My last weekend before Christmas was a wonderful one, especially the Saturday…. once I had half-woken up.
My last blog post left me struggling to get to sleep after a Xmas meal… and I left my friend’s apartment after a cooked breakfast just after midday the day after. I wanted to pop in to see my hairdresser to say Happy Christmas… and as luck would have it, when I arrived at 12.30 he was there… and very busy – we had a nice little chat though and, as he said to goodbye to return to a woman he had left dripping wet, I gave him a card and a bottle of wine.
As I left, it turned out that Kirsty did not have to return home until fairly late and so we met up at a shopping centre and decided to go to the Titanic museum just outside Belfast city centre; Kirsty had been there before, and did not seem to mind going there again. Even the building, before we got inside, was something to behold, with an exterior that has won awards… and I am hardly surprised; it promised to deliver inside, despite an astronomical entry price of around £15, and lived up to expectations once we had had a coffee at a cafe near the ticket kiosk.
The museum is laid out to guide the visitor through the story of Titanic from start to finish, beginning with the industrial strengths of Belfast in the early 1900s and its major exports, then onto the ship building history, and then to the construction of the Titanic itself… which bizarrely did not have it’s own full plan. We met a female guide at the bottom of a section of gantry who told us a few things and, after a few questions from us, showed us to a lift. At the top we were greeted by a nice, upbeat guy who said “Hello ladies!” and then told us about the heights that men worked at, and the lack of safety equipment; we had some nice discussion and a bit of joking with him, and then as we left he said “Bye girls, enjoy the rest of your visit”! So, being called “girls” AFTER he had talked to us was just lovely. As we worked our way through the museum we went on a fantastic ride and learnt about the largely manual construction of the ship, read and saw film of the first launch, and then went in a large area that told us all about the interior fittings, showing us some example cabins, and then an amazing display where we stood still with three “walls” around us projecting the interior of the ship and took us on a visual tour around and up through the various floors, even though we were not moving at all the way the projection worked it felt like we were moving all the time! And then we walked through a dark corridor… and to the sinking ship, where Kirsty got a bit tearful, and I am not surprised, as we walked around that area we learned of the awful fate of passengers that we had read stories of earlier on the tour. Then we found ourselves in a cinema showing underwater footage from a salvage company of the Titanic wreck, including an old heater, a chamber pot, and a pair of shoes amongst the wreckage. We went down a floor and then stood on a transparent floor watching wreckage footage floating underneath; a helpful guide was there and I asked a few questions before we headed onwards, downstairs again to a more general display about ship wreck salvage…and then, alas, the exit. Amazing that we spent over three hours there… but it was such an interesting museum, and such an eye-opener, both in terms of the Titanic itself (the grandeur… and the shortfalls) and how lives were so different (especially in terms of poverty and gender-split roles) at that time. We wanted to get another coffee but the cafes were all closing up, so we drove back to the shopping centre where we had met up and had a coffee and a yummy brownie… and then alas it was same to say goodbye. Not for the first time with my BF, I got all tearful with my farewell, we has SUCH a good time together and everything felt so totally right; it was such an enjoyable day, but feeling tired after a very poor night of sleep I went home for an early night.
Sunday I had a long lie in and did not even get out of bed until after 10.30. I pottered around, took my time getting ready, and left at around 2.00. I started at Banbridge outlet and browsed a number of shops, including Next, where I resisted sale items, and after a while went into a new beauty shop that has recently opened – I had a good look at assorted make up items and, as I was deciding on nail polish, I knocked some of them over and one of them fell on the floor and smashed; oops! I was very apologetic… though I don’t put the fault all with me, unlike Boots all the little containers were just sitting on plastic display plates and not in anything purpose-built. I had a little bit of chat with the checkout girl, asked when they had opened, and apologised again; she said not to worry, “these things happen”. I had a browse in a shoe shop, where a girl asked if I needed assistance, and then onto M&S, where the item I was specifically looking for was in every size except the one I wanted. I had a milkshake and cake in Costa, then drove onto Sprucefield shopping – I had a browse at electricals in Currys, at clothes in M&S (where I bought some cookies), to B&Q (for a high-watt bulb to do my make-up in the bathroom), and finally Sainsburys to do a grocery shop where the checkout girl was really nice to chat to. So all in all, Sunday was pretty good too… even if I did miss Kirsty after out splendid day on Saturday.
Thank you for reading… and have a very Happy Christmas, should you be celebrating it in any shape or form.