Monday, 30 June 2008

Jeanie Johnston

I must say, I am a little bit disappointed - this is the figurehead I was so absorbed in that I almost missed an excellent photo opportunity. Apart from the mad frenetic look upon her face it would appear that this particular figurehead is not even carved out of wood. If you look closely you can see where the paint has chipped revealing what looks like fibreglass underneath. What is the world coming to when we can't even get a decent carved wooden figurehead any longer?

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Time out at the Belfast Carnival 2008

Members of Lisburn Community Circus taking a well earned rest before the second leg of the carnival
You can see more photos by clicking the link to the right ....

Belfast carnival 2008

Today was also the occasion of the Belfast Carnival to welcome the new Lord Mayor - it used to be known as the Lord Mayor's Show - and the streets were packed with photographers (they can't all have been press so I assume there were a few bloggers there as well as freelance).
I just love this shot of the very determined photographer and the very laid back assistant.

Joie de vivre at the maritime festival

I was so busy concentrating on taking a photograph of a ship's figurehead that I almost missed this wonderful young woman. I don't know what her connection is with the maritime festival, other than the sailor suit, nor what the hoola hoops have to do with anything maritime but she was so full of energy and obviously enjoying what she was doing that I had to grab the moment. I stepped back and clicked as fast as I could, before she passed me, and hoped for the best - which actually isn't too bad. I think what makes this photograph is the expression on her face and those absolutely marvellous fifty's style sunglasses and of course the two hoola hoops.

Friday, 27 June 2008

School's out ... for ever

Somebody was so glad to be finished with school that the terrible school uniform had to be disposed of and in a very novel way. Poor girl doesn't look too happy though with her new attire.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Google boob

For some reason Google think that the road to the east of the City Hall is called Calhame Road - well, as you can see from the photo below, it is still called Donegall Square East. Those of you living in Ballyclare will be familiar with Calhame Road but that's a long ways away from Donegall Square East. Calhame, apparently, is from the Scottish 'cauld hame' - “cold home”.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Otis Redding at Monterey - Try a little tenderness

While in Zavvi, last week, checking out 'Oh so pretty' I was also checking out the DVD's and came out with two great offerings at £2 each - 'Otis Redding, remembering Otis' and 'Sweet Toronto, John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band'. This video is from Otis' amazing performance at the Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 from the equally amazing film by D.A. Pennebaker.

Teenage dreams ...

I have said before that I do not condone graffiti but this has to be an exception - paying respects to the legendary radio DJ, John Peel this graffiti really is a piece of art, so is it any different from the wall murals that the council and community groups are in favour of? I think its location may have something to do with its appeal - what was once a bland motorway flyover has been turned into a lasting memorial. What is probably all the more surprising is that after 4 years nobody has vandalised it.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

The Long Bridge

The Long Bridge consisted of 21 arches and was 840 feet in length. Many years ago Percy, a cracked poet, in one of his lucubrations added another arch to the Long Bridge, thus -

"Spanning the Lagan, now we have in view
The great Long Bridge, with arches twenty-two"

to which he appended a note-- "It has only twenty-one, but as a poetical licence, and for the sake of rhyme, I had to add another arch"

from: Guide to Belfast: The Giant's Causeway, and the Adjoining Districts of the Counties of Antrim and Down ... By William McComb 1861

This appears to be all that remains of the Long Bridge at the junction of Albertbridge Road and Castlereagh Street.

An old print of the Long Bridge.

A little touch of colour

Monday, 23 June 2008

Doctor J. F. Breach

Couldn't help but smile when I saw this ... for of course any babies he/she delivers will be 'Breach births' (BOOM,BOOM!)
Dr. Breach's practice is at the corner of Albertbridge Road and Templemore Avenue.


.... now that you've got my attention, what's the punch line? Nice subtle piece of graffiti on the wall of Telephone House (not that I condone graffiti but it is quite amusing)

A Great Moment

ChillZero thinks it is a Great Idea to get rid of all paramilitary murals and replace them with something of a more peaceful nature (and I am in complete agreement with her) - now I'm not sure if Northern Ireland competing against England on the soccer pitch is more peaceful but at least it's something to be proud of (especially when England get hammered!). Although some paramilitary murals are being replaced, mainly at the instigation and with the co-operation of local residents, there will probably be some that will remain in place.
The goal scorer (David Healy) immortalised on this wall mural was raised in Killyleagh, and played for Crossgar, Lisburn Youth and Down Academy High School in Downpatrick. He signed for Manchester United in August 1999, just four days before his 20th birthday.
He was awarded an MBE for services to charity and his services to Northern Irish football in the Queen's birthday honours in June 2008. wikipedia

Our Wee Country and some murals

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Ulster Invites

Another poster from the Transport Museum.

