Sunday, 3 June 2012

A Gold For A White Rose Garden. (and a photo from my garden and some Thin Lizzy for your enjoyment!).

Howdy folks,

Did you watch Chelsea Flower Show on the old electric fish tank?  I always look for the Artisan gardens, follies and allotment type rustic gardens.  One garden that really stood out for me this year was the Bronte Yorkshire garden.

I have been to Haworth many times and had a pint or ten in the Black Bull, Branwell's haunt, and visited the Bronte parsonage, church, the great chip shop and of course walked the moors to Top Withins, the said place where Emily Bronte got her muse and inspiration to write Wuthering Heights.  It's one of my favourite books of all time and I once remember walking up there and a beautiful Japanese girl walked passed me on her own, reading the novel, totally oblivious to anybody.  Talk of literary magic!

I read on the Interrnet the other day that there is a theory that John Lennon was the reincarnation of Branwell Bronte.  They both had Liverpool connections, were surrounded by women and the both wore glasses.  Honestly!

Another interesting fact about the Brontes.  Patrick Bronte (their father) was originally called Brunty.  However, when he moved from Ireland and went to study at Cambridge, he changed his name to Bronte.  To quote  Michael Caine.

"Not many people know that."

Anyway.  The Bronte Yorkshire garden won gold.  I think the designer and the people who built it thoroughly deserved it.  I really like the millstone grit ruin.  It reminds me so much of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Lake District.  Have a look at the You Tube video for the Bronte Chelsea Garden and see what you think.  Going off the television presenters comments, I think the garden is about YORKSHIRE.  Well he only says it SIXTEEN times!  To quote Barry Norman:

"And why not?"

Here's a photograph of a exquisite purple rose in my front garden.  It was taken on Friday before the rain.   I have just noticed the Dock leaves!

Keeping with the rose theme.  I am a classic heavy rock fan.  Here's one of my favourite bands Thin Lizzy playing Black Rose. God must have some great concerts with Gary Moore and Phil Lynott in his band.  The instrumental part of Black Rose is simply amazing.

Have a good week.


  1. No, didn't wee the flower show, very rarely watch the idiots lantern, maybe I should try a bit more often, I'm sure I miss a lot of interesting stuff?

    I'm sure we have some gardens in the Lake District, but must admit I've never seen any.

    The parks were once works of art, billiard table greens and colourful flower displays, some of them were worth an award. Usually presided over by a bad-tempered man in overalls, a jacket with a badge and a fancy hat as his symbol of authority, who did regular weed patrols and sometimes had underlings to help keep the parks looking immaculate.
    They (at least some of them) still look nice, but the park-keeper is a forgotten figure in most places, I think most of the work is now done by contractors.

    Lovely morning again, raggy cat just come in.

  2. Thanks Cumbrian.

    There are lots of big houses with superb gardens open to the public in Britain and Ireland. One of my favourites is Cholmondley castle in Cheshire and I also adore Heligan in Cornwall. I have visited quite a few in Ireland. Will blog about one of them next week. The Bronte garden is a work of art. Rather like allotments are. Some people use paint and gardeners use soil, stone (house in Bronte garden)and what ever nature allows.

    I was talking to somebody the other year and we were commenting on somebody clearing the mountain and he said to me:

    "They are trying to put right what God couldn't do!"


    We don't seem to have many parks in these parts. I do remember the impeccable parks in England with red and white Geraniums, billiard table bowling greens and bandstands with brass bands playing Jerusalem. Mike Reid (comedian) used to shout to somebody in the audience:

    "Who cut your hair? Was it the council?"

    Its dry at the moment. Probably do some more weeding today. The ducks process the weeds (very choosy) before it goes on the compost heap.


  3. Yes, I really should make an effort to see some of these stately gardens, sadly my wife is a wheelchair user, and a lot of them are out of bounds, a step higher than about 4" stops us, and there's not many places that don't have a few steps.

    "They are trying to put right what God couldn't do!" - Like that comment, it's just gotta be Irish?

    Lovely morning again.

    Raggy cat come in, can't see it now, maybe found a soft place to curl up, it has the ability to find a comfortable place to sleep every day, but not always the same one.

  4. That's a good topic of discussion Cumbrian. I will look on the Tweb and Tinternet to see if I can find any wheelchair friendly gardens?

