Monday, 31 May 2010

Wasting the day

The bank holiday was sprung upon me at the last moment. I was all dressed and just on my way out when the message came through not to bother coming in to work. And who am I to argue with a message like that? So I swapped my pinstriped trousers for jeggings and my work shoes for sandals and considered my options for the day.

I always feel such pressure to do something wonderful with a day off...I was torn between blowing my money and getting a train somewhere or a shopping trip. But it's never wise to go buying yourself stuff just before your birthday and I was uninspired about what train I might get...and really, I wasn't sure if I even felt like leaving home at all.

So I sat and stuck all our wedding cards into an album with invisible mounts, washed all the floors and watched some Dara in Three Men in a Boat on the telly. Lee came home at lunch time and tempted me out of the house with words like 'HOT' and 'LOVELY' and 'WALK'...but when I got out there, it was chilly and windy and nothing at all like what he'd said.

So I didn't even leave the docks area and was back inside within fifteen minutes.

So now I'm going to have some rum 'n raisin ice cream and think of all the things I could have done and maybe the next holiday wont be so badly wasted.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Sunny days - it's alright :)

It's amazing what a little sunshine can do for your state of mind. Last weekend was so HOT and left me feeling so well and relaxed and sane. The week was fairly sunny and warm too...making me slow and lazy and generally unproductive...distractedly staring out of the window at work. 
Friday evening after work Lee and I walked over to Custom House Square where the 'Twisted Hop Beer Festival' was on. A big tee pee was set up with benches and tables and a beer tent on the other end. We feasted on burgers and pints of ales.
A really good lunch: cheese board, gazpacho, olives, chilli chutney, duck pate, pickled onions, cherry tomatoes, sesame seed crackers and crusty bread, washed down with Nini Bellini (a peachy prosecco). 'cos a weekend is so much more pleasant when you add nice things to eat to it.
We wiled away our evening snacking from our buffet, and flipping between the Eurovision Contest, Million Pound Drop and Britians Got Talent.
We spent the night listening to the Travelling Wilburys, Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Roy Orbison...singing and dancing in the living room together.
The spring Continental Market is on at City Hall again.

On the way home. Aaah, graffiti, razor wire and high fences...everything is pretty on a sunny day.
Clarendon Dock is just always pretty.
...and what's really cool is that Lee booked us tickets to go see Bob Dylan in Limerick in July...road trip, some Bob, camping, sightseeing...could I be any more excited??

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

It's not *that* warm

Yesterday evening, while the sun was still shining, I thought it’d be a great idea to take my book and find somewhere sunny to sit and read for a while. 
First I first pulled on my orange shorts and sandals...saw the folly of my ways and put on my jeans instead. I grabbed my favourite stripy jumper, shades and book, kissed Lee a temporary farewell and found a bench overlooking Clarendon Dock. There near the big P&O boat. As soon as i sat down, however, I realized I’d probably been too optimistic and wished I’d brought a thermos of tea and a blanket to wrap myself in. I persevered for ten minutes, then had to go back upstairs, defeated.

The book is really quite good. I picked it up because it mentions Marlow and Maidenhead and the Thames. Places I visited last year while living in Hambleden. 'cept for Maidenhead, I never went there...but I could have done if I had wanted to, or wasn't preoccupied with London.

I wonder if I missed much.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

One weekend it didn't rain

Summer has arrived in Belfast! If only just for this weekend...

We walked over towards Edinburgh Street for our first BeerBQ of the summer. It's also the first time I've left the apartment in a vest top since being in Belfast.

All the living room furniture was moved outside. 
Whisky sours
A lovely feast of roast lamb and beans. Sunday lunch on the bbq.
And there we sat for the whole weekend in the sunshine...

Friday, 21 May 2010


It’s been long since I’ve last been this excited about a weekend. It’s been a kak week. In fact, the whole of May has been pretty flippen dire.
Travelling to work on the train this morning and the sun was pouring in through the windows and reflecting off the water...I listened to nostalgic tunes on my iPod which made me think of travelling and sunshine and excitement, like anything could happen. Nothing did happen, ‘cept getting off the train and going to work. But still.
There seems to be a general party/excited atmosphere. The sun is shining, the radio is throwing out the most summery songs and we all got orange flavoured ice lollies!

We have no weekend plans, or none that I can remember making...but how lovely! I’m so excited!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Oh! I do like to be beside the seaside!

Inspired by the Ultimate Ulster 'Top Ten Villages' show on telly, Lee took me to Groomsport and Bangor (and Helen's Bay) this morning. We left around ten to get there before the rain, but as soon as we got out the car it just started to chuck down on us. (Which is just dandy.)
It's just as well I had my umbrella and a hooded jacket. So we parked and got out and took a stroll by the boats and amongst the puddles. But it was lovely and the rain didn't last for very long...
So we got to go to Bangor and look at the tack at the market and see more pretty boats and seaside and the big swans at the 'fun park'...
I do like a seaside town.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

I just don't get it

Lee picked me up at Yorkgate station yesterday after work. He brought with him my pair of stinky shoes, my new blue jeggings and my new thermos filled up with hot, sweet and milky tea. He was taking me with him to his second match of tag rugby in East Belfast. He had fun, and I’m pretty sure everyone else playing did too, ‘cos they looked like they were. But me, I don’t get it. I don’t get organized and competitive sports. The idea is a good one, and I had considered playing too…but watching them run, hearing the whistle blow… It’s stressful to me…there’re just way too many opportunities for me to make an arse of myself.
Once in P.E in primary school, on one occasion that I didn’t have a letter excusing me from class, we played netball. Five minutes in to the game and the teacher told me I could sit it out. I hadn’t asked to…

I’d been trying to prevent my own team from scoring. Who knew there was a way of telling them apart? The rest of high school goes along the same lines. 
I’m more suited to solitary pursuits. 

