Lady and I spent the day together in Belfast. We travelled in by train, and after a bit of a wander around the gathering point for today's Gay Pride parade, with Lady picking up a rainbow pencil, wrist-band (message: respect differences) and some Rainbow Drops sweets, we headed to the Victoria Square shopping centre.
Here's Lady by the pretty yellow Jaffe Fountain which we think would look at home in the palace of a Disney princess.
We browsed the shops, and I discovered that I'm a size larger than I thought (grrr).
Feeling hungry, we set off to find grub. I'd fancied going to Nandos, but herself isn't too fond of chicken so that was out. But while wandering along hoping to be inspired, we caught sight of the Pride Parade on Donegal Place, so we stood to watch it pass.
Eventually I remembered that I'd brought a camera and took a few snaps. I like the juxtaposition of Belfast's City Hall, a potent symbol of the city's allegiance to the British crown, dour industrial past and fervent religiosity, with the parade and rainbow flags.
Lady had asked what it was all about, so I explained how people have been and still are, discriminated against because of who they happen to love. She knows about diversity in race, culture, gender and disability and it was easy to explain how differences in who people love are just as natural. She thought the men dressed as women were funny but asked why they weren't embarrassed. I told her that they're making a point, that they are letting people know that they can dress how they want, but that they're just trying to look good or funny too.
There were loads of posters and stickers about Iris. One women held a banner saying "I (or was it we?) love you Iris." Others had stickers saying something like, "Iris is the sick one" a sentiment I'd tend to agree with more.
Perhaps in part due to the abominable statement made by that woman (she's an MP, and wife of the leader of our regional parliament) in the media recently, the parade was far bigger than I expected. Most of those I saw were young. I'd expected more family members, mums and dads walking alongside their children. But perhaps that's not needed, what do I know! Anyway, it was good to see their energy, hope, defiance and pride.
So anyway, the girl and I carried on with the important business of shopping and Lady asked to have her ears pierced. I consented; for years I've told her to wait until she was 10, and that's only 8 days away. She choose little sapphire-like studs, and without even flinching, got them installed. And very pretty they look too.
Cups of coffee and hot chocolate gave us a mid-shop boost, and eventually we headed for home. It had been a lovely day together. My beautiful daughter is such great company.