I have just come from the magnificent new City Hall being built in Donegall Square, Belfast.
The old Linen Hall has been razed to the ground and the new edifice is taking shape very nicely indeed.
The coronation of our new King, Edward VII, has taken place. Old Queen Victoria rests in peace.
I've taken a Hansom cab to an up-and-coming area near Belfast known as Strandtown.
I'm visiting the Ewarts at their fine home, Glenmachan.
The cab driver is taking me via a semi-circular road to a junction with Cairnburn Road, and I alight there in order that I may stroll the rest of the way.
These country roads are narrow: another cab passed us as it turned up the drive of Norwood Tower, the Hendersons' rambling Tudor-Revival mansion, and my cab-driver had to slow right down to avoid it!
Norwood Tower has two gate-lodges, each about a quarter of a mile apart.
The first lodge we passed on this circular road was a little beyond the entrance to Clonaver House, the Hendersons' former dower house, which now belongs to James Girdwood; while the second lodge was almost opposite Ardvarna House.
The Henderson grounds are extensive and extend to the top of Circular Road.
It is said that they own fifty acres.
The gate lodges are both battlemented, while the house, set in a landscaped park, is dominated by a lofty, castellated tower.
Passing Norwood, I notice a gardener working in the grounds with a scythe; and a paddock with a number of horses grazing.
On the left-hand side of the road, the first gate-lodge belongs to Ardnagreena House, home to the solicitor, Charles Black; and further along, we pass Ballymisert House's gate lodge.
Ballymisert, I am told, belongs to the tea merchant, Masterson.
My cab reaches the top of the hill, and we veer left as we pass yet another gate lodge for Garranard House which belongs to William Patterson, who is the proprietor of a flourishing ironmongery business.
At last I have arrived at the junction with Cairnburn Road. I pay the cabbie a few shillings - daylight robbery! - and begin my stroll.
There are fields to the right; Glenfurlough House to the left, where James Taylor, the linen merchant, lives.
A few minutes' walk further along, I pass the red-brick labourers' cottages which belong to Glenfurlough.
These workers' cottages are beside a steep decline, where there is a pretty glen.
I cross the old bridge, surrounded by woodland and the song of birds.
From here the lane ascends and cuts through more woodland.
At the top of the road, there is a cross-roads, where the old Holywood Road traverses Cairnburn Road.
I pause and observe: the woodland and the roads are so narrow with no traffic at all, except one solitary horse and cart.
I catch a glimpse of some workers' cottages on the other side of the Holywood Road.
Immediately ahead is my destination: Glenmachan, seat of my friends, the Ewarts.
First published in December, 2009.