Showing posts from January, 2020

The Great Storm - 22nd December 1894

I’ve seen a few good storms in my time, although probably nothing that would match the one below.   The description of a great storm in 1894 (in bold and italics), again comes from the local history booklet by C.F. Milliken. ____________ In Bangor Town Hall you will see some photographs of old sailing ships which were blown ashore on 22 nd December 1894.   Out of six sailing ships anchored in Belfast Lough only one escaped.   This was the Norwegian full rigged ship “The Malone”, which early on Friday morning slipped her anchor and went to sea. The three-masted schooner “Doctor”, went aground on Ballymacormick Point and was in matchwood in about five minutes.   The greater part of her crew were drowned. The barque “Lancaster” ran aground at Grey Point, but the crew were all rescued by the rocket apparatus. The Italian barque, “Espina” was demasted and afterwards brought into Belfast. The “Noel”, probably on poor holding ground, dragged her anchor and was driven as

All I need is the air that I breathe.

I read somewhere that Belfast is the most car reliant city in the whole of the UK.   Certainly, between all the diesel cars and the numerous busses spewing fumes, the air in Belfast stinks.   O n the government air quality site ( ), nitrogen dioxide levels in Belfast are currently 77 µgm -3. , this being only level 2 on a 10 point scale despite being almost twice the EU permitted maximum 0f 40 µgm -3 .   After commuting in or out of the city, I can often physically taste the fumes! This is one of the few things that I really dislike about commuting by bike, but then again, walking, driving or using public transport in the city still exposes everyone to these pollutants.   Some time ago, I had bought a few masks as above but there was insufficient space to fit them into my full face helmet.   And so, recently, I bought a flip front helmet.   With this, I can put the mask on before lowering the chin piece.   To that extent it w

Unionist/ Nationalist, Who Cares?

I love stories like the one below (in bold and italics) about our troubled little province.   It make the point wonderfully, that nothing can be framed in the black and white terms that either the Unionists or Nationalists love.   This particular episode relates to a bigoted, blinkered view that unfortunately still seems to hold sway in some protestant/ unionist circles.   It is a great pity in all the years of schooling that each of us endures, that we cannot be taught to ask a few simple questions about some of the things our culture presents as the truth.   I love too that the person who paid for the painting was Craig, a man who openly boasted that he did not, and would not, employ a Catholic. The text comes from a booklet of reminisces called “My Bangor from the 1890’s”, published 1975 by our local newspaper, The County Down Spectator ( ).   It was written by C.F. Milliken, and I have included a picture of the inside cover to tell you

2020; surely it must get better from here?

We had a fair amount of bad weather here last week, including a few gusts to 80mph or so.   As usual this brought down a few roof tiles, including two at the back of our own house where we are exposed to northerly gusts from the Irish Sea.   Fortunately, both tiles were still sitting on the roof a few feet from where they should have been although one was sitting precariously half over the guttering, ready to crash down.   My brother’s house too had some roof damage, with one cracked roof tile, and one ridge tile that had come off. Given that it still gets dark here at this time of year about 5pm, nothing happened to fix these until Saturday afternoon.   My brother dislikes heights, so I was the lucky ‘volunteer’ who got to climb up on his roof to cement the ridge tile back in place and replace the broken tile.   I’m not big on working at height myself, but the job needed to be done, and getting a roofer around here for a small job like this is next to impossible.   The two on ou

Problems, problems, problems.

It is said that problems come in threes, and this rule has certainly proved true in my transportation tribulations since the start of this year.   No sooner had I posted my last piece here about the car problems that we have suffered since New Year ’s Eve, than my Suzuki decided to join in too! I paid a visit to my brother’s house on my way home from work at the end of last week, but when I returned to my bike to go home, the starter solenoid just clicked, and the engine would not turn over.   There had been absolutely no warning signs for this.   Since the lights and other electrical components still worked, the battery did appear to be charging.   The clicking starter solenoid, but inactive starter motor meant the problem had to be in this part of the bikes electrics. I found a wire in this circuit where the previous owner had used a crimped connector.   It fell apart when I touched it!   Unfortunately this very crudely crimped joint is not the first bad repair that I have

Problems, Problems.

It has been a busy but inauspicious end of 2019/ start of 2020 for us. We made a New Year’s Eve trip to the beautiful, pristine beach at Portrush’s East Strand.   It was crowded with surfers and walkers, many of who, like us, had brought their dogs out for a romp in the clean Atlantic air.   Half the population of the town must have been scattered along the two and a half miles of golden sands between Portrush town and the start of the chalk cliffs at Whiterocks.   Credit is due to all those people because despite the number of dog walkers, I didn’t spot even one un-lifted dog poo.   Since the weather was mild, a few groups of kids were even sledging down some of the larger dunes behind the beach. It was on our way home that things started to go wrong.   While t here is no ideal time for car faults, being 80 miles from home on a New Years Eve evening adds a little more spice to the mix.   The engine warning light came on closely followed by a misfire that increased as the miles