fleg protesting map

I have tried to gather some of the things I’ve seen on my Facebook/Twitter feed the past couple of days and put them on this Google Map. Click on one of the map segments and something should pop up.



Flagsh Mobs


I overheard a conversation a few months back in which a man was telling another man that he was looking for a job after walking out of his old job in a bakery.

The reason he had left was that he was getting bullied at work somewhere in a bakery in north Ards by his supervisor who was an ardent loyalist and in a band. He said that ever since the incident with the loyalist flute band parading  around in circles outside St. Patrick’s Church in Belfast there had a been a nasty atmosphere in the workplace which had come to a head with his supervisor saying unprovoked derogatory things about his wife.

I guess the conversation had come to mind watching all this flag madness come to head the last couple of days. There is a dangerous undercurrent underneath it all, almost fascist I’d say, a bit like the Jews being attacked in the Nazi Germany or having their shops torched. What kind of mob forces a young lady to flee her home?
I was also wondering how much social media is feeding this?
With the riots in London last year a lot of organizing was done in ways that wouldn’t have been possible a few year backs.Now we have Facebook groups promoting protests and urging protestors to bring their Union flags. I was thinking that whereas  normal countries get flash mobs, we get flagsh mobs a decision to meet up at certain place and be a mob about flags.

Anyway, no point writing here or complaining about it. Not sure one of the lads smashing up an Alliance Party office is going to be reading this blog and then think to himself ‘Yes, Dave has a good point there. I think we will stop now’

Adlent Calendar Day 3- Unionist Christmas Tree Experiment

city hall
















1 Find hardline Unionist friend (the type of person who might have been outside Belfast City Hall tonight)

2 Wait until he is out of the living room. Remove angel or star from top of their Christmas tree and replace with small Union Jack.

3 See if friend ever takes tree down or if he keeps Union flag flying for rest of the year.

bit reluctant to jump on the titanic brand-wagon

I realise that I’m cynical sometimes (too cynical) but  I’m struggling with all this Titanic branding and marketing floating around Belfast at the moment. I’ve seen the word ‘legacy’ floating around or the story, the story of a ship that was built right here in Belfast by the people of Belfast and we should be proud of it as it was an engineering marvel and a technological wonder of it’s time.
Fair enough.
I’ve been down around the docks and the Pump House a few times since we moved back and it’s easily my favourite part of Belfast.
The sky is big and blue, I love the colours of the industrial landscape  and most importantly the big sky grey or blue. It’s just seems bigger and more alive down there.

The size of The Titanic was undoubtedly impressive and there was luxury and class, you can’t help but being amazed by the scale of the operation and the skill of the men who made it.

But surely the main part of the story  of the Titanic  if we’re being honest isn’t the engineering feats and might behind the ship (impressive though they are) but the sinking and the lives that perished because of that sinking 100 hundred year ago.
It’s the human tragedy and loss of life that are the main parts of the story with the building and construction a sub plot.

It’s like this.
If the maiden flight of the Concorde had resulted in it hitting some geese over the Atlantic killing everyone on board would it be OK for the town/city it was built in to build a huge Concorde  Centre to re-tell the story of the engineering behind the Concorde, to recreate what it was like to be inside, to hold a Concorde Festival, to develop a Concorde Quarter and to tell of the tragedy.
As I type that it doesn’t seem too bad to me.
But then I start asking questions like ‘Would  it be  alright to charge people a big entrance fee to enter the Concorde Centre?‘ or ‘Would it be OK to use the Concorde story to boost economic growth or to create a brand-wagon and market it around the world?Would it be tasteful to use the Concorde tragedy to make money?

So I’m uneasy that we’re being encouraged through advertising and cheery, overly enthusiast PR people, politicians and media to get on The Titanic brand-wagon. There is definitely an important story to be told, but I’m not sure about  using the story to make profit.

fuel poverty

This morning I went to wash my feet and ran the hot water in the bath. It was freezing. Come to think of it the house was a bit cold as well.|
This led to that feeling in your gut that you hope isn’t true, but alas it was true.
We had ran out of oil.

Heat had already been playing on my mind this week already. It had cropped up in a number of books. Henry David Thoreau mentioned it in Walden

‘The grand necessity, then, for our bodies, is to keep warm, to keep the vital heat in us. What pains we accordingly take, not only with our Food, and our Clothing, and Shelter, but with our beds, which are our nightclothes, robbing the nests and breasts of birds to prepare this shelter within a shelter, as the mole has its bed of grass and leaves and the end of its burrow!’

The subject of keeping warm had also made an appearance in ‘A Homage to Catalonia’ where George Orwell describes the hardships of the front line.

‘In trench warfare five things are important: firewood, food, tobacco, candles and the enemy. In winter on the Saragossa front they were important in that order, with the enemy a bad last’

and later

‘Meanwhile, firewood – always firewood. Throughout that period there is probably no entry in my diary that does not mention firewood, or rather the lack of it. We were between two and three thousand feet above sea-level, it was mid-winter and the cold was unspeakable’

Yesterday morning our electricity was cut as NIE carried out maintenance work. As I cooked my pancakes on a camping stove my mind pondered the amount of energy we require to keep warm, to keep our homes heated and comfortable.

Then this morning I discovered the oil tank empty.

I suppose that this reflecting about fuel and the like gets me down. We need to stay warm and staying warm means burning fuel, usually fossil fuels, expensive fossil fuels that pollute the atmosphere. And it’s expensive and getting even more expensive. More and more of our income is  tied up in buying polluting, unsustainable fossil fuels to heat our  heat inefficient homes. The main reason we need oil is not even to stay warm, but to dry our clothes with there being no room to for a tumble drier.

There are few (if any) more important things (if any) than staying warm. You can imagine our ancestors huddled in a cave around a campfire thousands of years ago or cutting turf from the bogs of Ireland. This was vitally important work in the days before cheap fuel.

The way we keep warm presently is so unsustainable and there seems to be no serious efforts to make it sustainable. Those little wood burning stoves look the business but Ireland is a tree desert so is there enough wood to go around?

I wandered down around the new Titanic Visitor Centre in Belfast last week and got to thinking if this was a wise use of money?

Part of me was wondering would it not have been a wiser investment for the future of Northern Ireland to use the money (90,000,000 pounds) for something like planting trees and making a forest, or investing in insulating homes or eco homes?

If there are about 700, 000 households that would have been about 125 pounds for each home to install better loft insulation or buy draught excluders etc.

Or to plant a mammoth forest, like acres and acres of forest. John Seymour recommends ash trees as being good for burning and relative quick growing. Plant trees everywhere, no more big buildings I reckon.