Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Harland & Wolff: WhyNotSmile Investigates

This weekend is the Belfast Maritime Festival, including Tall Ships, an event of such magnitude that not only are myself and Mama Smile going, but we are, in an unusual move, taking Papa Smile also; furthermore, Papa Smile wasn't sure how things would work out with parking and so on and it was therefore decided that we should do a rece today, this latter occurrence being additionally an opportunity for a cycle through Belfast which Papa Smile has been looking forward to for quite some time. I love it when a plan comes together.

So we cycled to the Odyssey, which is where much of the Tall Ships activity was planned, and we saw some of the Tall Ships, and I have to say they look very impressive. Should you be anywhere near Belfast this weekend, and at a loose end (or indeed a tight end with an alterable schedule), then you should probably call in on the festival and see the ships. I can also report that there are various funfairs, a continental market, and an ice cream van.

You will, of course, hear more of this presently, but the reason for this post is to tell you about something interesting we discovered when we were cycling round the Titanic Quarter, part of which was closed off to allow for preparations for the Tall Ships thing, but another part of which was open instead, and it is in this part that we found something interesting.

Incidentally, doesn't my life seem to get considerably more complicated when it involves my dad rather than my mum? Days out with Mama Smile generally center around a picnic in a well-organised and very civilised public event; days with Papa Smile involve cycling around obscure areas of Belfast in search of toilets, or alcohol.

Anyway, the diversion we took went round by the base of the Harland & Wolff cranes (the big yellow ones which you can see all over Belfast), and we were able to see the cranes close up. However, as we posed for photos (available shortly on Facebook), we heard a strange motorised kind of noise, and as we watched, one of the cranes started to move. Like, properly move, quite far, fairly fast, on the wheels that are on the bottom.

Now tell me, those of you who live in Belfast, did you honestly ever know that the cranes could move?

6 comments:

Wandering Photographer said...

OK, I don't live in Belfast per se, but close enough ... and yes, I did know they moved. I reckon most of the locals will know too. Sometimes they are quite close and sometimes they are quite far apart. I've never knowingly seen them actually moving though.

whynotsmile said...

See, I thought they sometimes looked closer than other times, but I had always figured it was just perspective or something. I suppose they have to move, otherwise they could only ever do the front and back ends of particular lengths of boat.

I do not think I had every properly thought about it though.

Linda said...

I knew they could move and I can top that - I think I know their names - Samson and Goliath. And one (Samson I think) used to be white and is slighter bigger than the other one.

If only I could remember useful stuff, like what I drove to the shop for.

whynotsmile said...

See, I think everyone's just showing off now. Hmph.

Virtual Methodist said...

Samson is indeed the larger of the 2 cranes, but was only white during an early repaint (my parents' house was once painted in the same garish yellow... I didn't ask where my dad got the paint from). In the good old days when I lived in Sydenham and there was significant shipbuilding work still going on in the yard, you could hear the cranes being moved... they screeched like mad...

andmilestogobeforeisleep said...

When I was little I always thought that if I was going to write to Jim'll Fix It I would ask him to fix it for me to go on top of one of those cranes... I'd be far too scared now