Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Know Where I'm Going ...

In yesterday's post, I showed a picture of the Chateau de Puivert - Puivert Castle. My home stands in the shadow of the castle, which will therefore be in view when I start VBW.

There is a similar dominant landmark visible from the finishing line of the Big Walk. For the first 17 years of my life I lived in the house in which I was born. The house stands on one of the few hills in Blackpool. So every time I went in or out of the house I could see Blackpool Tower.

The Tower is pictured above. The idea for the tower was born when Blackpool businessman and councillor John Bickerstaffe visited the Great Paris Exhibition in 1889. He saw the Eiffel Tower and thought it would look very nice on Blackpool seafront and would attract many visitors, all eager to spend their money in Blackpool.

Unfortunately, the Eiffel Tower was not for sale so Mr Bickerstaffe and some chums drummed up a committee, then a company, then some finances, some designers, lots of steel and piles of bricks. They set about making a copy of the Eiffel Tower. They were not very ambitious because instead of making a tower bigger and better than the Eiffel, they made a half-size copy, although it did contain a zoo, a circus and a spectacular ballroom in the building which surrounded the base. I was always very impressed with the fact that the design included, in the event of trouble, a bias for the tower to flop into the Irish Sea instead of into the town and onto free-spending holidaymakers.

When I set off on VBW, I shall be saying goodbye, for some months, to Puivert Castle, the symbol of my current home village. Blackpool Tower is visible, because the surrounding area (the Fylde) is mainly flat, for a considerable distance. When I see it looming over my horizon, I shall know that the walk is nearly over and that I shall have done something which no other person on earth has achieved - a walk from my current home to the house of my birth.

The picture above is used courtesy of The image reference is 37-01-55

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