Wearing a pretty floral frock and sipping tea from a union mug, Ruth Patteron looks content, but to put it in the vernacular, she’s been through the mill - though many would argue some of those troubles were self-inflicted.
To scroll back: following her arrest she was sacked from the charity Cancer Focus, where she’d been a receptionist for years. Then she was expelled by the DUP for “bringing the party into disrepute”.
It is understood she was shown the door after she reacted angrily to the party decision to appoint Emma Pengelly as a replacement to outgoing south Belfast MLA Jimmy Spratt.
Becoming caustic she says she believes the whole thing was ‘‘choreographed and very carefully staged’’ .
‘‘Clearly there was a preference there and I was deemed not worthy enough.’’
She describes the explusion from the party as ‘‘almost like a bereavement’’.
Of Emma Pengelly she says: ‘‘She may be very good at dotting ‘Is’ and crossing ‘Ts’, but that doesn’t necessarily make her the right candidate for the position.’’
After the expulsion Patterson instead threw herself back into politics with renewed verve.
Other parties tried to woo her, but she wanted to fly solo as an independent ‘‘because of principle’’.
‘‘If I’m going to win this, I’m going to win this on my own, without any big party machine behind me.’’
And she’s sanguine about the future.
‘‘God has a greater purpose for me and I know that, and he will look after me in all of this. Maybe this is my time.
‘‘The DUP never allowed me to shine in the way that I know I can shine.’’