    I think town planners, health and safety officials.., should walk round public gardens and especially shops, with a wheel chair and a push chair (pram)and see how difficult it is. They councils could also make things easier by putting drop kerbs at every road junction. I have even seen signs in cafe's in the Lakes and other tourist places that say:

    "No Rucksacks, No Pushchairs, No Muddy boots."

    Yes it was an Irish comment.

    Raining here again. Solid fuel is now eighteen Euro s for forty kg. We are using peat briquettes and logs to heat the range. So much for flaming June. My Jack Russell terrier makes her bed on a large round bale of straw in the barn. She comes to see me every morning for her two biscuits for ratting duty.


  5. I found quite a few lake district theme parks and gardens with disabled access Cumbrian. Have a look at www.iknow.lakedistrict.couk/...lakedistrict/...gardens/disabled.toil

    Think that's right.

    Hope you have some great days visiting them all.

  6. "No Rucksacks, No Pushchairs, No Muddy boots."
    That cuts out most of the potential clientelle.

    And no welcome either. You forgot "No Smokers" as well.
    That now covers just about everybody. Except the non-smoking ploished shoe brigade in their BMWs who no doubt drink a single glass in a couple of hours.

    Yes, the wheelchair-friendly places, I'll have a search on that site.
    To be fair, modern Building Regulations demand that all new buildings have wheelchair access and accessibility to basic facilities. However, they can't enforce the rules in retrospect, and Planning and Conservation rules prevent ramps being provided in a lot of places. But I agree, it would be a good idea to have all Planning officials and H & S people to push each other around in a wheelchair for a couple of days and see what it's really like; ther's room for a lot of improvement. Ironocally, the big supersheds Asda, Tesco, etc, are the best providers of DAP facilities, no doubt there's a mercenary streak there, but at least they try hard with level access, self-opening doors, decent toilets and some even have little sit-on DAP electric shopping carts.

    Lovely day here again, got a bone-in shoulder of lamb in the slow cooker, and some Jersey Royals, for dinner. One of my favourites, I've been admiring the lambs in the fields, seems to have been a good year, lots of twins, they're looking very plump and almost ready. Makes me feel like buying one for the freezer, but no doubt there's rules to stop me doing that?

    Shocked to hear the cost of solid fuel, the last time I bought it about 7 years ago best coal was about £6 /cwt. and I though that was expensive.

  7. Yes I forgot the smoker. They aren't allowed to smoke in the bars here unless they go in a freezing cold designated area or even outside in the rain. Perhaps the people who made this Draconian law looked at the way children were often treated with a straw in a bottle of coke and a packet of crisps and "sit outside until your dad's finished his pint or ten." They are talking about bringing in legislation to fine people if you smoke in your car when there is a child present.

    I no longer smoke myself but I don't see why pubs can't have a warm room with fans to smoke in. I hate people being treated like second class citizens. They are closing a lot of rural Garda (police) stations, so there will probably more drunk drivers?

    Tesco also have good nappy changing facilities, unlike so many roads in Ireland with no services or disabled facilities.

    The Jersey Royals sound delicious. If you can rub their skins off with your thumb nail - they are fresh.

    I have read a great book called: The Potato: Zuckerman. It really is brilliant. He talks about the history of the potato, from the Andes in Peru, the Potato Famine, in Ireland (the peasants used to grow a long thumb nail to peel the potatoes because they had no cutlery), and the rise of the chip shop in industrial towns in England because of shift work.

    Most butchers will sell you half or a full lamb. Or even approach a farmer and they will sell you one and get it slaughtered for you. I often have one of my animals killed. Only thing is you get a lot of cuts that you aren't so keen on. There's also no slaughter premium now so it makes it expensive. Last time I killed a heifer it cost me two hundred euros and I had to pay somebody to take it to the slaughter house. However we did have a chest freezer of meat= 2 sides of a cow. They don't give you the head, guts or skin either. Not that you would want most of it. It would make good dog and cat mince though.

    Fuel is very dear at the moment. Petrol and oil and coal are making everything very expensive. Country living is not cheap. I spend at least thirty Euros a week (say £27.00) on duck food, solid fuel and calf meal. Then there's insurance... Thank God I don't have a mortgage.


