One thing we are good at in Northern Ireland is complaining about the weather….whatever the weather. Most of time we moan about it being too cold, too wet, too windy. Yet the second the big yellow ball in the sky makes a rare appearance, we invariably fall to pieces. We are sweltered, roasted, ‘while warm’ or a combination of all three. Perched at the extreme west of the European continent we are utterly unsuited to anything remotely resembling a heatwave.
Take this week for example. It’s September, the hatchlings are all back to school and the leaves are starting to fall from the trees. Yet we have been hit with an Indian summer which has left the meteorologists scratching their heads and the rest of us scrambling for the suntan lotion. Nobody knows what to wear, leading to some weird and wonderful sights around the city centre. Shorts and hooded tops, anyone?
For once, the roving gangs of American tourists are not the most oddly attired. Us locals are giving them a run for their money. It’s Culture Night in Belfast this evening meaning all manner of street entertainment was being set up this morning. At lunchtime an Afro-Caribbean DJ began blasting reggae music across the square where my office is situated. I contemplated busting a few moves but wisely decided not to.
On the other side of the square, rows of food stalls were emitting all kinds of delicious aromas. I was sorely tempted to join the office workers sampling their wares and soaking up the rays but I had other business to attend to; namely the office charity walk which I had agreed to run. On one of the hottest days of the year. It’s normally snowing at this time of year, for goodness sake. I laced my running shoes, muttering at the inclement conditions.
Despite Hannah threatening never to speak to me again if I donned them, I had no choice but to set off in my short shorts and short sleeved t shirt. Normally I’m facing arctic winds in leggings, under armour, gloves and hat at this time of year. It’s a good job President Trump assures us there is no such thing as climate change, for I’d be tempted to disagree given our crazy weather conditions.
Within a mile it was as if a bucket of water had been thrown over me and I erred on the side of caution by maintaining a slow, steady pace. The city was buzzing with music and marquees on every corner. A food festival was in full swing in Custom House Square, Viking longship races were taking part in races on the river and, irony upon ironies, there was a climate change protest at Cornmarket. The entire city seemed to be out and about.
Thankfully there were dozens of other runners on my route so I was not alone in my huffing and puffing. On the way back I met the charity walkers who set off after me. They were already talking of retiring to a packed riverside bar on the return leg. There were going to be a few sore heads as well as legs come the morning. By the time I arrived back at the office I had hit the 10 mile mark.
Job done, I changed, packed up my gear and made my way to the train station for the commute home. Tomorrow it’s an early start for Adam’s rugby and then it’s the Belfast Half Marathon on Sunday. I hope it’s a bit cooler for that one. I’ll be looking forward to a well earned rest when I return to work on Monday morning. Thankfully I’m taking a few days leave next week. Can’t come soon enough?
What are you up to this weekend?