Category Archives: Blackpool

Bucket List accomplished: Blackpool Tower, done!

I made it! It wasn’t even scary!

I did it! I accomplished most of the details of my Bucket List event, visiting the Eye of the Blackpool Tower, in Blackpool, England. Some of the specifics weren’t possible, but I’m okay with that!


For example, I wasn’t able to do this at sunset to watch the sun go down over the Irish Sea, but that’s only because the Tower closes at 5:30 and the sun doesn’t go down until 9:38.

I also didn’t dance with Jeff in the Blackpool Ballroom, although we did have tea and scones, which was one of the things I wanted to do while we were there. We didn’t dance because, hoo buddy, the people who were out there dancing obviously keep Arthur Murray in business. These folks were serious about their ballroom dancing and our clumsy fumbling about would have just gotten in their way.

But before we visited the Ballroom, we hurried to the top of the Tower before the weather made it difficult (it’s been rainy all week and a major storm is expected here). I was truly surprised by how not scary it was to walk out onto the glass floor and look down, as long as I waited until I was well out there before looking down. Otherwise, it really wasn’t bad at all.

Below is a photo I took of the Comedy Carpet, which is installed into the ground below the Tower. I mentioned in a previous blog about psychic dreams that I have had about this years before it was even built. I didn’t have any of the spooky feelings that I had last week when I was being flooded with memories of dreams, but perhaps that’s because I already knew where this was, and the other dreams were of a town I hadn’t seen yet in online photos.

If anything psychic happened today, it was a strong intuitive hit from either a past-life or picking up a ghost of a memory from some woman who was in the Ballroom during World War II.

Every time I looked at a certain spot on the ornately painted ceiling, I was washed over with sorrow as this woman felt the loss of a man she loved who had either been killed or was fighting overseas and she feared for his life. It wasn’t clear exactly what the situation was, but the sense of despair was palpable. It felt like she was sitting in a spot very near where I was and she was trying to “keep calm and carry on”, even though her heart was breaking. When she would feel herself tearing up, she’d cast her eyes upward to keep from crying. There was something about this view, looking at the same spot she gazed upon, that brought that feeling home to me.

On a lighter note, though, here are some fun and random pics from today. We had a marvelous time and I hope to make it back here again someday.

The famous Wurlitzer organ in the Blackpool Ballrom, which rises up from beneath the floor of the stage.

Standing directly below the Tower, you can see the Eye (the glass floor).

I don’t think I need to say anything about this one.

It’s kind of hard to see, but those are pictures of a Rod Stewart impersonator in the windows.

This one goes to eleven.

Finally, here’s you some Blackpool dogs:


Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master will be available in summer 2019. Its sequel is in the works.

Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.

http://www.lisabonnice.com

 

Money … tickets … passport … holy water

We’re leaving tomorrow for our trip to the UK so it’s crunch time! Do I have everything? Money? Tickets? Passports? My sanity?


I’ve been planning this trip since 2013 and it feels like a lifetime. But now that we’re less than 24 hours from departure out of Phoenix, we’re zooming through time at the speed of light and if that isn’t enough to bend the time/space continuum, I don’t know what is.

It’s not just the physicality of what we’re doing … money, tickets, passport … that’s looming large. It’s the psychicality (is that a word? it is now!) that’s blowing my mind.

See, there’s a lot going on here. I’m not just going to fly across the Pond for the first time, I’m going to achieve a Bucket List event — visiting the glass-floored “Eye” of the Blackpool Tower. But even more importantly, I’m also doing research for two books, including genealogy research into a witch trial in my family’s past AND doing what I can to break the resulting curse.

Although I’m ecstatic that we’re going, I’m also on the verge of empathic overload. Those of you who have at least one foot consciously in the psychic realm will know exactly what I’m talking about. For those who don’t, I probably already lost you when I wrote about breaking curses.

But, for those of you who are still with me, I’m what some would call “overly sensitive” to the thoughts and feelings of others. It’s easy to sometimes lose track of where I end and the “external” world begins. So, therefore, all of what I’ll be doing over the next few weeks is a little overwhelming.

