The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine

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So Are The Days Of Our Lives

Ride Date 14 September 2021

By Sharon Parker

I sleep well and wake up happy. The weather is well, errrr, grey. It is uncertain what the day will hold weather wise but we have waterproofs and it will be what it will be. I love the sun but I have learned not to sulk when it is not out because I would then be sulking a lot in these northern climes. We are all doing our own things today and Ren and I are soon on the bike just following the front wheel. 

I am a pillion today. I like to mix things up these days. Some days I love riding myself and others I enjoy pillioning, to enable me to really take in the views. I used to think that once I was riding my own bike I was somehow letting the side down by not always riding myself. What or who that side was I was supposedly letting down I now realise I have no idea. I must be getting old because now I just do what I want to do more and more. I no longer seem to worry about how it looks to anyone else. I really have lost any desire to prove anything and that is fabulous. 

Older age can have many down sides. The aches and pains, the tiredness but it also comes with a host of benefits and being more content is one of those amazing gifts along with the loss of the need to prove oneself to anyone. I like myself more, well, on the inside. That younger body was far nicer haha but am I just calmer now and that feels good.

Looking from the upper floor of the house we see green grass leading to bluffs and the sea with grey skies
It is grey but inside I am a happy sunny soul

So with a happy content frame of mine we go exploring. We do not get far before we stop at the ruins of Dunluce Castle. The information board reports that the castle was built between the 15th and 17th centuries. You can of course pay to go inside if you wish, well ok not inside as such as it's got no roof but you get the drift. We decide not to and carry on exploring.   

The ruins of a castle set against the sea and grey skies at Dunluce
Dunluce Castle just west of Portballintrae

Next stop is Portrush. It is a pleasant town with a large harbour and the usual amenities. The grey clouds turn to white and patches of blue begin to appear. The sun even manages to bring a shimmer onto the harbour's waters. The harbour was built in 1827 and was used until 1939 for passenger steamers from Scotland. Today it is home to mainly fishing and leisure vessels and the RNLI lifeboats. 

In a gap in the clouds the sun shines down on the waters, boats walls and surrounding houses at Portrush harbour
Shimmering waters of Portrush Harbour. 
A large bright orange lifeboat is safely moored in the calm waters at Portrush Harbour
A RNLI life boat rests within the safety of the harbour. RNLI have operated from Portrush harbour since 1860. 

The seaside town of Portrush has not one but 3 beaches all of which are awarded blue flag status. The beaches being the West Strand and East Strand and Whiterocks which is popular with surfers and body boarders. We never saw the Whiterocks beach's white limestone cliffs but apparently they are stunning and stretch from Dunluce Castle to Cyrran Strand. 

Next stop is another seaside harbour town Portstewart. Portstewart is where the money is and house prices here are amongst the highest in Northern Ireland. 

Stout and sturdy harbour walls, in the distance Portstewart's sea front hotels
Portstewart's another safe harbour... "I sit by the harbour and the sea calls to me" - words from one of my favourite songs, Martha's Harbour by All About Eve 

Portstewart has its own impressive blue flag beach, two miles of golden sands make up Portstewart Strand. The beach features as the Dornish Coast in the  Games of Thrones series. 

Looking down we see a long broad beach with a number of cars and campers parked on the sand
Portstewart Strand. Unusual these days but cars can still be parked on this beach. 

We continue riding along the coast and the next beach Castlerock looks the perfect spot for our picnic lunch. Castlerock is smaller and more tranquil than the other seaside resorts so Ren and I spend a pleasant lunch here just gazing at the views and the crashing waves and chatting to one another and the occasional local. The blue skies disappear as we finish our lunch and the grey clouds reappear then begin to look rather threatening. 

Ren sips tea while looking out to sea over the sands of Castlerock beach
Looking out from the sea wall is a large sandy beach, a random white shed and the breakers from the sea
Sharon smiles at the camera while sitting on black rocks at castlerock
I like Castlerock a lot. It was my favourite of the beaches we visited today. 

We ride on again, I am having a most lovely relaxed day. Ren has spotted a ferry terminal sign and of course as we all know Ren loves a ferry so off we go to Magilligan Point. The ferry is there and is waiting for any passengers. The Lough Foyle route travels between Magilligan and Greencastle and takes 15 minutes across Lough Foyle. The ferry transports both foot passengers and vehicles. Ren umms and ahhs whether to board or not. In the end he decides against it but I am sure it was a painful decision. Ren loves to travel on a ferry you know. As the ferry leaves without us on board we board the motorbike and return back to our holiday home.

