Faulty Towers lives on

Yes indeed, the long thought extinct guest house proprietor as portrayed by John Cleese has been found alive and barking mad in Blackpool

Saturday brought a trip to Blackpool for Tom Michelle & I. Tom and I were to watch the Newcastle game and Michelle was coming along for the cultural experience.

As it was Easter, a bank holiday weekend and St George’s Day, I expected Blackpool to be very busy, so I booked a hotel/ B&B in advance- ok on Friday afternoon. finding a conveniently located place with a triple room was not easy, but we found the Midland hotel in Rigby Road and booked it online.


Now before I go any further, I know my mother reads my blog, so for her benefit here is what happened.

We drove down to Blackpool from Tyneside at a  sedate speed, never exceeding the speed limit at any time.

We found our hotel, checked in and then went for a stroll along the promenade before going to the game. After the game we had a walk back on the promenade, before sharing a bag of chips and going to bed early.

Sunday morning, we woke early had a brisk walk before breakfast and drove steadily home, once again being sure not to break the speed limit at any time.

Right mother, you can stop reading now.


For the rest of you, its Blackpool uncovered.

The three of us drove down to Blackpool at a brisk rate – hope there are no speed cameras on the M6 or M55. 2 hours to get  from Tyneside to Blackpool does not sound too bad, but the time taken on the A69 was far longer than intended- thank you Sunday drivers out on a Saturday. Do these people not know what their right foot is for.

Anyway, we found Blackpool and the hotel thanks to the help of the prat sat  nav. It was however amusing to see the sign saying “ignore your sat nav” on the outskirts of Blackpool. We chose instead to ignore the road sign.

The hotel has no parking of its own, but it is next to a car park. £10 for 24 hours seemed a tad expensive but beggars can’t be choosers. The parking machine allows you to pay for up to a weeks parking at £30, but only takes coins, it doesn’t even take £2 coins let alone credit/ debit cards. So you need a wad of coins to pay for parking in Blackpool.


The sign outside the hotel seems friendly and welcoming enough. However, should I have picked up that the host is said to be John. Not a couple- hmmmm.

We checked into the hotel and met John – an interesting character. He decided that Tom was my brother despite the 27 year age difference! When he learned we were going to the football he started grilling me about whether I was there to cause trouble. He also lectured me about our behaviour on returning to the hotel. I suspect he thought Michelle looked shifty as it couldn’t be me.

The reception area had numerous signs thereabouts. A selection are below. Bear in mind this is only the reception area


Rules, rules and more rules to be added to the numerous other signs. I think John is still operating in the days of the unfriendly seaside landlady when you were thrown out of the B&B all day.

Still, the room was only a place to sleep – right? Well, the single bed seemed to be bigger than the double bed…. more later on this.

We headed out for a beer in the Foxhall pub where we were to meet a friend who had a ticket for Tom for the game. Cheers Anthony Smile. We stayed there for a few minutes and had a quick 3 or 4 pints. I also managed to acquire another ticket for Michelle so she could also go to the game.

The DJ in the Foxhall got the crowd singing, after a bit of Madness he played the Boystown Gang’s “Can’t take my eyes off you” or as Newcastle fans know it – the Coloccini sang. Then followed it with the Monkees’ Daydream Believer – aka the Cheer Up Peter Reid song. Passers by wondered what was going on in the pub as the songs were belted out.

We then had to leave this pub to meet another acquaintance who was in a pub nearby. Another few beers were had here, then the walk to the ground. Eight pints before the game should numb the pain of watching the Toon.

When we got to the ground the fact that Blackpool were not used to the Premiership showed by the length of the queues to the turnstiles. Fortunately I spied a mate in the queue and joined him about halfway along the queue!

As usual, Northumbria police were in attendance, so it seemed appropriate to have a snap with them given my t shirt which says, “I Fought the Law” – I’m not saying who won.


You will note from the picture Tom’s cunning disguise to fool the police. He wore this get up all night.

The less said about the game the better.

At the end of the game we had arranged to meet at The Castle pub. Tom was going directly there, we were to go back to the hotel to change first. Tom gave us his phone and asked us to charge it whilst we got changed.

Now Michelle to charge the phone you need to put the power lead in the charging socket. If you plug it into the headphone socket it doesn’t charge!

Leaving the hotel we found Tom outside. He had forgotten the name of the pub and couldn’t ring us as we had his phone!

Anyway, we found the Castle pub and Michelle discovered wine was cheaper per bottle @ £4.95 each than for a single glass, so she was buying a bottle of wine per round. We got through another 4 bottles of wine and several pints, shots etc. before the night was over.

