Weatherman and TV presenter Barra Best loves his job. As well as bringing the latest weather reports into our homes, over the years he has also taken us out and about to discover hidden gems and little known places and characters in programmes such as Walk the Line, Coast Lives and last year's Barra on the Bann.
"I really do love my job," he says. "I'm passionate about the weather and I love the variety getting out and about making TV programmes gives me, but if I had to pick my ultimate dream job, it would be hosting the Eurovision Song Contest.
"I'm a huge, huge fan. I grew up with it," adds the 38-year-old.
"The year before last, I went down to Dublin for the Eurovision Legends Show in the National Concert Hall and got to meet Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh, Paul Harrington and Charlie McGettigan. It was a great night.
"And a few years ago, I went over to London for the recording of the Eurovision's Greatest Hits: The 60th Anniversary Show, which was hosted by Graham Norton and featured Ireland's King of Eurovision, Johnny Logan.
"I just love it, so if Ireland or the UK ever win again, and the BBC or RTE would like me to host the following year's show, the answer is 'Yes!'" he laughs.
"Either Eurovision or a travel programme - those would be my two dream jobs."
Travel close to home is the focus of Barra's new three-part television series which starts on BBC One Northern Ireland on Wednesday, March 3 at 7.30pm.
Barra on the Foyle sees the Belfastman exploring the many waterways that combine to form the River Foyle, and the people and landscapes that surround it.
"Ever since I explored Northern Ireland's lost railways in the series Walk the Line, I've really loved getting out and about and discovering people and places that I've never known about before," he says.
"I think I like it so much because I grew up in the city."
In Barra on the Foyle he literally dips his toes (and much more) into the river.
"It was different, put it that way," he laughs when asked about a segment in episode two, where he has to strip off and submerge himself in the freezing river, and then have a soak in a tin bath full of ice.
"Funny, that wasn't something I'd ever thought about doing before," he laughs again.
"I'm not a massive fan of the cold, but in the programme I spoke to people who told me how it had improved their mental health and helped them get through things like depression and overcome obstacles in their lives, so I thought I would give it a go, but yeah… whenever I got into that water it was absolutely freezing.
"Some of the crew had a good laugh at me, but the camera operator was under pressure because I told him he had to get it in one go because there was no way I was going in there twice.
"I'm not sure I'll ever do it again," he insists. "But looking back now… when you get out and the heat runs back into your body, you do feel rejuvenated a little bit, so I can understand why some people do it every single day."
Another icy moment happens when Barra finds himself in a really old derelict house in Co Tyrone which still contains personal items belonging to its long deceased occupants.
"We went with a photographer who goes around taking photographs of old buildings and their history before they crumble to the ground," he recalls.
"It was so spooky and at one point there was a large bang upstairs and you couldn't see me for dust - I was out of there.
"I'm not sure if I believe in ghosts but I do think that there's something out there. It's hard to believe that it's just us. So whenever I heard that bang I was away."
One of the favourite things he got to do for the new series was white water rafting.
"When somebody says do you fancy going white water rafting you don't think of the River Foyle - I certainly didn't anyway," he says.
"But it is a thing. When we were filming the river levels were at a good enough height and we got to enjoy some nice rapids - not the kind you see on the TV or in the movies, but, but enough to give you a bit of a thrill."
Although the series was filmed during Covid restrictions, Barra says that the pandemic didn't pose too many additional problems.
"Coronavirus did throw in a few extra challenges for us but every time we film a TV series, there are always lots of health and safety guidelines to follow regardless.
"So even before the pandemic, we had to do risk assessments and look at things such as is water involved? Are heights involved etc?
"Coronavirus just gave us the added challenge that we always had to be aware of the regulations as they were at the time, and we always had to be 100% sure that we were working within those regulations. We kept on top of that every day - knowing what we could do and where we could go. Thankfully for a series like Barra on the Foyle, 99% was filmed outdoors, so we had a little bit more room to manoeuvre. If we were doing stuff indoors, it would have been a lot tougher."
Away from work, Barra lives in north Belfast with his partner and their 12-year-old boxer dog, Maggie. He admits, like all of us, to finding lockdown and the restrictions hard going at times.
"You miss your social life, you miss going round to see your folks and everything else you would normally do but, you know, it is what it is," he says.
"I've made the best of a bad situation. I've done DIY around the house that I've been putting off for years - that's one positive. We also did the garden up so during the good weather last year were able to spend lots of time outdoors. And I am one of those people that bought a hot tub," he laughs. "I'm an impulse buyer, put it that way. When I saw an opportunity and saw everybody else doing it, I thought I need to get one of those."
Born and bred in the Clonard area of west Belfast, Barra is very close to his mum Cathy, younger sister Bronach and dad Aiden, and spends as much time as he can with family - restrictions permitting, of course.
"I bought a bike - another impulse buy," he laughs. "I actually bought it because traffic is so light in Belfast due to the pandemic and I'm able to cycle over to mum's and stand at the edge of the garden and say hello.
"I would love to go in and have a cup of tea or maybe Sunday dinner but you just know you can't. There are a lot of Zooms and when some of the restrictions were lifted in December, we got to have dinner and were able to bubble together for Christmas which was nice. It's not normal but you just have to make the best of it."
What is he most looking forward to doing when we get back to normal?
"Before coronavirus, it was all about travel for me," he says.
"I would go anywhere and everywhere. Even last year, I travelled, but much closer to home. I got to explore so much of Ireland that I'd never seen before - southwest Cork, Mayo, the north coast, east coast… and a lot of daytrips.
