Friday, December 31, 2010

Kampong Blackpool revisited

Blackpool is my kampong away from home. This is where I spent the last stages of my teenage years slogging in preparation for entry into a British university.

Recently, after 29 years (gosh, am I that old now?) I returned to "Kampong Blackpool".

Blackpool, as I have blogged here and here before, is a seaside resort town. From spring to autumn the place would be teeming with tourists from all over Britain. It's like the whole town was forever in a festive mood. The restaurants, bingo halls and shopping centres would be packed-full with tourists. The streets would be congested with cars, and the buses and trams would be always be full that you'd always have to join a long queue to get on board.

But with my recent visit being in December, the hustle and bustle was not there of course. I was especially looking forward to riding the trams. Alas, I had to miss that too as the service was put off for track maintenance and repair works.

That did not deter me from visiting all my favourite spots. There was always the bus (I took the No. 9 bus from Talbot Rd Station to Bispham). And the freezing winter weather meant that I could walk on for miles without ever breaking a sweat.

The North Pier. A theme park over waters

Entrance to the North Pier

Empty benches, only during winter

No. 4, Cheltenham Road, Blackpool. This is where I first stayed upon arriving in Blackpool. By the same token, this is also where I first cooked a meal (if you could call it that) ever in my whole life. It was a matter of survival: if don't cook, can't eat

No.4 Hodgson Road. This is where I used to stay during summers and holiday breaks. So there are lots of happy-hour memories here, including one incident when we incurred the wrath of English lodgers who stayed on the top-floor. This was when my flat-mate Khalid started grilling the belacan. Upon smelling the grilled belacan, an English bloke came rushing downstairs demanding to know whether we were cooking our socks?!

Norbreck Road. This is where I lived for the most part of my two-year stay in Blackpool

No. 22, Norbreck Road. I stayed with three other Malaysians here: Shaari, Amer and Hamidin. The land-lord (we just called him Alex) stayed on the ground floor with his family

The top most window on the right was my kitchen's window. Cooked some fine meals (and many horrible ones) here. Again, SURVIVAL

The high street shopping area on Norbreck Road. It's a British institution where you'd fine the local grocer, butcher, bakery, the post office and chippy (fish & chips shop). The locals would meet up here whilst going about their chores and chat and gossip. Everybody would know each other. Here, the lady shopkeepers would just call you 'lov, as in "thank you 'lov, see ya again". very friendly.

The local post office where I'd frequent many times to buy stamps to post my mails to Apak back home and the occasional film roles to be processed by mail service

Yes, the post box is still there

From my house on Norbreck Road I would foot it to college. This is the route that I would talk daily for two years

The last stretch of the walk to college would take me across a large field (and I mean really large field). It is used for soccer training by junior players. When it comes to soccer development, they do it so systematically the English. We've got  a lot to learn. 

Distant view of my college as I trekked across the big field

One of my favourite spots in Blackpool is the beach. Nothing much compared to our beaches back home. The water is not crystal-clear and it is always cold. But it stretches a mile out to sea and the sunset is ever so beautiful.  I used to spent many hours here watching the sun set over the Irish Sea and taking photos. Some friends remarked that I was wasting my time as I should be better off studying. But all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, no?

David, the landlord's grandson. When I was renting at his flat in Norbreck he was just a baby. He's now a businessman and doing well  for himself. Despite the freezing temperature, he didn't seem to be bothered, whereas I was all wrapped up
The Blackpool Tower. Still regal and and standing proud. It can be seen from miles around as one approaches Blackpool whether by road or rail 



salam azizi,

I can feel the nostalgic drama.

Selamat Tahun Baru 2011

armk sdn bhd said...

assalamualaykum wrm wbt....

yesssir...i surely do feel the old

nostalgic feeling

lama sungguh kita dari masa-masa

muda-muda dulu....

ada di antara kita yang dah ingat2

lupa pulak....tqvm for posting the