Yellow Door Deli, Portadown

Yellow Door
Portadown suffers, not entirely unjustifiably, from a negative public image. It is therefore not the first place you would look for high quality grub.

I had lunch in the Yellow Door Deli with my Mum today. The front of the shop is the bakery and deli counter, and the front window is full of freshly baked loaves. There is a surprisingly large eating area at the rear of the deli, which was busy but still warm and welcoming.

As soon as we ordered, the waitress brought us a small selection of breads – wheaten, sourdough, cheese-topped white, tomato, herbed. I was a bit more full than I intended when the rest of the food arrived. I’ll be more prepared for that the next time.

There was a wide choice – various sandwiches using the in-house bread, soups and main courses. Mum chose the fusilli pasta with chicken in a cream sauce, accompanied by sourdough garlic bread. She pronounced it “lovely” with a big smile on her face! I chose a sandwich – confit of duck, hoisin sauce and sesame seeds on a sourdough roll. It came with nicely dressed leaves and small portions of greek and potato salad. Nicely packed and just the right amount.

We declined the offer of cake or patisserie for dessert, simply beacause we were both full.

Looking around at the other tables, the other dishes looked equally good. In particular, the brown stew came in a large bowl with potatoes and caramelised root veg. Had we been there for breakfast, there were some further tempting things on the menu (French toast with bacon and maple syrup for example).

Overall, this was a real find. OK, it’s made it into the Guardian directory and UKTV food heroes, but it was so different from the more typical Northern Irish lunch offerings that it is worth a visit. There’s not many places in Co. Armagh I could say that about.

My only negative comment is about their website. Not only does it use Flash rather than proper XHTML, but it has white text on a light yellow background on some pages, with no way of changing font size or colour, or even selecting the text to highlight it. Some screens are unreadable. Sack your design team and find someone who knows what they are doing!

Memories of Operation Banner

Helicopter view south armagh

I was 8 when the first soldiers arrived in Northern Ireland.

My Dad, a ‘B’ Special, had been away from home a lot just before, policing riots in Derry.

I remember the first road block they set up outside our house. I was fascinated and wanted to welcome them with a cup of tea like I’d seen on TV. I thought that was the thing to do.

I remember the road noise of Land Rovers driving down country roads. They could be heard approaching from about a mile away.

I remember going with my Dad after he joined the UDR in the early 1970s to help fill sandbags at an electricity substation near Tandragee.

I remember my Mum and Dad inviting two soldiers for Christmas dinner – I was around 11 or 12, and they brought me a leather football.

I remember waiting in my Dad’s car as he worked in army barracks – Gough, Glenanne, Drumadd.

I remember meeting older soldiers in the UDR – our postman had fought at El Alamein – a natural choice for Company Sergeant Major. WW2 was as close as we are to the Falklands conflict.

I remember checking underneath my Dad’s car for bombs each morning.

I remember his personal protection weapon in his bedside drawer.

I remember him attending countless funerals.

I remember waiting for him to come home from duty each night.

And I remember people who didn’t.

I am glad Operation Banner is over.

Irishness

Irish Passport
Jacqueline received her Irish passport from the Embassy this morning. She’s now able to travel as a fully paid-up Irishwoman.

I wonder if having Irish passports will be an advantage in an independent Scotland come 2010? Come to think of it, we’ll be able to apply for a third (Scottish) passport each if Scotland does become independent (heaven forbid!). Handy for crossing the border at Gretna.

Markethill RUC station in WW2

Update 22/02/2007: The article was actually written by my aunt Fay!

I was just googling the BBC website this evening when I came across this article on Markethill RUC Station during WW2. The article mentions the following events that my Mum has always mentioned:

  • American GIs at Gosford.
  • German PoWs at Gosford – and also at Markethill RUC station.
  • Sounding the air raid siren at Markethill.

My grandfather William Thompson was the station sergeant during the War and my Mum remembers him sounding the air raid siren, and also visiting the PoWs and GIs at Gosford. She remembers that the GIs brought bananas, oranges and chocolate for the first time in many years.

Gosford Castle

My Mum has a good picture of Markethill RUC station before the Troubles made external alterations essential! I must get a scan of this…

Other links of interest: