Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Morning at the Museum

I've been seeking a black silk tie with minuscule scattered white spots for some time now. These sorts of ties were in evidence last night on the telly, the actors playing Churchill and several members of his war Cabinet sporting similar ones; though I've been looking out for one since long before that.

I finally found one at T M Lewin's shop in Howard Street, Belfast.

Thence I motored in a southerly direction, up Bedford Street, Dublin Road and University Road to my destination, the Ulster Museum.

Readers from Northern Ireland shall know that the Museum has been closed for several years due to major refurbishment.

On this occasion, I stayed for about an hour, sufficient time to get a flavour of the new Museum. It must be said that its transformation is a great improvement, despite my being slightly disappointed that there were no "old master" paintings on display - and there shan't be for another three months.

I viewed some of the most notable items on display, viz. the insignia of the Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick which, in this case, once belonged to the 9th Earl of Shaftesbury; and the Toilet Service commissioned for the 19th Earl of Kildare (whose son became the 1st Duke of Leinster). Doubtless the newly-created Duke would have commissioned a new toilet service, as befitted His Grace's rank, with a ducal coronet on the silverware.

Sadly the mantle (below) and sash riband of the Order were not on display, though they can be seen on my blog!

The taxidermic bird collection is very good indeed.

I lunched at the new Girona Restaurant on the ground floor. To my mind it is more akin to a self-service café; though I am sure it compares well with its peers in many other provincial museums. Simply do not have high expectations and you shan't be terribly disappointed.

There was a short queue today at midday, so I waited for about ten minutes. The audible "pop music" being played did not agree with my ears! The staff all seem to be mostly anxious to please and reasonably diligent. I gave my order at the counter: breast of chicken, with small "roast" potatoes, carrot and turnip batons and some kind of sauce. I also ordered the citrus tart with double cream; with a pot of tea.

I told the cashier that I had ordered the citrus tart, which the chef advised he'd bring to my table later. The bill came to £8.70. Bearing in mind that the chicken was £7.50, I suspect that they omitted to charge me for the pudding which was, incidentally, quite good.

The chicken meal was perfectly acceptable. The potatoes were certainly in their "jackets", though didn't seem roasted to me. I'd get a similar result if I boiled them or cooked them in a microwave oven. The chicken breast was large, the number of little potatoes generous.

My main gripe was the temperature of the meal. By the time I sat down to eat it, it was lukewarm; and half-way through, it became cool. Believe me, I am not fussy about piping-hot food, so heaven knows what a fuss-pot would have done - taken it back for a "blitzing" in the microwave, presumably.

They had a very good display of scones, muffins and pastries, by the way.

I expect I'll revisit the Museum in three months' time, when the "old master" painting collection returns.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim
Good to see looking as pretty as ever!!
Remember BHS good old craig handshake to kill!
So Lord F.....
Regards G.... Q ?

Timothy Belmont said...

The years have not been unkind to me, G.... Q!

Now that you mention it, Mr Craig did have a "firm" hand-shake.

Recall his renditions at the piano during morning Service between two class-rooms?

Anonymous said...

manys a time I had to stand there reading the lesson
G.... Q

The Fat Builder said...

There's no shame in asking to have your food reheated in a microwave - you're paying enough for it

Jenny said...

Don't wait for the 'old Masters' (some of which weren't terribly old, I seem to remember) - go back and give Sean Scully another try!

Timothy Belmont said...

Hi Jenny,

Seemingly the museum is only able to show a tiny percentage of its exhibits, even with the larger space.

I hope your lunch, when you dine there, is hotter than mine was!


fattakin said...

Tim, I'm a local reader of your blog but cant comment as the comments are blocked in work where i do most of my surfing! I get TM Lewis vouchers all the time through work (10% off etc) so let me know next time you shop there! Tried to find an email address for you but you don't seem to advertise one.

Timothy Belmont said...


Many thanks for that. You can contact me at the "contact me" link to the left.