I wrote this entry last night, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now. Have lots more to tell you, but I need to rest a bit!
Two days into our TMC reunion, we are having the best time! It’s been so much fun to see everybody. There were 1300 people on the TMC in 2012, and we only met a small fraction of them. There are 55 of us in Belfast now, and I’m looking forward to catching up with those I already know and getting to know the rest. Fifty-five is a manageable number. I have a goal to get personal pictures of each person, along with his/her name, so I have a permanent record.
Our flights went off without a hitch, although Heathrow Airport did all it could to confuse us. We persevered though, with the happy coincidence of running into Heather Hutchinson and her nan, Sandra, who were coming from Australia. We joined up with them to hitch a ride to the hotel with Claire Nightingale, Belfast hostess and organizer extraordinaire. Claire’s husband, Denis, came along in a separate car to help handle luggage and provide an extra seat. With such personal service, we easily made it to our hotel!
We had a fun-filled welcome meeting on Friday evening, then the young folks settled in to party the night away, while the older and more timid of us tried for sleep. Despite having been awake for over 36 hours, sleep completely eluded me. That did not stop me from shivering excitement on Saturday, as it was Thomas Andrews Day! We visited Dunallan, his home in Belfast, where an actor performed a skit of Thomas leaving home for Titanic’s maiden voyage. He was so kind to take a picture with me.
We left Dunallon for Comber, the town where Thomas grew up. I was in awe to actually be there. I had to keep pinching myself to prove it was real!
At the Thomas Andrews Memorial Hall, which houses an elementary school, we were treated to a lovely program by the students. They’d made several displays showing their work to tell us about the history of the building and their town. They were all very cool kids – we had a blast talking to them.
After the school, we went on to the church the Andrews family attended, where we got to see the graveyard. We had a huge treat waiting for us there, as we met John Andrews, great-nephew of Thomas. That required a huge pinch, as I could hardly believe it!
We had lunch in the church’s hall, served by several of the women. Everyone was so friendly and obviously very proud of their charming little town. I’ll never forget this chance to actually be there!
Last night, we at last met up with late arrivals and good friends, Rikke and Lars, from Denmark. Rick and I joined them in an impromptu pub crawl as we tried to find someplace with a spare two inches where we could squeeze up to the bar. Not on a Saturday night in Belfast! We ended up back at the hotel, where the Guinness was just as good, and we had a chance to catch up on our lives for the last two years. We had a great time and the fun continues today!