I interviewed the commander of HMS Blackpool, Captain Cudgel, and he told me that he was generally delighted with his new vessel. He was particularly proud of the short, high-tech metal "plank" inserted in the side of the ship. "It's about time we reintroduced the plank", he said with a wicked smile. "You don't have to use it: just knowing it's there improves the crew's discipline no end." However, he did have a reservation about the number of windows. "It makes us look like a damned cruise liner!", he foamed. He explained that they had been inserted at the insistence of the Ministry of Defence. Apparently many new recruits, enlisting through the advertisement "Join the Navy and see the world", were complaining that all they had seen were bulkheads. "I have no time for the whingeing of cosseted youth. They're damned lucky we don't still use the cat!", he snarled.
Captain Cudgel was at pains to explain that any resemblance between his warship and a converted tram used in September and October during Blackpool's festival of lights known as "The Illuminations", was entirely coincidental!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen