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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Personal -- Belfast views

Roast Coffee House

Randi has been posting some Belfast pics to mark my last week of living on this side of the pond. Using my phonecam, I have been taking some of my own and thought it time to post a few here. This is a shot of "Roast" -- the coffee shop where I have spent many hours over the past two years both alone and with my closest friends. There have been other places to sit and chat over coffee -- Renoirs, Clements, and (more recently) Common Grounds, all located around the Queen's University campus. But Roast has been rather special for me for a number of reasons.

Of course, there is location. Nothing quite like just getting up in the morning and heading out for a cup of coffee in some cushy chairs or to bask in the infrequent sunlight. And then there are the late night outings for hot chocolate, usually with friend Niaz. On weekends friend Ciarán would sometimes sit around chatting or reading the paper at Roast. I think most of our co-authored work was spawned at Roast. Generally nice place for lounging about and thinking out loud.

Then there are the memories. When I first came to Belfast I spent many hours at Roast with Masood Kahn, a judge and Commonwealth Fellow from Pakistan who introduced me to Cricket (I still don't get it) and Niaz. His time here was all too short, but I regard it as a friendship for life.

Then there is Colm, the former owner of Roast who I still see about town. An entrepreneur whose very presence in a room seems to set off energy fields -- I keep thinking of the "Tasmanian devil" cartoon character that was mostly a whirlwind. For all the hours of attempted conversation, I don't think I have understood more than a few sentences of what he has said -- but I do know that this is one of the more treasured acquaintances of my stay in Belfast.

More on Belfast and friendships to come....

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