Friday, 4 December 2009

Belfast's red lights

Every other Sunday since I was born until I was around 17 I used to go to Newry (well, past Newry-Warrenpoint/Rostrevor etc), I hated that journey, absolutely abhorred it! I'm a terrible traveller at the best of times but when you're 9 and your parents thing it's ok to fill you up with sweeties and fizzy drinks to shut you up on the journey, you really are just heading for queazy-ville! I only have two plesent memories I have of those car trips, firstly, and a testiment to how socially inept a child I was, is my Saturday evening, obsessively timed, mix-tapes. I had tape deck control travelling there, dad had dictatorship on the way back. Over the years most of the tapes have gone missing or have been recorded over, but I still kept a hold of a few gems!

My second happy memory is from the way home from Newry on the winter nights like tonight. I used to stare out the car window with my head on the little ledge between the car boot and the side window, and just look at the stars as we were driving down endless miles of motorway through (what I believed to be) the darkest depths of the countryside. But the highlight was always the red lights from the signal mast on the hills as you're coming into Belfast. It was like a shining beacon that yes, you were going back into comfortable surroundings, soon you would be able to recognise the streets in town and then just a wee while more you could be at the house and in your bed, where the transport induced nausea would eventually subside.

From my new house on Lisburn road I can see the three red lights on the signal mast, I've quite awkwardly angled my bed and purposefully sleep with the blinds open (ooh eer, no one can see in I promise). It's a lovely recognisable symbol of being at ease with the city, I still get the same feeling of happiness when I get to come back home to the lights.

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