- See how you and Mum split up ...was it because you were sniffing coke?
I made the mistake of laughing. The wee fella knows the nearest I’ve been to drugs is washing paracetamol down with a slug of cola.
The next time he asked the question we were in public and he judged the question perfectly. Perfect, that is if you are going for maximum embarrassment factor.
- See how you and mum split up...was it because you were unfaithful?
I laughed again. And laughed some more when the shop assistant paused in the action of handing over my change, with an expression of outrage.
A day later, while a waiter served up breakfast...
- When you and mum split up was it because you are gay?
- Are you gay?
- Is mum a lesbian?
- Were you on crack?
- Is it because I is black?
- That’s enough, son I say forcing down a laugh. We’re both big fans of Outnumbered and he fancies himself as one of the characters.
Anywho, back to Blackpool. For any Johnny foreigners reading this, it is a holiday hotspot on the north-west of England renowned for dolloping up a chunk of cheese with your vacation. It is a six(?) mile stretch of beach with amusement arcades, junk food outlets and stands selling rock (a stick of candy) for its full length. Who buys all this shit? You need money, lots of it ...and the constitution of an ox. It’s brash with a stiff (ooh er, missus) breeze. It’s in your face, unapologetic and lots of fun. For a few days.
The nearest I got to my five a day while I was there was flicking a slice of mushroom from my pizza and swabbing up some raspberry sauce with a mouthful of cheesecake.
We did the Zoo, the circus, the Pleasure Beach and spent more than a few hours in the amusement arcades that line the shore front.
At the circus the wee fella sat beside me but leaning forward, facing me so that he could register his discontent any time I happened to gaze his way. Knowing what was on his mind I ignored him and laughed even louder than I needed to at the antics of the clowns. Eventually he realised I wasn’t reacting to the scowl and the body language.
- I hate circuses, he said.
- Since when?
- Since right now, they’re rubbish.
- Can you wait until you are actually a teenager before acting like a teenager?
- Hmmmfh. He crosses his arms.
The Chinese acrobats were amazing and still he wore his scowl like a badge of discontent. The clown – Mooky, in case you were wondering - brought 3 members of the public into the ring and had them act out a comedy sketch. It was genuinely the funniest thing I’ve seen for ages. The wee fella gave in and laughed. When he noticed I had spotted his mirth he quashed it down with another complaint.
- How lame is that?
- Why are you laughing then?
- I laugh at lame stuff.
I made the “whatever” sign in front of my forehead and he chewed on his bottom lip to stop his answering grin.
Next stop was the waxworks museum. Famous people rendered in wax is surprisingly entertaining. Who knew? It’s the staging that makes it work so well and we had our photos taken with Barack Obama, Michael Jackson and King Kong.
More amusement arcades. More junk food.
We finished off our week with a day at the Pleasure Beach. The wee fella lied about his age and saved me a few quid on the entrance fee. Did I say I was cheap?
I didn’t have a map of the park with me and knowing nothing about the rides that were available we just kinda saw a queue and joined it. The first queue was for a ride called Valhalla. “You will get soaked” the signs warned. And we did but it was well worth it. Great fun.
The next queue was for “River Caves”. Did I say the wee man hates queuing? Half an hour it took. Was it worth it? Hell no. This may have been the height of excitement in the 1950’s but today it has all the thrill of a rich tea biscuit.
Next was lunch. I decided that I hadn’t had my saturated fat intake for the day yet and ordered up some hot dogs. While waiting in the queue for my food a Glasgow wifie prodded my shoulder. By the way, just as a wee aside – does Glasgow completely empty out this week? Everywhere I went I was surrounded by weedgie accents.
- Ho, son, she said. A pigeon has just done one on your shoulder.
- Oh right. Thanks for letting me know.
- Want some babywipes to clean yourself?
- Yeah, thanks.
I take my jacket off and spot a pale slick of shit running down my back. I am momentarily put off my lunch. The babywipe makes short work of the pigeon’s best efforts.
- Good job it didn’t get me on the head, I say to the wifie.
- That might have been easier to clean up, she says with a grin eying up my bald head. See Glasgow people. Always with the humour.
Next was The Avalanche. A white-knuckle ride that aims to replicate the experience of a bobsleigh ride. I am SO impressed with myself that I went on it on account of the fact that I am such a wimp. And OHMYGOD it was good. Exhilarating.
They take photos of you while you are on these things and they show them to you as you leave.
The wee fella had an expression that managed to mix pure joy and terror. If you can imagine such a mix. I looked like I had fly caught in one eye while I was suppressing a fart.
While in the queue for the Ghost Train – which was as scary as playing Russian roulette with your index finger – we noticed some people running past. Then some more. All heading in the same direction and all wearing an expression of excitement...like they had spotted someone famous. About 10 minutes later a man joined the woman and child in front of me. “That was Jordan,” he said. “Katie Price is in the park and everyone was hoping to catch a glimpse of her before she left.” I ventured the hope that each of them had a mouthful of phlegm and a good aim. This earned me a disgusted look.
And that was Blackpool.
The last word, as usual went to the wee man. As I was settling up my account at Reception at the head of a large queue I heard the voice at my shoulder...
- Yes, son?
- See when you and Mum split up was it because you’re an alcoholic?