But I’ve learned, from many years of experience, to just put one foot in front of the other. And for today, that means … money, tickets, passports.

Before I go, here’s you a traveling dog:


Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master will be available in summer 2019. Its sequel is in the works.

Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.

http://www.lisabonnice.com

Bucket Lists are scary as hell

Anyone who’s been reading my blog for any length of time knows that my biggest Bucket List item is to visit the Blackpool Tower in Blackpool, England. Well, it’s FINALLY  about to happen and I’m freaking out!


I’ve been yearning for this since 2013 (and having psychic dreams about it for far longer). It’s taken years to materialize, no matter how much “Law of Attraction” work I’ve done. I realize now that there were some very good reasons for it to take so long.

In “New Age” speak, it’s because I didn’t vibe with it yet. I get that—I understand that “like attracts like” and I wasn’t “like” this yet. But understanding that didn’t make the waiting any easier.

Turns out there were things I didn’t know yet—important information that I needed before heading off on the second leg of the journey, to Scotland.

For example, I didn’t yet know about the Scottish curse on my family, or what to do about it (I’ll talk about that in another blog). I also didn’t know a lot of the things I’ve recently discovered in my genealogy research which I can only follow up on when I’m there, where the original records lie. If I had been able to make the Bucket List trip back when I first conceived of it, I would have completely missed out on my chance to easily visit these places.

The Blackpool Tower, on the coast of the Irish Sea.

It’s also clear now, when I look back at my original reasons for wanting to do this, that my motives have changed entirely. I didn’t realize then that the Blackpool Tower was merely acting as an antenna, drawing my undivided attention to the UK, but for much different purposes than I ever could have known back then.

However, the most important thing at this stage is my “Duh!” realization that Bucket List items are hard to attain—unlike everyday life—because they scare the crap out of you. I’m not big on facing fears head-on, hence the long delay.

The view, straight down, from the “Eye” of the Blackpool Tower. The Comedy Carpet is to the right, and the Irish Sea is just beyond that.

For some unknown reason, I’m drawn to the Blackpool Tower (which is similar to the Eiffel Tower) to ride to the top, step out onto the glass floor and look down at the Comedy Carpet. Then, while I’m up there, I’ll watch the sun set over the Irish Sea.

Have I mentioned that I’m terrified of heights?

I’m also afraid of flying across the ocean. I’m afraid of driving on the “wrong side” of the road. I’m afraid of being in another country, on the other side of the planet, and not having everything I need. The list of things that cause me crippling anxiety goes on and on.

And yet … I persisted.

I think the reason I’m finally able to go is because I’ve finally matured enough to do this. I have all of my research ducks in a row and I’m go for takeoff. I may still be terrified, but I’m now actually looking forward to facing these challenges.

I better be, because we’re leaving in a little over three weeks.

FINALLY!

Here’s you a scared dog:


Lisa Bonnice is an award-winning, best-selling author. Her current passion-project is a series of metaphysical comedy novels. The first is entitled The Poppet Master (previously published as Be Careful What You Witch For!, now revamped and with a new ending). The Poppet Master is a modern-day fairy tale about Lola Garnett, a bored housewife and office drone who wakes up with unexpected psychic abilities, and no instruction manual, and Twink, the reluctant, sarcastic faery assigned to assist and educate her. The Poppet Master will be available in summer 2019. Its sequel is in the works.

Lisa is also writing The Maxwell Curse, a fictionalized version of a story she found in her own ancestral lineage about a witch trial, a generational curse, and massive mine explosion, all of which left ripples of destruction in their wake, devastating one family’s tree.

http://www.lisabonnice.com

Looking for Experts: Sponsorship

I’ve reached a point in planning this trip where I am ready to take the next step: looking for sponsors. I’ve done a lot of research into “who” and “why”, and I have a pretty good list of the kinds of companies to approach. What I need from the experts is advice and/or assistance in “how”.

What I’ll be pitching:

WHO: I am a best-selling author of four books and part of my planned “Bucket List” trip to the UK is to do research for two (or more) upcoming books. My husband Jeff and I are both former standup comedians, and we make great traveling companions and story tellers. You can read one of our month-long adventures beginning with this blog.

