Last night I attended a Christmas Dinner run by a Social Meetup in Belfast at Crumlin Road Gaol – a former Prison turned tourist attraction run by two guys I know from my home village. They’re even married to two sisters from a nearby town; I know their mother-in-law.
I was glad to have attended the dinner especially as I was talking to a woman I sat beside on the bus over to Belfast who I found out, from speaking to her, is a relative of mine. And also, at the dinner, a woman sitting beside me was from a village in my neck of the woods; Bellaghy, the location of the Seamus Heaney Homeplace. (he was actually from Newbridge/Castledawson, to be pedantic) She became interested in me as I used the Mid Ulster idioms she never heard since she moved to Newtonabbey.
In the end, I had to leave early as the demon energy drink took over.
But, as you can see, I’m king of my castle.
Also, I have an Adobe Spark journal of creative ideas throughout this month;
The weekend just past I took a cross-ferry coach from Belfast to Glasgow to see the Paul Draper gig at King Tut’s Wah-Wah Hut. The night before I left I only had two and a bit hours sleep and had a long day afterwards. On the coach from Cairnryan to Glasgow – en route to Edinburgh – I was sick on the twisty cliff roads heading to Ayr. I went to the toilet to be sick and lost my balance. The coach driver was pissed off at me – wondering why ‘A Grown Man’ would leave such a mess – but at Ayr a woman getting off there let me have the rest of her water bottle so I could get a Co-Codamol in me. That – plus frantic prayer – got me to Glasgow without barfing again.
The main issue was eating too much on the ferry. I had a fish supper, plus a few other nibbles. But on the way home I only ate a light breakfast; granola with yoghurt and milk plus a cappuccino. Also, I bought two bottles of water for Co-Codamols and I didn’t barf yesterday at all.
On the way over at Saturday morning, I spoke to a guy from Lisburn who is heading to Ayr to star in a pantomime. We had a good conversation about how the British mock our Northern Ireland accent whenever we head there. Also, I was talking to a couple from Leicester on the ferry to Cairnryan on Saturday and they met Mark Selby – the World Snooker Champion from Leicester – and showed me a picture of him on their phone.
Also, there were quite a few from Quebec who went on the same coach from Belfast on Saturday as me, then on the ferry back to Belfast, I spoke to another couple from Quebec who rented a car from London and were driving across Britain and Ireland. Plus I got to see the last twenty-odd minutes of the All-Ireland Final. Heartbreak for Mayo; what’s new?
The gig itself went well but left early due to having a long day. But getting sleep on Saturday night really lifted my mood on Sunday morning.
Yesterday I got a bus from Cookstown to Dublin to head to Killiney for a walk organised by a Meetup group; see previous blog post of my experience in Haiku form. And, having experienced Dublin yesterday, our problems here in Northern Ireland are a drop in the Ocean compared to what’s going on down South.
First of all, there is an ongoing industrial dispute between the Government and Public Transport workers. The DART drivers were on strike on Friday, but at least they were in operation yesterday, so I could get to Killiney without needing a taxi. Though Dublin Bus services were also in operation. The Unions are holding the city to ransom. The money is no longer there to satisfy every whim in the land. There isn’t much reported on how Unions in America bankrupted Detroit. 🙂
Resentment aside, I was at Killiney DART station and there is a Café there run by a Dutch woman who is extremely friendly and well known. I had a cup of tea there and it was an experience witnessing the abundance in the area.
Then came the walk. It was meant to be for two and a half hours, but I only lasted half an hour. I’m THAT unfit. Plus I paid the price for being dehydrated yesterday this morning with the runs. (too much information) We passed through Bono’s house; how fitting since I had bordering vertigo looking down at the scenery from the station. My brother has worse vertigo than me, though. But he now works for M&S. :p
I did manage to walk to Dalkey to get the DART back to Connolly Station and I noticed the flags and bunting for Cuala, the club that won the All-Ireland Club Hurling title on St. Patrick’s Day. They beat Slaughtniel in the semi the afternoon I had planned to go to Belfast for a Meetup. It was good to know things I should have known much earlier.
Then when I got the bus back to Cookstown there was a huge backlog due the the numbers looking a bus from Dublin Airport. One guy wanted to pay for a ticket to Armagh by card, only to be told ‘cash only’. But there was one guy at the Airport who wanted to head to Castleblaney, County Monaghan, to go fishing. His day was ruined. Puts things into perspective for me.