"When things return to normal, I would really love to go back to Asia. I went to Vietnam a few years ago which was absolutely by far the best holiday I've ever been on. Followed by Cambodia, which was fantastic, so I can't wait to fly somewhere like that again just to enjoy it, the different culture, the different foods.
"But you know what, sometimes, as I found out last year, it's easy to think somewhere far away is the best place to be. When we went to Achill Island… oh my goodness, there's nowhere else in the world I've been to that's like it. It was fantastic.
"Often the best beauty in the world is on your doorstep and for me, one of the good things about coronavirus is that I got to see a lot more of the beautiful places we have here in Ireland than I probably would have otherwise."
Another thing he's missing at the minute is a good night out.
"If Covid disappeared tomorrow my ideal night out would be somewhere for dinner - I don't care where it is - a high end restaurant or a greasy spoon - I'd be there with friends, having a few beers and then going somewhere to dance at the end of the night.
"I haven't danced properly anywhere in a year. I think that's something I, along with many others are looking forward to - having a good dance somewhere that isn't in your own house."
Since joining BBC Northern Ireland in 2007, Barra has become one of our most popular media personalities and has built up a huge following on social media. He enjoys interacting with fans and followers - in person and online.
"What's the point of being on social media otherwise?" he says. "The word social says it all. That's what it's there for. To be that chatty person to be that go to person if there's a big weather event where someone lives.
"And people help us tell our story as well - if there's a storm brewing, or there are large waves in Newcastle and someone takes a lovely photo or video that we are able to use, it means that they become part of the story as well. People appreciate that. I do get approached a lot when I'm out and about - well, I did before coronavirus," he laughs - for selfies and things like that. But it only takes a second or two and people go away happy, so why not?
"You maybe get the odd time when you are having dinner and somebody might ask when you're in the middle of your dessert, but it's absolutely no bother. I just ask them to give me a wee shout once I've got my food out of the way and I'll happily do a selfie.
"Most people I find are very friendly and it's probably something to do with the weather - it's something we talk about every day, you're in people's living rooms every single day talking about the weather, so I think that that brings that element of friendliness into it no matter where you are. I'm very fortunate that way."
Everybody knows him as just Barra, there's no need for a surname. Did he ever think he would be so well-known?
"No, not at all. As a kid, I wanted to be a vet, then I wanted to be a pilot, then I wanted to be an accountant.
"There was a local community radio station back in the mid-Nineties that I remember volunteering in. I was just answering phones, but I was always a little bit amazed about how everything in the media worked.
"Then I went to Edge Hill University, just outside Liverpool, to study Information Systems with Media and I returned to Belfast to work in a local IT company.
"It wasn't until about a year and a half into that job that a friend rang to say she was going to do a Master's degree in journalism and I realised that was what I wanted to do, so I took a year out and did it."
After doing his Masters in Broadcast Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, Barra joined BBC Northern Ireland as a journalist after reporting stints with Downtown Radio and Citybeat.
Then an opportunity arose to cover the weather during a colleague's maternity leave and the rest they say is history.
"Now weather is my passion and I love it," he says. "It's always a challenge and there's never a single day that's the same, which is great."
When BBC programme makers are setting up their filming schedules do they consult Barra and the weather team beforehand?
"Of course," he says. "It'll be a case of, 'Here's what we're doing this day and that day, what do you think the weather's going to be like?' and I will check for them.
"But if there's a degree of uncertainty I'll give them the caveat that - here's what's in the forecast at the minute, but it could change. And of course, if it does change, I'm to blame!"
Another thing Barra is well-known for is his dapper line in suits.
"I do like my suits, I have to say," he laughs. "I go for a nice cut and a nice shape, but I won't go overboard or outlandish because then people start to talk about you… 'did you see what yer man was wearing last night..?' he laughs. "A nice cut and shape and then maybe I'll jazz it up a wee bit with a funky tie."
Like a lot of people, Barra has spent a considerable amount of time working from home in the past year.
"Myself and the other weather presenters take it in turns to do a week in the studio doing primarily television weather reports. Otherwise we mostly work from home taking care of radio output, digital and social media.
"Initially I was broadcasting in part of my wardrobe," he laughs. "It was my microphone and everything else surrounded by any soft furnishings I could get my hands on to make it sound like a studio and have less of an echo. Not much has changed and it's worked pretty well."
A short while ago he started learning Irish, just for his own enjoyment, and it's something he's kept up through lockdown.
"I'm still at it," he says. "But at the minute it's all on Zoom - we have a class every Saturday morning from 11 to one.
"It's a good crowd with mixed ages from the young to the older and myself somewhere in between. I did Irish and French in school, but I didn't really pay attention for whatever reason. It's something I always wanted to pick up on again.
"I made a New Year resolution a while back to relearn it and it's probably the only New Year resolution I've ever stuck with."
With Barra on the Foyle requiring him to do some 'hairy' things such as rafting, looking for sharks and entering haunted houses, is there anything he would refuse to do. Has he any phobias?
"Probably heights," he replies, "But that's something that has come with age. I think as you get older you get more of a sense of your own mortality, whereas as a kid, you couldn't get me off things and I was always up Black Mountain and Divis climbing with my friends.
"Saying that, doing programmes like this has really pushed me out of my comfort zone and when I'm doing things, I'm doing them with people who know what they are doing. There's a kind of reassurance, so now I wouldn't say no to anything," he adds.
Eurovision aside, what would be his dream programme to work on?
"I really would love to do a travel programme," he says. "What a dream job that would be.
"If I was offered the chance to present a travel programme, I would sign on the dotted line tomorrow."
Barra on the Foyle starts on BBC One Northern Ireland, Wednesday, 3 March at 7.30pm and will be available to watch on BBC iPlayer