  8. Yes, the smoking debate rages on.

    Rural police stations - we used to have a police house or two in every village, even the small ones. The local bobby was a well-known figure, his door was always available to be knocked on. He knew everybody, all the local rag tag and bobtail, the poachers, and the pub clietelle. There was one, many years ago in a village with 3 pubs, he shut 2 of them evry night on time (the old licencing laws) and left the 3rd one open for the lock-in, taking off his helmet and jacket and enjoying his pint(s). They were each given a turn in rota. His explanation to his superiors was that he knew everybody who was drinking, and the ones who weren't. Seemed to work well, his village had little or neglegible trouble. A real community bobby.
    Now all the village houses have been sold off, and policing is administered remotely by cops who often don't even know their way around the area.
    And they call it progress.

    Jersey Royals went down well with the lamb, 6 hours in the slow cooker saw it falling off the knucle bone, very nice. Sadly they weren't that fresh, but still tasty.

    Your comment about the long thumb-nail reminds me of the Scottish herring-lassies of old, who grew a similar long nail to gut the fish quickly without a knife.

    Sad you need to pay so much to have your own beasts slaughtered, but difficult to avoid I guess in the case of a stirk, too big to do yourself.
    Our local knacker-yard used to make dog food from the lights and various bits, a big mincing machine, it was popular with the greyhound fraternity. Sadly that's just a memory now as well, no doubt closed by some regulations.

    Fuel costs aren't any cheaper here, gas especially is getting very expesive and elecric isn't far behind. I miss my drift-wood fuelled open fire, it was fun to collect from the shore and burned with a lovely smell. Chainsaw's probably gone rusty, I can't remember the last time I used it.

    Rain's back this afternoon, and it's getting cold as well, fire on again.
    No sign of raggy cat, thought it might be back when the rain came. Just looked outside now, it's sheltering under the car, came in when I opened the door. In front of fire now, it's going back out at bedtime though.

  9. Thanks Cumbrian.

    The biggest problem with the rural pubs in Ireland is the lack of transport. There are lot of people who suffer from rural isolation because they have no place to socialize in. The days of a old bachelor driving down the road and having a couple of pints and driving home at 20 mph are gone. I don't condone drink driving, however I think the pubs could put on a minibus and the governments or breweries could subsidize it. My nearest pub is five miles away so I very rarely go in one, except maybe a funeral or a wedding. There are no street lights and the verges are unkempt so its not safe to walk. There is a lot to be said for living near a village with allotments, chip shop, church, community centre and a real ale inn.

    You can't kill your own farm animals any more so you have to pay. Pay to raise them, then pay to slaughter. You can't beat the quality though and like you say, you know what you're eating!

    I collect drift wood myself and seaweed some times during the year. Quite a few people make driftwood sculptures and sell them. We have a chainsaw and we also buy quite a lot of firewood. Rural living is very costly and its probably why the countryside is full of empty holiday houses and weekender's?

    It's showers here today. The snails have devoured my swede plants. Must get some organic pellets.


  10. Yes, the lack of transport is a big factor in closing country pubs. I suppose in the old days men were happy to walk a bit further, they were used to it, so drink-driving didn't play a part. But today nobody seems to walk anywhere, the infernal combustion engine rules supreme. We did have a fish-monger, many years ago, with a horse and cart, who called at his favourite hostelry every Friday night and off-loaded a lot of his takings in exchange for ale. Standard practice was to put him on the cart at closing time, the horse knew the way home. I think we've seen the last of those days and those characters?

    Minibuses sound like a great idea, but timings wouldn't suit everybody, and the price of beer would need to come down a bit to entice people back, they've got used to their cosy front room with ashtrays and cheap wine and big screen TV. Nobody would want to pay for them either.
    Any country pubs left which are making money tend to be restaurants with a bar, people visit early evening to eat and have 1 glass with dinner, then get back home to drink there.

    Even villages are suffering from lack of amenities, quite a few our way have no pub or shop or post office, and very limited public transport.

    I don't think we need look much further for the reasons why so many rural houses are holiday homes, there's just nothing left in the countryside.

    Still damp and dull here but the rain's stopped, Yeah, slugs seem to like swede, what about the beer traps? They work for me, drip tray quality is fine, it drowns them just as dead.
    Raggy cat waiting to come in as usual, asleep on my chair now.

