It was going to be such a lovely weekend! The Swan Whisperer's niece was getting married on Valentine's Day, and her father (one of the SW's three younger brothers) turned 60 on the Monday, so there was a massive family celebration all weekend. Then we were going to visit the Titanic exhibition in Belfast before meeting a friend for lunch and our flight home on Tuesday afternoon.
It started so well. We flew from London City, which we had not done before, and although the flight was very slightly late, we were able to pick up the hire car and drive to the b&b we had booked in Portrush. The satnav took us slightly round the houses, but not unpleasantly so, and we arrived about 15 minutes before the SW's youngest brother whose wife, sadly, had felt too unwell to join us at the weekend. Once he arrived, we went out for dinner - I'd done some research, and found a restaurant that sounded, and proved to be, very nice.
Sadly, in the small hours of the morning what I'd thought to be merely digestive discomfort from having eaten rather too much turned into something rather more ominous, and I was in for a bout of the gastric flu that's going round. There was to be no wedding for me - I was lying in bed wondering how to keep down a sip of water when the vows were being exchanged! The SW went, of course, and there were plenty of pictures on Facebook, but so not the same.....
I was still in bed on Sunday, wondering whether I'd ever be able to eat anything again. My daughter texted me to say her husband had now gone down with it and they'd had a nightmare journey home. The SW spent the afternoon with his family, and they all seem to have had a pleasant, fairly quiet day. But on Monday morning it was his turn to feel rotten, and although he took me to the party for his brother, he discovered the hard way that he had reached the stage of not being able to keep fluids down.... fortunately, once this had happened he felt a bit better, and was able to sit and watch the rest of us eat with equanimity. I didn't eat more than a bite or two, but enjoyed seeing my in-laws and catching up with their news.
The people at the b&b were very kind and let him sleep in his youngest brother's still unmade-up room (youngest brother having moved on by then), and he felt much better in the morning. As did I, although neither of us had much energy. I enjoyed a boiled egg with my breakfast, but he stuck with toast. We were told we didn't at all have to leave at 11:00, but to stay on as long as we liked. We decided, though, that the Titanic would be pushing it, and we probably ought not to go into public more than we could help, anyway, so we decided to drive to the airport along the causeway coastal route, which is a scenic route, and absolutely beautiful. We stopped in Cushendun and had a short walk exploring the minuscule harbour and wondering where a track that went under a cliff went to. One could, if one had had keys to the gates, obviously drive through, although from and to where was unclear.
Once you "turn the corner" around the north-east corner of the island, the Irish sea is a lot less rough than the Atlantic! The road quite literally follows the seashore for miles, through little town after little town, mostly deserted in mid-February (I should not care to do this drive in mid-July!) down to Larne. We didn't go into Larne, as you can never see anything at ports, they are always disappointing because of the security. The SW said he'd never been to Carrickfergus, which is the next town on from Larne, so we went there (it was nothing very special, but quite pretty) and then it was straight past Belfast and up to the big Tesco near the airport to fill up with petrol before returning the hire car.
We had about an hour to wait for our flight home, rather annoyed at having to go home just as we felt better! And I had bought a new dress specially for the wedding..... fortunately there is another family party in a few weeks, and I can wear it there. But so not the weekend we'd planned!