Monday, 30 August 2010

Party miniatures, its the little things.

Party table sceneLast night was good fun! As mentioned on my twitter page prior to the event, we were headed to a family 50th Birthday party and it proved to be just the thing for us all to have a good laugh and catch up with fun people we usually only get to spam through Facebook. Such is the way of the world in this day and age. Its almost like these events are suffering a real shortage.

After a taxi to the venue we arrived only to find that we had perhaps got there a little early. Well, we were on time but just early for everyone else but it wasn't so bad though as we had time to get settled down and get ourselves comfortable for the evening. The tables were all nicely decorated with balloons, party poppers and foil shiny shapes with stars and '50's and Happy Birthdays and the likes which I found to my satisfaction to be immense fun to play with, especially with a camera around.

Foil Party Miniatures

Before long the bar was opened and the drinks were in. Several of the decorations ended up in and around my pint of Guinness. The foil shapes tended to float which was good, after becoming a little daring we also found that with the flat edge of a halved peanut, the said half a peanut also sits nicely on a head of the Guinness... one to try when you're next at a bar.

Guinness Stars

The evenings festivities got under-way and everyone had a good time. The live band were great and the inflatable zimmer frame was in full use. A tasty buffet filled us all and camera's were flashing all the time. Sober or drunk everyone was dancing, singing and laughing in their seats or on the dance floor... me being a member of the first group much to my wife's dissatisfaction but sometimes two left feet really are best left under the table.

Time flew by and it was soon last orders and time to head on. The birthday boy, Norngirls Uncle, seemed to have had a brilliant night which is what its all about - slightly tippsy in the small hours he was trying to fathom who was the most sarcastic between Norngirl's sister and cousin... its a tough call as both have a refined talent seemingly honed by the inter-webs and a similar taste in TV shows.

Miniature Stars

There really are too few good excuses to have a good party and by party I don't mean the heading out to the clubs and throwing up in the streets at 3am type party. I mean the type of party where you have chance to take some photos and catch up with people, good times.

Friday, 27 August 2010

What a difference a wave makes, 2.4 little seconds.

Crest of a wave at Carrick-a-redeWhen heading to the coast, sometimes you need to be prepared. For instance, sun cream isn't something you'd often consider taking with you on a trip to the Giants Causeway - such is the usual weather around this part of the world... however maybe it should be. In a Sherlock Holmes style of deduction, the pinkness of our necks and faces was narrowed down to either one of two possibilities; either the government had created a giant S.A.D lamp on a very tall tower somewhere off the coast in an attempt to reduce suicide rates, or the sun was actually unobscured by cloud. Having then worked out the odds on the powers that be up at Stormont being able to agree, yet alone follow through on anything - even a crazy mad capped scheme - it became clear that the ball in the sky had to be the mythical orb others call the sun.

So there we were, surrounded by not just one, but two of natures wonders - a basalt wonderland bathed in a stream of sun light.  It was in this setting where we discovered another natural phenomena to look out for when on a trip to the North Antrim coast, but thankfully for us sunburnt eejits, it wasn't us demonstrating what happens this time.

There were hundreds of other people out on the rocks with us, clambering about making the place look like a busy multicoloured bee hive. Like all good worker bees we eventually made way for the masses, went about exploring parts of the hive largely neglected and at the tip of the causeway where it dips into the sea, there just so happens to be a large chance of unexpected waves - as widely advertised around the shores of the national trust sites such as this.

Enjoying the sight but wary of the undulations of the water and overly happy people with jazzy hands, we preceeded with caution to areas of the causeway which are subject to the waves. Around us were yet more adventurous people doing the same. The natural beauty of it all was awe inspiring - as you'd expect from one of the natural wonders of the world - but we all headed back to higher columns as the sight of a swell appeared... well I say all... all but two. Some say love is blind, well on this evidence I'd go so far as to say it's at least a little distracting as this couple in the photos below found out the hard way when an unexpected wave probably put a slight dampener on their day after giving them a rather salty cold shower.