  11. The Fishmonger sounds a real character. I have heard (dunno if its true) that you can take your horse and cart to the pub and get drunk and let your horse take you home and you won't get prosecuted.

    Totally agree with you about the timing wouldn't suit everybody. Most people don't go out to the pub until ten and then you would get the awkard ones who wanted to go home early and the ones who never wanted to go home. I have come out of pubs in England at 4 in the morning and the birds are singing.

    Another factor of walking on the country roads, is the speed limits. Eighty KM here. That's about 50 miles an hour.

    I have also noticed the noise from the agricultural vehicles like tractors and silage trailers is terrible at times, especially when they are cutting silage. Oh to go back to horses and carts. Clip clop hooves on tar and rural bliss.

    Apart from the peace and quiet (sometimes), there isn't much in the countryside. Don't think I would like to live in a town again though. Dunno about that one?

    Yeah I forgot about slug pubs. The ducks like to eat them too.

    Raggy cat obviously works very hard.


  12. You're probably right about the horse & cart, although I'm sure some over-zealous arsehole in a uniform would be able to invent an offence. And back in the 50s there wasn't much traffic, if any on the rural roads. Be a bit different now with un-lit roads and boy racers.
    As you say, it's dangerous just wlking on the country roads after dark.

    Yes the peace & quiet is often shattered by the intrusion of huge diesel engines and associated machine clatter, I don't know now they get some of the maclines into the fields. Not so much in the fells, the fields are too small, irregularly shaped and often sloping to make the bigger machines worthwhile. I can see the day coming, in the not too distant future, to these smaller fell farms when the horse will actually be used again as an economical alternative.

    Doubt if I'd feel happy in a town, unless I live to be so old and decrepit I can't drive any more, then at least the facilities will be near enough. And if I'm that decrepit I probably won't care anyway.

    Maybe the ducks could use some help with the slugs, a few yogurt pot slug pubs would probably help, they're easy enough to do.

    Sun's got out now, quite a pleasant evening in fact.
    Raggy cat gone out, must have some pressing business, looked a bit miffed when there was no more lamb fat left.
    Next door had their kids dogs there, 2 springer spaniels, got half a knuckle bone each, very pleased they were, I've got 2 friends, no doubt they'll be looking for me tomorrow.

  13. Thanks Cumbrian.

    I think the speed limits on country roads are far too high. I also don't see why there can't be lights fitted to the electric cables and poles that seem to run along the main roads. This could be a light every hundred yards and people could walk along the road and there wouldn't be half the road-kill. I have said this before on other forums and people have said I have a townie approach to the countryside.

    It seems to be one step forwards, one step backwards with the farm machinery. The contractors and big farmers use big machinery to quickly apply slurry and harvest crops, alleviating toil and slavery but also making the roads dangerous, noise, smells and lots of unemployment. I have heard of tourists who own holiday homes, asking the farmers if they can spread the slurry and harvest the silage when they aren't there.

    Another problem with the lack of public transport is the four car family. Yes they have paid for them and pay their road tax, but they also create parking and traffic problems in the towns. Then people cry for a bypass instead of getting rid of the cars. I have suggested charging for parking or even a park and ride in our local town. People look at me like I have two heads.

    Its dry at the moment but the forecast is very poor for the next two days. Been chopping firewood in JUNE! The seasons seem to have gone crazy.


  14. Another modern phenonema, the holiday-home-owning-city-dweller, who uses his country property perhaps 3 or 4 weeks a year, or maybe even during the school holidays (good to get the kids away from the city). Then complain about the inevitable agricultural activities that are being carried on when he's there. And they probably consider themselves intelligent?

    My opinion they contribute nothing to the local area, only hasten the doom and gloom caused by withdrawal of facilities (they don't need public transport, they don't support local business, and even if they did it would only be when they're in residence)

    Park & Ride schemes are a good idea, but they don't work for everybody, wheelchair users for example can't get on the buses. That's another of my favourite rants - The thirty-something businessman in his tailored suit, Rolex watch, old school tie with gold tie-pin and matching gold cuff-links, polished black leather shoes, parking his immaculate BMW / Merc in the blue DAP bays while he saunters into Tesco to get his Peter Styvesant / Dunhill cigarettes. I feel like having a stick-on notice made up for them , to stick in the middle of their windscreen "You've got my parking space, do you want my wheelchair?" If there isn't a DAP blue bay left, he's quite happy to leave it in a child-only bay, just adds to the fun when a young mother with 2 screaming brats and a push-chair has to fight to open her doors in a normal bay at the far end of the car park. Especially if it's pissing down and preferably blowing a gale.
    Same guy's probably got a holiday home in the country as well, and moans about the slurry-spreading and silage-making.
    I hope there's a special little corner of Hell reserved for arseholes like this.