Number of units consumed per person was slightly in excess of the 21-28 units per person per week. In fact I reckon Michelle & I consumed each around  50 units each in a day – whoops!

How to round the night off? Yes, take away pizzas which we took back to our hotel room. Sounds civilised? Well it was until Tom & Michelle started a pizza war, throwing food at each other. Children eh? I can safely say it had nothing to do with me as they can’t remember what happened and have no recollection of me starting it. Open-mouthed smile

We crashed into a drink induced coma and managed to forget to lock the room door. I slept well until 06:15 when someone’s phone alarm went off. Who has their phone alarm set for so early on a Sunday? Who then can’t find where they put their phone. I’m not one to snitch or grass anyone up am I, Michelle?

Having been rudely awoken, I became aware that the bed mattress was sadly lacking in comfort. In fact I’m not convinced I was sleeping on anything but the bed base. The pillows were certainly not the spring back type.

Oh well, it was time for using the en suite facilities and the luxury towels. Well they probably were luxurious back in the 1970s. They were now so thin you could see through them.

Using the toilet was an experience. The toilet was squeezed in next to the shower and meant that there was a rather tight squeeze to sit on the toilet. As for the toilet roll holder- this was on the wall- some 5 feet from the floor – yes 5 feet off the floor!


The bathroom gave our genial host the chance to set out more rules on his posters


Not content with rules in the en suite , there were more orders in the room.


As breakfast would not be served before 09:00 and not after 10:00 we had time for a quick walk onto the seafront.

Back to the hotel and the dining room in the basement was proceeded by more notices


Thanks to John as I had not realised that water in the water boiler would be hot.


John was so generous in allowing us to use his mugs & teapots. So thoughtful of him to save us from having to bring our own teapots to breakfast.

John himself insisted on trying to make inane small talk at breakfast whilst we just wanted him to sod off and leave us in peace to eat. He eventually took his mind numbingly tedious and inane patter to bother another table of guests.

The dining room itself is also where the “non-alcoholic” bar is situated. The optic holders are still there, just no optics in place but there are nice little umbrellas on each optic holder. Above the bar are an assortment of cuddly toys and a cuddly horse’s head- why? No idea.



After breakfast Michelle went back to the bedroom and whilst looking for her ear ring, looked under the bed to discover what was several years of dirt and grime – this should have been of no surprise given the state of the sink in the bathroom. Salmonella, listeria, e-coli etc. all come free of charge

I don’t think John knows what cleaning is or replacing worn out goods means. He probably hasn’t got time to do this as all his time is spent making posters.


I drove the trip home as Tom suffered the effects of alcohol poisoning in the back and Michelle contemplated if she had sold a kidney the previous night and if it was renal failure she was suffering now. We did have to make a stop at Forton services for more liquids to rehydrate the bodies.

24th April 2011 is a day that is missing from Michelle’s life forever!

I’m off home tomorrow to let my liver recover.

Ground Hopping: Blackpool v Newcastle United FC 23rd April 2011

St George’s Day brought the long awaited trip to see Newcastle @ Blackpool. This was the highlight of the fixture list when it came out in June 2010. A trip to Blackpool on a weekend, a bank holiday weekend at that! Great Smile

I will be posting a separate post re the day itself. This is just re the ground & the game.

I had been to Bloomfield Road the home of Blackpool twice before, in 1983 and again in 1987. The latter for a League Cup game involving Newcastle when we lost 1-0 to an own goal scored by a former Newcastle player. That was in the days of the “Sack the Board” Campaign. I got a ticket from my cousin, a Blackpool fan and then a supplier to the club, so my ticket was in the Directors box. It probably was not a good idea for me to be standing there chanting for the sacking of the Newcastle board.

Well since then, Blackpool have rebuilt their ground and have 4 new stands – the one we were in is a hurriedly built thing after Blackpool unexpectedly won promotion to the Premiership last season.

The ground is small, and the 3 permanent stands look good. I’m not sure the same can be said for the one we were in. £34 should buy you a better view than a new stand with lots of pillars in it.


The view for away fans – not very good is it?


The ground itself is handily placed for the town centre, the pubs and is surrounded by 1000s of parking spaces, normally used by tourists not football fans.

There is not much more to tell re the game. Blackpool turned up, the Newcastle team obviously forgot there was a game today. There was a distinct lack of effort and passion about the team and it is fair to say Newcastle were lucky to escape with a 1-1 draw. The day made worse by learning the Mackems had gone from 0-1 down to win 4-2 Crying face

Still there was the night out to come – read my next blog post which will hopefully tell something of the day.