All change

At around this time of year I used to go out with a video camera and a blank diary and film a little ‘Day in the Life of Titanic Quarter’ as a way of noticing the changes year by year – a little bit like this:

One sign of how much things have changed since my last Day in the Life vid is that the very idea of a free day with a blank diary is now a distant memory! – so, apologies, the little video diaries haven’t happened (yet) for 2015.

But one change I have DEFINITELY noticed – recently I was sorting through some old photos and I found a few pictures of the ARC apartments in November 2009, just as The Dock project was born.

Little could I ever have guessed when these photos were taken – and I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d told me – that the retail areas under construction in these pics would one day become a thriving hub of life and laughter, wee chats, work outings, birthday parties, knitting circles, cycling clubs, book groups, quiet moments, and all the beautiful messy joy of life that we experience in our wonderful blessed cafe every day:

Much as those videos were great for celebrating the physical changes, the new buildings and developments and sweeping visionary architecture, it’s the personal stories that we’re celebrating now.  New faces, friendships, connections and communities – growing not just year by year but day by day.

Something BIGGG is coming… (but it’s wee)

Something new and amazing has been slow-cooking on my back-burner for nearly a year now.  Something BIGGG – for me personally, something that starts a whole new chapter in my life and work.

photoIronically, it is also something wee.  That’s its name in fact – it’s called The Wee Tram.

But what is it exactly?  What kind of tram? Why is it Wee? Was it involved in some sort of bizarre industrial accident with a shrink-ray? Well, in time-honoured, incredibly-annoying tradition, I’m going to leave you (mostly) on tenterhooks for now – there’s just two things you can do:

1.  Please spread the word – the Wee Tram is looking for drivers.  They need to have a full Category D (i.e. coach) driving licence, so not everyone can apply – but if you know anyone who is suitably qualified and is looking for work, please pass this message on – we’d love to recruit a fantastic team of drivers for this exciting new venture
Screenshot 2015-01-21 20.55.36

and
SN-a12. Make a date to be at Sunday Nights at The Dock on Sunday 1st Feb, 6pm.  We’re calling it ‘What On Earth Is Happening To The Dock Chaplains?’, because you’ll be hearing not just from me but also two other Dock Chaplains who are embarking on wonderful crazy ideas.  As well as trams which may or may not be Wee, there will be an Honesty Box in an unexpected place, and an Unidentified Flying Object will be identified.  That’s all I’m saying for now.

IMG_0904And also, in complete and profound contravention of my previous blog, there will be Finian!  (His move to Dublin has been postponed by a few weeks.  So we want all our leaving pressies back).  So we’ll have a chance to say farewell (again!) as we also hear about some of the other chaplains’ exciting new adventures.

Mysteriously exciting times!

Finiaaannnnnnn!!!!

IMG_0904The Dock is waving a fond farewell to one of its founder members in a few weeks time… Finian is moving on to a new post in Emmaus retreat house near Dublin, and he will be sorely missed.

If you’ve been at anything Dock-related, ever, you’re bound to have met Finian!  He was one of the original team of Directors, back when boats and cafes and everything else were still a crazy dream.  He was one of the first and most faithful regulars at the Dock Walk, joining us through rain, hail, snow, sleet (and even the occasional drop of sunshine), and could always be relied upon to add a brilliant and sometimes unexpected insight into the discussion

He was a big part of the very early days of deckchair cafes at the ARC apartments on Saturday mornings – and then as the deckchairs progressed to the Meanwhile Lease, he was part of creating (and then renovating, re-creating and shrexpanding) Dock Cafe.  He was part of the famous (infamous?) Tuesday team, who still operate under the happy delusion that Tuesdays are the best day in Dock Cafe…?!

He was there for Mayoral visits, Sunday Nights on Nomadic, Sunday Nights at The Dock, Chaplain get-togethers, Titanic Christmases, Dock birthday parties, the first Dock baptism, and so much more… and he was also part of the Dock Directors, faithfully serving behind the scenes as well as up-front.

At our wee farewell bash for Finian at the weekend, it was clear to see how much everyone had loved working with the Man from Mullingar, as Dock volunteers, chaplains, members, directors and Dock Walkers joined to thank him and pray for him in his new adventure.

If you want to join in saying thanks to Finian, you have two Tuesdays left – he’s on duty today (20th) and next Tuesday (27th) in Dock Cafe.

So, for the first time, the Dock Chaplains team has subtracted rather than added.  And there’s plenty more where that came from… there’s a shedload of farewells, hellos, new ventures and crazy ideas coming your way over the next few weeks – the theme so far of 2015 is: What On Earth Is Happening To The Dock Chaplains?  Stay tuned!