    Not a bad morning, sun's trying to break out, not raining but feels like it's going to be in the not too distant future.
    Raggy cat back in at its usual time, had a sleep on my cushion, begged a bit of the lamb remnants, and sauntered out again.

  15. Thanks for that Cumbrian and especially for making me laugh and smile.

    watch Escape To The Country a lot on the old John Logie Baird machine. People pay four hundred thousand plus in places like Devon and Cornwall (most rural places) for no services or jobs or anything. Just for a rural retreat for the weekend. Resulting in property prices become inaccessible for people from working class origins.

    Park and Ride schemes like the one in Cork, Chester and York are excellent for taking the customer into the city or town and keeping the cars on the outskirts of the towns. Didn't know that wheelchairs users can't get on the buses. Not that I see many buses these days. There's also very few disabled parking areas in most towns.

    Your smart dressed Peter Styvesant man made me laugh. Next time you see him walking round your supermarket, take out his goodies from the supermarket trolley and put them in your own. Well he won't have paid for them yet, so they don't belong to him, do they?

    People with kids and pushchairs are treated very poorly. Especially when the supermarket places the toffees at the checkout!

    We have had a lot of heavy rain and the calves have been moved to the paddock where they can get in the stall if they want. Big cattle scoffing like mad and couldn't care less.

    I have been reading about global warming due to climate change caused by pollution. Rising seas and lots of bad weather predicted because of carbon emissions. I think people should book their holidays for March. Seems to be the best month now!


  16. Yeah, we get our share of "holidy-home-man" in the Lake District, house selling as you say well into 6 figures and used for 2 / 3 weeks a year while local young people can't get a place to live. Some of them come to live here, don't last very long, the lovely sunshine disappears in winter and some of the more remote places get cut off for a week or two, nobody told them that. And some are stuck here, sold a 2-bed terrace in London and bought a 5-bed country house with large grounds for the same price. By the time reality hits home (the winters and the fact that large grounds need large inputs of work or money to keep them in order) they can't afford to move back to the city.

    Some buses have a platform that comes out of the side and you push a wheelchair onto it, then it lifts back into the bus hydraulics I suppose. But not many. DAP parking bays are fine, but as you've noticed, not numerous. Strange rule, you get 3 hours in a DAP bay, but all day in a normal bay. Blue disc entitles parking just about anywhere, including double yellow lines, but not loading bays.

    Peter Syvesant man doesn't do shopping, except for his Peter Styvesant or perhaps his Paco Rabanne apres-rasage and chateau-bottled Burgundy, and he pays by gold Amex whilst talking to somebody on the latest mobile. My ambition is to see him slip on a dog turd and fall into a dirty puddle. Or for a rottweiler to piss on his BMW wheels or perfectly creased trousers. Just hope there's a couple of harassed mothers and wheelchair users about to have a laugh.

    I fell sorry for the harassed mother with a couple of whining tantrum-throwing kids at the check-out, must be easy to give in to the demands for some tooth-rot material to add to the superstores already vast profits and perhaps keep the little horrors quiet for long enough to get through the till and back to the car. Where daddy's often sitting having a fag and reading the sports pages, eagerly awaiting his cue to return the now empty trolley and collect the £1 coin (if it's not raining)

    Been raining, stopped now it's wet everything.
    Raggy cat been in, demanded fat from our dinner pork chops, and sauntered out again.

    I'll think about global warming, this post's already long enough.

  17. Thanks Cumbrian. You have definitely got your finger on the pulse with your "holiday home man" and "Pete Styvesant man". They are your brilliant creations and let credit be known. Can I use them some time?

    I can never understand why people move to a rural setting but they don't grow vegetables, keep any livestock and do all that they can to make it difficult for the farmers. Perhaps they have a 'Emperor's new clothes' philosophy to country living? "All we want is peace and quiet and nobody disturbing us".

