Friday, 22 February 2013

"Anything To Declare Sir?" ("Have you got any lawnmowers?")

I was telling my Internet friend Cumbrian the other day, that you can't send bacon through the post to the UK.  It reminded me of the time we 'Emigrated' to Ireland in 2001.  Picture the scene dear readers.  A car full of people and a stoned border collie spaced out on 'doggie valium' and a Luton van full of our belongings and a driver and two people pull up at Fishguard docks.  It's three o'clock in the morning (this is starting to sound like a country and western song).  A Welsh customs police officer ('Heddlu) asks us the following:

"Do you have any powdered baby milk or a LAWNMOWER?"

The good and bad people of Britain could sleep easily in their beds.  There was no need for her majesty's police force to search for stowaways, illegal immigrants, caches of illegal drugs or explosives.  Apparently it was because of the Foot and Mouth outbreak in Britain.  The powers that be thought it could be spread to Ireland by drinking powdered baby milk or somebody had been mowing a lawn and a cow may or might have been eating on it.

I of course told the driver:

"We have no lawnmowers officer or powdered baby milk."

"Right off you go and have a pleasant journey. Good night sir."


Going to spend the weekend digging the veg plot.  Talking to a robin and moaning about my back.  Time to get up or down to the allotment/smallholding me thinks folks?


  1. Yes, Foot & Mouth, a grim time here.
    I remember driving off the ferry in Zeebruges and through a big puddle full of something to kill any possible bugs. No questions of powdered milk or lawn mowers though.
    Weat Cumbria seemed to suffer more than most, they had straw beds on a lot of country roads, soaked in disinfectant. There weren't many farms un-affected, Manitoba loaders and wagons with closed-top trailers seemed to be everywhere. Than they started burning the carcases. Eventually we got the biggest mass animal grave in the world at Gt Orton.

    Dull and cool this morning.
    Raggy cat presented a mouse on the front doorstep.

  2. It never reached Ireland. So perhaps it worked? I remember reading somewhere that farm animals could be allowed to be innoculated against foot and mouth for 37p per animal. But the powers that be wouldn't allow it.

    They blame the badger for the spread of TB but they won't immunise against it.

    Back to the docks with the lawnmower. It makes us laugh when we think back to the night. Three in the morning and a policeman is asking you if you have a lawnmower in your posession. It was like a scene out of a Monty Python sketch.

    Good old Raggy Cat.

  3. Never heard of a F & M innoculation, can't think of a reason why they don'y use it, especially at 35p.

    Must be drying up a bit here, there's some ploughing going on, but it still looks a bit sticky. The seagulls are enjoying it though.

    Have had some laughs with Customs Officers, went to Amsterdam with a friend, he had a black bag, in which he found a pair of his wifes knickers, black lacy silky things.
    Thought nothing about it, but coming back he decided to get wife a consience-relieving bottle of perfume, he tried just about every one on his arms, smelled worse than a brothel, even the sniffer dogs were turning their noses up. Got stopped and his bag emptied by a Customs Officer who I guess smelled something fishy, and held up the aforementioned black knickers asking (throught the brothel smell) "And what exactly have you been doing in Amsterdam sir?" I couldn't stand up for laughing, his face was a study.
    Like your grass mower, you couldn't make it up.

    Pork spare rib chops in the slow cooker with a dash of olive oil, chopped onion and stock cube, to be served with bashed potatoes, carrots and cabbage.

  4. Hi Cumbrian, It drying up here also. I have just spent a few hours knocking the veg plot into shape with the four prong pike and my trusty Azada grubbing hoe. The robins are like your seagulls. Hope they save me some of the worms to dig the soil and aerate it. I am aching like mad but I am really chuffed to have made some progress. I am the plough and the wife is the sower. Much too cold to set anything yet though. I hope it's not like last March with fantastic weather and all down hill after that.

    "Even the sniffer dogs were turning their noses up."

    Brilliant! Never understood how they train the dogs. Surely the dogs must be addicted to the drugs for them to go into a frenzy when they smell some?

