In the usual course of my life, I frequently travel between Dublin and Belfast. On one of my July trips kvetch was unable to come with me as he sometimes does. I thought it might be fun to experiment with my mobile phonecam and take pictures of my day and send them to him via MMS.
Unfortunately as it turns out, kvetch’s phone hadn’t yet been set up to receive MMS so I was unable to send them as live up-to-the-minute SWMBO reports. Nevertheless, I decided to take the pictures anyhow, and show them to him when I got home.
This post is my pictorial of that day in July.
So at 06:47 I was outside Connolly station, marvelling at my successful negotiation of the journey thus far, since I am soooooo not a morning person. And I took my first shot to send to kvetch.
Whilst this one was sending, I took another one, just to prove I was really alive and together and ready to get the train in good time.
Whilst queueing for the train, I received notification that neither of the messages had been successfully sent, so that was when I decided to just take the shots anyhow and show them to kvetch when I got home.
The day before, kvetch had ever so thoughtfully tracked, hunted down, and with his trusty €20 note he slew me some takeaway sushi to enjoy on my journey. So I enjoyed my kvetch-brung sushi breakfast on the train.
Before I left that morning I’d prepared myself some coffee in my high-fashion, high function drinkware which had been a gift from kvetch. For diversion on the two hour and twenty minute journey, I had my rather aged 4th generation 60 GB iPod Photo with a nifty Speck silicone case. I had it all loaded up with my complete collection of Just A Minute which I’m working my way through. After having listened to every available episode since 1967, on this journey I was listening to episodes from the 1990s.
Despite the stupidness of the hour, there were quite a few other passengers on the train.
This rather nice shot of my swanky drinkware before arriving at Drogheda also includes the guy across the aisle from me, who coincidentally happened to reappear in the same seat on the return journey. I guess as much as I like my favourite seat, he must like his too.
This stunningly beautiful morning was especially clear in these shots of Drogheda Station.
The historical River Boyne outside Drogheda on the way to Dundalk.
This is one of the more attractive railway bridges I’ve seen.
On the surface, Dundalk Station looks a lot like Drogheda station.
About halfway through the journey, I’m feeling a bit perked up by the coffee.
One thing about coffee, it does rather inspire visits to the loo.
So I visited the loo. :)
There is some attractive countryside between Dundalk and Newry.
Across the border into Northern Ireland at Newry Station, there has been a hyooooge amount of building going on for the last while. You’ll see some shots of that on the return journey.
Anyhow, at the busily-being-constructed-and-remodelled Newry railway station, we passed the Enterprise coming the other way from Belfast.
The countryside between Newry and Portadown is quite pretty as well. Meanwhile as you can see from the sky, the weather is turning.
Portadown Station like most Northern Ireland railway stations, just isn’t as nice to look at as the ones in the Republic of Ireland. However, the Northern stations usually have better facilities.
The weather is really turning now.
One indicator of being across the border in Northern Ireland – the Union Jack is just not seen all that often in the Republic south of the border.
Not all that surprising, really, considering.
This is a funky cool tunnel shot I managed to grab.
I hate this moment. This station we’re rushing through without stopping is one of the last local stations before our final stop at Belfast Central Station. Speeding through this station never fails to annoy me because it’s my stop and I want to get off! Because the Enterprise is an express train, I must get off at the next station and schlep myself onto a local train to get back here. It’s a small but persistent annoyance.
I can live with it, but I indulge myself regularly with a grrr about it when I feel so inclined. :)
And here I am at approximately 09:50 arriving at Belfast Central Station.
Conveniently, the train in this shot across the platform will take me straight back to my stop. This was a big bonus because not only do I usually have to wait for the train, I also frequently have to navigate myself up and over to another platform. So this morning everything was moving along just peachily. :)
And here I am having hopped across to the local train. The Enterprise I just disembarked from is visible through the window.
All the stations in Northern Ireland have been undergoing facelifts. This is one of the original station signs at my local stop.
And this is the new sign. Even though the new signs are millions easier to see at night (which is a waaayy important feature of a railway station sign), I think the new signs are far less attractive than the previous signs. Still, I do vote for function over fashion, so in principle I approve of the new signs.
Belfast is the kind of small place where it’s really hard to be out and about and not to run into people you know by accident. This is part of what makes Belfast so difficult to live in if you have a stalker. Anyhow, I had this happy happenstance of running into a musical friend I haven’t seen or played with in ages. So as you do, I spent an enjoyable 40 minutes or so making him late for work. :)
As you can see, he is quite tall.
My cat and I were, as always, delighted to see each other.
As if that weren’t enough, here is a snippet of musical accompaniment to the happy catness:
Now out to do some errand runnage. First stop – guitar strings.
Next stop – the chemist. On the street not yards from the door of the pharmacy, somebody drew this in the pavement before it set, and this was actually quite awhile before a pharmacy even opened in this location. Anyhow, both me and the pharmacists enjoy this bit of amusement. I pass it nearly every time I go to that chemist.
And these are two of my lovely drug dealers who so kindly, happily, helpfully and friendlily dispense my legally prescribed substances.
On my way to my next thingy, I passed the Ulster Hall.
Still on my way to places, I went by Belfast City Hall with its relatively new sidekick, the Belfast Wheel.
I stopped off for a deliciously lard-filled lunch.
