Daymare - if there is such a thing.

The Day-mare
What a day, or should I say nightmare….a “day mare”
Today started well. I got up relatively early to bring L.S.H’s and my work to Belfast for the R.U.A shortlist. I set the Sat Nav on my phone, as this year the venue was different. There was little or no traffic; although it was dull, the countryside was looking beautiful, life was feeling pretty good. I passed a classic car rally on the way. Everything was going well, I expected to arrive at my destination at about noon.

But all too soon this bubble of smug security was to be well and truely burst.
As I drove into Belfast I was told/ordered to move into the left lane and turn left. As the left turn was closed, I continued on and took the following left turn, only to find I had travelled back to the 1970’s. Facing me were a phalanx of armoured cars and what looked like riot police and I am the only southern registered car. The Judas of a Sat Nav was unusually silent, giving me no indications as what to do, so I pulled into a petrol station to ask where was North Street. I was obviously in a fairly hot spot, as I almost had to knock to get into the shop which was like a fortress. Once in there, I was told to ask the man behind me for directions. I turned to face an enormous heavily tattooed man, who was charming as he re directed me back past the armoured cars to North Street. Trying not to read any of his fairly blunt loyalist tattoos, I thanked him.

North Street was like a mouth of rotten teeth, with very few buildings standing bar the Star Bingo Hall, and certainly nothing that looked like St Anne’s Court. At the end of the street I came to Royal Avenue and had to turn left and take the next left into a street even more derelict than North Street. I decided to go left again to get back to North Street, only to be informed by an irate taxi driver that I was going up a one way street the wrong way. Reversing out, I found myself in front of an armoured car which I had either not noticed or ignored earlier. As my phone was now about to die together with the directions, I decided the best thing was to ask the lads in the armoured car. I think they thought I was a bit of a nut case after watching me, and said they would pretend they didn’t see my illegal manouveres earlier. They looked up the address on their phone and said if I went straight ahead, turned right and took the next left I’d get to the other half of North Street where the R.U.A office is. Simple! So off I went, only to discover that I was faced with even more one way streets!

I had to do two big loops around City Hall, (and the wonderful Star Bingo Hall), where I ran into first a small protest and then a Vespa Scooter Rally, before I eventually found the right end of North Street and St Anne’s Court. It was almost 2pm by the time I got there. I was so frazzled with all the stress I parked on double yellow lines in front of another police car and ran into the office with the work. At this stage, I just didn’t care!

But the fun didn’t end there. Driving back to Dublin with a thumping headache, I decided to pop into Sprucefield to get a bite to eat and something for my head. As I reached the counter at Boots, a small child threw up. It never ceases to amaze me the radius that such a tiny body can cover. So as that assistant moped up the mess, I joined another queue behind a young couple with basket of goodies, thinking to myself, “this shouldn’t take long”. How wrong could I have been? At the counter the man asked for something for his painful knee, the assistant disappeared for ages. During this time it seemed that the couple in question, facing a wall of medication, discovered several more ailments to ask about, so by the time the assistant returned they now had a long list. None of this was helping my headache, and when I eventually sat down for a coffee, I asked myself, was that one of the most stressful days in my life?

Note to self, don’t rely on new fangled technology, bring a map.
By the way, I asked my friends in the armoured car why were all the police up the road and they said it nothing unusual, consider it the Belfast welcoming committee.