Aye, and sure we’ll go down for a wee Guinness, like you know, it’ll be great craic right enough. Here’s me ready to go so I am. I guess I should have warned you before reading this that you had to think in a very Irish accent. Otherwise I fear the previous sentence may have sounded very weird indeed. I can assure you it’s quite normal here, maybe not all those colloquialisms in the one sentence though. Welcome to Ulster. You can call it Northern Ireland at a stretch, but never just Ireland. And what a place it is, it’s been blessed with some of the finest coastline in Europe dotted intermittently with jolly locals and wee pubs. Now I’ll get to Halle Berry in a minute. But first, the period between Holland and the land of giants.
I certainly had some sorting out to do once I arrived back from France, mainly to do with preparing my bike for sale and preparing details for my trip to the UK. I also visited my friends Ivar and Remko near Diepenheim along with countless modified cars and a couple of motorbikes including an old 70’s Russian bike with sidecar that Ivar had ridden from Latvia. And I thought 1100 km on a modern BMW was uncomfortable. He should really be a kiwi though. You know how he stopped the wheel from coming off, after he lost the wheel nut on the way? By tying it up with a piece of wire. That’s all class.
Shelley also came over for a couple of days and she was the first New Zealander I’ve seen in a few months. I didn’t realize how much English I’ve actually forgotten! I then took two flights, one from Eindhoven to London, and then another to Belfast and suddenly it was all fiddle dee dee potatoes staying with my cousin Bob and his fiancée Jen. Their house is in Donaghadee which is a really nice sea side village south of Belfast.
The first day there I had an Ulster fry for breakfast (and I thought Dutch food would make me fat), listened to the drunken ramblings of a guy walking down the street at ten am (at least I thought he was drunk, I couldn’t understand a word he said, maybe just the accent), and embarrassed myself by missing most of the clay pigeons when we went shooting. Oh well.
The second day we drove up the coast the only way it should be done, in a Saab convertible. Awesome, the coast is beautiful and rugged with nice seaside port towns, castles, cliffs, and of course Giant’s Causeway. Mind you there were a lot of people looking at us as well, little wonder with three guys and a Labrador in an open topped car. It didn’t help that Bob and his brother Kenny were yelling “cooooeee” through every town. One lady made the remark “the dogs the only good looking thing in that car” so Kenny immediately replied “sure, and we’re all gay anyway!” What else could he say, that shut her up anyway. Good times. We all felt a little more manly again after watching a fairly ruthless movie about the IRA called ’50 dead men walking’.
Now, back to Halle Berry. Talk about getting attention! There I was walking with her down the promenade in Bangor and everybody, I mean everybody stopped and stared, wanting to talk to us and pat and cuddle her. Halle Berry, by the way, is a nine week old chocolate brown Labrador pup. And what a chick magnet she was. I tell you, if I’m not married by thirty I’m buying a chocolate Labrador pup and I’ll be hitched within a month. Either that or I’m going to start a chocolate Labrador rental business for single guys. Seriously, all I could hear was “ohhhh” and “that’s so cute…” and I don’t think they were referring to me. But I’ve never had so much attention in my life.
Unfortunately I didn’t bring my bike over to Northern Ireland but it was no great loss; it rained a lot. In good weather it would be a beautiful area to do. I did ride as passenger on Bobs Honda Hornet for a short trip down the coast. A very weird feeling after always being the rider. Ulster in general? Beautiful scenery, friendly (albeit difficult to understand) locals, terrible weather, and loads of fun.