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Dancing the Night Away
A weekend of dance
Blackpool Tower Ballroom it was not. That wasn't their destination, anyway. They were a couple of miles outside Southport. Tom drove around the roundabout, turned right, then almost immediately left into the entrance of Pontin's. For this weekend, it was hosting a Modern Jive weekend. Almost three whole days of dancing. What bliss.
The volume of cars was enormous. They were parked everywhere. 'Quick, look, there's a space.' Katy pointed to a space just ahead on the right. Tom had to park half on the pavement, to allow other cars from behind to pass. It was enough of a space, though. He switched off the engine and sighed. 'Well, we're here,' he said.
It was not their first visit. They were old timers now. Of the three such jive weekends that Pontin's held every year, they attended either the June or September one. Today was the 1st September and still very hot. It was good to get out of the car.
Tom glanced at his watch. 'Five fifteen,' he said. 'We could check in now, if you like.'
Katy nodded over at the main entrance, where crowds swarmed. 'We might as well. The sooner we're checked in, the sooner we can settle in before tonight begins.' As she said that, she could see beyond the crowds, some people were already dancing.
Tom nodded. Tonight, each night, would be long. Of all the rooms to dance in, the Queen Vic itself closed at around 7am, for those hard-core dancers.
They walked into the main entrance. In front of them were several trestle tables. They knew the form. Katy filled in a form as she'd booked a 2-person apartment for them for the weekend, Tom as her co-sharer. They then joined the A-D line (for surnames beginning with those letters). It was a long line. So were all the others. Very soon, they were nodding hello's to people they recognised from home.
Slowly they inched forward. Still hot. Eventually, after about twenty minutes, they reached the head of the queue. The workers were very efficient. Wristbands were applied (which could only be cut off, but not till they left on Monday. The wristbands cost £99 to replace) and they were given welcome packs and the keys to their apartment and a little map showing where it was, the number circled 549, all the way over on the other side of the camp.
They drove slowly round the camp, checking numbers. Since 549 was on the far side, they could ignore the first blocks of apartments. They seemed to be getting closer. It was Katy who pointed out the right space. Luckily, there was a parking space behind their block. Even better, it would mean a shorter walk upstairs, with all their stuff.
That still meant several trips up and down stairs before everything was finally brought in. 'Where's the electricity card?' Tom called out as Katy lugged bedding and her suitcase into the bedroom.
'Sorry, here it is,' she offered, delving into her bag and retrieving it from her purse. There wasn't much credit on it, but they had a spare, if necessary. Bizarrely, the meter showed nearly five pounds credit - nearly the whole worth of the card. They shrugged at each other. Free electricity was only a good thing.
They put things away, made up the single beds and stocked the fridge and put other food they'd bought away in the cupboards. The apartment was small and basic, but that was what they'd paid for. And it was their own space, where they could relax. All apartments had only two keys issued, so they were lucky in that respect. One each.
It was now nearly half past six, so they decided to eat. From their selections of microwavable meals, they chose one each. Katy put her in first and then buttered some bread.Tom put on the TV. They began to relax. The microwave pinged and Katy began to eat. Tom started cooking his meal.
After they had eaten and had their coffees, they watched TV. Occasionally, they would hear voices and feet tramping past as other people arrived and went into their apartments. Katy could feel something bubbling up inside her. It was the excitement of being here and the anticipation of the night to come.
It was now just after 7 pm. They still had three or four hours before their evening began. Katy smiled. At 11 pm, most people's evenings would be coming to an end. Here, their's would just be starting.
It was dark, when they left their apartment at a little after 10 pm, but well lit. It was a short walk, as they could cut across along the walkways through the camp to the main complex. Music was thumping loudly now from the Queen Vic. Tom and Katy walked over to the deck at the front of that room. Open to the air, they would never get too hot and started dancing. Married as they were, they had also been dancing for many years and were as familiar with each others style as it was possible to be.
On and on they danced, occasionally with other partners, of which there were many. They place was pretty crowded. At around midnight, just gone, they switched to the Blues room, where the silent disco was on, till 1 am. It always seemed strange at first, seeing people dancing, without being able to hear what they were dancing to. Headphones on, they could dance - though the headphones themselves are a challenge to dancing itself!
