Tagged in: greenisland

Greenisland Golf Club, Formal 2014

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The Ross Park Hotel in Ballymena was chosen for the 2014 bash and a very good one it turned out to be.

A bus was laid on to transport us to and from the do so our evening started at the club for a couple of warmers into the bank. Amazingly enough there was no problem getting the group of some 50+ embarked on time. Or maybe they were just scared of Anne Clarke!

There was champagne, or non alcoholic punch if you like that kind of thing, served on arrival and a photographer to record proceedings – Well the early parts anyway. One does not really want a photographer recording all one’s antics!!

The service and meal, a proper vegetable soup followed by roast beef and a dessert, could not be faulted and the bar prices were reasonable. What more could one ask for a start to the main proceedings.



The group proved to be a great success so, by the time the bus arrived to ferry us home, we had danced our feet off.

Thanks to George Boyd, Anne Clarke and the organizers for producing a great evening all round.

Jazzed up Sunday Lunch

The Apex Jazz Band

The jazz aficionado’s jazz band and veterans of genré, the Apex Jazz Band,were welcomed back by Greenisland Golf Club for another Sunday lunch engagement on Feb 12.

This is getting to be a habit and a fine excuse to forget cooking and washing up and enjoy David Alexander’s buffet and a bottle of vino collapso with all the old favourites playing in the background. The band was pretty good as well!

It is amazing how quickly 3 or 4 hours passes when in good company.

My thanks to David Graham for many of the photographs

Rogues Gallery

Captain Coroner and Sir Ronnie top the bill

Yet another golfing year coming to an end so time to don the penguin suit yet again for the annual Greenisland Men’s Dinner Night.  This is the occasion for the outgoing captain to say a few words and introduce his guest speaker. The vice captain gets to run about, ring bells and generally make sure things happen. Of course one has to indulge in a couple of warmers into the bank and “suffer” the usual high standard of catering that is the norm in the club.  And so it was again. The Sirloins were perfect, the apple crumble crumbly and the Stilton decidedly cheesy and of course the wine flowing copiously.

Our incumbent captain is John Lecky LLM, well known Northern Ireland Coroner, and his guest was non other than Sir Ronnie Flanagan GBE OBE QPM MA , of RUC/PSNI and other prestigious law enforcing appointments fame. He just happened to breeze in from Abu Dhabi, or maybe Dubai for the occasion.  He is an accomplished speaker and, as a contemporary if not a neighbour of a number of the club members there was scope for giving it an intimate flavour. He was not  helped by the PA system, which failed spectacularly, so no brownie points for Mr Vice, but a natural ability to be heard everywhere without electronic assistance overcame this minor obstacle.

Altogether a very successful evening which continued for some time after the formalities were over.

Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I so not have any photos of the event so this is a little dull by comparison to previous posts.

65th Birthday Party at Greenisland Golf Club

The Rankins kindly invited us to the Golf club for a celebration dinner in honour of Helen’s 65 Birthday.  Her sister Jenny and chum Sue had flown over from Cheltenham and daughter Christine from Alicante.

A goodly crew assembled for a Bucks Fizz reception before being ushered into the dining room.

As is usual at Greenisland the food and service could not be faulted and the wine likewise.

Dinner was followed by a short introduction by Trevor Rankin and then Helen took over to thank everybody for coming and to include a few bon mots on the assembled guests.

Brian provided the response and Norman Walker the toast to the Birthday girl.


A very enjoyable evening al round.




Unable to organize a Royal Wedding Street Party, due to the necessity of keeping the Upper Road open to traffic, the Social Committee plumbed for a Garden Party complete with the Downshire Brass Band and competitions for young and old.

We were welcomed with a glass of very Moorish Pimms, or Orange for the younger participants, on arrival.  An excellent way to being a social Sunday afternoon.

This being Norn Iron all attending were encouraged to emit “positive waves” and banish the threatening rain clouds.

Sgt. Oddball would have been proud.  Except for a couple of very minor attempts to spit a few drops the afternoon remained resolutely rain free.

There were plenty of games to keep the children occupied whist the adults indulged in their favourite pastime of talking golf and nonsense!

The chefs produced the usual high standard buffet lunch and then the serious business of judging the ladies hats began.

the winning hat

The Best Dressed Hat

I must admit that I cannot remember the exact categories but the Best Dressed hat was won by Rosemary Greer and the most amusing by Annie Walker (the fact that Norman was compere had no influence on this).


Golden Oldie Hat

The men’s competition was won by a ornamental Fez!

Needless to say, to avoid any distress, all the children were awarded a prize for their efforts

A smart Fez

The Children's competiton

Generally a most enjoyable afternoon was had by all.

Jersey, May 2011

One cannot beat arriving in the warm Jersey sunshine having queued on the tarmac in the wind and rain at Belfast International. Having solved the three dimensional puzzle of fitting four cases, hand luggage and four adults into a Ford Focus we left Trevor to conduct us to the Greenhills Hotel in St Peter’s Valley.  He achieved this with consummate ease and we arrived to a very warm welcome and just in time for lunch!

Sun at last!

