we got up at 7 am and drove to Birmingham airport. The group has split in half for the next few days. Eight of us are travelling to Belfast and Manchester to visit Ikon and Sanctus. I was worried about overweight bags, but fortunately the weight for the group was averaged! the weather is warm and humid.
we're staying in apartments for 2 nights near the centre of Belfast, and I'm sharing the apartment with ray gorrmann from melbourne. the room from the window is row upon row of two story terrace houses. at least the green hills in the background give a sense of something other than city. here's a dodgy fake panorama I made quickly...
we went out for lunch walking through the botanic gardens, past union theological college to a great little cafe called "common ground" run by one of the churches as an act of hospitality and justice. excellent food. we were then free to wander for a bit and I got lost on the way back to the apartment...
in the afternoon we met with pete rollins, founder of the Ikon community and heard some of his story, the genesis of the community, its 'philosophy' and some of what it does (see next post) then dinner at an Italian cafe and out to the pub with some of the Ikon folks. the pub was busy and hot and impossible to hear conversations (for me at least). for most of the evening there were only two ikon people and eight of us, making conversation even more difficult. some more ikon folk turned up later, and we chatted at but, but our carload headed back a bit after 10 with sarah feeling crook.
this morning some folk headed to breakfast with one of the ikon folk while I wandered the city - visited St Anne's cathedral, the Writer's Circle, a photo gallery, the Grand Opera House, tried to visit a multimedia gallery but it was closed, then down to the Markets. The City Hall had a photo display of a project called 1000 families - I ended up buying the book and getting it signed by the author, Uwe Ommer.
some clothes washing this afternoon.
in the evening we had dinner with pete rollins and another member of ikon and two americans who somehow got connected with us. a late night, good conversation, and red wines from several continents. i have to say too that proper stilton cheese is very close to heaven...I'll write about Ikon next post. tomorrow we fly to manchester to visit the sanctus community.