This was sunrise over East Antrim yesterday morning as we left for our respective schools. Glorious. Stunning. Colour-filled light that was coming into our world. The word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.
This was lunch with a good friend today. It's exam week in our establishment which means half-days and a brief return to the halcyon days of having time to see people! That pate, folks; that pate is not the Giant's Causeway. That pate is worth tasting and it's worth coming to taste! Duck and orange, and the jelly on top is not a fat-based jelly, as Abel the French Moroccan owner-chef was at pains to tell us. Oh no, that jelly is proper fruit juice jelly. With slices of real oranges floating in its own nectar. La Table in Merville Garden Village, and here it is. Shame you can't hear the jazz or make out the legendary patisseries on the counter. That seat's yours...
And here we come to the most exciting one of all. This is Mags with her coffee buddy of Wednesday nights at Hookery. This is Darling Ricky. Retired when his Parkinson's became intrusive. Took up painting to fill his time, and donated anything he made to the Leprosy Mission with whom he and a small team from his church travel to the village of Hombolo, near Samaria, in Tanzania every Autumn.
Tonight his first city-centre exhibition opened, in the prestigious Engine Room no less. So here I am high on a night out of the house and one glass of wine and the sheer joy of seeing Richard Darling's work hung professionally on stark white walls instead of stepping over them to get to his sofa. His pictures show the rolling hills and fields of Northern Ireland; his homes and churches lean quirkily and protectively over the figures whose intricate stories he paints. His tight terrace houses display back yards of washing as if ceilings have been lifted from these private lives and we peek in. Through it all soars such a gentle love of humanity that it does take your breath away. Worth seeing, and worth coming to see!