Friday, 7 August 2009

Was that always there?

Have you ever looked at a picture you’ve taken and come across something in it that you never remember seeing before, even if you've seen the same scene many times over?

This is a random picture I took on Wednesday 6th August. I usually find myself walking about this part of Belfast, heading around the shops and to the post office. I’ve even been known to head into the Northern Wig for a drink or two in the past. On this occasion though, I was on my way back to work via a quick visit to the shops, for this was the only hour I'd managed to free up to do so all week. Ever ready with my camera these days, I caught eye of what I thought would make a good picture. One of the tour buses was turning the corner to head down North Street and, thinking it might make a decent picture with the depth of buildings and other assorted busy bits going on, I fumbled in my pocket, but was only quick enough to miss the intended target completely. Not thinking anything of it except that it was a shame I didn’t make it in time, I carried on about my day.

It’s only now that I have finally uploaded the picture and cared to take a look at what I actually took a picture of, that I've discovered I’m so very much less observant than I might have given myself any credit for in the past... not that Norn Girl would have agreed that I was observant. I ‘boy’ look for things – aka never look under the leaves for the nuts when it comes to a missing item around the house. In my defence there is method to my madness – for although to the untrained eye, the house might be able to be described as messy and things could be seen as ‘out of place’- I usually remember where in the mess things are that I later come to look for. I think it was in the Rob Grant book, Incompetence, where the main character, a detective for a secret undercover agency keeps his place in an organised mess. The reason being, if someone comes to search the place or look through your belongings they aren’t as likely to pay close attention to putting things back as they were – revealing the fact they’d been there. Now I’m not saying I keep things untidy on purpose, in reality its usually just a matter of time and effort, but what the hey, it’s my blog so I’ll claim it as being a stroke of genius that I once read in a book, why not!

So back to the picture and after zooming in to see the mural a little closer I happened to notice something a little out of place. I took several tries at trying to reconcile with my memory, trying to remember if what I am now seeing was something that I'd maybe just walked by in the past and not noticed or if it wasn't in my minds eye of the street.

These days, the internet has at least a good go at providing an answer to anyone willing to do a little digging. A new use of Google street view is about to be revealed; using it as a historical record to make sure you’re not going mad! And here it is, the same scene on Google Street View:

View Larger Map

(please note, if you’re reading this well into the future and also given the link to the street view 360 degree view is working - the pictures displayed might be more recent than at the time I posted this and it won’t make as much sense. If this is the case, here is a quick description: there is no Obel tower in this picture and there are still roadwork’s on the left hand side of Waring Street where the Premier Inn is still surrounded by its scaffolding. Everything else is pretty much the same.)

So what’s the difference apart from the angle of the pictures and the big things like a new building mentioned above? For me at least, I was glad that I wasn’t losing my marbles and there is something that wasn't there several months ago! Unless, maybe these things are seasonal and get taken down/put up a lot?

I’ll give you a clue... they’re watching over us... eek! (as Norn Girl pointed out, in a Dr Who - Blink, ‘Angel Statue’ style, they could probably sneak up on you if they wanted!

Did you spot them? Here they are:

I’m really confused as to which building they’re on top of, I think perspective might be playing a few tricks in the picture, so next time I’m down that way, I’m taking a detour for a closer look.

- Update 07/08/09 -

Curiosity got the better of me. I made that slight detour on my way home today and discovered that I was indeed going mad, d’oh! Google helped me think I wasn’t, but I am. Most hypochondriacs will use Google to discover what they’ve got or are going to get next. It appears I’m using Google to wrongly feel better about the state of my memory and what life sized statue I might have forgotten existed today.

Au Lapin Blanc, you were so right! It’s the Merchant hotel building, as seen from the side on and at what must be the only angle to make them look like they’ve hopped across the rooftops. The Google pictures are just a different size and perspective and hide the trio on their perch. Maybe they have more in common with those fictional weeping angel statues after all. Ah well, another mystery solved!


  1. I've never noticed these before! I must take a look next time I'm there!

    Are they on top of the Merchant?

  2. Hi there
    I havent seen them either
    Worth a look i think

  3. wow, that was a "detectivesque" task! :P
    Thank you so much for following my blog...I guess you deserve the traditional welcome greeting, lol :D "Hope you don't regret, enjoy the ride!" :D

  4. Glad you figured that out. It would have driven me nuts!

  5. Ah the Merchant. I was wondering myself until I scrolled down. Actually at one point thought they might have been on top of the Customs House.
    Maybe we should start posts on "things on top of Belfast buildings"...



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