I spent yesterday in an Orange Hall, watching girls dance*. There were black dresses, green dresses, purple dresses, blue dresses, fancy embroidery, and capes of many colours.
In Northern Ireland, we’re used to colouring in our streets. Kerbs get a lick of paint every so often to ‘mark’ areas with red, white and blue or green, white and orange. Lampposts support tattered flags and bunting. It can be all very messy.
Things are different this week. Everything is pink. Sheep, bus stops, trees, all sorts of bicycles. Official road signs. Bunting and banners. I even have a scary pink Hi Viz vest.
The Giro d’Italia is in town. One of the world’s great cycling races is passing by the end of my road. The area is abuzz. The tractor image is from this Guardian article, but every photographer east of the Bann has filled their Facebook with wonderful pics. I might get some of my own tomorrow, if I get up.
The race is starting in Belfast, heading round the beautiful Antrim coast and then heading from Armagh to Dublin. A weekend of traffic chaos lies ahead.
There are many videos produced to promote the place and the race, (day 1 Belfast, day 2 Antrim coast, day 3 Armagh) and they, somehow all seem to have been filmed in sunshine. This one is my favourite
I had intended to volunteer for the time trials- not to cycle, you understand; to marshal-but the sleepiness and the soreness have won. I’m not missing the race though. We will all be out in our pinkness, waving and cheering. Taking part in a world event, on our doorstep.
* for the locals- it was very unusual for me to be in an Orange hall, never mind to be there with the Irish dancing. My head might just have exploded when they gave sashes to the top three dancers.