Day 19

Mon 19 Oct:  Southport to Fleetwood, via Lytham & St Annes and Blackpool

Cycle touring tip of the day: wash and rinse your ‘mamil wear’ base layers (padded shorts, T shirt, socks) whist in the shower. Lay them flat on a towel, roll up tight, squeeze/tread/wring and hang up. If in the South of France, they’ll be clean & dry in an hour. If in GB, first check in to a cosy b&b room with a nice hot towel rail. Thanks David &Judith in Southport. Lovely place. A real treat!

Southport to Lytham as the gull flies is about 5 miles. By road, as the Fondo rolls, over the Ribble Bridge at Preston, it’s about 30.3 miles. Lovely cycle path, until I caught up with another tractor, flailing the hedges. Wide berth. But not wide enough. Two miles to slowly deflate rear tyre. Again.

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Arriving at Lytham St Anne’s ALB Station, Martin (Cox’n) kindly dropped me straight in at the deep end, so to speak, by introducing me to Roland Gent, the local TV chap who instantly began a long, filmed interview. Thanks Martin. Fame at last. Broadcast this evening on local tv channel  That’s Lancashire (Freeview Channel 8 up here). After a chat with Martin in his large, stylish, ship-shaped Lifeboat Station (with a great backdrop of the Ribble Estuary’s huge open flat sands) and eating a sizeable share of the crew’s biscuit bag, I was again running a bit late.

On to a place called Blackpool. Heard of it? It has many attractions, including the busiest RNLI Station in the country. Over 90 “shouts” so far this year. The only place I know that has 3 Lifeboats in one boathouse. It’s also one of the friendliest places on earth. As well as Keith (LOM) and Matthew (crew) there were at least five other volunteers in&around the shop and crew room. Held prisoner (didn’t protest) for over an hour. Eating, drinking & chatting. Promised the three lovely ladies a mention here. Brenda, Barbara and Dorothy. Happy Birthday Dorothy AND Colin Lowe AND David W (both crew). Really? ALL of you? Thanks also to the real Killkenny Elvis who dropped by, for the hilarious stand-up live performance. You are truly a star. I shall take you up on your offer of hospitality in your home town some time next year. (He really is a big hit in Ireland and beyond, on tour over here, check him out). Well, this is Blackpool.

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Now so far behind today’s target, by the time I got to Fleetwood, I was ready to accept the kind offer of their fine boathouse for the night, where I sit now.

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Thanks Steve C (mech) for the use of your facilities. All mod cons on site, very well appointed, comfy crew room. Great views across Morecombe Bay and beyond, to the distant peaks of the tallest English mountains. The Lake District. Oh dear. My ‘easy’ days on the flat are nearly over. It’s that really the time? Good night

Day 20