I’ve developed a slight problem over the course of the last year. Every time I see the word legendary, I get a nervous twitch.
It’s spelled wrong, I tell myself. It looks wrong. It feels wrong. Because, if the truth be told the word will forever more be known in my head and in my heart as Legenderry. And while we are at it - can we do away with that whole Derry~Londonderry thing and replace it with Legenderry and be done with the whole tired argument?
Now I know there have been faults with this whole City of Culture carry-on. It hasn’t been perfect. There was more we would have liked to have seen - and things, given a bit of experience and hindsight we might have done differently.
And for some in this city the year hasn’t gone far enough in terms of inward investment or job creation - but we can’t expect the world to change overnight - or even over a year.
People who know me know that I am, generally speaking, quite the glass is half empty kind of a gal. So when I say that in my 37 years of living here on the Banks of the Foyle I have never felt such a wave of positivity or pride in my home town than I have over the course of the last 12 months, then it should not be taken lightly.
And it’s not just the big events which have had me buzzing with pride. In fact in many ways it was the smaller, almost imperceptible changes which made the biggest impact. Going for a run over the Peace Bridge in the early morning, meeting people out doing the same, smiling (or grimacing at the effort as it was likely to be in my case) and watching the city transform slowly around us.
The feel-good factor has been priceless. And I feel a genuine sympathy for the begrudgers who have complained at every turn - who have felt the year has been handled badly, or has excluded the masses or has cost too much.
We were never going to please everyone, all of the time. But for the thousands who took part, who joined in with gusto, who declared loudly,“Sure isn’t it great for the town?” or, “There’s a great buzz about the place” or, who danced with eyes closed and hearts open at One Big Weekend, or the Fleadh, or to Nile Rodger’s and Chic, or Status Quo, or The Undertones, I salute you.
Legacy is a word we will hear a lot about. And while we still need investment - let’s not forget the feel-good factor - the greatest legacy of all.