Tintagel Castle, Cornwall.(zpqt)

Tintagel Castle (Photo credit: Bob Linsdell)

WHAT: We’re planning a summer-long trip to the UK in 2014. We will be exploring Arthurian legend sites, tracking Doctor Who shooting locations, visiting ancestral sites (we both have extensive and interesting ancestor stories from all over the UK), interviewing the occasional celebrity that we’ve seen on BBC America (we’ve already successfully started booking interviews), taking gorgeous nature walks, blogging and writing restaurant reviews. The pinnacle of the trip, for me, will be to face my intense fear of heights and take a photo of the sunset over the Irish Sea from the top of the Blackpool Tower.

English: Blackpool Tower

Blackpool Tower (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

WHERE: England, Wales, Scotland and possibly Ireland.

WHEN: We’re shooting for next summer, from the start of June until the end of August. We’ve been invited to a Druid Solstice ritual shortly after we arrive, and we’ll spend June in southern England and Wales, exploring Camelot and Avalon, and Jeff’s ancestry and Doctor Who locations.

In July, we’ll spend time in Liverpool, because we’re Beatles fans, then head to Janet’s Foss, a waterfall in central England where the Queen of the Faeries is supposed to have lived. Along the way, we’ll be taking long nature walks to see the beauty that is the United Kingdom. Then we’ll head up to Scotland for a visit, to find where my ancestors ranged from dirt-poor coalminers to ancient royalty.

English: Janet's Foss

Janet’s Foss (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In August, we’ll still be in Scotland and possibly Ireland, but then we’ll come back south in time to spend a week in Blackpool during their annual Illuminations celebration. We’ll be tracking down shooting locations for the incredible BBC miniseries, Blackpool (starring David Tennant, Sarah Parish and David Morrissey). We’ll wrap up the trip in London and head home.

WHY: Why not? Life is short and the world is waiting.

Regarding sponsors, I have a list of several companies to approach. I’ve already started to build a platform. I have very good reasons why each of these companies may be interested in trading goods/cash in exchange for shameless pluggery. We’re going anyway. They may as well come along for the ride.

So … now what? How do I make this happen? What kind of presentation should I create? How do I pitch this? Do you want to sponsor us? Do you want to help us find sponsors in exchange for sponsorship? Your expertise is requested and appreciated. Fill in the form below, or email me at lisa @ lisabonnice.com.  Meantime, I will continue to plug away with research.

Follow my progress on GiveIt100.com!

Looking for experts: travel itinerary budgeting

From The Blackpool Tower's facebook page.

From The Blackpool Tower’s facebook page.

As you may know, I’m planning an extensive “Bucket List” trip to Great Britain for next summer, to take a photo of the sunset over the Irish Sea from the top of the Blackpool Tower. (You can read about that, and further blogs on the topic, here.) I’m at the let’s-make-a-budget stage, and I could sure use some advice from experts!

According to the research I’ve done, an allowance of $100 per day, per person, is typical. That would include gas/food/lodging. Is that realistic, considering we’ll be traveling all around the island for three months? Some places are bound to be more expensive than others, but we also intend to do some couchsurfing and staying in a hostel here and there, cooking our own meals.

Our plan is to go from June 1 through August 31. That’s a total of about $22K. I’d like to shave that down a bit. Any suggestions or feedback from experts is much appreciated!

Follow my progress on GiveIt100.com!

Give it 100: Day 1

My friend Curtis told me about a really cool site called Give it 100. It’s sort of a video blogging site where you set your sites on a goal and vlog a daily 10 second video with a progress report.

Here is my Day 1 video:

I’m uploading it to YouTube, too, because the Give It 100 site cut off the last second. I’ll get better at it, I promise!

Here is the link to Day 1’s entry:

https://giveit100.com/@LisaBonnice/7b1bf45f-1b0b-469d-aaa4-81bdaf3ba194/day/1

First responder: “Blackpool” actress, Sarah Parish!

