Saturday Mornings. - a Memory of Belfast.
My cousin and I lived at the top of the Oldpark Road, near Ballysillan, in the mid-1950's and every Saturday morning during our tenth and eleventh years, we would catch the bus into town, walk around the City Hall and down to swim at the Ormeau Baths. After we had our permitted 30 minutes, we would walk back to a cafe in Donegal Square and have tea and hot buttered pancakes.
We lived in the Sunninghill estate and, when we were children, there was no building beyond the Ballysillan Road. We had fields to roam, a small river running from the 'hill', past our house and through a sluice gate into two dams which fed water around the golf course and all the way to Ewart's Mill. But the greatest thing we had, and what gave us most pleasure, was the deserted gunpit encampment and billets; a left over relic from WWII. Many enjoyable hours were spent playing there but, as with all progress, they were demolished in the early 60's to make way for housing. The concrete had to be blasted out and I remember the area was cordened off for a week.
That was over 50 years ago and I went back there recently when on holiday from my home in Australia. Part of that river is still there and standing on the bank, my mind was flooded with memories of childhood. We were not very well off but with all the open land and fertile children's imagination, we didn't require toys or gameboys to pass the time.
I went to naval college, then into the navy and later spent three years in The Belfast Fire Brigade before emigrating. (the 'troubles' were just getting off the ground and, being a coward, I didn't want to earn any posthumous medals). I married a Dutch Girl then a Geordie lass and lastly, an Australian lady. I live alone now. Perhaps I should have sought out a Belfast girl.
My best wishes to all of you Belfurstians.
A memory shared by on Jul 9th, 2015.
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