I’ll admit it; I was getting slightly worried that I’d struggle for things to write about upon my journey to and subsequent arrival back in Belfast this past week. In the past I’ve missed flights, been delayed by a few days because of snow, and watched someone’s luggage being left in a car park because the coach driver clearly wasn’t qualified for any sort of long term travelling through the night, or customer service in general for that matter (I’d rather not find out what happened to that one passenger he hadn’t realised was still on the coach with him, either).
But this time? My journey went smoothly (as smoothly as can be expected when you’re travelling for 19 hours any way). What would I write about? Where was my inspiration? Should I just make something up? Yeah I’ve done that before, but on this occasion people would probably think I’m just covering up my real whereabouts because I didn’t actually get home safe or something. So this time I won’t be making stuff up, guys. These things have genuinely happened.
First, though, let’s rewind a little. I arrived in Belfast on Sunday (yes, the one that’s just passed). Weather was dull. I wasn’t at all surprised. My bag was heavy. Arms weak. Head asking me to sob over what I’d done to it (it prefers sleep, as opposed to occasional light snoozing on your way through Manchester at 11pm and some place in Scotland around 4). At least there was no rain. That lovely substance gave me a few days to settle, but when it did arrive on Wednesday it had clearly been saving up especially.
I also made the mistake of throwing my case open when I got in on Sunday and believing it was safe to leave it like that, which I did. Until Wednesday. Usually, you see, there wouldn’t be much danger in doing this (providing you have good locks on your doors and don’t live near any peeping tom’s who are going to see what kind of things you’ve been transporting) ((in my case, clothes and various films/ video games)). However, when your family has acquired a new huskie dog while you’ve been away, a very excitable one that is barely one year old, I’ve found that the risk factor tends to go up significantly.
I didn’t catch on to this immediately of course. The dog seemed to get on perfectly well with my luggage for the first few days. Maybe it was the fact that I dared to leave her in the house by herself for a little while that did it. Or it might have been that I hadn’t had a chance to walk her that morning and had instead promised to do it as soon as I got back. She clearly found this unacceptable. A couple of hours later I arrive home for a lesson in humbleness regarding material possessions; my case moved from the side of the hall to the middle, with around half of its contents now littering the floor around it. Oh, the case was fine. I had already taken care of opening it for her so there wasn’t any need to throw that around in the air, as she must have done with the few DVD’s and Blu-ray’s that had been unfortunate enough to stray from the pack. To be honest, I’m thankful that most of them came away relatively unscathed (physically, if not psychologically), with no more than a few scratches on their covers.
Awk, look at me, talking as if that was the highlight of my day and stuff. Bless.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, or neither, or whatever, depending on your point of view), it wasn’t. You remember that rain I mentioned? The same one that I’ve spent many glorious summer’s with, but which seemed suspiciously absent when I arrived here a few days ago? Turns out it wanted to welcome me home all along; it was just late to the party. To apologize, it kindly sent an entire battalion (not sure what my estimate of 3-4 feet is in milliliters, but I reckon that’s close to the correct measurement) our way on Wednesday. Now, while I may have seen my garden flooded before, I’ve never seen it resemble an actual swimming pool. Nor have I ever seen wheelie bins floating around in it. On Wednesday, though, this changed. The problem wasn’t helped by the strong current from the river that had formed in the street at the other end of the house. Turns out my garden gate isn’t enough to prevent such things from happily flowing in to help keep the water level high, probably carrying with it various random pieces of litter, dangerous sharks, lost babies for all I know.
But you know the best point about these little moments of crisis that people don’t see coming? It’s not the novelty of being able to take pictures of your garden that you actually find interesting, or the rare opportunity to say you “have a pool out the back”. It’s something much more simple; it seems to bring us together. Having lived at my current address for around 15 years now (or thereabouts; I have been away for the majority of the last four of them), perhaps the most surprising part of the whole thing was seeing more of my neighbours in the street than I remember seeing before in one place, as they desperately cleared the drains to stop us from becoming Carolhill Aquarium. Everyone asked each other if their houses were flooded or if their electricity was off. Dare I say, I wish this kind of thing would happen a lot more often? Yes, all of it. After all, it only really gets truly exciting when we have people to share it with.
Next time (i.e. tomorrow) I give my opinion of the Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy.