Thursday, 17 April 2014

Lidl Sherry Trifle

My health club is at a retail park which includes a branch of the budget chain, Lidl.

I ambled in after a work-out on the rowing machine today. 

Litres of milk cost 55p, I think.

However, I spotted their 'deluxe' amontillado sherry trifle. Was it £2.69?  It weighed 700g, which is one and a half pounds in British currency.

At any rate, I scoffed a hefty portion of it today and, to my surprise, it was good.

Moreover, I reckon it tasted equally as good - if not better - than the main supermarkets.

Quelle surprise.

Copper Pans

The kitchen at Belmont GHQ has been treated to a new set of copper pans. They were on offer at at half-price in a local supermarket, viz. Sainsbury's, hence about £100 was saved.

The one in the foreground is a diminutive 14cm version.

Mind you, they have not been christened today: the celebrated (!) Belmont pasta casserole was cooked in a very large, heavy and ancient pot.

I'm rather partial to the said supermarket's Barber's Mature Cheddar coleslaw and, indeed, their large honey-roasted peanuts; so the opportunity was taken to purchase these, too.

Their Greenall's gin is on offer, at £15 for a litre. Have any readers tried this gin?


I AM very gratified to apprise readers that the new apple corer does a splendid job.

It's from Marks & Spencer (can you discern M&S at the side?). It cuts very neatly through the core, leaving minimal wastage.

I usually eat an apple a day (the Jazz variety).

Fraser of Gortfoyle

Fraser, formerly of Gortfoyle

JOHN FRASER (1803-75), a crofter, of Fort Augustus, Inverness-shire, married Margaret Tulloch. Their son,

JAMES FRASER (1831-1908), of Plevna, Bloomfield, County Mayo, married, in 1853, Catherine Ann, daughter of Robert Moore, of Donegal, having left issue,
ROBERT MOORE, of whom presently;
John James, d 1880;
Jane, d 1933.
This James resided in a succession of homes in the city of Belfast, including: 81 Springfield Terrace; 10 Cameron Street; Plevna Street; and, in 1902, 33 Cyprus Gardens, where he died in 1908.

The eldest son,

DR ROBERT MOORE FRASER (1865-1952), of Gortfoyle, Knock, Belfast; married firstly, in 1899, Margaret Boal, daughter of Adam Boal Ferguson, of Lark Hill, County Antrim; and secondly, in 1907, Alice Josephene, youngest daughter of Dr Alexander Cuthbert, of Londonderry.

Dr Fraser practiced in his surgery at 211, Albertbridge Road, Belfast. His residence was Gortfoyle, 364 Upper Newtownards Road; and, after 1939, 10 Winston Gardens, Belfast.

Following his decease, in 1952, his widow Margaret moved to 20 Cloverhill Park, Belfast.

His son,


SIR IAN FRASER DSO OBE DL MD etc, wedded, in 1931, Eleanor Margaret, daughter of Marcus Adolphus Mitchell, of Quarry House, Strandtown, Belfast, and had issue, 
IAN MARCUS, born 1939;
Mary Alice, born 1938.
Do any readers have photographs of Gortfoyle, Newtownards Road Upper, Belfast?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Civic Jaunt

I cycled into town this morning, directly over Sam Thompson (!) in fact.

Seriously, though, the trip through the newly-beautified and improved Victoria Park is delightful.

Passing through Queen's Square, where a fair number of costly paviours - granite or otherwise - have been carelessly replaced by tarmac (how on earth can the city fathers and roads service inspectorate let them away with shoddy workmanship?).

AT the Linenhall Library, which is being redecorated, I undertook a spot of research on the Johnstons of Lisgoole Abbey, the Herdmans of Sion House, and the Frasers, formerly of Gortfoyle.

Moving on to Marks & Spencer's store, I purchased a broad-striped purple shirt and an apple corer.


FINALLY, en route along High Street, I stopped off at Pâtisserie Mimi, where the exquisite tartlets and hot cross buns proved to be irresistible.

High Cross

I picked up an interesting bit of news this morning about the ancient stone cross which has stood at Down Cathedral, Downpatrick, County Down, for over a millenium.

An exact replica of the iconic Downpatrick High Cross, weighing about a ton, is being installed today, the 16th April, 2014, in front of the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity.

The original Mourne granite cross, carved ca AD 900 as a "prayer in stone", is of historical, cultural and religious significance.

Its first location is believed to have been the early medieval monastery on the Hill of Down.

Following the Reformation, the High Cross was taken down and was used as Downpatrick's market cross.

It was damaged in a busy town centre location before being dismantled and its parts dispersed around the town.


In the 1890s, the parts were gathered together by Francis Joseph Bigger and reconstructed outside Down Cathedral, with the help of subscriptions from donors.

The old cross was removed in December, 2013, to be preserved as the centrepiece of a display in Down County Museum. 

The 2014 replica was made by County Down stonemasons, using computer technology to make an exact copy of the original. The granite used was blasted from Thomas Mountain in the Mourne mountains.

The head of the cross shows the Crucifixion of Christ, flanked by the spear-bearer, sponge-bearer and the two thieves, who were given their own names in Irish in the 8th century.

The interlace on the side is made up of intertwined snakes, symbols of resurrection as they slough their skin and are reborn.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

House of Alexander

This is a branch of the Scottish family of Alexander, Earls of Stirling. 

NATHANIEL ALEXANDER left three sons and one daughter:
William;
Robert;
JAMES, of whom presently;
Eliza.
The youngest son,

JAMES ALEXANDER, having filled several important offices in India, was elevated to the peerage, in 1790, by the title of Baron Caledon, of Caledon, County Tyrone.

In 1797, his lordship was advanced to the dignity of Viscount Alexander.

In 1800, this nobleman was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, as EARL OF CALEDON.

In 1774, he had married Anne, 2nd daughter of James Crawford, of Crawfordsburn, County Down, and had issue,

DUPRÉ ALEXANDER, 2nd Earl; Knight of St Patrick (KP); Lord-Lieutenant of County Tyrone; colonel, Tyrone Militia.

The heir apparent is the present holder's son Frederick James Alexander, styled Viscount Alexander (b. 1990).
Seat ~ Caledon Castle, County Tyrone.
Town residence (19th century) - 5 Charlton House Terrace, London.

The town residence of the 7th and present Earl is 3 Petyt Place, London, SW3. 

The Caledon Papers are deposited at PRONI.

Caledon arms courtesy of European Heraldry.   First published in March, 2012.

Killynether: III


Several years ago I drove to Drumbeg,  specifically St Patrick's parish church.

Drumbeg is a lovely, leafy part of Belfast close to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park.

The little church itself is most photogenic and picturesque, with a large grave-yard to one side.

My purpose was to locate the family plot of the Weir family, who used to live at Killynether House in County Down.

Seemingly they resided near Drumbeg prior to that, at a property called Oak Hill in Dunmurry, Belfast.


In 1852, Arthur Collins Weir was a merchant who carried on business at his company, the Manchester Woollen Warehouse, 24½, Bridge Street in Belfast. His residence was 1 Albion Place.

First published in March, 2009.