On Good Friday I made my way to the second Pompey Bloggers Meet Up. This time we had planned our trip to the reopening South Parade Pier. Its been about 5 years since the pier was open, so it was great to walk the boards (well, there wasn't really any boards, but you get the idea).
The unit fronts looked great, it felt like there was new life in an historic venue. It kind of struck me as old and new at the same time. Im hoping that the venues and the whole Pier can be kept in the condition they were in on Friday. That will help the venue keep that new feeling.
Only half of the Pier was open, I believe the second half is scheduled to be opened in the summer. Walking around the outside of the refurbished building, you could see the new design and architecture that is likely near finished. There were some areas that are still not open to the public in the building. It was very tempting to sneak a peak (so I did), but you couldn't see anything. We will just have to wait and see what else will be appearing later. Unfortunately the Fish and Chip Shop wasn't open, even though the outside of the shop is finished... I was looking forward to those chips.
Towards the middle of the Pier it looked like there had been live music and food during the day. HEARTBROKEN that I missed this. However, I am glad to see the Pier being used in this way. Live music is almost always a winner, so I hope this is something that continues to happen once Easter is over. Heck, even the remaining work is completed.
Walking along the Pier reminded me that Portsmouth is a Seaside City, with a strong history of sea access and use. The Spinnaker Tower was build to look over our fine City. Hell, we have Forts at the top of Portsdown Hill that were build to look over and after our City, including Fort Nelson which was built in the 1860's.
I think returning the Pier to its former structure is not necessarily what I am looking for. Rather returning part of the pride and identity the the City once had.
I opted not to have an ice cream (I know, I already regret that decision) and started looking around the arcade. It wasn't all bright lights and noise, though that was definitely there. There were families, friends and probable dates making their way around, playing games, chatting and laughing. It was great to see life back in this 'old' venue.
I have to also mention that I did see a few families with a ridiculous amount of tickets (tokens). I have no idea how much they have put into machines. Though, I was also impressed with the content top ups staff were giving the 2p and 10p machines with sweets.
I enjoyed 3 sweets from the 2p machines, yay. Then, after losing my winnings, boo, I moved on to the skee ball and basketball machines both are enjoyable and Im glad there are 2 to allow that 'friendly' competition between buddies. The Sink It (Beer Pong) game was fun too, on my second attempt I managed to get all 10 cups within the provided 30 balls, yay again!
I really enjoyed my visit to the Pier, unfortunately it seems I missed out on the live music earlier in the day and the chip shop wasn't open yet. But I still had a great time and would be happy to go back. I look forward to being able to see what else will be added to the Pier and being able to walk to the end of the boardwalk. Hopefully in the summer...