slàinte, belfast (and a little schoolgirl error…)

By amy ~ October 30th, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

And to anybody anywhere who has previously congratulated me on my usual ruthless efficiency and superlative organisational skills, read on…

After a fabulously lively three days in my new favourite city of Belfast, I am spending today relaxing on the übersettee with the X Factor repeats having finally arrived home around midnight last night, a couple of hours later than expected but otherwise fairly unscathed considering that I arrived at Belfast City airport yesterday afternoon on top form (after a last minute morning encounter with a charming gentleman, a good lunch and a wander around the shops at Victoria Square) to discover that, incredibly, I had somehow managed to book my homecoming Manchester flight for the previous day, checking and packing the confirmation email in it’s designated ‘Edinburgh/Belfast’ envelope without even noticing. Red cheeks all round, and not in the fun sense.

Being twenty four hours late at an airport is far from the end of the world, so I resignedly braced myself and made for the airline desks, Amex in hand, with a view to jumping on the next available flight. Unfortunately the next one was full, and the one after had only a business class seat at £260 which despite a busy week was a bit too much for me, even taking into account the free inflight bottle of water and packet of crisps proferred. To cut a long story short, I stood and looked plainitive, the desk folks picked hurriedly through the schedule and I eventually arrived instead at Liverpool’s John Lennon airport some four hours later, having spent the afternoon holed up in the relative comfort of Flybe’s business lounge availing myself of limitless free hot chocolate whilst hastily booking train tickets and taxis (the train from Lime Street being half an hour too late for the public transport system to get me any nearer to Scarborough than York, dagnammit). At least my over-heavy suitcase (a result of my panicking about the appalling weather forecast before I set off) got to travel for free rather than the £36 excess I grudgingly paid at Edinburgh, although with hindsight and given the eventual price of the ticket I heartily wish I’d squeezed in some furniture, and possibly a few more pairs of boots.

Not the biggest disaster in history (and I am still wondering whether the aforementioned karma fairy had felt bad about the Edinburgh shenanigans, had also heard my not-terribly-positive views on Manchester Airport earlier in the week and decided to find a way that I could avoid travelling through it – for that at least, I thank you), but considering that my journey home originally cost around £80 and eventually settled out at around £300, let that be a lesson to anyone considering themselves relatively infallible; either that, or senility is creeping in at the ripe old age of 38. Still, no real harm done, and having managed to gather enough blueberry muffins, Mini Cheddars and teeny cans of Britvic from the lounge to sustain myself all the way back, I got home virtually stress-free to an effusive welcome from the fishes and an incoming delivery from Dominos ordered via my now-behaving BlackBerry on the drive back – note to taxi driver; it is your normal job to collect me at the location of my choosing and convey me to wherever I wish to go, and just because this particular journey involved travelling further than one of the town centre pubs and back does not mean that I ought to be handwringingly, simperingly grateful to you for doing so in addition to paying you sixty pounds and not your more usual three pounds fifty. I respectfully suggest that you get a job you like.

An unexpected journey home in relative comfort (expense aside) was a bit of a treat after a jaw-droppingly busy few days; fortunately my fears about the hotel following the farcical goings on in Edinburgh were completely needless and with a large Chinese dinner on board (courtesy of an early visitor’s Botanic Avenue recommendation) and a solid night’s sleep in my huge, comfortable, cloud-like bed, I and the gentlemen of Ulster were very much ready to roll! And roll we did, right up until Saturday morning when I packed up and left and well, you know the rest. Belfast is without doubt one of the friendliest and most exuberant places I have ever visited to the point where even going about one’s ordinary business is a little like being set upon by a cocker spaniel, as I found out every time I ventured to the Post Office, Marks and Spencer and even the late night Spar round the corner. I have been presented with proper Green Label tea, my favourite glazed donuts and even my new aquatic pal rescued from the Edinburgh hellhole (above left) managed to make a friend, much to my amazement when I returned from my lunchtime banking to find that the population of the bathroom had multiplied in my absence. The sun shone virtually non-stop until it was time to get on the airport bus – what more could anybody want?

With all this in mind, I will be returning in early January and have a few more plans for the folk across the Irish sea too – watch this space for the details! Back at the ranch, I will be engaged in the usual gentle and homely pursuits and available during the usual times until my eight hour horror-fest outing over next weekend (see t’other week). This weekend aside, I will be at home now for two weeks before heading off again; this time back to the Isle of Man for a quick catch up before my long awaited return to Jersey – yay! I will be taking bookings from next week, and as ever, email is the way to go.

Christmas availability coming up shortly and more tour news too! Manhattanites in particular, keep watching…

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1 Response to slàinte, belfast (and a little schoolgirl error…)

  1. UB

    “with a large Chinese dinner on board (courtesy of an early visitor’s Botanic Avenue recommendation)”

    Hah! You’re welcome ;) Very nice date with you, lovely Amy.


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