A Postcard from Cleveleys

Visit Cleveleys
Jane with her mum Chrissie

Jane writes each issue about what’s happening in her adopted new home town of Cleveleys on the North West coast. Here’s her latest instalment of news from the seaside…

What shall I say about the weather to open this article? Well in true British fashion it’s been mixed – mixed to cool mostly! We have had some lovely days here on the northwest coast – last week in fact was mostly nice, to the point that I even got to have a snooze in my deckchair. Then the day after it was freezing – we’ll all have a cold next with the fluctuating temperatures. I’d commented though that you can tell the people who live next to the coast because we sport a continually weathered look from being outside a lot, in both sunshine and wind. I can’t imagine it will be doing a lot for my skin – I’ll probably look like a wrinkled leather shammy by the time I get to 70!

I don’t know what you think, but this year has hurtled past, and in my mind it still feels like May. Before we know where we are it will be Christmas and in fact it won’t be long until all the community Christmas events are taking place along the Fylde Coast. Hopefully we might have a mild autumn and winter – that seems to be the pattern these days. In fact you can feel that autumnal nip already, it takes me straight back to my English classes at school when we learnt Ode to Autumn by Keats – ‘Seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness…’ and all that. It’s a lovely time of year.

The weather this last few weeks seems to have been perfect for creating perfect sunsets, we have had some absolute corkers. When I was a little girl we used to complain that my dad was always taking photos of sunsets, and now I know why – you just can’t stop yourself – they are all so lovely. I was also mystified for years about when ‘sunset’ actually was, then when I came to live here I
discovered that it was the actual time when the sun disappears over the horizon, and it’s amazing just how quickly it does move too as it dips out of sight behind the water.

From Cleveleys, now looking through the offshore windfarm, you can see the Isle of Man when the conditions are right at sunset. It’s actually an optical illusion because the curve of the earth puts it out of sight, but the way that light is reflected at sunset brings it into view. It’s quite amazing really. I could still laugh at the thoughts of one man who, years ago, stopped us while we were in our front garden to ask ‘is the Isle of Man still there, I haven’t seen it for a while’. I just had visions of someone picking it up in a wheelbarrow and moving it!

In my last article I told you about our Scarecrows that we’d just unveiled in our community garden. They were very popular and loads of people looked, commented and stopped to take photographs. Two weeks went by without any event, and then we went into ‘Scarecrowgate’. First the man disappeared – actually bundled into the back of a car by four men at 4am. A few
days later the woman was found having been assaulted and was sprawled in the middle of the flowerbed… but later that day the man reappeared and was collected to reside in our garage. The
mystery wasn’t over because before we could collect the woman she too disappeared. So someone has our old woman with grey wig, straw hat and glasses – I can’t even begin to imagine why!

It was somewhat irritating to have them vandalised like that, but we had all the fun and memories of making them. Dave, my partner in crime and our Secretary at the Rossall Beach Group, was
wandering round with his video camera during the making, and unveiled his ‘Scarecrows the Movie’ video at our recent AGM. Well, I’d not seen it previously and it’s fair to say I made a bit of a spectacle of myself, I laughed so much. It was so funny!

“Many of you who live in Lancashire will have had the ordeal this summer of having to boil your drinking water”

So what else has been happening here. Well still with the Rossall Beach Group we’ve had a busy summer, ending last week with the AGM that I’ve just mentioned. We’ve done different things each year, but with a lot of new members and supporters this year I wanted to have a fun event which celebrated our group and what we stand for. It’s also the first anniversary of our Queen’s Award – it’s intended to spur groups on to achieve more and it’s certainly done that for us.

Anyway, we get up to all kinds of things and we wanted to show people what we do so we’ve made a film. Well Dave has made a film because he’s done all the work – I just wrote the script! For months he’s been recording clips at events, schools, coffee mornings, meetings and more, and together with some interviews they’ve all been threaded together to show the life of our group and what people can expect if they join in. It’s a great way to make friends and get a warm glow of achievement, and I think that really comes across.

We previewed the film at the AGM which went down well mostly, apart from the stars of the show groaning at their own appearances! We made a big announcement too, that our MP Paul Maynard has agreed to be our Patron. Paul has been a big friend to our groupsince before he first stood for Parliament and it will be a pleasure to be able to work more closely with him in future.

Changing the subject completely, it might seem a distant memory now, but many of you who live in Lancashire will have had the ordeal this summer of having to boil your drinking water – and we did too. Much as it’s been a pain, you still can’t help thinking how awful it must be to live somewhere where clean water isn’t available at all, or how terrible it would have been if the supply had dried up and we’d had to use standpipes.

Anyway, here in Cleveleys we discovered that boiled but still aired tap water tastes vile, and for it to be drinkable (albeit still with a strange taste) it has to be chilled in the fridge. And did you find that after it’s been boiled, that a sediment of limescale appeared in the bottom of each jug? You can only wonder what it’s doing to the inside of your iron!

My mum, known to thousands as Chrissie Blogger, got really fed up by the end of it, writing about what she described as ‘our sweaty fridge’! When jugs of slightly tepid water had been put in there they’d obviously caused condensation to form, and when the boil restriction was lifted just last week she dove into the bottom of the fridge to clean it out like a rat up a pipe. With our luck we knew that ours would be one of the last areas to be lifted and it was. Still, it’s given the national media something to talk about for over a month and Facebook has been awash with it (pardon the pun). Meanwhile, we’ve not bought any bottled water at all, and it’s all a bit ironic really when we look out over millions of gallons of sea water!

If you love to laugh and would love to live in a community like this, you can find out more about Cleveleys and the subjects in this article from www.visitCleveleys.info. Send your news or stories to share to jane@theRabbitPatch.co.uk

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