The Spanish City

The inspiration for my blog this week is the Haiku Heights prompt word “Sugar”.    My readers know that my mind moves in mysterious ways so please bear with me on these haiku ~ they truly are connected to sugar!

Memories caught in

spun sugar clouds, on sticks

At the Spanish City

When I was a little girl I lived in the North of England.  Holidays were unheard of, but days out were de rigeur.  As we had no car we used to catch the train from Newcastle to the coast, usually South Shields or Whitley Bay.  They were equally wonderful.  South Shields had sand dunes and miles of white beaches while Whitley Bay had the “Spanish City”.  It was actually named the “Whitley Bay Pleasure Gardens”, but to us and everyone else who went there, it was the “Spanish City”.  It was the most exotic and exciting place in the world with carousels, coconut shies, waltzers, ghost trains, magic mirrors, and any number of other ways to lose what little money we had.

Spanish City with Dome restored

Spanish City with Dome restored

I was obviously not the only person bewitched by the Spanish City as Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits had a hit record called “Tunnel of Love” in 1980 which is all about the place.   They too had their origins in Newcastle.   If you listen carefully you will hear it mentioned many times.  This is the chorus

And now I’m searching through these Carousels and the carnival arcades

Searching everywhere from steeplechase to palisades

In any shooting gallery where promises are made

To rockaway, rockaway…. Rockaway, rockaway

From Cullercoats and Whitley Bay out to rockaway

And girl it looks so pretty to me just like it always did

Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids

And girl it looks so pretty to me just like it always did

Like the Spanish City to me when we were kids

Mark Knopfler with Dire Straits

Mark Knopfler with Dire Straits

The link with sugar comes from the Candy Floss which is forever in my memory.  Made of spun sugar, it was huge and soft and fluffy, like a cloud on a stick.  So here are my Haiku

Candy floss

Capturing childhood

In pink and white sugar, spun

Into candy floss

spanish city

Memories meld, of

Days by the coast, sea-mist and

Fairground fantasies

Sadly the Spanish City is no more. The last I heard the dome had been restored and there were plans for a four star boutique hotel,  a care home, new public spaces and an outdoor performance areas on the 7 acre seafront site.

21 thoughts on “The Spanish City

  1. Thank you for that story of Spanish City! Dire Straits through the 80’s was the music of my youth. – and while I enjoyed the lyrics back then knowing more of the unseen influences adds such richness to the songs.

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    • Great, I am so glad you enjoyed it. I used to travel all over Europe in the 90s listening to Dire Straits and I still have all their CDs. There were a lot of good musicians came from the North of England. I actually went to the same primary school as Sting who also grew up in Newcastle! I think the tough Northern culture made us all strong and determined to get on in the world.
      Happy days ~ music has the power to take us right back and awaken all sorts of memories. Did you open the link to Tunnel of Love ~ awful 80s video but great music!

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    • Thanks x I really enjoyed the trip down memory lane and dug out my old CDs and played Tunnel of Love all afternoon! I am loving your poetry ~ I am so busy at the moment I have hardly had time to comment but I always read and enjoy them. You really have a gift with words x

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