Wednesday, 11 December 2019

A Talcum Powder Sprinkling Of Snow Over On Hungry Hill.

Brr...  It's  getting colder by the day here on the Irish  Riviera.  This is a photo of Hungry Hill taken from the back garden this very morn.  I reckon it's  time we ordered some more logs or "the blocks" has they call them here in West Cork.

People who often comment on the spectacular of Bantry  Bay and Hungry Hill and Sugarloaf  Mountains over on the Beara Peninsula.  I often quote my grandmother:

The view won't feed you!"

It's not bad though,  well on a nice day!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

A Nativity Scene From 1974.

Some Mothers Do Ave Em must be up there with the Very Best of British comedies.  Written by Raymond Allen and stunts and acted by the wonderful Michael Crawford.  I think this is Christmas telly gold.  Enjoy!

Monday, 9 December 2019

The Lumpy Parcel From Over The Sea.

It must be nearly fifty years ago.  But I still remember the brown paper parcel tied up with string and the Eire stamp. The postman had struggled up the garden path and banged on our front door.

I would only be about five or six but I still remember the parcel so vividly.  I  think my mum made us wait until my dad came home from the mill before opening the parcel.

"It's from Ireland"

Said my mother.

One of the grown ups brought the scissors and cut the string and me and my brother ripped the brown paper.

We looked at the turkey, the headscarf for my mum, two pairs of leather boots for my brother and me, a pen knife for my dad and a Christmas card and a letter!  There was no internet or telephone, just dear old snail mail.

We wouldn't see our grandparents until next July but they had not forgotten  us and sent us all some Christmas presents!  We knew why the parcel was lumpy too.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Domino Tries On His New Christmas Jumper.

Domino isn't impressed with Christmas and having to put on his Sunday Or Christmas best.  I know what he means.  It's easier not to bother having a shower and shave and open a few tinnies and watch the John Logie Baird machine in the corner or go out into the fields and catch a mouse or a rat and leave it outside for yours truly.  Good old Domino. If you would like to purchase your very own pet Christmas jumper.  Pop down to your nearest Aldi  store.  It only cost a few Euros!

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Starting To Play The Old Tunes Again.

When the kids were about ten and five.  We would have a get together for a birthday or Christmas Day.  We would all watch the kids rip open their presents wrapping paper and terrorize their grandparents crashing a remote control car or truck into their feet.  Then we would eat and my dad would always insist we helped him drink his bottle of Grouse whisky that we always bought him. 

Some time later I  would put one of my Pogues  CDs and play some tracks that we all loved.  My mum in particular use to pretend to pull her face when the lyrics contained some expletives or more.  This would give much merriment to the kids and certain tracks would be played over and over again.

Then in 2012 it came to an end and my mum and dad went to live with baby Jesus and I stopped playing those tracks.  Then the other day I was writing a blog about Whiskies and the mental jukebox started playing.  So much so that I played them all again on good old You Tube.

Here's one of the family favourite tunes that we use to singalong and tap our feet to:

Have you got an old tune you haven't played for a while?  Go on put it on the turntable and give it a spin.  I find it very cathartic!  

Friday, 6 December 2019

Yesterday And A Review Of The Cheap Malt Whiskies From Lidl.

Yesterday was very wet and windy and I lit the range and watched the snooker.  My hero Ronnie the 'Rocket' share the same birthday (yesterday) and it was a match that wasn't  to be.

The wife picked up a nine inch pizza from town.  We have started to share portions now we are on the slippery slope to old age.  I find unless I have been for a long walk or been gardening, I don't  need a big pizza to myself.  Same with fish and chips.  One portion is big enough for the two of us.  More tight wad tips soon.

So we opened up two of the Ben Bracken miniatures last night.  I managed to pour two half whisky glasses out of each bottle.  They had the wonderful fudge, toffee and cherry aromas and one was smoky like leaves burning on old Reg's allotment in Autumn.  Three miniature malts for ten Euros!  A great stocking filler for that someone you don't know what to buy, me thinks!

Apparently there isn't  actually  a Ben Bracken distillery in Scotland.  Lidl buy it from other distilleries. 

 "Am I bothered?"

No I am not.  In fact I would now go and buy the bigger 70cl bottles of their own malt.  I believe Aldi have their own Marnoch malt whisky for sale too.  It just goes to show malts are affordable for all pockets and purses.  Just because it's cheap doesn't mean it's CRAP!  Can I patent that slogan?  You heard it here first.

