Saturday, 13 February 2016
Campbell College stands in about seventy acres, I imagine, off Belmont Road, Belfast.
My old pal Dangerfield (!) called me earlier in the day and offered to collect me.
A lively fire was blazing in the vestibule, where we met the President of the society, Bill McKelvey.
Having relieved myself of the overcoat, we made a beeline for the makeshift bar which was located in the central hall.
I rather enjoy these reunions, seeing old, familiar faces again.
I had a good chin-wag with Richard Sholdis, whose family once lived in the Mourne Mountains beside Spence's River.
I reminisced about my uncle's cottage, the well in the moor behind it, how we obtained water with a metal pail; and when the Sholdises arrived, how they let us use their outside tap for fresh water.
The good old days!
I was pally with his younger brother, David.
Eventually we all trooped in to the dining-hall, a large chamber with a lofty, vaulted ceiling.
Needless to say, the grub was good; the company, convivial.
Our guest speaker was Sir Ronnie Flanagan, GBE, QPM, Chief Constable of the Royal Ulster Constabulary from 1996 until its demise in 2001.
I met Sir Ronnie earlier in the evening and recounted an anecdote about Sir John Hermon, OBE, QPM, a predecessor of his in the RUC.
As a matter of fact, as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire (GBE), Sir Ronnie is the third most highly decorated person in Northern Ireland, afte the Duke of Abercorn, KG, and the Right Rev the Lord Eames, OM.