Bit of a compound post ...
Lisburn City Council have been running a monthly Farmer's Market up in Castle Gardens for the best part of a year now. Once a month, a white marquee is erected, small traders sell their produce, and a donkey and cart give people rides around the gardens.
It's a cold, breezy spot - but other than the cramped Lisburn Square, it's probably the only space Lisburn has to host it. To be honest, there aren't many stalls selling farm produce. From memory, this morning's traders seemed to offer tempting potato farls, sweets, jewellery, and of course, Bean and Gone's fine coffee (and tea). After the ructions earlier in the year, and the market organiser's determination that there was only room for one stall of each kind, it was a little surprising to see a second coffee stall set up at the tent's entrance.
The great thing today was that there were activities for children on offer.
So Littl'un and I got to make a paper boat, decorate it, and then float it in the fountain.
Fifteen minutes later - after a cup of tea and an impromptu Open Coffee Lisburn meet up - the wee purple boat was still bobbing along, being blown by the breeze across the water.
I'll bet that next month there will be a few more fire extinguishers dotted around the marquee after this morning's fiery escapades. Gas rings can go wrong! And the fire brigade turned up afterwards to check all was okay. (Ironic that the NI Fire Brigade headquarters is only a hundred yards down the road from the market?)
I've twice rung the estate agent that manages the house we're renting to ask to extend the lease. First time he forgot to ask the owners! I called in the office this morning to ask if there was any progress ... but he still hadn't made contact with them. So he called the owners there and then, and inside thirty seconds had the positive answer we'd been waiting to hear for a month. Not much use employing an agent to rent out your house when they don't pass on messages.
Finally out to Sainsburys at Sprucefield. Innocent's Great Knit has extended this year from bobble hats on bottles of smoothies to big hats and wraparound scarves for their tubs. A fine festive tradition.