Sunday, 13 September 2009

Back Home

What a wonderful spell of weather we've been having. I have to say that I have made the most of it. I was working in the sunshine all day Wednesday, at Horse Island; and, since then, we've been staying at Portballintrae, one of the Causeway Coast's most popular resorts. For anyone who doesn't know, Portballintrae is a small village lying between Portrush and Bushmills in County Antrim.

On Thursday evening we ate at the Ramore Wine Bar, which is part of a complex of restaurants at Portrush harbour. I think we arrived too early because, as they say, the ambiance was lively with young families and their infants!

We motored into the fine town of Coleraine, County Londonderry, on Friday morning. I required a pair of sports in-soles for my old trainer shoes; and, thanks to Bishop's shoe shop, managed to buy the ideal pair of them for a most reasonable £4.99 (I have inserted them into the shoes already and they fit perfectly). That should save me forty or fifty pounds, which a new pair of Reebok trainers would have cost.

In the afternoon we basked in the warm sunshine in the back garden. Heavenly; and we sipped some chilled white wine, too. That evening we enjoyed a substantial bar snack in the lounge bar of the Causeway Hotel.

On Saturday, we went for a drive to Ballintoy Harbour (above) and, to my mind, this place is absolutely essential for taking guests and friends visiting Northern Ireland. Roark's Kitchen is still open for business, serving the customary home-made pies, tarts, sandwiches and other tempting dishes. We were tempted - as ever - but didn't partake since we were eating at Sweeney's later that evening. Sweeney's charged me extra for the chunky chips I had with my scampi, by the way; so the total price for scampi and chips there amounted to £14.50. What is the most you've ever paid for scampi and chips?

Incidentally, I spotted a conspicuous notice in the window of a restaurant in Bushmills - near the Diamond - which advised would-be diners that, due to circumstances beyond their control, tap water was unavailable! How mean - I shan't be frequenting their premises in a hurry.

We tidied up, packed the baby two-seater and motored back to Belfast at about eleven forty-five this morning. We had intended to have lunch at the splendid Bushmills Garden Centre (whose sister restaurant is at Donaghadee Garden Centre); however I continually forget that it doesn't open on Sundays till one o'clock, so we decided, reluctantly, to drive straight home.

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