Sunday, 31 July 2016

We Took The Wrong Step Years A Go.

I often meet tourists wandering about near us.  Some times we let them camp on our (no charge) land if they seem OK.  A couple of weeks a go I met a couple from Cheshire.  I told them I knew the Manchester, Lancashire and Cheshire areas quite well and was brought up in Lancashire.  

Then we got on to politics and Brexit and I said I use to be in the Labour party and went to the massive CND march in London in 1983?  Guess what they were there way back then also.  Doesn't it make the world seem so much smaller?  Even though there were 250000 protesters there.

I remember going in a posh cake shop in Hyde Park Corner and asking them:

"Can I have a meat and potato pie please?"

A young woman who sounded like Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter informed me that they only sold cakes.  Posh one's at that I bet!

I was only about nineteen or twenty and I genuinely thought that we could change the world and Britain would get rid of nuclear weapons even nuclear power.  This was back in the days when Labour was the party for the labourers and still believed in clause 4 Socialism.

Refreshing little Ireland doesn't have any nuclear power or weapons for that matter.  Yet there is talk about the British government/Chinese/ French... building a new nuclear facility just 150 miles from Ireland.  Surely the EEC can stop this happening or can Ireland have a say that they don't want any nuclear plants being built near them?  

Rachel (a really good blog I read every day) was talking about Joni Mitchell today and she wrote quite a few protest songs.  I think I would choose the following Hawk-wind song for one of my favourite protest songs.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Family Heirlooms.

I often look at this clock when I am sat tapping the computer keys.  I remember it in my grandparent's parlour or "the room", that was kept for best when the vicar visited, or laying somebody out on the table when they died.  That's why it's always been said to be unlucky to put shoes on the table.  New shoes especially.


The clock is a miniature version of Shandon church in Cork city.  The clock's had a new face fitted.  But it's not like the old grandfather's axe chestnut.  The one that's had 7 new handles and seven new heads. 

"But it's still my grandfather's axe".

I have featured my grandmother's patchwork quilts on the blog before.   They still keep us warm and the clock stands on my shelf telling us the time.  

Do you have any of your grandparents heirlooms?  I wonder what we will pass down to our grandchildren?

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Walking On The Kettle (Sheeps Head Way).

They ("who are they") call Ireland the kettle.  When the temperature rises the moisture rises from the land and quite a few days of last week our peninsula was in the mists and clouds.  Making Ireland look mystical and mysterious.

I have started to step up the hiking/walking preparation to get fit for walking the Dingle Way in August.  That's 112 miles with a rucksack, a tent and a beer belly to carry over the mountains and tracks and streams.

Myself and number 2 son went for a walk over the hills on the Sheeps Head Way on Thursday.  It was rain like mizzle and we couldn't see the bay.  My wife drove us over to Ahakista and we joined the route at one of the yellow painted finger posts that say: Sheep's Head Way.  I decided to wear my trusty wellington boots and my son wore a pair of trainers or "the runners" which they call them in this part of Ireland.

We slipped and tripped and climbed up the hill over Glenlough and stopped now and then to follow the finger-posts in the mists that had enveloped us and the hills and bogs.  Then it started to rain and we squelched our way along the ridge back to our place five or six miles away.  Guess who had decided not to wear their waterproofs?

We did it though and it was incredibly peaceful and so enchantingly free from this crazy world we live in at the moment.  You could always go for a hike this weekend and turn off the news.  The flowers are putting on some wonderful displays and the sheep graze contentedly.  Do you go walking in your wellies and with no waterproofs?

Here's some mizzly photographs for you:


Bog cotton growing in the peat bogs.


A walk into the mizzle.  I felt like I was a character in the Hobbit.  Hope Smaug isn't waiting for us.

Over the hills and far away.   Wasn't that a Led Zeppelin record?

Take me home country roads or even Sheeps Head Way.


Dunmanus Bay in the distance.  They other bay on our peninsula.  We live facing Bantry Bay.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

A Smallholding Gurning Machine Perhaps? Farm Curiosity Corner Part 2.


We came across this amazing piece of  farm apparatus the other week.  It was lying around a farm yard with a myriad of other farming equipment.


It's obviously got two uses.  

Our old mate Plato once wrote:  "..Let us begin and create in idea a State; and yet a true creator is necessity, which is the mother of our invention.  

The Republic, Book 11, 369C  Plato.

Any way we brought it home and we will give it a new life on our smallholding in Ireland.  Do you know what it's two uses are?  


Friday, 8 July 2016

A Nuclear FallOut Shelter For A Leprechaun Family?


Do you know what it really is?


I took this photo the other day on a ten mile walk along the north side (the name for my blog) of the Sheep's Head Peninsula.  Gosh it was knackering and I have walked fourteen miles already this week.  Not bad for a fifty two year old with a beer belly and a bad back.  All good training for my week hike in August along some of the ways in Ireland.

Go on have a guess and tell me what you think the concrete in the picture was really used for.  I remember when we use to get the horse and cart and....?


Saturday, 2 July 2016

1916 - 2016 The Battle Of The Somme Remembered.

I have always had a fascination with the First World.  I think it was reading about the First World War poets like Wilfred Owen when I was a teenager.  Not forgetting the coach trip to London to the Imperial War Museum and I saw 'Big Bertha' that used to fire across the English Channel.  It was also the former site of Bedlam.  

Wilfred Owen and JRR Tolkien both fought at the Battle of the Somme.  Remarkably Tokien still believed in God even after witnessing the carnage of the theatre of war on that fateful day in July and the following months in 2016.  Somebody died every eight seconds.  The historians say it was lions lead by donkeys.  

I remember in about 1981 when my mother's uncle came to my Eighteenth birthday celebration.  He was about eighty and insisted that he bought me a pint of bitter.  Then he said he was going to have a dance with all the "young lasses."  He was a remarkable man and my mother told me later he had fought at the battle of the Somme but he never ever talked about it.  He also lost two cousins there.  

They are heroes who we will never forget for giving us our freedom.  Motorhead sum it all up for me in the following song: 1916.