Now I feel that I have to cut back on the excursions and focus on finding work. I’m spreading myself too thin now. 😐
Last Friday I went to Belfast to get a cross-ferry Coach to Glasgow then get a train to London Euston. In the end my ferry was delayed and then I got questioned by Police at Cairnryan Port asking me if I was ‘reported missing’. However the Police check gave me the all clear. 🙂
Then I was able to walk from Buchanan Street Bus Station to Glasgow Central Train station and had to board a Train terminating at Birmingham. However, there was a delay on the train for a couple of hours prior to Lockerbie, how ironic, due to a suspected broken line. In the end our train terminated at Preston and we had to get a train there which terminated at Birmingham and then Virgin Rail had to provide taxis, which they paid for, to take people towards onward journeys. I was with four others heading to Euston; including two young women – one from Egypt and the other from Romania – who showed me how to get 4G working on my phone. It was a real Kumbaya moment.
On the train I boarded at Preston, I was talking to a loved-up drunk Geezer who was off to Birmingham to see his family for Mother’s Day. (Solihull to be precise) It was one of those serendipitous moments where we got to talk about music and he played ‘Justified and Ancient’ by the KLF; I was twelve years-old again. 🙂
After only two and a half hours sleep at the B and B I booked at Earl’s Court, the booking was only about £15 more than the taxi I had to get from Euston to Earl’s Court, I had some toast at the dining place and had to get a Tube to Victoria to head to Brighton. In the end I enjoyed Brighton and got to visit a Skype buddy from there. It was great, having Fish and Chips along the beach. Before that, I met other friends and had a cappuccino with a heart symbol which looked like a power symbol. 🙂
On the way back, I managed to get the first train from Euston to Glasgow. Then I got to be on the coach to Belfast, there were enough free seats for the driver to accept my open return, but I was sick on the way back. But I managed to get a bus to Castledawson park-and-ride and a taxi home; one of the few taxi services in the area who operates on Sunday Night.
These past few days I have been playing catch-up. But I am glad that I’m managing things. 🙂 Plus Virgin promise to refund my ticket as well as the additional taxi I had to get. Photocopied my receipts on my printer and then scanned the copy in PDF format to email to them. 🙂
Song and Album by Mike ‘The Streets’ Skinner – one of my literary idols.
I am gonna spend a few days in London, but because Easyjet’s booking website was hacked, I decided to get a cross-ferry coach to Glasgow and get a train from Glasgow to London. Whole shebang for tickets, booking fees and postage of tickets cost over £220. My initial plans to visit Brighton afterwards may have to be placed on the long finger, yet again, and possibly spend a few days in London. Public Sector workers can fly most Weekends to watch Premiership Games in England; more money than sense. 🙂
My Illustrator classes on Monday and Tuesday have worn me out completely. Today I didn’t wake up until 2:40 pm after running a few errands late last night after seeing ‘T2 Trainspotting’. Also, yesterday afternoon, I had to see the dentist and hygienist. Cost £75, but now I know that the time has come to commit to brushing my teeth twice a day; one of those basic things we’re ‘too busy’ to do nowadays. (me included) Ordered Fluoride-free toothpaste and Aloe Vera dental floss from Amazon today.
Also ordered the ‘seven days a week’ socks from Amazon Marketplace that I used to order from Jacamo; now I have Monday, Thursday and Friday missing. D’oh! Thank God I didn’t have to go back to that glorified Payday Loan masquerading as a larger men’s clothes site now. 🙂
I did a bit of practice on my Illustrator and got it hunky dory.
Yesterday I was in Dublin and was watching the FA Cup (Soccer) game between Arsenal and Preston North End at a bar in Dun Laoghaire and got to speak to a guy from Portsmouth who supports Tottenham Hotspur – our arch rivals – and we had good banter, and even some tidbits about graphic design opportunities – his girlfriend is a graphic designer – but it was a double-edged sword as he wanted me to approach these two German women in the bar for a drink. Of course, I made a pig’s ear of it. Being placed on a pedestal is difficult for those with Asperger’s.
I always feel that being socially awkward inhibits me when I want to go out. Naturally, I’m more confident in my own wee cocoon. But I managed well. In spite of the mishap.