Solving the mystery of six youthful haymakers
Here's a picture to lift your hearts as summer starts to fade into autumn. A group of happy children literally making hay while the sun shines.
But who are the grown-ups they became? The photo turned up, tucked between pages 348 and 349 in a book of poems I hadn't opened since schooldays and in which I was engrossed the other day. And it took me back to 1954 when according to a scribbled date on the back, it was snapped.
Which throws up another little mystery, never mind the names of the youngsters. Who took that picture in a hayfield all those years ago?
I can only come to the conclusion that it was celebrated lensman Arthur Campbell, the 20th anniversary of whose death in 1994 was commemorated the other month.
You never saw Arthur Campbell without his camera. He took atmospheric pictures of ships and trains and motor vehicles as well as turning his focus on some of the great sights of Northern Ireland many of which are featured in his book Return Journey.
Copies are scarce, although I know there is one in the Linen Hall Library.
The point is that Arthur liked to send his best pictures to me and down the years I reproduced them in my columns and told the stories behind them.
There is a copy of this hayfield photo in the Ulster Museum and I remember that a copy was a highlight of a book called 'Changing Times ... Life in 1950s Northern Ireland'.
This isn't the first almost forgotten photo that has turned up quite dramatically over a day or two.
But what I want to know now is how many of the six children in the photo survive. Perhaps someone out there will tell me.
Christine still a city girl
I remember Christine Bleakley telling me once upon a time that she was a Manchester City fan.
That's was when the young lady was being flown all over Northern Ireland in a two-seater helicopter to give viewers a look at beauty spots and the characters who inhabited them. It was a great series, and I hope she gets round to doing it all over again one day.
Anyway, if she has a thing about City, Christine will be delighted that Frank Lampard, the star man in her life, has just joined the club for a month or two before he and Christine head off to New York as he resumes his playing career in the Big Apple.
It will mean Christine putting her career on British television on hold, but I'm told the girl who was once on The One Show, is attracting some attention across the ocean and could be offered a role in front of the cameras over there.
Adams to do it for us again
Bryan Adams whose self-penned Everything I Do (I Do It For You) spent a record 16 weeks at number one in the UK charts, is returning to Belfast. The singer, who has been a Robin Hood fan since boyhood, will be at the Waterfront Hall on September 17.
And yes, he will be singing Everything I Do. Bryan wrote the song as part of the theme music for the 1991 film Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.
It was a joy to do so, he once told me, because he loved the original Robin Hood story with Friar Tuck and Little John and Maid Marion, as well as Robin who robbed the rich to help the poor.
Canadian Adams has spent the last three decades making music history. He has sold over 65 million records, toured six continents and been No1 in 40 countries with songs like Cuts Like A Knife, Kids Wanna Rock, Can't Stop This Thing We've Started as well as Everything I Do and Thought I'd Seen Everything.
He has been inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Bryan has been nominated for Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammys and his handprint has been added to the Wembley Square of Fame in celebration of his 25th show at the stadium.
Intriguing verse: Poem relevant for our world today
I know you are wondering about the title of the poetry book I was perusing in the story above. Well, the tome was A Pageant of English Verse.
The poem which has always intrigued me is The Stolen Child by WB Yeats so here's a verse which I believe has something to say about the state of our world today:
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles.
While the world is full of troubles
And is anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a fairy, hand in hand.
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
Pipe bands: Zoe drums up multiple successes
The trouble with schoolgirl Zoe McDowell learning the bagpipes was that they were just a wee bit too heavy for her slim frame.
So Zoe took up the Mace instead and found her true talent as a drum major with Aughnatober Pipe Band with whom she will be appearing at the Belfast Tattoo next month at the Odyssey.
"My dad Colin and my sister Nicola who is in the Moneygore band are pipers," says the 14-year-old Banbridge Academy girl. "But it wasn't to be and I'm really glad because I have done so well as a drum major."
An understatement, since this year alone she's won the European, British and UK titles.
Safe bet: I’d wager Rory will triumph again
If you’re a wee bit of a gambler here’s a four-timer to put your 50p on at good odds: Scotland won’t go independent, a race horse called Paddy’s Yarn (owned by a friend of mine) will win its first race, new Man United manager Louis Van Gaal will be sacked or resign before the end of the season and Rory McIlroy will make it four in a row at his next tournament.