Thursday, 5 December 2019

Three Miniature Malt Scotch Whiskies.

Another year nearer to Heaven this week.  Another milestone, my birthday.  My brother  gave me a bottle of Glenlivet, the two lads bought me a bottle of Hennessy Cognac and the wife went shopping in Lidl and brought me home three miniature Scottish malts.  Do you think they are trying to tell me something?

I will try one of them tonight and let you know what they are like.  I love Scottish malts, especially  Dalwhinnie.  These are a fraction of the more expensive ones.  Might be an idea for a Christmas  present for someone?  Any one else like malt whisky?  What's your favourite?

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Time For The Christmas Cards..

Wishing all blog friends old and new a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

 Like Margo said in the Good Life.

" Yuletide felicitations" .

  Come on bloggers let's see your cards.

We bought the card above in The Works in Killarney if you wondered where we got it!

Monday, 2 December 2019

Three Days After The Hiroshima Bomb The Trams Were Up And Running Again.

We watched the brilliant Guy Martin in Japan again on Sunday evening.  He reminds me of my eldest son.  He can turn his hand to anything.  Be it operating a lathe, welding, driving a machine or even forging a sword!

Guy also has the wonderful northern English gift of self depreciating humour and he calls everyone "me duck!", especially when he's purchased something.

In one part of the programme he visited Hiroshima.  We found it very sad and unbelievable what happened there.  Over 60000 people died instantly! Some civilian victims were literally vaporized.  Please God please ensure it will never happen again anywhere in the world.

I watched the election debate an hour earlier and was enormously impressed with the SNP leaders stance on nuclear weapons and how she would never press the button because she couldn't  kill millions of people.  You're right Nicola nobody could do that.  Could they? Would they? Well maybe Trump or Joe Swinson or Bozza Johnson.

He would be better off making the streets in his own manor safe first.  We can't all drive around in a bomb proof Jag with SAS bodyguards can we?  What did your last government do with those twenty thousand police Boris?  So much for the party of law and order.

I think what is even more remarkable about Hiroshima.  They had the trams up and running  again in three days!  To think I complain and moan about the lack of Public Transport in rural Ireland!

At least Ireland doesn't have any nuclear weapons.  I hope she never will!

Sunday, 1 December 2019

Amusing Funeral Thoughts.

These are the people who like a “good funeral.”  Some people get out a marker pen and highlight their television programmes for the week.    Funeral  goer looks in their local rag/ newspaper and scour the Obituary columns for their latest funerals for the forthcoming week.   He says something like the following:
"Isn't it strange how people die in alphabetical order?"
 “Lets see.  Tommy Teapot.   I’m sure I once new him?  I think my mothers uncle once bought a cat from his second cousin.  I think it got killed on the railway line.  Or was that my cousin Ernie?  I must go to the funeral.  He was a lovely man, always smiling and would always give you seccies or two’s up on his woodbine.  I see their having the do (Wake) in the White Lion.  I don’t think that I will bother.  They can’t make tongue sandwiches for toffee.”
I once heard a true story of a man who waited for a widow to return from burying her husband.  He offered his sympathy and said:;
“I wonder if you would sell Arthur’s tool shed?  He won’t be needing it any more!”   
Funerals are great places for funeral fans.  They can also get a warm a bite to eat and a nice cup of tea afterwards. 
You even get priest or vicars that make you laugh:  I once went to my aunt Nellie’s funeral.  The vicar, who had never met her.  Remarked on what a wonderful woman ELSIE was.  He couldn’t even remember her name.  It’s the only funeral I have ever been to when the congregation laughed!

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Christmas New Potatoes Progress.

Thought l would show you how the new spudatoes are growing.  The  haulm or foliage look very healthy and it's looking good for Christmas  dinner if not before.  It's  amazing what a microclimate is created with a bit of plastic.  God bless the polytunnel!

We recently  watched  Alan Titchmarsh harvesting new potatoes in the summer and placing them in an empty biscuit tin and replacing the tin lid and planting them in the allotment until Christmas.  Sounds a good idea.  Anybody had success with the biscuit tin new potatoes planting method?