Bill Posters is innocent

Yesterday was spent having a great time with little T at the Transport Museum at Cultra. Me revisiting my childhood with the old trains and buses and him exploring his childhood with the old trains and buses.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Strawberries,revolution and scandalous behaviour.

Blueboat has a post about strawberries on her blog and a dilemma about their disposal, which set me off googling to see if you can do anything else with them other than making jam. In wikipedia I found a reference to Madam Tallien bathing in them which set me off googling at a tangent and on Big Frank Dickinson's blog I came across this:

She is remembered for her involvement in the Liberal cause in France, which led
to her imprisonment, and threat of the guillotine. .... she scandalized society by showing up at the Paris Opera wearing a sleeveless white dress and no underwear underneath! Talleyrand famously remarked on that: “It is not possible to exhibit oneself more sumptuously!” That is seizing the moment! And, of course she did bathe in strawberries - to good effect, it appeared.

Now there is a fashion that I would like to see revived (c:

....... and now some fun facts about strawberries courtesy of Michigan Dept of Agriculture:

  • Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
  • The average strawberry has 200 seeds.
  • The ancient Romans believed that strawberries alleviated symptoms of melancholy, fainting, all inflammations, fevers, throat infections, kidney stones, bad breath, attacks of gout, and diseases of the blood, liver and spleen.
  • To symbolize perfection and righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
  • In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, who are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and an abundance of milk in return.
  • Madame Tallien, a prominent figure at the court of the Emperor Napoleon, was famous for bathing in the juice of fresh strawberries. She used 22 pounds per basin. Needless to say, she did not bathe daily.
  • The fruit size of the very early strawberries was very small.
  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
  • There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.

The MDA has a lot of recipes for strawberries (among other things) including Sweet-Hot Strawberry BBQ Sauce

Friday, 20 June 2008

Bigger Pics

I have just discovered how to post BIG PIX but I may have made them too big - if anybody experiences any difficulties viewing my blog please let me know. Thank you.

A slight case of overkill perhaps

Tonight I had the misfortune to be on a bus proceeding along Clifton Street to Antrim Road (and thus home) while an Orange parade was proceeding along Clifton Street to York Street (and thus effectively bringing the city centre to a standstill). I couldn't help noticing that there were possibly more police and land rovers in the vicinity of north Belfast monitoring this one small parade than were deployed along the whole route of George W Bush's recent cavalcade. It would be interesting to see how much of the tax payers money was wasted tonight so that these eejits can exercise their right to march along the Queen's highway and thus preserve what they see as a sacred and glorious tradition.

Here is something interesting I have just come across....

"An Orangeman should have a sincere love and veneration for his Heavenly Father; a humble and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind, believing in Him as the only Mediator between God and man. He should cultivate truth and justice, brotherly kindness and charity, devotion and piety, concord and unity, and obedience to the laws; his deportment should be gentle and compassionate, kind and courteous; he should seek the society of the virtuous, and avoid that of the evil; he should honour and diligently study the Holy Scriptures and make them the rule of his faith and practice; and sincerely desire and endeavour to propagate its doctrines and precepts; he should strenuously oppose the fatal errors and doctrines of the Church of Rome, and scrupulously avoid countenancing (by his presence or otherwise) any act or ceremony of Popish worship; he should by all lawful means, resist the ascendancy of that Church, its encroachments, and the extension of its power, ever abstaining from all uncharitable words, actions, or sentiments, towards his Roman Catholic brethren; he should remember to keep holy the Sabbath day, and attend the public worship of God, and diligently train up his offspring, and all under his control, in the fear of God, and in the Protestant faith; he should never take the name of God in vain, but abstain from all cursing and profane language, and use every opportunity of discouraging these, and all other sinful practices, in others; his conduct should be guided by wisdom and prudence, and marked by honesty, temperance, and sobriety; the glory of God and the welfare of man, the honour of his Sovereign, and the good of his country, should be the motive of his actions."

