A Popular President

President Bill Clinton, Belfast

Walking on Botanic Avenue on Saturday past I found I had joined a crowd of people outside the No Alibis Bookstore. I’d been looking at a sports car on the other side of the street and hadn’t been aware of the crowd until I was surrounded by people. Thinking it must be a book signing I asked some girls what was happening, then I noticed the Secret Service guys standing around trying to look comfortable in casual clothes. “Bill Clinton is in the bookshop” the girls said – and he was.

When President Clinton (do we still call him President?) emerged from the shop he effortlessly engaged with people in the crowd, striking up conversations and exchanging pleasantries. Strolling along the street, he continued to interact with people, even pausing to take selfies when asked and giving time to anyone who approached him. It was evident that he was well-liked by the local people, and he appeared at ease, relishing the laid-back atmosphere and warm reception. He continued in this way talking happily to people, until the crowd thinned and he was able to move on.

When I drove into town that morning I didn’t expect to see a former President walking casually about on Botanic Avenue. I told my wife and she asked me if I’d spoken to him. I hadn’t – I’d been too busy taking photographs!

President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast
President Bill Clinton, Belfast

Riders in Red

Riders in Red, Donegall Quay, Belfast
Donegall Quay, Belfast

Spotted on Donegall Quay some time ago, travelling towards the AC Hotel and Clarendon Dock.

Mods and Sods

Mods and Sods Scooter Club Easter Egg Run
The Mods and Sods arrive at Custom House Square

This photograph is of scooter riders gathering in Custom House Square for the 25th Anniversary of The Belfast Easter Egg Scooter Run in aid of The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children. Organised by the Mods and Sods Scooter Club, this is a yearly event with each participant bringing at least one Easter Egg which they deliver to the hospital.

This year the riders couldn’t deliver the eggs because of visitor restrictions at the hospital so staff organised collection ( You can just see the van in the background).

The scooter run consisted of a ten mile spin around Greater Belfast, returning to Custom House Square.

There is a collection and an evening function with proceeds going to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Charity scooter runs don’t organise themselves and scooters don’t ride ten miles around Belfast on a busy Saturday afternoon by themselves. These events always take a lot more organising and effort than most people realise and let’s be honest, you could just spend the afternoon in the pub watching football.

The effort to aid ill children is an exceptionally noble endeavour and the Mods and Sods Scooter Club deserve a sincere and heartfelt expression of gratitude from all of us.

Bangor by the Sea

Ballyholme, Bangor

Ballyholme Bay, Bangor, is known for its sandy beach and promenade. It’s a popular destination for dog walkers, joggers and people just out for a stroll. The usually calm water is a popular spot for water sports enthusiasts, particularly for windsurfing and sailing.

The photograph above was taken with an iPhone 8, which I think is about five years old. I’ve reduced the highlights slightly in Lightroom but that’s all.

Winter Palm House

Palm House, Botanic Gardens (Exterior)

Palm House, Botanic Gardens (Interior)

The Palm House, Botanic Gardens, Belfast. The Gardens were established in 1828 and the Palm House completed in 1840. The dome was added in 1852.

In Spring the gardens will explode in colour.

Black Santa

Black Santa, Christmas 2022

Black Santa made his first appearance at Christmas 1976 when Dean Sammy Crooks sat out in front of Belfast Cathedral collecting money for local charities. He was dubbed Black Santa by the local media as he wore an Anglican clerical cloak to protect him from the cold and rain.

The tradition has been continued down the years and the current Dean, Very Rev. Stephen Forde stands outside the Cathedral in the lead up to Christmas in 2022.

Music provided by Laganvale Band.

Laganvale Band

Rain in Belfast

Duke of York, Commercial Court, Belfast
Duke of York, Commercial Court, Belfast

There’s Only Seven Types of Rain in Belfast – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday …. says the neon sign at The Duke of York Bar in Commercial Court. It’s not as bad as that but and on a chilly wet November evening it can feel like it is.

The difficulty is capturing surprise on film

Women Demand Better rally, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The title is a quote from F. Murray Abraham.

This image is from a Women Demand Better protest rally in Belfast on 29 October. Everyone seemed in good spirits although it was one of those miserable rain all day days with rain interspersed with periods of light drizzle. The days you don’t realise how wet you got until you get back to the car or go in for a cup of coffee and find you’re sitting in a pool of water.