I know quite  a few readers have veg plots and I thought I  would show you how the spuds are doing.  The shrub and perennials cuttings are also doing well and you can still see KALE growing in the right hand corner of the olde polytunnel.  There's only me who eats it.  All I get is pull a face and "me not like" when I mention or bring it into the kitchen.  Think I won't  bother growing it again.

So what you having with the new potatoes on Christmas day Dave?  We have decided to have striploin steak and a all day buffet, "help yourself" menu with dishes full of sprouts and carrots and pigs in blankets, home made sherry trifle, sausage rolls, just general buffet stuff.  No Turkey though.  I hate left overs.  So what will you be eating on Christmas day?  Anybody growing new potatoes at the moment?  The Brussels are nearly ready too.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

My Saturday Night Telly Thoughts.

Thanks for your comments on the last post.

Saturday Night Telly Thoughts. ( Anybody under forty five may not remember some of the programmes on UK television!)

What ever happened to Seaside Special and The Grumbleweeds  Radio Show on Saturday nights?  They were fun when I was growing up in the Seventies and eighties.  Then it would be Starsky and  Hutch or Kojak.  Followed my the News and Match of the Day. 

I often fell to sleep waiting for my mum to bring back something from the chip shop.  I never understand why they always gave me a pile of newspapers?

 Once I remember my mum and dad coming back with my dad’s rather posh female cousin and her even posher fiance.  Posh fiance attempted to wake me up to eat my chippy supper.  

My father thought that this would not be a good idea.  I would turn into a wasp if I was disturbed whilst dreaming of Wonder Woman. 

Said posh fiance

"I’ve had lots of experience in my time dealing with children”. 
He tried talking softly in my ear:
“Come on Davy boy wake up”. 
I thought:
“Why does he suddenly have an Irish accent?”     

I was not rousing from my slumber.    Posh fiance begins to shake my arm.  I suddenly wake up sounding like a leprechaun with a Poteen induced hangover:

“Piss off, piss off leave me alone!” 

Posh guests were not impressed, and  they never visited us again.  But what’s that got to do with the X Factor?  Absolutely nothing.  But it describes my Saturday nights when I was young. 

I quite like the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.  Well apart from Mickey Most or is it Simon Cowell?  Remember the New Faces?  The idea of finding some new talent from the great “unwashed” is a brilliant idea.  They do find some remarkable talent like Susan Boyle and Paul Potts.  But your not telling me that it’s a surprise when a odd looking person changes into the Next Elaine Paige or Pavarotti?   

They obviously have lots of auditions before they meet the panel? No doubt picking out the most eccentric 'Turns' to appear on the programme.  Any body average looking or acting normal with talent.  Need not bother.  It’s car crash television.  A modern day equivalent of watching somebody in the stocks!    

An old friend once told me he was stood outside the pub having a smoke and he saw two women fighting last night.  It was: 

“You bitch, you slag”.  

They were pulling hair and scratching.  One even started to punch. 
"It was bloody brilliant!.”  

Who needs the X Factor?  Wonder what's on RTE?  Perhaps I should start going to the pub again on a Saturday night?  Fancy a pint? 

Monday, 25 November 2019

The Sheepshead Way In November.

I walked fourteen miles last week.  Not every day or in one hike.  I do it mainly for my back.  I hurt my back many moons ago doing somebody a favour.  Never never try to move a double wardrobe down stairs.  They weigh 500 Kgs and do a great job at crushing people.  Any way I have the war wounds and the Irish inclement weather is great for arthritis.  So to stop the back giving me jip I go on my walking gymnasium.

It's  good  to get off the country roads and the cars and lorries whizzing past me.  Sometimes I listen to Spotify to my favourite Rock bands like Kansas, brass bands or The Beautiful South.  Yep my music taste is very eclectic.

Other times I don't listen and just take in the surroundings.  I reckon God would make a very good artist because he did an excellent job making Bantry Bay.

Some times I get down with the weather and things on the news and then I go for a walk and I fall back in love with rural Ireland.  I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place.  I just wish it didn't  rain so much!

Saturday, 23 November 2019

A Song And Video About West Cork.

I always like reading and seeing photos of places where other bloggers live and explore.  West Cork is a beautiful part of Ireland.

A West Cork band have recently made the following video.  It even shows The Shruggs singing in Bantry Square.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Christmas Hamper Ideas.

We were in a charity shop here in West Cork the other week.  The wifey picked up two wicker baskets and we both said out loud: "Hampers"!

