20 years! Yes you are now permitted to exclaim “surely some mistake – sure you both look like spry young teenagers”…
Amazing to think that nearly half of those years have been spent as part of the Titanic Quarter community – enjoying watching the building site become a city, the vision become a reality, the strangers become a big extended family. And of course our baby Dock Cafe becoming a toddler, and then growing into a strapping thriving child!
Being part of a community and a family means that we get to share both the best of days, and also those times when life takes a tough turn.
On the theme of the best of days, Susan & I aren’t the only ones with weddings on the brain this month – I had the great pleasure of being involved in the wedding ceremonies of two of the best couples you could ever hope to meet!
Wedding One – Tuna-Man gets hitched!
Dock regular Tim holds the all-time record for the best-ever answer to the regular Dock Cafe question “So, what are doing today?” Spotting him tapping away on his laptop I innocently asked the question, only to be somewhat felled by the answer “Actually Chris, I’m monitoring tuna migration patterns in New Zealand”. At first I thought he was not-too-subtly asking me to go away and leave him in peace! – except that it turns out that Tim genuinely is a worldwide authority on tuna migration patterns. So, long before we knew his actual name, Tim was known only in Dock Cafe as ‘Tuna Man’.
Tim married the wonderful Steph on a beautiful day in Mount Stewart – and then, the next day the whole wedding party decamped to Dock Cafe (where else?!) for a chilled-out post-match Sunday!
Wedding Two – Sadam tie the knot!
Sally and Adam (or ‘Sadam’ to those of us who are in too much of a rush to use separate names for two people who are always together) have been part of the Dock community from the very beginning – they were part of the mad rush to get the cafe open for Eamonn Day, and amongst many other claims to fame, Adam created the Titanic Quarter Parsnip Trail (to commemorate The Dock’s most embarrassing incident EVER) and Sally painted the signs on the door of the Dock loo!
They tied the knot in Holywood before transporting us all to the Field Of Dreams – but just to keep the Dock Cafe connection – a few weeks beforehand, Sally’s hen party gathered at Dock Cafe to start their day!
So, best of times (and both weddings were the best of days), worst of times – very sad news for the Titanic Quarter community as Michael, one of the founder members of the Arc Residents Association and an unforgettable figure in the TQ family, passed away this month.
Michael was the guy who really broke the ice as the Arc residents started to get to know each other. One of those big larger-than-life characters with a zest for fun and an inability to feel shy or embarrassed, he helped us all to feel part of a big happy community.
Whether wielding cooking tongs at the ARC barbecue, asking awkward questions at the residents forum, presiding over late-night poker games at the Christmas party, or just greeting every neighbour at the door of the Mace with an “All right, babe!” or “Hey, dude!” – he’ll be missed.