Saturday, 28 May 2016

How Much Is That Moo Cow In The Window?

We went up country to get a part for one of our smallholding machines the other day.  A 398 miles (can't work in Kilometres at my age) round trip via good roads, bad roads, country lanes and toll motorways.  The road surfaces on the toll motorways are excellent.  The roads signs in the Republic of Ireland are in Kilometres and the motorways are more like dual carriage ways with only 2 lanes.  There also pretty quiet.  They remind me of old new reel clippage of when the M1 opened in England in the sixties.  

Any road.  We walked round Tullow while they made us a new cable and I spotted this butchers with a fantastic USP.   The animals in the window were a delight to see and somebody had obviously gone to a lot of trouble putting on such a display.  I noticed 2 German supermarkets had moved into town recently and quite a few of the local shops in the high street were closed or seemed to be closing down.  I suppose like so much of rural businesses in Ireland they are dying or on their last legs.  When will the recession ever end?

We often go in the cut price supermarkets ourselves and I think that price seems to be more important than loyalty or perhaps even quality.  Day to day living in the UK and Ireland is far too expensive compared to countries like Poland and Portugal which I have visited twice each in the last few years.  You can get a pint (large glass)of lager in the Algarve for 2 Euros.  You can pay five Euros or more in Ireland.  How much is a pint of beer in Egnland these days?  

On the way home we travelled via Wexford and found ourselves at a toll booth.  We paid the 3 Euros forty toll and a lovely English lady said:

"Thank you very much.  Good bye and God bless and have a safe journey home."

On the return to West Cork we stopped outside Cork at a petrol station.  There were 2 Police vehicles with 'armed response unit' painted on the cars liveries.  We thought:

"Hey up.  It's a siege or a stick up!"  

The good wife filled up the pick up with 20 Euros of diesel and went to pay the cashier.  I looked up to the cafe/restaraunt windows over the petrol station.  The boys in blue looked to being having:

"A nice cup of tea."  


We stopped in Ballineen at the Lantern chip shop.  We bought our selves a large portion of chips (two forks) for 3 Euros twenty between us.  I am sure they gave us five pounds of chips.  Not bad hey.  A day out and a slap up meal for two.  


  1. I agree with you Dave about no sign of the recession ending. For a lot of people cheapness is of far more importance than quality. I don't think loyalty comes into it either from the customer or the shop it's self, shops are only interested in selling what moves fast and gives them the biggest profit they do not cater for everyone, the attitude seems to be buy what we say you can buy, that's often not the same thing as customers choice.

    1. Hi Anne. Rural towns and villages are suffering very badly in this recession.

      I notice how eerily quiet it living in the countryside these days. You don't see farmers working the land in the day time. Apart from silage and slurry contractors. I remember a time when almost every farm grew a field of vegetables for themselves and cow cabbages for the cattle and mangels for the horse. Local farmers say they couldn't compete with the Dutch growers others say the EEC subsidies put the end the need to grow your own. All very sad. There is nothing better than fresh dug vegetables.

      Did you find the cost of living a lot cheaper when you lived in Spain?

    2. Hi Dave, to be honest no, we did not find the cost of living cheaper in Spain, sure booze ( which we aren't that interested in) and tobacco was cheaper, eating out for a menu del dia was also cheap 10euro for a three course meal including a bottle of wine at lunch time, the food was OK, but not what you would call fine eating, for that you would pay the same as here, but the wine would be a lot cheaper. There are all sorts of hidden taxes in Spain and I believe in Portugal, land and property have separate taxes for example. The one thing that was cheap was calor gas, that is price controlled by the government, when they have one! I think it's now a year since they last had a government and are now set to have another general election.

    3. Hi Anne. We went to Seville last April on a day trip from the Algarve. Food and drink was very reasonably priced. In the Algarve you could buy a really nice local wine in the supermarkets for one Euro forty five.

      A lot of the people I talked to after the Irish election preferred having no government to the one they formed.

    4. Lets be honest Dave, no government would be preferable compared to the shower that has been cobbled together. They are even getting rid of the Department of the Environment!

    5. Didn't know they got rid of the Department of the Environment.

  2. Remember visiting the Emerald Isle for a weeks fishing, driving from Dublin to Kilmore Quay, quite a distance, and at the time road signs were being changed from miles to kilometres. It took me some time to work out why places seemed to be getting further away

    Love that pic, so good to see a traditional butchers window, reminiscent of English butchers I remember from the 50s and 60s, but sadly a thing of the past.

    Read a story not too long ago about a butcher / poulterer / game dealer in some small country market town (can't remember where) who had a display of game and game birds in his window in full fur and feather, and had for decades, a well-established and popular local business. A few new families moved into the area and complained about the display as being barbaric and inappropriate for the High street, and it might frighten their kiddywinks. They made such a fuss that the butcher was forced to remove his displays.

    And we've all heard the story of the townies who retired to a country residence and complained about the early morning cock crowing to such an extent that a directive was issued to the poultry-keeper that it mustn't be allowed to crow before 8:00 am or something?

    Why do urban-bred people move to the rural areas them immediately try to change them?

    Local brew Jennings Cumberland ale (a hand-pulled traditional real ale) is £2.65 in my village pub.

    Chips sound like a bargain though, slightly less than our local chippies but our portions are not as generous.

    1. Thanks for that Cumbrian. We also noticed there was a country tailors in Tullow with new men sewing by hand in the window. Wonderful to see the old skills.

      Your Jennings is still cheaper than the stout here. I don't go in pubs very often due to the price and the lack of public (5 miles) transport to the nearest boozer. Last time I bought a pint in Ireland it was 5 Euros.

      It's cheaper to drink and dine in the city of Warsaw than it is in rural Ireland.

      I think a lot of urban bred move to the countryside for the outside space but soon get disappointed with the lack of basic amenities and infrastructure which central governments will not provide. My father emigrated to England in the black nineteen fifties. The recession returned in the 1980's and now it's been here since 2007. The young people leave home and move to the cities or abroad for work and a better lifestyle. It seems to be an ever turning circle. Thanks!

  3. I love the farm animals in the shop window. I love model animals like this. I tried to buy some in one of the Gaudi souvenir shops in Barcelona but they were way too expensive. I think we are going into another recession soon in the UK, in or out of the EU. We are spending less on food now that we are eating more vegetarian and I have expanded my cooking skills to include couscous and rice

    1. Glad you like the farm animals Rachel. I think it's wonderful when shop owners go to the trouble of putting on a great window display.

      I always like to know how the recession is effecting the UK. I know dairy farmers are suffering from China being in recession and the demand for our powdered baby milk is not there.

      What about Sir Christian Ronaldo? Three Champions League titles. I think he will go down in sporting history alongside George Best, Maradona, Messi, Rush, Dalglish, Henry... Thanks!

  4. Dairy farming is in crisis in Austria. We also have an EU apple mountain rotting away somewhere. And so on. I think one big reason for the glut is that the EU foolishly imposed sanctions against itself vis-a-vis Ukraine (which was a set-up job by anyone's standards). Same is going on in Brazil right now. The same tried and trusted fingerprints of freedom are all over the place. Syria now. Somebody else next. You name it.

    1. Rotting apples? Don't they know how to make cider?

  5. Thanks for that Gwil. Irish farmers are concerned about Brazilian meat being imported to Ireland at very cheap prices. Thanks!


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