The chips were extra fresh, I had to wait for them they were so fresh. As a result, they were extra lovely in that lardy way I like. Also, the cheeseburger was delightfully tasty as well. Mmmm, nutrient-free goodness.
After lunch, I called into Marks and Spencer for some unsalted butter. Theirs is the best I have had in Ireland, and it’s difficult to find in the Marks and Spencers in Dublin.
I took these shots whilst I was waiting my turn.
I’m quite happy with the result! I’m still getting used to how short it is though.
I have a bit of a sit down and a slurp of my beverage before my biggest errand of the day.
And now – Specsavers!
It’s only been a year and a half since my last sight test and my new single vision glasses prescription for distance vision. But over the past few months I’ve been increasingly having trouble with the close up stuff. At my last sight test, my optician had advised me that my close up vision was likely to need correction in the near future as is normal for people my age.
So I booked in for a sight test and eye exam. And this is where I spent the next hour having my eyes poked and prodded and measured and stuff.
Thankfully, my eye health passed with flying colours, and I got to see cool images of the insides of my eyeballs which unfortunately were not downloadable, so I can’t share them with you, but they looked something like this.
As for my sight, my distance vision had deteriorated only very slightly. but my close up vision now needed correction. So I spent about an hour in Specsavers getting my sight test and eye exam and choosing frames for my new varifocals and varifocal sunglasses in their 2 for 1 deal.
Fortunately the frames choosage didn’t last too long because I liked my previous frames and I just got new ones with different coloured sides.
These were my old ones, as seen above.
And these are my new ones.
- “Specsavers”, “Specsavers Opticians”, and “Osiris”
® and © 2009 by Specsavers Optical Group Limited
I think these frames might be phased out soon, because even though I got them at a Specsavers UK, I couldn’t find them on the Specsavers UK website. They were still available on the Specsavers Ireland site, which was useful for the purposes of this post, but slightly demoralising what with Ireland being always behind the times and stuff.
Since the frames are a year and a half old, and what with fashion being such an ephemeral creature, I suppose that’s only to be expected.
Still, I like them.
Anyhow, everything took waayyyy longer than the Specsavers people originally told me it would. Not that I grudged them the time or anything, but when everything was all sorted out and stuff, I really needed to rush to get my train home, and I totally hate being in a rush, especially when I’m travelling.
I was all tired and everything from my long day, so by the time I scraped myself into my local railway station I was feeling absolutely shattered.
So here I am two minutes before the 17:37 train is due to take me to Belfast Central for the 18:10 Enterprise back to Dublin Connolly. I usually prefer to get an earlier train to Central so I can have a better chance of staking out my favourite seat, but since I was running late I did the best I could.
I made it to Central where the Enterprise was waiting for me.
I was really tired. The destination and the time on the LED display didn’t come out too well in this shot, but the time is 17:56, and I think you’re all smart enough to know that the destination is Dublin. :)
And here’s the sushi so thoughtfully slain for me by kvetch, with bits of wasabi and ginger arranged over the top so that each bite is perfectly constructed for easy inhaleage. :p
Before getting the train, I had refilled my glamorous drinkware with the slurpicious Tim Hortons coffee now fabulously, conveniently, and addictively available at some SPAR shops.
If I ever needed a decent slug of coffee, then was the time.
Here is a shot of this rather unattractive view of Portadown railway station with its new sign.
*ahem* Somebody ate all the sushi before we got to Newry.
Here I am sucking down some more of that coffee.
Here’s some shots of the building works around Newry railway station which I mentioned earlier. They’ve been going on for ages.
Taking pictures helps me stay on the awake side of snoring.
Here’s a kind of vaguely interesting reflective self-portrait effect. You can see that same guy from before in the reflection.
This is some river or other with a couple of swans outside Dundalk. And another reflection of that guy in the seat across the aisle.
Same river, different view.
Here I am back in Drogheda again.
You can see it was raining at some point earlier in the day because of how filthy the carriage windows have become all of a sudden.
Although they would have obviously been much better with my camera-which-is-a-camera, I got some lovely shots of the coast with my camera-which-is-a-phone.
This is one of the many Martello towers along the east coast. In the cropped close up you can see the cars on the right and the rooftop of the house on the left for scale.
This is the marina at Malahide.
This is what I thought might be a kind of cool reflective effect. I think it sort of worked.
This is a nice view of the Irish Sea.
Remember all that coffee suckage I did? Well, I thought I’d better visit the loo again before it got too lonely or anything.
This sky through the window across the carriage was just to gorgeous. It reminded me of those films featuring religion.
And ooooooh, lookie what else he brung!
All day the capture button on the phonecam kept getting pressed accidentally. On this occasion I thought the resulting shot of the roof of Connolly station was rather fortunate.
Once kvetch drug me back home, I put my mobile phonecam away and went back to using my camera-which-is-a-camera. It really does take far superiour pictures than the phonecam, although it is much more intrusive when using it in public.
Kvetch set me up all nice with my sushi treat. I did take a few moments to grab a few shots of my dinner.
I did only spare those few moments, because kvetch was waiting for me to start enjoying my sushi orgasms. It would have been so unfair to disappoint him, so I started inhaling everything pretty soon after that.
This was nothing to do with my lust for sushi or anything – I was just being considerate. I’m sure you understand. :p
- Just a bit of an afterthought – No wonder I don’t do more blog posts with images in them, cos doing all the extra bits like the upload title and descriptions and tags and stuff is a big ole pain in the butt!