Let’s start the Northern Ireland posts, then. If you don’t like the foreign travel blogging, best come back here in July sometime.

We were woke from our slumbers onboard the lovely Stena Edda at 06:00, dumped Matt and Emma at the railway station so they could tick Dublin (kids, huh ?) and set off to do the tricky southern GBG pubs.

The Norn Iron GBG pubs, even the Spoons, don’t open for beer till 11:30 for inexplicable reasons. I believe that’s the reason so many Irish left for England in the last century.

20 minutes south of Belfast, Hillsborough houses the Royal Family’s official residence here, and has a touch of Sandringham about it, a refined place you go for a short walk and a long coffee and cake.

I loved it, even if The Hillside had just lost its longstanding GBG place for the apparent crime of NOT SERVING REAL ALE.

Such a fuss over technicalities. I thought I’d best visit when it opened at lunchtime, just in case it reinstalled handpumps and was reinstated to the Guide later.

While Mrs RM did a conference call from the campervan, I did the trad cafe.

Note the menu at Out of Habit;

Not just the carb overload in the Ulster Fry, but the sandwich with coca cola in it.

Somehow I resisted the 3,572 calorie Large Fry, but the smell of freshly baked blueberry and chocolate scones was too much.

Honestly, sensational (NB&CSSS 4.5), and Mrs RM and this chap thought so too.

A cheery chap talked weather, promisingsome wee rain later (it didn’t), and a delightful waitress gave me an improbably large amount of coins from my fiver (“there’s your wee change“). Everything is “wee” here.

We almost walked off that scone in Hillsborough Country Park, a delightful place packed with sculptures and fit trails and ducks.

Of course, it helps that the sun shines on the righteous, and we’d brought blue skies with us over the sea.

Sadly, Alexander B. de Pfeffel Johnson was to arrive the day we left, and no doubt the weather would change for the worse (ooh, topical !).


  1. That Penfold postbox is probably no more genuine than the average Bass mirror.
    About a hundred replicas were made at the end of the 1980s,


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