On and on they danced, with just the briefest break for some water. When the silent disco ended, they moved onto the main room, but it was packed, no room for any more dancers. So they walked through the door to the Queen Vic. There was space there and they began dancing again.
By about 3 am, Katy said, 'Tom, I'm going to go back to our apartment. I need some rest, to make sure I can dance even later tomorrow night.' Tom agreed and they left. The night was warm and still, no wind.
Back at the apartment, they enjoyed a couple of drinks from the supply they'd brought with them. This was not to avoid bar prices, but to drink in quiet and wind down from the pretty much 5 hours straight that they'd danced.
When Katy woke the next morning, it was already 11 am. Dressing, she left a note for Tom, telling where she was going. She walked to the on-site shop and looked around. She got a daily paper and seeing some nice biscuits, she bought those too.
Tom was still asleep, so she made herself some toast with jam and a mug of tea. Later, she woke Tom. After some lunch, they went to the beach. It was just outside the Pontin's camp. Scrambling around in the dunes, they settled down, protected from the wind and dozed for a couple of hours. The thought of doing any of the lessons on offer never even crossed their minds. They were conserving the energy for tonight.
The early evening followed the same pattern as the night before. By 11 pm, most people's bedtime, they started dancing again. This was about the time most other people started too. Like last night, they began dancing and barely stopped. Hour after hour they danced. Mostly here in the Queen Vic, but also the Blues Room. But by 3.30 M, The main room was a lot emptier. All the lightweights had already gone to bed.
Each time they'd been to Southport, Katy was determined to break through "the wall" that saw her defeated at 4 am and having to go back to their apartment and sleep. Just once, she wanted to dance longer than that.
In the main room, some really fast songs were playing. Katy danced with Tom. She picked up her feet in their comfy dance shoes and danced as if she'd just hit the dance floor at the beginning of the evening.
In her head, Katy felt she could carry on dancing for ever. But her boy was starting to tell her she couldn't. At 5 am (yes! an hour later, finally!), with the main room starting to close down, they walked through to the Queen Vic and started to watch some of the other dancers still there. There were quite a lot still. They sat down. That was a mistake. Kate knew she'd never be able to get back on the dance floor now. She was exhausted. But she'd danced for about six hours straight.
Smothering a huge yawn, she apologised to Tom. 'Sorry, love, I need some rest.'
Tom nodded. 'I'll catch you in a bit.'
Katy nodded and began walking back to their apartment. It was getting light now. Sunlight was bouncing off the upper atmosphere. Wearily, Katy let herself in and sat down at the little dining table and poured herself a drink and watched a bit of TV. She poured herself another drink and sipped that slowly too, trying to unwind.
Just as she was thinking of going to bed, there was the sound of the key in the door. It was Tom. He got himself a drink, so Katy got herself another. It was fully light now and sunlight streamed through the ill-fitting curtains. By about 7 am, they decided to try and get some sleep.
The next day, Sunday, was a blurred day at best for them both. At around 2 pm, after waking, they visited the on-site shop and got some bits and pieces. Going back, they had a bit of lunch and then, like yesterday, they went to the beach again.
Later, coming back, they wandered round the main site for a bit, watching the lessons. Lots of other people were doing that too. When they left, cutting through the Queen VIc (the only place to only host freestyle all the time), the music was quieter. A concession, they knew, to daytime. It was only at night that the volume was turned up. Besides, people were still sleeping or resting.
Even though they had done nothing all day and weren't intending to dance tonight, both Tom and Katy were still exhausted. All evening, they were very quiet in their apartment. They ate some food and packed up most of their stuff, ready for tomorrow and went to bed, hoping the get some sleep.
When the alarm went of at 9 am the next morning, they both groaned. The thought of driving back was a tiring one. Still, they packed up the rest of their things, stripped the beds and shoved the bedding in a bag, to be washed at home. They then repeated their arrival in reverse, managing to put everything in the boot. Katy took their keys back to reception.
Back at the car, she got in the driving seat. It was 10 am, leaving time. Katy looked at Tom. 'Ready?' she asked. Tom nodded. Katy started up the engine and began driving the tiring drive home.
© 2017 Alice Dancer