Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Belfast Kills Me

So...notable events. Kelly's back on the steroids. Tori visits us from the Spa Town over the weekend. Poor Tori. We get word that while Kelly is being summoned to the hospital from her counsellor's office, across town Granny Mullan becomes ill and is admitted to hospital. She dies the following afternoon. Sunday and Monday Kelly spends at the wake (I only manage the Monday)and Tuesday is the funeral (they do things quickly here). Meanwhile riots break out in the Short Strand area of east Belfast (confusingly it is apparently the UVF beating the shit out of a strongly UVF area. But that's local politics for you - I don't understand it at all). Helicopters buzz the house all night.

Today Kelly is irritable from the get go - even doe-eyed Dee can't raise her spirits. People instantly panic that the steroids are sending her manic again, even though the situation, circumstances, symptoms and dosage are all different. I attempt to convince myself that sometimes a crab is just a crab. But I'm kidding myself.

Have found out that the shoes that I bought in London, without trying them on, are the wrong size. I asked the assistant for the right sized shoes and he brought me the wrong ones. I just spent an hour circumnavigating the city, which has no street signs or if it has they are obscured by scaffolding on a semi-permanent basis. I found the "Doc Shop" in the incongruously delightfully named "Pottinger's Entry". The shop is empty bar the bloke behind the counter. He is a standard Belfast male in that he is fat and bald with blurred tattoos on fore-arms that are crossed over his chest. Before I came to Belfast I would have found this look a threatening proposition but it's so ubiquitous here that it has no meaning at all - skinheads have spunked their currency in this town!). His arms remained crossed throughout our transaction. "You didn't get those here," he said. "I know," I say, "I got them in London," "Let's have a look at them, then," he says. The bag is between us on the counter. He makes no attempt to move so I open the bag and show them to him. "I can't do anything about it. We're an independent," "So why did I have to show you the shoes?" He shrugs.

On the bus home I'm sat between a crying baby and three shouting tramps. Belfast your'e pushing me.

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