Treats for a birthday - mine today! The village has a long history - the harbour wall allegedly dates back to the vikings, the Duke of Schomberg landed 10 thousand troops here in 1689, Titanic sailed past in 1912... and it's one of my favourite places as the day draws to an end. Not many little yachts in the water by late November.... and not too many visitors to the historic cottages on the left. The children's paddling pool is empty and the visitors over the winter months are mainly dog walkers.
To Belfast next, and the ornate interior of a very nice restaurant. With a gift still in my grasp since last November, I treated my parents to a visit to The Merchant. It's an old bank, and a favourite haunt for people in search of a deliciously posh afternoon tea... we like to break the mould, so had lunch instead and oh, it was so good.
Not the place for a discreet outing though - we knew the family at the table right behind us and the couple at the table beside - great to catch up with old friends. Belfast's like that - a small world where it's a rare day when you don't meet someone you know.
Birthdays demand a little pushing out of boats I think. Tea at home with the family and a friend.... the perfect end to the start of another year.