Some time ago I had access to the Press bar. I also got into the Members bar, not to mention the various restaurants, Coffee stations, Reception rooms, Meeting rooms, Staff canteens, Lifts, Corridors, Nooks, Crannies, Smoking corners and general hangouts where people tend to talk in a big building. Lucky Me!
I heard more gossip in an hour than Corrie or Eastenders could have come up with in six months. I witnessed laughs between sworn (Public) enemies, I witnessed fear and loathing expressed in swift glances as well as vicious verbal swipes, I saw unlikely friendships made and I saw the best and the worst of Human Nature.
I saw, in essence, how this place was trying to find its feet.
The Building was Stormont.
My Favourite place was always the Press Bar, tiny, in the basement, never entirely cosy but always alert and fun. Always busy, Coffee on tap, stronger stuff if needed, usually later, snacks, bites and platters, but most of all, gossip.
At the time it was an unwritten rule that Politicians could not enter the Press Bar. I am told that has changed.