirlwind journey from children’s ward to A-list film set
10 best cycling bags for commuters

10 best cycling bags for commuters

Gear up for next week’s National Cycle to Work day with one of these practical backpacks and messenger bags
Paul Scholes: Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United

Paul Scholes column

Three at the back isn’t working yet but given time I’m hopeful Louis van Gaal can rebuild Manchester United
Kate Bush, Hammersmith Apollo music review: A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it

Kate Bush shows a voice untroubled by time

A preamble, then a coup de théâtre - and suddenly the long wait felt worth it
Robot sheepdog technology could be used to save people from burning buildings

The science of herding is cracked

Mathematical model would allow robots to be programmed to control crowds and save people from burning buildings
Tyrant: Is the world ready for a Middle Eastern 'Dallas'?

This tyrant doesn’t rule

It’s billed as a Middle Eastern ‘Dallas’, so why does Fox’s new drama have a white British star?