Thursday, 31 July 2008

Lavender's blue ...

A little bit of lavender from my front garden - photographed last weekend, when we saw a bit of sunshine.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Hippy chic.

Very fashionably dressed backpacker outside the City Hall today.

.. but clouds got in my way

Dramatic sky over Belfast Lough at 7.30 this morning.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Coyles Bistro

After our visit to Mount Stewart we drove over to Bangor, Co. Down for a meal in one of our favourite pubs - Coyles. Once again, we were not disappointed - for mains we had rumpsteak with a topping of roquefort and walnut pesto served with garlic and olive oil mash and a side of sliced cabbage. dr em likes hers well done, while I prefer mine medium - they were perfect and mouth wateringly delicious. For dessert I had dark chocolate and orange truffle with cappuccino pana cotto and cherries while dr em settled for almond angel cake, with carmelised pineapple, mango, lime and coconut sorbet. They were 'to die for'. If you haven't yet paid a visit to Coyles take it from me you don't know what you're missing.
We're still in raptures over the excellent meal. Culinary orgasm!!

... in a beautful peagreen boat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,'
O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Pussy said to the Owl,
'You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?
'They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.

'Dear pig, are you
willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?'
Said the Piggy, 'I will.'
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

Today was such a beautiful day that we took ourselves down to Mount Stewart early for the jazz in the gardens - took a very pleasant picnic and chilled out. As well as we were able to chill out on such a hot afternoon.


I couldn't agree more.
What we don't need now is more bigotry and hatred, especially from Iris Robinson, wife of the first minister.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Love, Hate

Great T-shirt

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Protecting our future

One of the more attractive pickets outside the passport office yesterday, smiling for the television camera (not pictured).

Scottish Provident Institute, revisited

I posted a photo of the Scottish Provident Institute before and quoted the adornments as being 'two large sphinxes, four dolphins etc....' but I don't think that's a sphinx at all, I think it's a Harpy mainly because it is winged. I don't recall the sphinx having wings and the sphinx is also described as being a recumbent lion with a human head.

First cup of the day

A quiet relaxing moment with a nice cup of coffee before facing what the day in the office has to throw at you.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Summer Sunday - Cotton Court

The zany Mr Spin entertaining young and old alike at Cotton Court on Sunday 20th July 2008.

The moment when Mr Spin thought he might get arrested.

Where in the world?

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Friday, 18 July 2008

Town House of Old Stonehaven

... need I say more?

Flowers of Scotland

... of Stonehaven, to be precise (which is in Scotland). A nice dash of colour on a grey wall.

Stonehaven Folk Festival

I don't know the name of this group (or if they had a name) - they may have been a few musicians who got together to form a session. As you can see the Lions Club was the place to be - there were a couple of sessions further down the street but not as good as here.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Stonehaven Folk Festival - The Trybe

I saw the Trybe .....
.... and survived.

Sunday was such a good day that we found ourselves in Stonehaven (where the people are a lot more friendly) enjoying the music and the local (and not so local) brews. This band played an extremely stirring session outside the local Lions Club providing a great afternoon's entertainment. Enjoyed them so much I even forked out for their new CD - sounds great at full volume.

The Punch and Judy Show

Some of the kids at yesterday's Rose festival who were so obviously enjoying Mr Punch.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Robert Stewart - Spirit Grocer

No, that doesn't mean he's a spectre - it's a fancy term for publican, although originally he would have sold groceries as well as alcoholic beverages.

Though, I do wish other pubs and restaurants would follow his lead and request smokers to refrain from smoking within the vicinity of diners and non-smokers, thank you.

International Rose Festival


McCartney Rose
For all you rose enthusiasts here are a couple of roses to be found in the rose garden at Lady Dixon Park, where the International Rose Festival is held annually in July.
... and some of the judges who have the difficult task of judging the entries.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Aberdeen airport -

As mentioned, I have just returned from Aberdeen and just had time to grab a quick sandwich at the airport before the flight home. Well, the food was not as grim as that mentioned by blueboat on Belfast Daily Photo (the bread was fresh, the ham was smoked and the sandwiches were made up after we ordered them) but what tickled my fancy was the addition of a packet of crisps to the gastronomic creation, obviously intended to make it more appealing and not just another bland sandwich. Well, the sandwiches were fine and I HATE crisps with sandwiches so no top marks here, sorry!