As the 1st wave hit the Causeway

By the time the 2nd hit

And thus we all learnt a valuable lesson that those signs about unexpected waves aren't just an excuse to sneak up on people, wave your hand close to their face and point at the sign. An expected wave can be an awesome sight, but an unexpected wave could lead to your significant other being plucked from the sea by a Scottish Trawler, hampered by a mystery amnesia and you might find them years later playing the bagpipes for a Salvation Army band. You have been warned!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

What's that small moon shaped ball in the sky?

Sturgeon Full moon in BelfastTonight I finally managed to get a half decent photo of lunar proportions and that was before I'd even seen the news. That news was highlighted to me by a friend on Facebook... yep, that high quality source of information... that tonight's full moon is the Sturgeon Moon. That means that our favourite natural light reflecting satellite is at its peak of veering off course for a wee while before twirling a little closer again soon. Here is the National Geographic's description of the wee moon in the sky which gives a little more detail of such events. According to the Farmer Almanac, it is a full moon named after the slippery scaly water dweller which the fishermen seemed to catch a lot of around the time.

To say the moon was meant to be smaller,  it seems its absence managed to make me notice it even more, even through the glare of the street lights of lower North Belfast. Maybe a vague absence really does make the digital camera zoom closer? No, that's not right...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Back in the Future and a lot of photos

Hi everyone and sorry for the bloggy absence. You might be happy to hear that I haven't had to be put on strong medication to get over the anti climax that was this years world cup but that does lead to the question of why this page has been bare.

To be honest I just haven't got around to it but after two summers of possible mutterings it does seem the summer months of are a bit of a blogging desert for me and July just fell off the calendar completely this time around. Maybe its because I'm a night owl and my brain doesn't wake up until its been dark outside for a few hours on an evening? I dunno, nor does it much matter... but I do know that there is no point dwelling on the past for too long... so I'll keep this a snappy before (all being well) normal ramblings will resume.

So here is quick summary of the last 2 months where every day (except one) was a work day. Because of that, we have been making the most of the weekends:

Once weekend we went on a trip to the Ulster folk and transport museums and very good they were too:

ulster transport museum train
Above is a train in the Transport Museum
ulster folk museum
And here is the one of the 3 churches in the Folk Museum which is a village where you can walk around almost every building - including playing the piano in the silent movie theatre!

Another weekend we ambled our way with friends and family across the Carrick-a-rede rope bridge

Carrick-a-rede rope bridge

Flowers at carrick-a-rede

The Rope Bridge and the views from the walk to the bridge and the island were quite a sight as always.

Cave at carrick-a-rede

coast at carrick-a-rede

On the same day this was closely followed by a visit to the Giants Causeway

Splash zone at giants causeway

Giants causeway

Scene from giants causeway

More recently, Crusaders pre season friendlies kept us busy, followed by the Irish Premier League restarting with the Crues back in action:

Jordan Owens pre season friendly 2010

Other weeks saw plenty of housework done which included the weather finally sparing two dry days which allowed us to cut the lawn prior to the landlords house inspection. Normally cutting the grass has no rewards but on this occasion I got to see a young beetle that had some great colour:

Beetle after cutting grass

And as well as other events such as Birthdays, the odd trip to the cinema and sticking up mirrors with command strips and various other random events of note, we have started to go on some weekend walks.

These have been quite random walks so far. One up the toe path from Giants park up to Hazelbank and back home (6.7 miles), the other from town, up through the harbour, and around the back of the airport to Ikea (5.8 miles). On the latter trip, we found the RSPB Belfast Lough harbour lagoon and the bird hides there which are open to the public:

RSPB hide at belfast harbour

Birds at belfast harbour

Our walks have had a purpose too, we had a rude awakening as to how long you might be on your feet when making the most of a city stay with our day and a 1/2 in Paris in March 2009... so this time we're going prepared with our 'endurance practice for couch potatoes'. Our final walk before going on our holiday will involve visiting charity shops around Belfast and buying an item, this item will then be delivered to a special recipient - the aim is to get the most bemused reaction.

That is pretty much the highlights of the past couple of months but the next few months have plenty for me to get back in the blogging spirit with. I'll be sure to share them with you as the nights get shorter :)


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