    I can't say I like supermarkets very much myself. I would much prefer if they were like Argos or a builders merchant, give them your order and say:

    "I will pick it up in ten minutes."

    Women seem to have the patience to go round every aisle and look at every shelfs contents. I like to get a nice beef joint and make my way to the beer. I also like to get a newspaper, read the sports pages, or the supermarket noticeboard for things for sale. I have been in some supermarkets in England where you can pay for somebody to look after your kids in a ball pit park while you think what you want for your tea. There used to be also a brewery chain called: Brewers Fayre and they did meals for a fiver and you watched your kids play through a glass window in one of those climbing frame and slides areas...

    Still throwing it down here.

    Got a few bottles of Theakstons Old Peculiar today. Real Ale is brilliant.


  18. Feel free to use any of my material or characters, no problem.

    They move to their rural retreat for the perceived peace and quiet of the countryside with its idyllic way of life and slower pace. No real understanding or concept of the rural bred & born mindset, and no insight into the problems of the local populace. Growing vegetables or keeping a few chickens / rabbits to provide eggs and meat for their table is (usually) as alien to them as flying to the moon.

    Women have the ability to visit the supershed for a plastic bottle of milk and a loaf of bread and emerge 45 minutes later and £45 lighter with a trolley full of everything EXCEPT milk and bread. Maybe that's why dad prefers to sit in the motor with his fag and sports pages?

    But some of them do carry a good range of bottled real ales. I still prefer to brew my own, but I can't brew the range of beers they carry.
    Currently drinking some saki and some mead from last year, going down very nicely as well.

    Raining again, we've been promised more of the same and some wind. Raggy cat asleep on my cushion, sensible little creature. Fire's on again, not looking forward to the gas bill.

  19. Thanks Cumbrian.

    Country living is not for the fainthearted person who looks at everything through rose tinted spectacles. However it is better than the commuter race, working in a monotonous underpaid factory, living in a high rise council flat/estate, working on a building site...?

    Saying that. There is a price for rural living in terms of no infrastructure public transport and pavements and pubs shops, jobs, affordable housing and even friends. People like myself dream of being writers, or artists or simply to get away from this crazy world that seems to reward greed. I suppose people like Tom and Barbara Good are to blame giving us notions of the Garden of Eden? It never worked for Eve or for Adam, so why should we expect anything different?

    I'm 48 years old and there's never been any public transport or real jobs (my dad moved to England in the 1950's) in rural Ireland, so I suppose things will never change. Could always get one of those shirt and tie jobs and commute to Surbiton every night? Then one day I would probably start having notions of being self sufficient..?

    Yes we are starting to get a few different bottle of real ale in our off licence (in town) too. They remind me of Blighty with its brilliant ale. All we need now is a northern chip-shop.

    Blowing a gale here. Calves spent last night in stall lying on straw and chewing their cud. They're not daft.


  20. Suppose you're right, despite the teachings of Tom nad Barbara Good, they soon have the rose-tinted spectacles removed, the "lets keep our own animals for food" ideal becomes reality when they get faced with killing the first rabbit or chicken. Then skinning, gutting (keep the heart, liver and kidneys) and preparing a rabbit. I wonder how many small livestock are growing old because somebody lost their bottle at the last second?
    Maybe they're better in the offices or building sites.

    Used to keep New Zealand whites, grow huge in about 8 - 10 weeks, I had to take them to my parents in batches to do them, the then wife was a bit sqeamish. My dad hovered with his tin plate (from army days, it must have antique value) to collect the hearts, liver and kidneys, offal was his favourite dish.

    I think a lot of people came from Ireland th UK looking for work in the 50s and 60s. Our area was famous for iron, steel and coal, and was a thriving area until the 70s. Then came Ian McGregor, Maggie Thatchers hit-man. Remember him? Decimated our steel and coal industries. They were dirty heavy industry, but kept an awful lot of men in full-time work and aupported a lot more. We only had coal and steel, unemployment hit 35% at one time just after the steelworks and pits closed. So it turned out not much work for anybody, English or Irish.

