Countess Von Vinklebottom sends her regards - Fiona Dunn

I know it sounds like a long way to go, but I went to see the pantomime in Belfast last week.

Anne Smith as Countess Von Vinklebottom in Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Belfast
Anne Smith as Countess Von Vinklebottom in Goldilocks and the Three Bears in Belfast

It doesn’t sound quite as daft as it sounds, what with there being so many other Christmas shows on my doorstep. However, a very old friend Anne Smith (from Kirkcaldy originally) is play the evil Countess Von Vinklebottom in Goldilocks and The Three Bears and very good she was as well. You can tell Anne went to drama school as she’s actually a very nice person off stage, but brought enough to the character that the chorus of boos at her every entrance almost drowned out her lines.

While we were in Belfast we did a bit of sightseeing – there’s the Titanic exhibition which is well presented although being on the dockside it was blowing a hoolie when we emerged. The following day we did a taxi tour of the Troubles, looking at the murals on both sides of the Peace Wall. It seems odd to find that still standing whilst the Berlin Wall has virtually disappeared.

Then it was onto a look around the now mothballed Crumlin Road Jail. I can tell you, it’s not a place in which you’d really want to spend more than an hour or so.

It was just over 20 years since I last visited this city. Last time I had a 3 month old baby with me, so obviously our night life was somewhat curtailed. Anyway we had a couple of tip-top meals. We had worked up a bit of a thirst so the first night ended with a couple of drinks at Belfast’s oldest pub, Kelly’s. What a laugh that was, packed to the gunnels on a Monday night and the best pub playlist we had heard for a long time.

After the panto we retired across the road to Robinsons. Courtesy of our friend Anne, we were joined by the star of the show, May McFettridge. I had never heard of him before, but he’s a huge star in Northern Ireland. So that something new I learnt.

And oh yes, I did.