Every day I work looking at the old grounds where the New Brighton Tower & Ballroom once stood. The tower was demolished in 1919 and a fire gutted the ballroom in 1969, which was then removed. Today it has a playground on the top for the little ones and rolling lawns and trees. It is a view I love.
I spotted a poster recently saying there was afternoon dancing in the park on Wednesday and I split my shift today so I could go along and join in. It will come as no surprise to you all that I had fun. The kind couple who run it set their sound equipment up on the bandstand and use the speakers that the bands use at weekends. There we all were making introductions in the sunshine and then teaching each other on the grass, dancing among the daisies. There was a wonderful couple over from Queensland, Australia, here visiting family, and as we danced and chatted they shared that they had met in 1963 in the New Brighton Ballroom. At one point there was a waltz this afternoon and the couples took to the grass to do their thing. I will never forget how they looked at each other, this couple who are still dancing together after all these years, as he held his hand out to her and said ‘Do you fancy a waltz?’
We all danced and tried different steps out, while people drifted in and sat down, with some coming to join us. We had very young toddlers dancing with us, right up to a lady celebrating her 96th birthday today, sitting in her wheelchair in the sunshine, with a sparkly Birthday banner tied to her sun hat. Everyone smiling. I was blessed to be shown what to do by a ‘Tiller Girl’ from back in the sixties. My confidence is not great and even when the lovely Australian lady lent me her husband, I felt like a lumbering tree trunk with two left feet. Although, our laughter floated far and wide as we spun down the bank doing a funky rock and roll number….. Anyway, back to the very kind lady who still does charity events with the Tiller Girls. She has a kindness and a gentle way about her and as she held my hands and explained what she was doing, I found myself relaxing and remembering what to do with my feet. So much so that I was able to lift my head up and trust. She caught that moment and said ‘There you go’ and smiled at me.
After a few hours we all parted and set off for home, with promises to do it again. I walked back along the promenade and there were two of the ‘Mums’ from the park with their little ones. Henry and I had a wonderful chat about his toy elephant and his Mum and I held his hands and played ‘One, two, three, wheeeeee’, as he sailed between us in his favourite hat. It’s multi coloured and woolly with a furry bobble and he will not take it off. He is two and bless his free spirit and his Mum for letting him be. Jamie Lee is also two and watched and waited her turn patiently. She wanted to walk and took my hand, as she just kept looking up at me and smiling. The broadest smile. I chatted to her about the boats and her sparkly little shoes. Her Mum commented that she’s not usually quiet. I had a feeling she was building up to something special and sure enough it came. ‘Ohhhh’ she said ‘Ice cream….’ as she spotted the van and we all burst out laughing. Parting company at the pirate ship, I just know they will have a wonderful time, as have I. ❤