Once home we are enveloped in the warmth and laughter of our house companions. The only sad news is that Mark has not felt well enough to be out and about today and had to stay home. However he is feeling better now and is well enough to join us for another amazing delicious meal made by our in house chef Rob. We listen to each other's tales of the day we had, we talk about life and work and many things and I am happy. We eat, we drink and we make merry. This is a good time and this is how the good times roll. 

The long jetty to the ferry at Magilligan Point, with Sharon's brightly coloured helmet in the foreground
Magilligan Point ferry slipway Limavady. 
 

As I snuggle down to sleep I think of the beaches we saw, the sand which made up those beaches and the sands of time. As Socrates said "Our lives are but specks of dust falling through the fingers of time. Like sands of the hourglass, so are the days of our lives." We have lost so many days to Covid lockdowns but  today we were able to explore again, to gaze and wonder and laugh, to be happy and to be free.   


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The Whyfors Of Our Impending Return Ren unnecessarily tries to justify their return to Northern Ireland. Sharon takes out Ren with a fiscal left hook. Is there any hope?
Sauntering Up To Dumfries It's a slow slow start to this year's Northern Irish adventure. There's no rush and not rushing is something Ren isn't very good at. On the other hand Sharon is so laid back she's horizontal.
Of Work And Holiday Fears In between working far too hard and the fear of middle aged spread Sharon manages to squeeze into her bike gear and change into holiday mode. It's time to try and forget work and enjoy the ride.
A Ferry, Some Mist And Strangers It's time to cross the vast ocean betwixt Scotland and Northern Ireland. What will the Irish weather hold in store and there's some strangers to be met.
Of Mist And Magic With little sleep and the prospect of a ferry Sharon is doing her best to keep calm and concentrate. It's a bit of a mixed kinda day for the motorcycling hobbit.
West Of The Causeway Exploring the coast west of Giant's Causeway turns out to be more interesting than Ren expected. It's all a question of attitude apparently.
So Are The Days Of Our Lives It seems maturity won't let today's less than ideal weather spoil Sharon's day exploring Northern Ireland's northern coastline.
Underwhelmed In The Sperrins It's time to explore some hills, maybe mountains in Northern Ireland. Thing is Ren's not sure they're up to the task in hand.
Dull Grey Day With A Dash Of Orange Sharon is exploring the hinterlands of The Republic Of Ireland. To be honest it appears she's entirely underwhelmed by it all. Oh well, it can't be all wonderful can it.
Captivating Coastlines And Countryside Culture Sharon and Ren are joined by Rob as they take on familiar ground, an easy day's ride in alluring surroundings. There's a little culture shock to round off the last evening.
A Challenging Day In Northern Ireland It's time to leave Northern Ireland but logistics, health and electricity are conspiring against The Dynamic Muppets.
Time To Go Home It's the final day and all that's left to do is ride home. It's also time for Ren to reflect on this excursion.

Reader's Comments

Upt'North ¹ said :-
Thanks Sharon, inspirational as ever.
Upt'North.
02/02/2022 17:14:20 UTC
Bogger said :-
Sharon who's that scruffy bloke that keeps photo bombing your picturesque images?

Bogger
03/02/2022 10:14:08 UTC
Ian Soady¹ said :-
Being significantly older than you, Sharon, I throughly agree with your thoughts:

"The aches and pains, the tiredness but it also comes with a host of benefits and being more content is one of those amazing gifts along with the loss of the need to prove oneself to anyone. I like myself more, well, on the inside. That younger body was far nicer haha but am I just calmer now and that feels good."

The only reservation I have is with the last few words as I'm increasingly in a state of impotent fury with the lies coming from our "prime minister". Not that they're anything new of course. £350 million a week for the NHS? Oh yes?
03/02/2022 11:27:35 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Chill Ian. It's just life, and I know, you know, that we know, you can tell when a politician lies because their lips move......I've reached an age where I can't watch the BBC news without shouting at the screen, I decided to read the "Spectator" for my news updates instead. I only shout at a magazine now which seems the better option.
Upt'North.
03/02/2022 17:15:20 UTC
Bogger said :-
Don't get me started on the BBC.

Bogger
04/02/2022 09:43:09 UTC
Upt'North ¹ said :-
Bogger, what do you think of the BEEB.
LO blummin L.
Upt'North.
04/02/2022 11:31:06 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
That "scruffy bloke" who is FEATURED in some of Sharon's images is the same brave heroic soul that brings you this fine and mighty website IN SPITE of the abuse he has to suffer. I've been insulted in far better places than this I tell ya.

As for the BBC. I see the left wing screaming "they're too right wing!" and equally the right wing moans "they're too left wing!" so at the risk of upsetting everyone, if they're distressing everyone equally they're doing a good job :)
04/02/2022 14:15:14 UTC

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