Part of our planned travel-blog trip to the UK next summer is to interview as many of my favorite actors from BBC America as I can. British television is so different from TV in the US (it’s not all just Doctor Who over there!), and I look forward to helping to introduce sarah parishthe American audience to some of these people. As the BBC series Blackpool is the original impetus for our trip, I started first by contacting those actors. And Sarah Parish, the actress who artfully played the female lead, Natalie Holden, has said yes!

Readers in the States may not know who she is. I didn’t, until I saw Blackpool. But she’s been a working actress for about twenty years, and played Hannah in the Cameron Diaz/Jude Law/Kate Winslett film The Holiday. She also played alongside Kevin Costner in the Golden Globe winning mini-series, Hatfields & McCoys.

Doctor Who fans will know Ms. Parish as the Empress of the Racnoss (in Donna Noble’s first episode, The Runaway Bride). I had no racnoss toy2idea they were the same actress until I looked her up on imdb.com and saw that role listed among her extensive acting credits. But better yet, she even has an action figure! Now that is impressive. 😉

Because a lot of British programming isn’t available in the US, it’s difficult to find video of many of her roles, except on YouTube. But what I’ve seen shows exceptional acting ability, and I’m really impressed with the way she throws herself into whatever role she’s playing, even if it’s a spider queen, a troll (as Lady Catrina on Merlin) or the queen of Atlantis.

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Sarah Parish with her two love interests in Blackpool, David Morrissey and David Tennant

Atlantis premieres on BBC America on November 23, right after the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary special, The Day of the Doctor. I’ll be watching both!

I’ll keep you posted as any other British thespians agree to meet with me. I’m thrilled to be able to say that my first to say yes is one that I respect so highly.

Plus, who wouldn’t want to talk to a woman who got to make out with David Morrissey AND David Tennant, even if it was just on film! Even at my age, I can’t help squeeing with envy, like a fangirl.

Why I need a new camera/phone

Black-chinned Hummingbird -- Moab, Utah, USA

This is what I saw. This is NOT what my camera saw. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While out for my morning walk, I saw a hummingbird. Right there. In front of me. Not three feet away. It was zipping around a flowering bush next to the sidewalk, from flower to flower, apparently not minding at all that I was there. I took out my cell phone to triumphantly take my first photo of a hummingbird.

I was so happy. I’ve NEVER been able to get this close to a hummingbird before and have a camera on me at the same time. BLISS!

It seemed to become nervously aware of my presence, but I felt like it sensed how important this was to me. It shimmered while it tried to stay still for me, as I zoomed in and focused the camera. I held my breath and then … snap … snap … two shots! Awesome! Now I was sure to have at least one really good photo of a hummingbird.

Pfffft.

This is the better photo, of the two. It looks like a Where’s Waldo? picture. Can you find the hummingbird? Betcha can’t.

There is a hummingbird in this photo. I promise. I can see it, but only because I know exactly where to look.

There is a hummingbird in this photo. I promise.
I can see it, but only because I know exactly where to look.

Aside from my cell phone camera, I have a Canon PowerShot that I bought a few years ago for about $100. It’s done a nice job for me, overall, considering I’m not a professional photographer. I don’t need anything fancy–just a reliable, good-quality camera to carry around with me for impromptu moments of breathtaking beauty. But, my camera is kind of old and bulky and the new ones are light and sleek. And I never have figured out how to work all the settings–it’s not intuitive enough for me.

So between my search for a new cell phone and a new camera before our trip to Blackpool next summer, I’m hoping to combine the two as well and get a phone with a good camera–hopefully, one that can handle the occasional once-in-a-lifetime hummingbird pic.

Granted, a lot of this is operator error. Even with an excellent camera, that’s not a great photo. But birds really don’t pose, do they? I was lucky to even get this close. On the other hand, other people manage to capture brilliant photos of hummingbirds, don’t they? Part of the problem is that I couldn’t see the screen because of the sun behind me, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses. Even so, there should be some semblance of a bird in this picture.

