Well that was just awesome! So, so proud of my wee city this weekend…
The Maritime Festival just keeps getting bigger, busier, brillianter every year. Thousands of people, sun drenched in the Costa Del Belfast heatwave, descended on the Titanic Quarter for 3 days packed full of ships, street performers, markets, music, art, activities, tours, tasty food and a joyful sense of a big bustling city that knows how to have fun!
Multi-tasking madly for a few days, I got to see Dock Market fill the ARC with life and colour, Dock Cafe bursting to the seams with chillaxing coffee-drinkers, Wee Tram tours with not a seat to spare, and Seafarers Walking Tours on the slipways where we drank up Belfast’s rich history as well as the glorious sunshine. (And yes, like everyone else in Belfast, I now have a beautiful farmers tan to show for it!)
As many people kept asking throughout the weekend – did we ever think we’d see days like this?
And not just locals enjoying themselves – have you seen the Dock’s ‘Pin Where You Come From’ map recently? It got so full of push-pins that there was no room left for anybody to add another (unless they came from Outer Siberia or darkest Peru) – so we’ve started all over again with an even more massive map! It’s only been up 3 days and it’s filling up already!
(And the story of putting the map on the wall is one of those Pure Dock stories – the map came in 4 separate sections which needed to be wallpapered to the wall – a Dock Cafe customer called Anthony overheard us worrying about our lack of wallpapering expertise and offered to do the entire job himself as he was a decorator on his holidays!)
And in the midst of all this joy – one note of sorrow in the story of the Dock. One of our founder members, Margaret Ferguson, passed away last week. Margaret was a well-known, well-loved and massively influential figure in East Belfast Mission and throughout the city – but to us in the Dock, she will always be one of those handful of crazy people who sat around in Gordon’s living room back in the early days, dreaming of a church without walls and a cafe without a till! She will be greatly missed.