Yes, for part two of our alphabetical tour, we really did go back to Blackpool again . . . in the freezing cold rain . . . during rush hour . . . in half term! And if I'm honest, most of it was every bit as excruciating as you might imagine! In fact, it was such hard work that I didn't even get around to getting my camera out of the bag so there aren't even any pictures to document the event.
Of course, we knew it would be busy and that there would be queues but we were totally unprepared for the extent of it all. Let's just say that we were sitting in traffic waiting to actually get to the start of the lights for longer than it took us to see the whole thing twice last time we went. And once we finally made it onto the promenade, progress was so unbelievably slow that we literally got out of the car and walked the kids along the pavement faster than my Mum could drive. We kept having to stop and wait for her to catch up!
Of course, you don't want to drive too quickly through the lights. I find that a gentle 10-15 mph is the perfect speed for getting a good view without having your glance linger long enough to notice how tacky and knackered-looking some of it really is. At the speed we were going last week though, we sometimes found ourselves staring at the same small section of lights for as long as 15 minutes. Yeah, it definitely loses its allure when you have to look at it for that long!
OB did very well, but after over two hours trapped in the car he started to get pretty frustrated. We pulled over and got all the prams out and loaded the children into them (I think about two cars actually went past us during all that time!) and walked along for a bit to stretch our legs while my Mum continued to creep through the traffic. This was actually quite fun. The wind was exhilarating after so long breathing each other's air, and OB got to have a close-up view of the horses and carriages at the side of the road. We bought coffees and fresh hot doughnuts at the side of the road and used them to warm up our frozen fingers and then, when we reached a spot where the traffic seemed to be moving more freely, we all piled back into the car.
By this time it was getting late, and OB was pretty tired. He did, however, perk up considerably when we got to the roundabout with the rocket ship and astronauts on it - definitely his favourite bit and totally vindicates my decision to have a rocket-ship themed birthday party later this month!
It wasn't all bad though. Before we headed to the lights, we stopped to get fish and chips to eat in the car (an essential part of the illuminations experience!) and, honestly, it was one of the best fish and chips I have ever eaten. Almost made the whole thing worthwhile!