On Sunday 1st May, for the first time in its illustrious 17-year history, the Gumball 3000 rally roared into Belfast. Jenn and I are lifelong petrolheads (before uni Jenn worked as a car body repair specialist!) so we couldn’t pass up an opportunity to show Amber some of the coolest cars in the world. Sure makes a change from the clapped-out spoilered-up Saxos that we’re used to.
We even got to see The Hoff! Trying to explain to Amber that this old man was once the most famous person on the planet was quite a task.
“Yes, he’s the same age as Granda… He was in a TV show where he drove a talking car… He sang at a New Year’s Eve party on top of a wall in Germany that was getting knocked down… He was in another TV show about a group of coastguards who ran about in their swimsuits in slow-motion… Yes, a billion people watched it…”
Amber didn’t really see the appeal, but she absolutely loved the cars. We got waved at by some girls in a McLaren,
we got videoed by some guy in a Ferrari,
and we saw a Batmobile, which was actually a fully custom-built carbon fibre kit car with a 560bhp Lamborghini engine… yikes!
On a slightly more relaxing note, we also visited the inspirational Shauna and Michael at Emain Publications in Carryduff. Far from being an ordinary bookshop, they also run writing and illustration workshops, poetry evenings, kids’ parties, book fairs, swap meets, reading groups, AND a publishing house with 13 titles selling all over the globe! As if that isn’t enough, Michael is also a level 7 NLP coach and visiting lecturer at University of Ulster! Where do they find the time?!
All the books published by Emain have been written for children by local authors, some of whom are children themselves! Ferrari Adventure, penned by Aiden Gormley when he was just 7 years old, made headlines across the world in September 2014 when Aiden sent a copy of the book to Michael Schumacher (as he recovered from his skiing accident in a Swiss hospital) and received a heartfelt letter of thanks from the F1 champion’s wife.
Their books all have a wonderful story behind them, and Shauna and Michael are only too happy to stick the kettle on and have a good auld natter. If you’re in the market for some new kids’ books, or even if you’re not, I highly recommend paying them a visit. Amber’s pick was Chansey the Chicken and the Plum Tree!
Hope you all had a lovely weekend in the sunshine, and have a fantastic week whatever you’re up to.