I’m finally catching up on posting assignments over the autumn and the first stop? Blackpool.
The nights may be drawing in, but autumn finds brassy Blackpool bathed in “artificial sunshine”.
The world-renowned Blackpool Illuminations along the promenade (pictured above) have been extended this year until 3 January, building on a tradition that began in 1879, when arc lamps replaced gas lights to bring winter cheer.
Illuminations aside, the kiss-me-quick seaside resort continues to reinvent, shaking off its bawdy image with new places to eat, stay and party.
It has recorded 191 comments by the time I write this.
Some supportive, some hostile. Many are knee-jerk reactions and include some venting of personal bias.
But I’ve enjoyed reading them all.
After all, it’s great as a writer to have a dialogue with readers — even if they are insulting you.
What did surprise me, however, was one of my regular travel features that has never attracted animated such debate.
I’d clearly touched a nerve.
So it is that my op-ed feature for Telegraph Travel, playing up a pantomime take on the way some dog owners will sneer at young children while letting their pets run amuck, will probably be my most read story of the year.
Here’s a sample:
The thing that grates most of all for me, personally, is not the dogs — many are well behaved and offer valuable companionship — but the vitriol that some dog owners heap upon families who dare to take small children out for lunch.
The hysterical hypocrisy of dog owners can be quite staggering, sneering at kids while taking the high-handed view that waiters and fellow diners should all pander to every whim of their prized, pampered pooch.
Read the full feature here and join the debate. All comments are welcome — no, really.
An autumn afternoon spent wandering around Chester Zoo didn’t feel like work.
But it was: a guest blog post for the Marketing Cheshire blog with a half-term theme and timed for the return of the popular TV series, The Secret Life of the Zoo.
Here’s a sample:
I’ve come to Chester Zoo on an autumnal afternoon to meet some of the new arrivals from the zoo’s recent baby boom — some 733 mammals have been born in 2018, beating the previous highest total of 566 in the same time period.
But what lies behind the baby boom? Science, explains zoo ranger Amy Pilsbury. “We’re constantly monitoring the animals’ poo to check their hormone levels.”