    I have also never understood security firms advertising what they do on the side of their vans. Why not say:

    "Hey folks we have got ten million pounds in the back of our transit van."


    Sounds a very good supper.

  5. Nice to see the robins though, there's one lives in the back garden, sometimes sits watching me mow the grass, doesn't seem to be afraid of me.

    No, I don't know how they rain the dogs either, where do they get the appropriate drugs to use to train them? But they're often at North Shields ferry port checking the passengers from Amsterdam.

    Yeah, the security vans, I sometimes wonder why they advertise so blatantly on the side of the van, as you say, a beacon to attract the robbers. But they're getting fewer, nobody seems to use so much cash now, the banks have it under control with their debit systems and little bits of plastic.
    Remember when I sold a house a couple of years ago, the solicitors assistant, who I know personally, went to school with, and lived in the same village for a lifetime, asked me for proof of identity. Since I've also been on first name terms with my solicitor for 30 years, it seemed a bit over the top, so I enquired why she needed such pfoof as to my already well-known identity. "It's to pevent terrorism and money laundering". I'm sure that having a photocopy of my passport on their file is going to prevent a lot of money laundering and terrorism. About the same chance as it preventing global warming.

    Sky looks a bit heavy this morning, no wind but frosty.
    Raggy cat in, I opened the door this morning and looked for it, hiding up a fir tree. No mouse this morning, yesterdays has gone as well. Didn't want any biccies so I think the hunting must be good.

  6. Yes the robins are great. I always like to think the robin watching me dig is my grandfather watching me. Wouldn't it be great if you could be a robin in another life?

    The army accompany (no they play instruments) the security vans here in Ireland. It's quite a shock to walk passed soldiers with fully loaded automatic rifles in the high street. Once heard an American lady tourist say:

    "Are they real guns?"

    I some times wonder if the lunatics have taken over the asylum. Once went to register a death and the civil servant wouldn't let me because I hadn't shown them a photograph of myself. Come on. You often get complete strangers going around registering people's deaths, don't you?

    I always thought a European passport or national identity card with your fingerprint/photograph/ DNA would be made to end the passport farce? They obviously make too much money processing individual national one's?

    Dry but cold here. Going to do some more weeding me thinks. Make hay while the sun shines, and all that.


  7. Lunatics running the asylum, Yes it does seem that way.
    I was once asked for proof of identity, can't remember where, and just happened to have my shotgun certificate with me, it's got photo, name, date of birth, and God only knows hat else about me, but it wasn't any good as it wasn't on the counter clerks list of acceptable documents. So, have a ratch about in the Land Rover and find an delivery note from a local builders merchant with my name on, he accepted that no problem. Makes you wonder.

    And being asked on Fuertaventura for my passport ID in a supermarket when I paid by card, how do they think I got on to the island without it? Since I don't carry my passport (does anybody?) I had to walk about 15' to an ATM and get cash, in full view of the cashier who refused my card. Strange I can get 200 Euros no problem, but can't pay 15 Euros for a some shopping in the same place?

    Yes, the passport system has grown into a financial monster, mine's due next year, I dunno how much it'll be, the last one was £76 if I remember correctly.

    Just put a new brew in, Woodfordes Real English Ale, report in about 3 / 4 weeks when it's drinkable. Current keg Woodfordes Norfolk Werry going down very well.

    Blue sky here, sunny, a lot of birds seeming very busy, is it a bit early for them to be nesting? Got Wood pigeon, Collered dove, Thrush, Sparrow and Blue tits this morning.

  8. Hi Cumbrian, Thanks for that. Banks make me laugh when they ask you for a photograph to open an account. They don't know you from Adam but a photo is fine. Then every time you go in it's a different cashier and they never ask you for a photograph. I bet it made you very angry in the supermarket in Fuertaventura?

    767 Euros it's just cost us to renew our English passports.

    Been ploughing with a 2 furrow plough yesterday. More such fun today. Talk about horses for courses. Frosty last night. Field looks really good. Soon be setting swedes and fodder bait and chasing rabbits.



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