Purple floor length coat with tartan trim. Avoca— made in Ireland. Nine pounds. Just reduced. War on Want charity shop, open today so people can donate what they didn’t want for Christmas. The tag says Small. It isn’t. Good. The Royal Ulster Academy exhibition. The mummy who used to scare me with her coconut hair and kindling fingers is no longer the only attraction at the museum. Irish artists now dare to use colours beyond the dull, wet, damp end of the palette. The painting I want, crooked houses and an oncoming storm in vivid blues and orange, is not for sale. Sausage soda for breakfast, cornflake and golden syrup tray bake to fill a wee gap, eat an apple to show willing later. Cocktails at Rita’s–shantung lampshades, paper parasols and velvet armchairs. A bucket of Bathtub gin in a building dark and derelict for years, the dead space between the most bombed hotel in the world and the BBC, where I used to work, when young. Archana curry (sauces better than the US, but not as good as Yorkshire.) Home for Port and Christmas Cake and a bottle cap of cherry linctus for my poor bad chest. A walk at Mount Stewart and a tour of the house where Lady Rose still lives. We want her stuff. And her view of the Lough. Castlereagh, (a foreign secretary I learned about at school), lived here. Stubbs painted somebody’s horse. They have dessert dishes to die for. B and F my BFF make Chinese food– garlic,ginger and chili in perfect proportion. Double wok action. Awristing. I read John Sergeant’s autobiography and watch the history of Graham Norton. They play cards and bicker and kiss. On Dec 31 we go to bed before midnight. Belfast. It is bliss.
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