A quick guide for anyone who may have been hibernating and who might be feeling lost as to where and when they’ve woken up. It’s likely you’re still in Belfast in Spring 2009 if...
1) A security alert makes your bus veer away from its route and take off ET style down the motorway leaving you a 10 minute walk from where you were going. The same alert also delayed the football match I had hurried to get to… but I wasn't so disappointed because it meant we could take our time and relax before the game and absorb a drink.
2) You’re drinking from the tap what turns out to be non-contaminated-but-for-a-while-possibly-contaminated water before you’ve even realized there was a warning out. This is because listening to the local or national news stations has become so depressing it’s not even worth tuning in except for the comedy value. It’s now as depressing as spending a bank holiday tidying and repairing a house that you are going to be moving out of, which wasn't as tidy when you first moved in as it is now.
3) Your door mat is still regularly being swamped by a small forest worth of fast food menus, religious propaganda and various other adverts. On this subject I have a plan that might save some paper and that is to combine the first two to make a religious fast food outlet.
I can see it now… “The Holy Cheese - Take Away a slice of Heaven". Plenty of marketing opportunities for both food and ‘the word’. How about a free bible with every order over 10 pounds instead of crackers? They could d'liver and chicken normally, except only fish on Fridays within a 2 mile circumference of a peace wall and further deliverance charges may apply for every mile extra. There would be a heavenly selection of toppings for the pizzas. A special offer would always be available on the last pastie supper. Another favourite would no doubt be the special offer: buy 2 fish suppers and 5 sides, get a bargain bucket big enough to feed a family of 5000 absolutely free! Terms and conditions will of course apply, the down side would no doubt be that no proof of purchase would be availible but there would be plenty of doctrine to make up for it. As the radio ad will say... "What are you waiting for, the time is nigh! Save your soul the hard work: dial 02890-GOD-NOM now!”.
Whatever you do don’t tell that EBay power seller from my last post, they probably would!
4) You get your hopes up that the good weather has made its decade long return because the sun appeared for 2 consecutive days. Hopes are to be dashed though when venturing out without a coat or thinking about cutting the grass. For anyone who doesn't know, April showers in N.I are just general ‘rest of the year’ showers but less frequent as it rains all the time except in winter when it’s just cold. The hills around Belfast appear when it’s about to rain and are hidden when it is raining hence why barometers don’t do a roaring trade but umbrellas do. People have started to brave the beaches again though, especially on bank holiday Monday past.
5) New buildings have sprung up everywhere and your confused why The Boat is being made from glass and is going to be kept on dry land. One construction site (for The Obel) is currently looking like a giant robot when viewed from a distance. You have to wonder what some of the more modern glass fronted ones will look like in 20 years time but for now the change is good and its nice to see the developments that have been on paper for quite a while take place. Law Society House, Lanyon Towers, The Titanic Quarter and The Boat are all starting to really take shape. Not to mention the bright white main frontage of the Cathedral Quarter buildings. The regeneration websites like Future Belfast have pictures of the artists impressions of the finished buildings but I for one can’t wait to see what they all look like and how the sky line changes.