Oh So Pretty

... that's the name of the band who were playing in Zavvi, Victoria Square this evening and pretty good they were too. They did a really good rendition of 'Teenage Kicks' (but I wouldn't expect anything less) and a few other numbers I didn't know. I left before they finished their session - so they may have done some more familiar stuff. Hunger got the better of me.

I am fairly sure that they are not as in the words of the song 'Oh so pretty and witty and gay' (c:
... but then again how would I know?

... and because my grand-daughter wanted to see the unedited version.

Considerate construction

This is one of the many new buildings being erected in Belfast City Centre - this particular construction is to be known as 'The Boat'
and the constructors have hung up a banner extolling their virtues as 'considerate constructors'

... BUT screwing a sign to the trunk of a tree doesn't strike me as very considerate - what's wrong with using plastic ties that would hold it securely in place and not cause any damage to the tree or what's wrong with tie-ing it to a lamp post or traffic sign?

Thursday, 19 June 2008

One for the lads

Standing at the bus stop this morning I glanced across at the City Hall and was amazed to see two scantily clad models standing in the cold and rain looking as if they were enjoying themselves on the Costa del Sol. So off I went to investigate (and get a couple of close-ups) and going by the name on the brochure they were shooting an advert for Falcon Holidays (do you think they might pay me some commission for advertising?) but why, in the name of all that is holy are they using two bikini wearing models to advertise cold and wet Belfast (not that I'm objecting, mind you).
Perhaps they could start a new trend around Belfast! (In your dreams!!)

Kate Moss

They did finally discover their mistake and rectify it but not before I managed to grab a screen shot.

Westlife come to Belfast

I'm confused! .... This morning I saw these two young women dancing excitedly outside Eason's bookshop where Westlife were due to hold a book signing event. Naturally I thought the cause of such excitement was the fact that they had met their idols face to face but, no, it transpired that the book signing was scheduled for 5.30p.m. so why I ask myself did they get so worked up if all they did was buy the book. I'm just sorry I couldn't see their reaction if they had met the boys.


‘Dreams’ consists of forty large metal panels in a grid formation, which is etched with portraits of a group of children. The centre of each section, formed in glass and back-lit, will glow at night holding the dreams of 9,000 local children. The project fuses together a strong sense of our ‘metal crafting’ heritage and the spirit of our children’s ability to dream. DSD NI

A woman in love

I just love this song and even after fifty years it still sounds better than most modern pop.

This is the scene from 'Guys and Dolls' where Jean Simmons (as the non-drinking Salvation Army captain) becomes drunk on a few 'sweet milks' (Dolce de leche) i.e. milk and bacardi.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Piazza Castello?

No, it's not a piazza in some Italian city but the old Provincial Bank building on Royal Avenue - which now houses a Tesco store. But .. I see Lord Belmont In Northern Ireland has already posted about this a few months ago )c: and also more on the Victorian Web

The Provincial Bank of Ireland was renamed the Allied Irish Bank in 1982, and then became the First Trust Bank in 1994, when AIB merged its Northern Ireland operations with those of TSB. wikipedia

Blogger dropped

I must say that I am a little saddened to see that I have been dropped from the list of likes on the South Belfast Diary )c:

I wonder, was it something I said (or didn't say), am I not political enough (well we can't all be political animals) or is she (being a woman) just being fickle?

Whatever the reason - I still like her blog and I'm not dropping her from my links (yet!).

Arrest risk to bloggers 'is growing'

Growing numbers of bloggers around the world face arrest, researchers say.

A total of 64 internet writers have been detained since 2003 for highlighting corruption, human rights abuses and refusing to hand over sensitive information.

More than half the arrests were in China, Egypt and Iran, researchers found.

In one case, Chinese dissident Huang Qi was seized for comments condemning his government's response to last month's earthquake, which left 70,000 dead.

However, the researchers say it may be only the tip of the iceberg after discovering internet filtering and monitoring is used in at least 50 countries.

'We predict that the number of blogger arrests will rise in 2008,' says the report. 'The popularity of online blogs continues to grow and inspire more media coverage of arrest incidents.'

The research by Washington University in the US was published as it emerged Mr Huang, founder of human rights website 64Tianwang, had been detained for possessing state secrets. This charge is often used to clamp down on dissent.