Lee’s alarm went off at five this morning. I didn’t hear it or notice until he got up. He was away to the airport before six and I went back to bed, missing him already. I hate it when he has to go away.

I have the rest of this evening stretching out ahead of me and a to-do-list to check off…so I think I’ll get to it.

Monday, 10 May 2010


I think it’s fair to say that the weekend was pretty crappy. Saturday was spent in Ballymena, that wasn’t so bad, ‘cept for that I was still feeling really quite shitty. I got to talk a hole right through my ma-in-laws head…(I bet she loves that), and I got to sit outside in the hot sunshine and sip on grape juice. That bit was good too. By the time it was Sunday I was feeling so bleurgh, that I didn’t bother to get up until four o’clock and that was just to make myself something so dripping in saturated fat that I was sure that if my lungs didn’t collapse, I’d have a heart attack or stroke. I finished it off with a chunk of CafĂ© Vaudeville chocolate brownie. 

Surprisingly, I woke up feeling almost well this morning…which was awesome. And I set off to work with great intentions of being a perfect employee and human being. But I lost my colleagues at the train station, my Sage refused to cooperate with me and no matter how much I tried to concentrate or shift the mountain of paper work I just seemed to get nothing done.

The sad part of this story is that the highlight of my day was when I got to play with my new iron and ironing board cover. I’m such a dork. But phwoar, that iron glides over the fabric so well! 

So anyway, I’m hoping that my (slightly indulgent) glumness is behind me now and I can go forth and function like a normal person for a while again.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Horrible girl

It went well yesterday at the Border Agency and I was out of there within an hour. I’d spent the morning plotting my bus route, but in the end I was feeling so rubbish, I got a taxi there and back. Yay for Swift Cabs! It cost only £10 for the round trip…and it was a goodly distance too.
I spent the rest of the day lying on the couch wrapped in blankets and whining and whimpering. I kept it up until I fell asleep at around eleven o’clock.

This morning I had to go to work due to the incredible amount of time I’ve had off since I’ve started working there. It wasn’t easy getting up, but somehow I managed to get into the shower and get dressed and to the station. I might as well have knocked over an elderly lady with a walking stick in my eagerness to get on the train and find a seat, but before it came to that, she stepped aside and motioned for me to get on. That made me feel pretty crappy.

When I got to work I wasn’t exactly a productive employee. I got some stuff done, but then I spent the rest of the time that I wasn’t staring blankly at my screen chatting with the new French girl who I’m now sharing an office with. Office relations and what not. 

Tomorrow, I resolve to be better.

Monday, 3 May 2010

This should be renamed Karen and Lee's blog

It’s been a fairly chilled and relaxing long weekend. It’s not quite over for me yet, as tomorrow I’m off so that I can spend the day sitting at the government office to register my biometric information for my next visa. (I’m hoping it’s not actually going to be a full day, but I have experience with government offices.) It would have been okay, and I could have made it into a mini excursion if I hadn’t come over all sick last night.

I did a spot of shopping in the city yesterday. I continued my love affair with jeggings and purchased a dark blue pair, since I already own black ones. While out I witnessed my first Northern Irish parade through the city. I have photos too, but I’m that sick that I can’t even get up to fetch my camera right now :(

I met Lee and Aidan at the Garrick for the football, finished off a pint of Guinness and a packet of Taytos and went home by myself to empty out the contents of my shopping bags.

Today and in my diseased state, we left the apartment and headed to Ballymena to spend our Captain Cooks wedding vouchers and visit with my ma and pa-in law. And now, now I'm just sitting on the couch wrapped in blankets and smelling strongly of Vicks and watching the snooker. I suppose it's better than the football...

Lee has offered to fetch me my camera and change the channel...I didn't even have to ask...what a lovey...I do adore my Lee :)
The police presence was they were expecting a full on riot. These guys should see parades and protests in Jo'burg.

Lee wanted this picture added...and I'm an obliging wife...

Saturday, 1 May 2010

An album

I like this one, Lee's ma took it as we were leaving the registrar room at city hall.
One of the first pictures of us together. Back when Lee was still flying over to England every other weekend. This was his first trip over. Less than a year later and we got married :)
Outside Belfast City Hall
Galgorm and the O'Boyles
Last night I sat and finished the photo album of us. The first half starts in Hambleden at the pub and goes on to London, the Isle of Wight, France, our engagment, my move to Belfast, a visit to South Africa, Christmas holidays and ends with the wedding. I can't wait to see our professional pictures.