The Bridge of Feugh

... that's pronounced fyook - and it's obviously a place where some of the locals make you feel really welcome. One simple request not to invade one's personal space surely would have sufficed?

More of the same.

The Granite City's Sandy Beach

I have just returned from a couple of days, having a wonderful time, visiting my daughter and grand-daughter in Aberdeen .... so here is the first of a couple of pics taken there.

A remnant of a bygone era - there was a time when this water pump would have worked and provided fresh water for kettles, billy cans and teapots to be heated atop a little primus stove. Sadly it's now in disrepair so you will either have to bring a thermos or traipse off to the nearest grotty little cafe - it's even further to a half decent cafe.
Ahhh, those were the days.

Friday, 11 July 2008

11th July - Woodvale Park

Willow chips, sustainability, and carbon neutral... not terms usually associated with an eleventh night bonfire.

But that's exactly what's involved in the so-called "community beacon", which will replace the traditional bonfire in the Woodvale area of Belfast this year.

It's also one option under consideration in Londonderry to make bonfires both safer and cleaner.

Stephanie Hunter is a community worker in the Caw area of the Waterside.

She recently took a group of local young people to Belfast to see the alternative bonfire at first hand.

"I think coming from this background, young people here feel kind of isolated anyway, so it was good for them to go and see how other communities are working towards changing their bonfire into a more community-friendly and environmentally-friendly event."

She said it was vital young people were included in the process.

"They're the ones who are out there and who are building the thing, so they need to have their say and be involved in the process.

"I think they had their eyes opened, and they're open to seeing alternatives to what they're currently involved in," she said.


DUP Councillor Drew Thompson said that while local people were actively considering alternatives to the traditional bonfire, it could be some time before the beacon caught on in Derry.

"It's always traditional for the Protestant community to have bonfires on the 11th night, and this would appear to be a smaller, more controlled type of bonfire than usual.

"The beacon in Woodvale appears to have a festival type atmosphere and a full programme along with it, which isn't envisaged in our thinking at the moment," he said. BBC:

What is also traditional is property and people being endangered by the huge bonfires and the attacks on the fire service when called to deal with situations that have got out of control. So, yes Mr Thompson let's keep building bigger and bigger bonfires and let's not give consideration to anybody or anything but another outdated tradition.

This is the Woodvale beacon - admittedly it's very small and probably will burn itself out after a few minutes.

Flash Harry (Queen tribute band) who were part of the evening's entertainment at Woodvale Park.

Part of the huge crowd (c: who were entertained by Flash Harry.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Happy 21st Birthday

Another photo I couldn't resist taking - a helpless young female but with such a sunny smile. Happy 21st.

Cameras at dawn

Two professional photographers looking as if they are about to fight a duel. Well, perhaps they are ... may the best picture win! I think I might have the edge - two photographers with one camera.

A quiet corner

............. almost.
Blog Brother is watching!!!
Isn't it wonderful to be young and in love and totally oblivious of the world around you.

Monday, 7 July 2008

All shopped out

... those tiles must be really cool and soothing on tired, worn out feet.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Tonic Cinema

While in Groomsport we visited the Lock & Quay and there, on a shelf, sat a cardboard model of the old Tonic Cinema. Built in 1936, the Tonic, at the time, was the largest Cinema in Ireland with 2,001 seats. Sadly it was demolished in 1992 due to fire.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Groomsport - 4th of July

Some of the spectators at the Independence Day celebrations in Groomsport - deck chairs kindly provided by the local council.

Independence Day in Groomsport

Groomsport has been celebrating 4th of July for a few years now with the Eagle Wing Festival but this year the festival has been rescheduled for 6th September and instead we had an event under the 'Lets Go' banner ...

'Tracey and the Barroom Buddies' who opened the event. This Ballymena group have been together for 15 years, and are popular for their tributes to old country legends like Tammy Wynette and Johnny Cash and new country stars including Shania Twain and Randy Travis.

Also appearing were 'Hugo Duncan and his band' and 'The Illegals'.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Unlocking the secret of pure ice cream indulgence

Her: No, you can't have a bite of my lolly!
Him: I don't want your silly auld lolly, anyway!!

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

A canto of cranes - reprise

Those cranes again but with the 'thing with the ring' looking as if she is trying to train them to jump through the hoop or conducting them in an industrial symphony.
And as the cranes go chanting forth their lays,
Making in air a long line of themselves,
So saw I coming, uttering lamentations,
Shadows borne onward by the aforesaid stress.

The fountain of youth