'This is another illustration of how a person who is trying to help might find himself snared by China's state secrets laws,' said Sharon Hom of the watchdog Human Rights In China.

'This use of the law as a sword hanging over rights' activists contradicts the reported "new media openness" in China following the earthquake.'

I suppose we should be grateful that we live in a country where we can criticise Bush, Blair, Brown et al without fear of reprisal (c:

Musical star Charisse dies in LA

Cyd Charisse, a former co-star of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, has died in Los Angeles aged 86, her publicist says.

The actress-dancer from Texas died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after suffering an apparent heart attack on Monday, Gene Schwam said.

The long-legged star appeared in a number of films, but her fame came from the musicals of the 1940s and 1950s.

She sang and danced with legends Gene Kelly in Singin' in the Rain, and Fred Astaire in Silk Stockings.

At the height of her fame the film company said her long legs were insured for a million dollars. But her talent was enough to make her an essential part of the golden age of Technicolor musicals.

"Her beauty was breathtaking," Debbie Reynolds, who starred with Charisse in the 1952 classic Singin' in the Rain, said in a statement.

"The world will miss her dancing."

Born Tula Ellice Finklea in 1921, Charisse began her career dancing with the Ballet Russe as a teenager. During a European tour she met Nico Charisse, a young French dancer with whom she had trained in Los Angeles. They married in Paris in 1939.

Monday, 16 June 2008

We've been coned

Some of the thousands of cones that proliferated in the vicinity of Stormont today but surely they were superfluous to requirement here, since it is an urban clearway and similarly the metal crowd control barriers, since there were no crowds. Full marks to the ingenious camera crew using a crane to get a bird's eye view of the proceedings.

Extreme security measures

High level Anti-terror security procedure or someone's idea of a joke.
This litter bin is on the route that GW Bush's cavalcade took, on the way to Stormont, but pulling a plastic bag over the bin to prevent suspect devices from being planted there must be a leg pull.
Mustn't it!!?

Lazy Town

Yesterday we took our grandson to the Grand Opera House to see 'Lazy Town' - it was his first visit to a show like this and you can just imagine how excited he was, being able to dance and shout and sing with some of his favourite television characters. We were exhausted just watching him but we loved every minute of it.

These are just a few of the many Stephanies and Sportacusses (Sportaci?) who were there for the fun.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Evening sky

A photo taken, from the car, on the road between Killinchy and Comber. An interesting cloud pattern almost echoing the shape of the trees.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Hells Angels

I bet you didn't know we had a chapter of the Hells Angels in Belfast. Neither did I - but here they are riding down Botanic Avenue.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Water closet

A new hieroglyphic that has appeared on the pavements of Belfast recently showing the direction to the nearest loo - let's just hope it hasn't been vandalised.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Best mates

Today was the occasion of the Holywood Jazz Festival but, since the weather was so good, we decided to give it a miss (didn't really want to be stuck indoors listening to some over-the-hill jazz band) and instead took ourselves down to the Cultra Inn which, apart from having probably the most expensive pints in Ireland, has an area with tables, benches and a decent view. A nice place to relax and enjoy a pint of the black stuff. Well we weren't sat there too long when who do you think happened along? That's right - Julian Simmonds, closely followed by those two blokes from Emmerdale. You know the one who plays one of the brothers in that family that's always ripping off the village and the other one who plays that gay guy who wanted to give his wife a baby but he had to get another village girl pregnant to do it. Oh and his wife has left him and is/was having it off with the other bloke ... You know the one who plays one of the brothers in that family !!! and the gay guy is now shacked up with the pregnant village girl who's over the moon and thinks he's the best thing since puff pastry.

(By the way the 2 actors are Matt Healy and Christopher Villiers)

'nuther numbskull

I haven't posted one of these for a while (I think they have been hiding from me) but they really are getting better (or worse) ... look how he angles his stupid people carrier over the two parking spaces. He actually spent time maneuvering into that position - that's right he just didn't dump it there. He worked out the correct angle to ensure that nobody else's clapped out old jalopy could get near his stupid people carrier. One of these days I just might throw a brick through the windscreen to show them what a ridiculous waste of effort it all is ... apart from being totally inconsiderate. I think I will have to award him the title 'Wanker of the Week'