Elvis Presley and a Vauxhall Viva

I’ve had a number of things in my dreams this morning that I hardly ever think about during my waking hours. First I was driving Mr and Mrs Ogino and their daughter Chihiro around the suburbs of Belfast in a Vauxhall Viva. Now, Chihiro is the protagonist in “Spirited Away” and Mr Ogino has a brand new, top-of-the-range Audi so I can’t imagine what he and his family would be doing riding around in a clanky old car that’s nearly forty years old.

Later on, as I was sitting on the stairs, Elvis Presley was practising his singing in the hall. I didn’t know what song it was but I think it was one of his hits from his latter years.

So, Mr Ogino and family and Mr Presley, welcome to my subconscious.


On July 25th I took full advantage of the first decent weather we’ve had since who knows when and journeyed up to Islandmagee, a peninsula off the coast of County Antrim.

The Second Presbyterian Church, Mullaghboy, Islandmagee

Near the north end of the peninsula is the Second Presbyterian Church, Islandmagee at Mullaghboy.

Chapter 1 cafe

And I didn’t expect to find a fully functioning cafe this far up the peninsula. This is the inside of Chapter 1, just a stone’s throw from the church.

Chapter 1 cafe

And here is the exterior view of the cafe

What I love most about remote places like this is the experience of walking about footloose and fancy free, all on my own… and not having to dodge cars every two minutes as you do on a lot of country roads. It’s especially rewarding on a bright summer’s day. Even on a gloomy, misty day a walk around the peninsula can really lift my spirits. With open fields on one side and the open sea on the other I feel totally free of all the everyday things that tie me down.

The open sea from Gobbins Road, nothing but sea between here and Scotland.

The last part of my journey around Islandmagee was the bus ride from Mullaghboy back to Whitehead and this took me right up to Ballylumford, at the very end of the peninsula, just across the sea from Larne.

Whitehead and Islandmagee were two places I visited frequently between 1989 and 1991 before I migrated to London and, for some reason or another, I only ever got halfway from Whitehead to Portmuck and Ballylumford before I got tired or it got too late in the day. With my trip up the full length of the peninsula on July 25th I have achieved something I’ve wanted to achieve for more than half my life: to walk or ride up from Whitehead all the way up to the northernmost tip of Islandmagee.

I think I’ll conquer the Cooley Peninsula next.