Ruins of Beau Couperon

Having thrown the luggage into our respective rooms, ours with direct access out into the gardens, we set off to ensure that nobody had stolen any bits of Jersey since our last visit. Thus it was: Shock! Horror! Trevor and Helen discover that the hotel of their youth in Rozele had been almost completely demolished. Not only that but the developer had gone bust in the effort.

Other highlights of the day, Seared scallops for lunch, a charcuterie of continental meats with caramelized figs and Sancerre at dinner.

First days pictures are here

We started our day on Sunday with a visit to an Antiques Fair at the Agricultural Society show-grounds.  It is great to find an event of this type which actually has antiques and curios rather that a lot of middle and far-eastern tat.  Trevor and Helen, avid Belleek Pottery buffs, found some 2nd edition pieces which they snapped up at a bargain price whilst I discovered a silver retractable toothpick to replace the one I inherited from my father and which was confiscated at Gatwick airport as an offensive weapon!!

Ransom's Cafe

All this wheeling and dealing left us with no option than to drive to Ramsay’s Garden Centre cafeteria for a spot of lunch. Definitely try the Lemon Meringue tart!  The Garden Centre does not open on Sunday – Jersey has fortuitously not got caught up in the trend for 24 hour shopping.

Suitably replete we headed to Noirmont a headland with an excellent view across to St Aubin’s as well as the bay at Portelet.

Portelet from Noirmont

Kriegsmarine anchor

As with many of the headlands it is well endowed with fortifications built by slave labour during the last, well the last world, war. DF (direction finding) tower 2, part of the island wide enemy locating system is located here.

Sail surfers in line

From here we progressed to St Ouen’s strand which runs for over three miles.

There was a fresh wind so we were entertained by a group of sail surfers as well as the light aircraft overhead. Finally, stopping for an ice cream at the van, invariably parked by the Military Museum, we wended our way back to the hotel via the cove at l’Etacq.

Our second day’s pictures are here

Monday saw on a shopping spree to St Helier. Well it was a spree for Trevor whose foray into Austin Reid’s resulted in a fine new blazer. The only sports coat I found that I liked turned me into a pretty good clown figure! From there to the central market which has some fine stalls, the most impressive being those selling fruit and vegetables.

Market centrepiece

We lunched in De Grouchy’s who offer a fine line in scallops seared in the pan with garlic oil and a side salad to make it appear healthy eating – who cares anyway!

Fort Leicester, Bouley Bay

From St Helier we drove up to the north coast stopping at Bouley Bay, another of those sheltered deep water anchorages and home of one of the many diving clubs and of Leicester Castle, a 19th century construction recently adapted to a holiday apartment for 8.

Of course it would not be a proper cove without a legend and a pub, both of which go by the title of the Black Dog.

Study in chains - Bonne Nuit

From here to the picturesque harbour of Bonne Nuit before heading home once again.

Tuesday was a quite affair starting with a visit to La Moye Golf Club pro shop and from there to St Aubin, home to the Old Courthouse Inn, well known for it’s  association as Diamanti Lil’s Bar in the Bergerac TV series. It’s well known to my age group anyway.

Diamanti Lil's Bar

Our next port of call was the other end of the island and the Jersey Pottery. Not only do they manufacture some very fine pottery including the Winespeak series of mugs, inspired and decorated with the cartoons f Ronald Searle and associated paraphernalia but they have some amazing driftwood sculptures by James Doran Webb.

The restaurant at the pottery would rival any I have been to for quality and quantity.  It is a cross between self and waiter service. Try the oysters and their mixed cheese and cold meat platter – enough for two!  They also have a fine line in Piersporter Michelsberg.

Trevor and I finished off the afternoon with a round of “Adventure” golf at the Living Legend park. I’ll not mention that I won by one hole and an outrageous hole-in-one.


Day four photos are here


We see no ships

We planned to visit the Eric Young Orchid foundation on Wednesday so started off with a trip to  La Rocque, another harbour with a crescent of sand made for family holidays. We walked out along the harbour wall from where one can see St Catherines in the distance. From here we followed Helen’s “purple” route to the foundations nursery and exhibition area.

This is not the easiest spot to find on the island, however, the effort is definitely worth it. There are 20,000 species of orchid believe it or not. I will expand on it here you can follow the link above.  They have some absolutely stunning blooms on show.

beautiful blooms

Lunch at the Poplars.  This is the quintessential tea room with the best selection of cakes I have come across anywhere. Everything is made on the premises.

From here to Ouaisne;  no! I cannot pronounce it either,  where there is a beautiful cove and some amazing sights as you may see here!

Amazing views at Ouaisne

Our final port of call was the Catherine Best studio. Set in an old windmill one is able to view and buy her creations – if one is not subject to normal budgetary constraints that is. Personally I prefer her sculptures to her jewellery  but I am unlikely to get round to owning any of either!

Day 5 photos are here


Windy day at Elizabeth Castle

Today, Thursday 26 March, is Helen and Trevor’s 47th wedding anniversary. We took the bus from the Living Legend to St Helier. If it went straight there it would have taken 15 minutes but, being Jersey, there is not a direct bus in May so we got the Island tour taking an hour and costing the princely sum of £1.70. The idea had been to take the DUKW out to Elizabeth Castle but high winds had grounded the amphibians so we took off on another spot of sightseeing.