Gaaah. I’m rambling. I’ll stop now. Just wanted to make a note of this so I remember what I want–a camera that has an easy-to-see screen–when it’s finally time to shop. We won’t be making any big purchases for a few months. Right now I’m just wish-listing.

P.S.:  Here’s Waldo …

Here's Waldo

Here’s Waldo

An Old Broad goes High Tech — Vlog 1

Here is my very first Vlog! Woohoo! Lisa steps into the 21st century! I transcribed it for those of you who hate watching videos online, or whose browser–like mine–always crashes the Flash player and makes watching videos hell.

Hi. I’m an old lady, and this is my old lady phone. It’s a prepaid Net10 Samsung T401G, and it’s been perfectly fine, for my purposes. I work from home, so I really only use it for the occasional call while I’m out running errands, or minor things like that.

It has decent text capability, but the browser is practically useless. It’s better than nothing, but it’s really sort of a dinosaur these days.With the trip abroad that Jeff and I are planning next summer, we’re both going to need better phones, cameras and computers, and I don’t want to wait until the last minute to do this. So now I’m starting to research what would be the best phone and service to replace my current one.

I’m leaning toward Credo Mobile, because I like what they stand for, that they are working toward progressive social change. So I’d like to toss my business their way. The question is, is it affordable? I’ll get back to you on what I find out.

I’m also starting to shop around for cameras and computers, and will be posting future blogs on those, so if you’re in the market for that kind of thing, and have advice to share, chime on in!

By ‘eck, that’s good beer!

As you know, if you’re a follower of my blog, my husband Jeff and I are planning a fun-filled trip to merry ol’ England (and Scotland) next summer so I, in typical anal-retentive fashion, am researching every aspect of it.

You will also know that one of the main reasons I am so obsessed with doing this is because of a mini-series I saw on BBC America, Blackpool (called Viva Blackpool in the States). It starred David Tennant, Sarah Parish and David Morrissey (among many other well known British actors–at least, they’re well known there: I’m learning about them as we go).

The mini-series portrayed the city of Blackpool in such a fascinating way that it lit a fire under me to go visit and find out if it’s really like that. And, while we’re on the other side of the world–no small effort–we might as well see the rest of the island.

Anyway, as part of my obse … I mean … research, I was reading the imdb page for Sarah Parish, and saw this:

Although Sarah was born and brought up in Yeovil in Somerset, an appearance in a cult advert for Manchester-based Boddingtons Bitter in 1994 (as Vera, who likes nothing better than “a good rub down with chip fat”) led to a series of roles as northern women (Dawn Rudge in “Peak Practice” (1993), Allie Henshall in “Cutting It” (2002) and Natalie Holden in “Blackpool” (2004)), causing many people to believe that she is a native of the north-west.

Well, you better believe I went out of my way to see what the heck that means.  Wouldn’t you love that on your headstone?

Here lies Vera.
She loved a good rub
down with chip fat.

Anyway, that’s how I found this:

And then, of course, I had to watch all of their ads. They’ve got a great sense of humor, and I learned a little bit about some local assumptions, i.e. the residents of the Manchester area considered to be “cheap and cheerful”, so the ads are a spoof of that. Please note that the Sarah Parish ad ends with a shot of the Blackpool Tower.  😉

boddingtons etc 137Next thing you know, I’m sending Jeff to the store to see if they sell Boddington’s. It turns out that they do! So, today, October 10, 2013, Jeff and I both tasted our very first sips of The Cream of Manchester. I gotta tell ya, I’m not much of a beer drinker, but by ‘eck, that’s gorgeous! Looks like I already know what I’ll be ordering in the pubs.

boddingtons

Jeff posted this photo on his facebook page, saying:
“My wife has been obsessed with everything English these days. Today she suggested we try something called Boddingtons Ale. Each can comes with a small explosive device designed to shoot the beer out of the can, like dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. Allow me to reiterate: It’s designed that way. This was just what I could get into the glass. The rest is on the wall, and the ceiling, Lisa’s hair…”

And I’m not obsessed. That’s just how I get things done. I focus and focus and focus and focus and don’t think of anything else until I get my way.

Nope. Not obsessed at all.