Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Belfast's Big Freeze

Two Snow Sheep and a Snow ShepardYesterday I stood at a bus stop for 40 minutes waiting on a bus. In the end I conceded defeat when I couldn't feel my toes, fingers, nose or ears. The final straw came when I was shivering and my ears were starting to sting after I tried to warm them with my hands. So I shuffled off from the bus stop to defrost and to find some hot tea and some warm food to eat.

Trying to walk, my legs felt like they'd been holding heavy ice cubes as if I had a sports injury. From the records it looks to have been around -5. Smart work trousers, it turns out, are not suited to this cold weather, below 0 the cold really does bite and that those smart trousers don't cut it. So with this freezing cold experience in mind, I'll share some of the other cold treks into the snow and ice I've been making over the course of the last week with some sights of Belfast during what has turned out to be Northern Ireland's worst cold spell in quite some time.

The weather started to turn again on the night of the 16th; a little evening shopping at City Side Mall was greeted by a snow shower.

Snowy City Side Mall Carpark

The City Hall the next morning was looking sugar coated with this dusting of snow.

Belfast City Hall in the Snow

The Sheep at the Waterfront (at the top of this post) found themselves with a new wooly coat, all be it a very cold icy white jumper each. It might have been thawing a little but that was soon to change! It snowed most of the day and when I ended up at a bus stop outside the Kings Hall later that evening, here was the scene as the cold of night set in:

Snowy Kings Hall Belfast

Night time snowy N.I. road sign

Following this I found myself in town and there the statues of the City Hall were doing their very best Santa impressions with the fluffy white trim of snow.

Snow covered Canadian Voyageuer Statue

Eventually we hibernated with the ever decreasing credit on our gas meter ticking away. The next morning we woke with some serious shopping to be done. So into town again we went. First we took a wander into the 'under construction' St Anne's Square where the snow was looking quite festive with the pretty walls of this new build.

Snowy St Anne's Square in Belfast

On our way to collect some parcels from the sorting office, we crossed the street to see there was plenty of out of town car parking still available (if you have 4 wheel drive):

Parking on the Cavehill Belfast

The pigeons of Belfast had been busy making their mark on the fresh snow:

Bird foot prints in the snow

And the snow outside Customs House Square was helping take the building back to its Victorian roots with a scene not too far out of place of a Dickens novel... well, maybe if it wasn't for the 'Boat' now docked beside it.

Customs House Belfast

The Merchant Hotel's roof top statues were also joining in the Arctic look of this winters collection.

Snowy Merchant Hotel Belfast Statue

A couple of days and a snow flurry or two later, the snow and cold weather is still very much with us. The snow has largely turned to slush and then to ice. The softer snow still has a crunch underneath it and the pavements are quite slippy. Transport seems to be getting better rather than worse as things move from snow to ice and some of the roads outside the city centre are pretty bad. This would be bearable combined with the fun side of the cold weather, however, regrettably I've been unable to find time to make a cool snowman or some sort of snow creation as I like to. All work and no play make this blogger something something but needs have got in the way. I still think though we should all be making the most of the cold spell, kudos to anyone who has made a snowman to look over the winter solstice and lunar eclipse today. We're not the only species to embrace it, take for instance these Seagulls, they've sensed the possibilities of turning a simple rooftop into birdy ski slope:

Seagull Rooftop Slope

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