Sail framing the lighthouse

We drove round via l’Etacq to La Pulente where there is a well known bar and restaurant with views across the bays.  This is the first and only time I have been served an inedible meal in Jersey.  I had ordered mussels in a wine and cream sauce.  I think that they had dried the mussels before throwing them into the washing up water.  Needless to say I was not charged for them.

The wind brought out the best of the hardy sail surfers and surfers for that matter and we were given some truly amazing impromptu displays.

We headed back to the Greenhills where Trevor had laid on preprandial Champagne and a celebration dinner starting with oysters and for me a lobster thermidore, served in the shell. What better than a Sancerre to accompany it. A truly excellent evening with impeccable service as usual.

Day six photos are here

Gorey skyscape

Our last day was a reprise of some of the favourite spots starting off in Gorey progressing to Greenisland and on to Ransom’s.  A wander round the front at St Aubin and from there to St Brelade to visit the Winston Churchill Memorial Park. Generally a not too strenuous day.

All in all a very enjoyable holiday with near perfect weather and great food and company.

Cars - the Jersey passion

Our congratulations to Joe and Carmelita and the staff of the Greenhills who contributed greatly to the enjoyment and, needless to say we have already made a provisional booking for next year!

Last set of photos are here


RPSI Jazz Train Mystery Tour

Where's the Drummer Gone

It is hard to believe it is the middle of June and the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland‘s series of Jazz Train Mystery Tours is already in full swing with the inimitable Apex Jazz Band providing the entertainment as usual. Having been well organised by David Graham we arrived at Greenisland station to entrain and join up with the rest of the party who, having joined the train at Carrickfergus, had already laid out their suppers and opened the obligatory bottles of wine. Needless to say our party was not long in following suit.

The great thing about these “picnics” is that one gets to share all round so we were pleased to pass on spicy chicken legs and receive home made Scottish pasties, the name of which escapes me due to the combination of wine and Claude Hepburn’s amazing version of a hot toddy!


On the move

Brenda, as has become a tradition, passed round her collection of refilled miniature. Dire consequences await those who do not return the bottles!

Of course the mystery bit only lasts a fairly short time as there are a limited number of possible destinations and once one is on the move the series of passing stations is a pretty good indication of where one will end up. Not that it really matters as one platform is very much the same as another as acting as a dance floor is concerned. This time our first stop was Ballymena.

There are those on these outings who have to be admired for the effort they put in to playing the part and their enthusiasm is to be envied.

On this train there were also a group who had belonged to a old time dance class which had unfortunately closed down and they were desperate to practice their skills at any opportunity!


From Ballymena we were transported to Antrim Station where the band once again performed to perfection and Josephine and I were amongst those spent the majority of the time swinging to the music. There were those who were more interested in getting things on camera for posterity!

All in all it exceeded expectations and has been decreed as the best of our outings with the RPSI to date.  No doubt we will be signing up next year!

Still standing at the end




Friday evening, 25 June, saw our intrepid group congregate at Greeenisland Station to join the local Probus  on their annual excursion on the Jazz train un by the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland. Of course on a trip of this nature hampers of food and wine are de rigueur, although there is a full bar and burger menu available.  We had settled on char grilled asparagus wrappped in Parma ham, King Prawns in their shells with hollandaise sauce and optional dried chilli, seafood cocktail with Marie rose sauce  and wheaten bread. Unfortunately there was no room to paack the strawberries and cream! We had a sparkling chardonnay/sauvignon blanc + a couple of bottles of Pinot Noir as back up.  Brenda thoughtfully provided spiritual help by the way of minatures of Whisky and Cognac (plus a hip flask).

What more can one say. The train chuffed along and stopped at the various stations where the Apex Jazz band played with their usual enthusiasm and we danced the evening away.

Due to some hitch, like losing the engine, were were delayed at Carrickfergus station for a while but the band played on and we finally arrived back at Greenisland.

A great evening which we will, hopefully, repeat next year.

Greenisland Golf Club, Co Antrim, Jazz Lunch

Apex Jazz Band

Another excellent lunch with the Apex Jazz Band as the main attraction, no detraction from the Lady Captain, Rosie Wilson, intended.

This is now a twice yearly event and is one of the most popular on the club’s social programme. David Alexander’s buffet left nothing to complain about. Starter, vegetable soup, followed by a carvery of beef, ham (absolute perfection), turkey and stuffing; with vegetables, roast and mashed potatoes and the usual accompaniments. For those who could manage it this was followed by David’s unsurpassable apple crumble (with custard), berry pavlova,chocolate gateau and something else that I cannot recall. The only complaint I heard was that the beef was a bit gristly. Mine was OK, but one cannot expect to feed over a hundred golf club members and guests and escape without a grouse or two!

We called it an afternoon at about 4.45, the band having played their final number around four, but there were still plenty of people left enjoying the company.

Altogether another success for John Greer and the entertainment committee.