Relationships fail, falter and sometimes blissfully gel.

A new website, BillyDo has been launched to help find the perfect partner.

BillyDo is for those who like sending and receiving  love letters. The site is expertly designed to help the subscriber compose that heart-winning letter. Letter templates and poetry suggestions make wooing fun and secure.

Recipients and senders are matched after their personality choices have been verified. End to end encryption ensures complete discretion and security.

Ulster fans, where were you?

I am paying nearly £100 every month for cable TV, phone and Internet – that’s without Sky Sports. So I headed for the pub to watch Ulster vs Glasgow because Sky were the only people broadcasting the match.

That’s when I discovered they had closed the King’s Head for renovations. Luckily I was in a taxi and moved on to the Bot. The game was on in the front bar with no sound. I asked the bar staff to turn up the volume. After fiddling about with the channels and setting the main bar’s TV to the GAA football for a customer who came in after me, we finally had sound. It was so low I moved closer and craned my neck to see the TV.

I was the only person interested in the game. Where were all the Ulster fans? Were they put off by the less than friendly service in the Bot? Maybe they went elsewhere for service with a smile. The Pavilion bar is close to the Ulster rugby ground and has a great post match atmosphere. Cutters Wharf and Lavery’s would normally have more than a few Ulster fans in to watch the games.

The Bot used to be a very popular bar with students. It was where I first drank a hot whisky in a bar. A great drink on a cold day and a roaring open fire added to the welcome. On a recent trip to Glasgow, a woman behind the bar put on her best sarcastic performance to tell me that they didn’t have the recipe for a hot whisky, as she poured boiling water into her mug of tea.

The Bot might not be in business too long if they don’t offer a welcome to their dwindling customers. It might be worth getting Sky Sports if I have to endure poor bar service. £4 a pint in gloom or three pints for £5 from the supermarket to drink in your own living room with self-service catering only a kitchen away.

Quantum Stuff

The name Heisenberg may grab your attention either as a devotee of the cult classic TV series Breaking Bad, or because of your interest in quantum physics.

heisenberg peter-finch-in-network

I’m hoping it’s the former because my knowledge of quantum physics is very sketchy. Bryan Cranston was brilliant in the role as Science teacher turned drug dealer.

His portrayal of a man on the brink of disaster making bizarre life choices was very convincing. He is now cast as the news Anchor in the National Theatre’s stage production of Network.

Go to your window, stick your head out and shout “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this any more!” It’s a classic line from the film Network that starred Peter Finch.

In this crazy, messed up world if you’re not mad as hell, you’re not paying attention.

If you were looking for an explanation of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle try this link.

John Aubrey


An English biographer and philosopher of the 17th century, his work was largely undiscovered until the 1800s. A new biography by Ruth Scurr, John Aubrey: My Own Life written in ‘his own hand’ is getting good reviews.

Here is a taste…Aubrey, a self-effacing, modest man, was a brilliant oral historian, who treasured the minutiae of everyday life and took care to exclude himself from his biographical research. Scurr says, “he knew he was inventing the modern genre of biography”, and his obsession with what he took to be the truth makes him a very modern figure. He said he was after “the naked and plaine trueth, which is here exposed so bare, that the very pudenda are not covered, and affords many passages that would raise a blush in a young virgin’s cheeke”. He was sometimes criticised for being “too minute” (trivial), but Aubrey’s answer was that “a hundred yeare hence that minutenesse will be gratefull.” He was a man who trusted in posterity – and thus posterity rewards him.

Pen portraits of famous Englishmen told in an irreverent style sounds interesting. I have ordered Ruth Scurr’s book from the Guardian.

What Freedom

Freedom is a noble ambition for many and a struggle against oppression for some. In Western liberal democracies we cherish the notion that our freedoms are protected. But how vulnerable are they in today’s volatile  economic battleground?

The United Nations and NATO were established to end conflict and bring nations together to resolve conflict. However, as we have seen in Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan, Turkey and numerous conflicts around the world, military power is still favoured over international diplomacy and negotiation.

Here in Belfast the peace process has been largely successful. Some dissident groups and paramilitary organisations continue to live in the past, but disagreement is resolved politically, not by force of arms.

The separate communities of nationalists and unionists are still suspicious of each other, and their political representatives play the ‘them and us’ game. Sinn Fein are accused of using the Equality agenda to “get the bastards”, the DUP refuses to back an Irish Language Act, and has provided the controversy over a green energy scheme prompting another election in less than a year.

The peace dividend here not only promotes trade and encourages investment, but allows young people the freedom to associate with diverse communities of people. Gay rights, respect for foreign cultures and those with disabilities are issues that are work in progress. But there is a healthier climate to encourage freedom for all, as long as we continue to jaw jaw rather than war war.

Twitter Politics

Twitter is ideal for executive pronouncements. 140 characters to make a fool of yourself, bitch about your opponents or massage the egos of your yes men.

One of DJ’s most successful yes men is Reince Priebus who latched onto power with consummate skill. He is now White House Chief of Staff. He had one go at curtailing DJ’s more ludicrous outbursts about characterising Mexicans as rapists. He won’t be doing that again any time soon, he knows what side his white bread is buttered.

The constitutional battle between the POTUS, the Federal Judiciary and Congress is crucial not just for Americans, but internationally. Can one rich bully rule without the checks and balances devised by the US Constitution? That’s my tweet for today.

Fortune Cookies and Confirmation

What do you get your niece as a Confirmation gift? I had scoured local Antiques shops for inspiration but decided against the silver items on display. Luckily I found the very thing in an Asian supermarket.

The Chinese dragon head on a spring is certainly a very colourful gift.While I was at it I bought a beautifully decorated tea cup/bowl and a box of fortune cookies.

We went to Deano’s. The aged steak was beautifully cooked and the company convivial. My niece liked her presents and the miscreant joined us from the local bar.

My fortune cookie said words to the effect that you can’t gain wisdom if you’re too busy talking. The others thought that most apt given that I had been running off at the mouth for a bit.