    You'll have to start brewing, it really is easy, there's so many different kits now, you can brew just about any ale to suit your taste. I've been really impressed with the quality of the modern kits.
    And then learn to make batter and deep-fry cod and haddock, the chips and mushy peas.

    Calves sound like they've got more sense than some people.
    Raggy cat in as usual, sleeping on my cushion. We're away tomorrow for 2 weeks, so it'll have to remember how to catch its own protien, I'll leave the biccies.
    Bright gray sky but damp here, warm enough. Just good conditions for maximum grass growth, it'll be a jungle when I get back. Maybe a couple of lambs to tether and finish off on grass? Fat lambs making up to £2 per kg at local auction, not a bad price, so maybe that's not such a good idea.

  21. Thanks for that Cumbrian.

    I don't particular like sending my farm animals to the slaughter. It's even worse that we give all our animals names and some member of the family is sure to pipe up at tea time:

    "Is this Show Jumper, the black Limousin?"

    Yes I am going to start brewing my own ale. I have had a go at making my own fish and chips, but you don't seem to get the beef dripping like they used to use in chip shops in the north of England, especially Yorkshire.

    I hope you have a good holiday and I will miss your comments. Thanks making the blog worthwhile. It's indifference which destroys the writer!

    I have always paid somebody to dispatch our animals for us. So much for being the hunter, gatherer?

    At least I don't say its cruel to kill animals and then buy meat from a supermarket. I have lived on my farm nearly eleven years and still never got used to killing my pals. Saying that. I would have no problem help load them them up and send them off down to the abattoir.

    I do remember the 80's in England when all the mines, steelworks and textile factories closed for ever. Brassed Off is one of my favourite films!

    It must have been great to have one of those jobs in the fifties and sixties that my parents told me about, where you could finish one job on a Friday and start another on a Monday? Watched some of the Queen's flotilla down the Thames last Sunday. The boat industry is no more along with Liverpool docks, the biggest port in the world. My parents tell me of Salford docks, Manchester ship canal (full of merchant ships, railway lines that ran everywhere and Atlantic cruisers: The Queen Mary sailing from New York to Cobh in five days and bringing tons of tourists, all to be replaced with the Jet liner.

    Best wishes and hopefully the weather improves for you!

  22. "It's even worse that we give all our animals names"

    That's why Raggy cat stays as an IT, as you've probably noticed.
    My rabbits never had names, unless it was a particularly juicy-looking one I might call it "Dinner", they never even had sexes, just big white meat producers.

    Bit impractical to do a stirk at home, too big to handle, but surely a lamb or even a porker shouldn't present too many problems? If you don't want to do the actual deed, there must be somebody local who could do the necessary, payment in a few jars of home brew? My experience, once it's skinned and head off, it's just a big lump of meat to cut up.

    Yeah, jobs were a bit easier to come by in those days, not like now we seem to need bits of paoer to porove what we can do.

    Sad to see Liverpool docklands so deserted, like you say a huge port in its hey-day, and I've never seen a ship in the Manchester ship canal.

    Raining again, raggy cat fetched half a small bunny and eat it in the living room, left me a foot, a tail and a small piece of fur.

  23. I always give our animal names and some of them even seem to know their name.

    Once heard of somebody who used to give you rabbits to the neighbourhood. A few months later he would try to swap the now fat rabbit (raised by his neighbours, costing him nothing) in exchange for a young one.

    I had do to get a pig number, a visit from the departments vet ("put some plywood in its roof")fill in a form to buy it and another to give to the slaughter works. The pigs, calves and sheep come with a plastic ear tag. I have got to have a 'holding crush' for the cattle to get their yearly TB and every second year Brucellosis test. No crush, no animals!

    I have even heard of people buying a smallholding and having great difficulty getting a new herd number. You can't keep farm animals without a herd number. It's all down to traceability I think! It's not illegal to kill poultry yourself though..

    Manufacturing seems to have disappeared from the Western Hemisphere and India and China are very quickly becoming the new Europe. Would love to see a 1930's America spades and shovels solution to the mass unemployment. Think it's over 100 million in Europe?

    Manchester Ship Canal and the Liverpool to Manchester railway were both dug by hand. A lot of them were agricultural labourers who didn't mind a bit of graft.

    It's windy here and showers. Raggy cat knows how to look after itself.



Lets Have Our Own Chelsea Flower Show,

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