For the princely sum of 2 euro a piece.  We purchased the two baskets.  For the last few weeks or nearly every day supermarket trip.  We have been buying "A little  bit of what you fancy".  You know: jars of sweets, bags of fudge, tins of biscuits, English Cheddar, Christmas pudding, peanuts.., you name it.  We haven't  missed them either.  Just a Euro or 3 or four.  Two Christmas hampers for next to the blink of an eye.  That's  two presents off the list.  All they need is some sellophane.

We started making our Christmas Hampers about twenty two years ago.  I was watching one of those Park hampers television adverts and remarked that I would like one of those.  We couldn't afford one though so the wife made her own Christmas Cupboard.  She started this in September.  Every week she would go in Netto and buy extra items like a bag of sugar or a jar of pickles and they would go in her 'Christmas Cupboard'.  The house rule was you can use them if you have to but they have to be replaced or "put back"!

Now it's evolved into making our own Christmas hampers.   Anybody else make or thinking of making a Christmas hampers?  You could even make your own and fill it with Watneys Party Sevens, Caramac and Maynards wine gums?  Go on have a go.  It's still not too late to make a Christmas hamper or two!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

I Miss My Allotment. Thoughts About Rural Isolation.

We will have lived in Ireland  nineteen years next year.  I was thirty eight when we came over to live here.  So I suppose we have lived here half my life?  Well not half my real age of 55.  I was 38 when  we came here.  So that's  19 isn't  it..  Eh?

One thing that I really miss is watching live football, cricket, heavy rock concerts, public transport, pubs that sell real ales,  being able to buy English cans or bottled beer from the supermarkets, massive  car boot sales and also allotments.  That's ten things Dave.  I should have took off my socks and shoes and used my toes to count.

Allotment people are the salt of the earth.  They are friendly and share a common bond in cultivating the earth and growing vegetables and fruit.  They may even have a shed to escape from the missus, read their dog ears copies of "Big Girls Weekly"  or drink a few tins of beer or home brew?

I like having my own patch of Gods earth here in Ireland, especially my polytunnel.  But gosh it can be a twee bit quiet at times.  Allotments are places where you have a laugh and a joke , put the world to rights and tell people  how they are doing it all wrong.  Well they were twenty years  a go.

I wish I could paint a picture for you of a typical allotment that was next to mine: home made sheds made out of plywood, corrugated roofs with a rusty patina, lumps of concrete hold down the sheets, polytunnels made out of old plastic water pipe tubing and covered in polythene, supermarket trolleys with wheels that have a mind of their own and now the trolleys are full of drying onions, vegetables sown in lines like army regiments, an old front door for a gate..?

Rural isolation is peaceful and there are no rules or regulations or an allotment committee telling you what to do.  But there is a lot to be said for the camaraderie and mickey taking of an allotment.  Which would you prefer an allotment with other like minded gardening comrades or a patch of land of your own in the countryside where you are on your own?   Wouldn't  mind an pub like Wetherspoon's that serves real ales.  Suppose the grass is always greener on to'ther side  of  the fence?

When its rainy nearly every day and cold the rural isolation can get to you a little bit.  Thank goodness for television, radio, books, the internet and for blogs and country walks.  I have walked ten miles already this week.  The veg plot and the gardens are too wet to do anything at the moment.  Suppose one could find some potting on to do in the polytunnel?

Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Jug Of Punch.

We decided  to make a pan of cider punch the other night.  It's really cheap to make and easy.  We bought ours from the German garden centre and supermarket (Lidl) for 3 Euros and seventy nine Cents a bottle.

Chop apples and oranges, star anise,  a few cloves and a pinch of ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar.  Mix it all up and add to the cider that you have poured into a pan.  You could add spirits if you want to make it really strong and need to reach for the Paracetamol for that hangover cure in the morning.

Any road or anyway.  Warm it up and pour it into a cup or glass with an handle attached.   It's  very.  Any hot punch recipes please?

I was looking at some more of the old records again the other day and I  found one of my dad's old Clancy brothers albums.  When I  was growing up in Blighty my dad would often play them and his The Seekers records on the radio gram.  One song that often plays in my mental jukebox is the following.  Enjoy,

Friday, 15 November 2019

Webster's Yorkshire Bitter Adverts.

Another one of my favourite television adverts for you folks.  You can always join in and post some of your favourite adverts.  Wish I  could get some of that bitter.  I am making hot cider punch today and watching Gogglebox.  Cheers!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Favourite Television Adverts.

