Monday, 3 August 2009

Belfast Pride: WhyNotSmile Investigates

I've spent the last week thinking 'Oh! Bit of a sore throat! Swine flu? Hmmm.... Temperature? No. Not swine flu. But sore throat. Hmm... Strange variation of swine flu?' etc. Not that I'm all that worried about swine flu; when you spend your life in a state of chronic anxiety, there's not all that much room on top of the already constant 'How will I ever find a job? Who will ever marry me? Will I die alone and be eaten by alsations? What if I never find another job and starve to death? What if everyone figures out I am an abject failure and they all stop speaking to me?'; it's more the inconvenience and the fact that I haven't yet got round to selecting my 'flu buddy', and that I was helping at a kids' club and didn't want to be responsible for starting an epidemic.

Anyway. Mama Smile and I have now got into a routine of 'doing things' on Saturdays; previous weekends have been spent in Castle Ward and the Folk and Transport Museum, next Saturday is the Belfast Music & Taste Fest (or something; we're not that fussy about the details), the following one is the Tall Ships, but the weekend past did not present many options. Of course, Mama Smile and I abhor a vacuum, and since Mama Smile was coming up to Belfast anyway to bring Sister's car back up, we felt we might as well get the bus into town and see what was happening.

Which turned out to be Quite A Lot, as we discovered, on leafing through the 'Things To Do In Belfast In August' guide we had picked up in the craft thing we'd called in on. The initial plan was to get a bus up the Falls, since they were allegedly having live music on board for the afternoon. But we couldn't find a bus with live music on (based, admittedly, on a half-hearted survey of one), so we decided instead to check out the Belfast Pride parade.

Which was quite good, and, as parades go, much better than Orangefest. Very pink and fluffly, of course, and cheerful and so on, if a tad garish in places. One of the 'floats' was on board a tourist bus; I was rather astounded when Mama Smile pointed out that "It brings a whole new meaning to 'Hop On, Hop Off'", but recovered slightly when she said "It's like a whole different world", which was more the sort of thing I had expected.

There were protesters, of course, because you can't be into That Sort Of Thing in Belfast and not be protested at, but there were also 'God loves You' balloons to provide a sensible balance.

Unfortunately, it disrupted the buses, and we had to get back to my house in time for Mama Smile to drive Sister's car to Sister's Friend's House where Sister is currently living (before moving in with me in September, of which more in due course), walk to the train station, get a train to Bangor and then a bus to Ards to meet Papa Smile and get home in time to make dinner and then go to the neighbours' for supper, but thankfully we made it and all was well.

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