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La Sorella

Well, my sister, Charlotte and her partner, Nicolas, should be in the air on their way home to England now. We had a really enjoyable weekend together: for them, mainly exploratory; for me, nostalgic.

On the Saturday, we took a coach tour up along the east coast of NI to the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and other attractions. The weather really came up trumps, presenting us with possibly the hottest, brightest day I've experienced since I moved to NI, and meaning that we were more worried about slapping sun-cream on every five minutes than whether our umbrellas were going to blow away (a more normal problem round here). The sun brought out the best in the scenery: Nicolas enjoyed taking fabulous pictures of it with his posh digital camera; I enjoyed taking snap-happy ones with my £7.97 Tesco's number.

The only down-side to the day was the moment our coach juddered to a halt in the middle of the road... having apparently run out of diesel! We could have gotten pretty cheesed off with the driver at this point for being dim enough to let that happen, but he was such a good-humoured chap, who'd been cracking jokes with us all along the way, that we just took it in our stride. He did save the day, anyway, by managing to coax it back to life no less than three times - just enough finally to roll, engineless, into a petrol station in Portrush. He arranged for some people on the coach who were doing an optional extra tour of a whisky distillery (not including us) to be picked up by another driver in the area and taken onwards, while a bunch of those of us who remained pushed the coach the final four feet needed to get it within reach of the diesel pump, and pretty soon we were on our way again to enjoy our time at the Giant's Causeway.

In the end, we got home a couple of hours later than intended, but we didn't feel we'd missed out on anything we'd expected to see, so the diesel episode just became all part of the fun. I have a photo of the driver grinning sheepishly as he filled up the tank, and can now say I've helped to push a broken-down coach! Oh, and I also managed to pick up excellent birthday presents for both damien_mocata and finthecat for their birthdays next weekend, which I'm pretty sure they'll love.

Today was much more lazy, after the long day yesterday. We got up around 11ish, gathered ourselves together, and headed down for lunch in the Crown Liquor Saloon. The skies were grey, and by the time we'd finished our lunch it was raining. But we decided to do the tourist bus anyway, especially when we saw that the company who do it had got their covered buses on the route in response to the weather. It wasn't much of a photo opportunity due to the rain-streaked windows, but interesting nonetheless. Finally, we had a nose around the University, and the Botanic Gardens given that the rain had eased off again, and then it was time to drop them at the Europa bus station for their bus to the airport.

That's the last time I'll act as host in NI, and funnily enough it was for the exact same two people that I hosted in Oxford for the last time before I left there last year. The next person who arrives to see me here will be my Dad, with a big van ready to take me home. Home? Yes - it still is, is the honest truth.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 21st, 2005 08:14 pm (UTC)
Heh, and I should count your arrival over here last year as a birthday present too. :)
Aug. 21st, 2005 08:50 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you had a nice weekend.

I can't believe a year is up already. To me, you only just got here.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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