Weekend Q&A: Barra Best on home brew and when nobody cared who anybody was

Barra Best (38) is a BBC Northern Ireland broadcaster, documentary maker and weather forecaster

Barra Best: "The morning shift begins at 5am and I don't like mornings"
Jane Hardy

How do you unwind at the weekend?

At the moment, it's a question of getting out for a walk. I also do a bit of home brewing: we've got lager, some Pilsners. We've had the cider on the go and may try a stout. I missed the boat with the stout for St Patrick's Day but had a few beers in the keg on the day. Sometimes I have to work, as shifts are given out on a rota basis. I don't mind working at weekends as it's quieter. I mostly keep an eye on the weather. That's partly because it's the one thing everybody asks me about on social media, also to know what's coming. Last summer I remember working out when to get the hot tub ready. On air, I can cheat a bit with the big weather chart.

What do you recall most about weekends growing up?

I grew up in Clonard, west Belfast, and weekends were all about going to my granny's. She didn't live too far away and sometimes I'd go and stay at her house over the weekend. I was spoilt rotten, was given sweets, money, whatever. As I got older, I'd hang out with friends from the area. I went to Clonard Youth Club where we'd play pool and games. Of course, I had to do my chores first – washing up, cleaning the bedroom – if I wanted my pocket money. There were also cross-community things and I remember a trip to Frankfurt involving our youth club and the Shankill Youth Club. Nobody cared who anybody was, and we had a ball.

Friday night or Saturday night?

Both! I'm a night owl anyway.

Do you have a weekend must-listen radio show?

Not really, but I might stick BBC Radio Two on and I like Graham Norton and Alan Carr.

Must-watch weekend TV show/box set?

Not my own programmes, until they're on TV when I see any bad habits I need to drop. I did the jump into the River Roe in one take, though, as it was summer and I'd thought the water would be warm, but it was Baltic. I like Bloodlands and Line of Duty, which I'm watching from the first series so I know what everyone's talking about.

Favourite eatery – or is it a takeaway?

A little bit of both and I enjoy going to a greasy spoon or a mid-range restaurant in north Belfast. Takeaway would be an Indian, probably jalfrezi or a lamb rogan josh.

Is Sunday still special?

Not for me personally; I don't take it as a day where you eat nothing. Pre-lockdown, I would have gone to Mummy's on Sunday. But I treat it as any other day, partly because I don't work the nine-to-five.

How do you feel on Sunday night about Monday morning?

OK, as long as I don't have an early start in work. The morning shift begins at 5am and I don't like mornings. I'm happy when it's an 11am start.

Barra on The Foyle (BBC NI) is available on the BBC iPlayer.

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