Have you seen Edgar the Dragon in the new Christmas John Lewis advert?  He's a character.  His inventors created the famous Meerkats.  You can buy an Edgar the dragon soft toy from John Lewis stores or online, but you will have to be QUICK!

My favourite  television advert this year is the dancing Pandas on the Sudocrem advert.  Regular readers will know my love for Japanese gardens and pottery.  Its an hypnotising video.  Just a shame it's so short.  I could watch those dancing Pandas for hours.

Thanks for your comments yesterday.  I always appreciate them all!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Cooking Mushrooms On Top Of The Kitchen Range.

The wife's mother was born in County  Mayo.  She told us how to cook  mushrooms  the Mayo way.  Obviously you set the fire in the range then you place the full mushrooms on top of the hotplate.  After a couple of minutes you just sprinkle sea salt (or ordinary salt will do) over them and cook for a few minutes.  Then Bob's your uncle, they're done!

We can never get over how good they taste and they don't go all mushy.   Wonder what other vegetables or meat could be cooked this way?  Anyone got any ideas?  Thanks!

Monday, 11 November 2019

Martinmass And Armistice Day.

It's the feast day of Martinmass today.  Also Armistice Day when the Great War ended.

Martinmass was the Funeral day of Saint Martin of Tours.  He is the patron saint of beggars,  drunkards and the poor.  Martinmass was also the end of the gathering in of the harvest.  It was a time for feasting and celebrating during the Middle Ages to celebrate Autumn and preparing for Winter.   Martinmass beef was made from cattle fattened  and salted for this time.

Goose was traditionally ate on this day and it was also the time of the hiring  fairs for farm labourers.  Nottingham Martinmass fair used to be held for eight days.

An old Martinmass  saying:

"Ice  before Martinmass,

Enough to bear a duck.

The rest of winter, Is sure to be but muck."

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Another Song About The Berlin Wall.

The old mental jukebox (Neil Peart phrase) began playing in my head today.  Yorkshire  Heavy rock band Saxon composed a song in 1988 entitled: For  Whom The Bell Tolls.  It was penned a year before the fall of the Berlin wall.  So it was incredibly prophetic.

The title is an expression from a John Donne sermon.   He said that because we are all part of mankind,  any persons death is a loss to all of us.  "Any man's death diminishes  me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bells toll; it tolls for thee".

Ernest Hemingway  wrote a book about the Spanish Civil War with the very same title.

We watched the excellent Simon Reeve BBC Americas documentary  again  last Sunday and it showed the wall between South America and the USA.   So much for the land of the free.

Here's Biff and the lads:

I saw them once play live.  A brilliant band..

Friday, 8 November 2019

More Of My Records Nostalgia.

I was looking at one of my Barclay  James  Harvest records the other day.  It's called: Berlin. A Concert  For  The People.   It's a recording of a free concert the band gave to the people of Berlin in 1982.  Apparently  there happened to be 175000 people in attendance and goodness  knows how many were listening on to'ther side of the wall.

Tomorrow is the thirtieth  anniversary  of the wall coming down.  I think the Berlin song is very apt.  Enjoy one of the finest bands to come from Lancashire.  The Beatles were another one.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Car Boot Sales Thoughts.

Have you ever been to a car boot sale?  Nobody ever sells one do they?  A car boot I mean.  I used to spend every summer Sunday morning getting up at six to travel to some MONSTER car boot sale in Cheshire or North Wales.  I think the devil must have invented the car boot sale.  They must be the biggest reason for the decline of church attendances in recent years.  Not to forget people like a certain Church of England bishop doubting that God actually existed.  Which is something similar to the manager of Tesco announcing through his tannoy to a packed supermarket of shoppers:
“Don’t buy anything from us.  Go up the road to Sainsbury’s their stuff is far tastier and cheaper!”  

 Car boot sales are great places to get a bargain.  It’s also a good place to buy something that doesn’t work.  I have bought a couple of vacuum cleaners from a spiv with a decorating table in the middle of some farmer’s field. They looked the part and a  great state of the art house cleaning apparatus.  Until you get home that is.  You plug your new Hoover into the socket and end up with more sparks than a rocket launcher.     Or better still, it is like the parrot in the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch, it is well and truly (answers on a postcard) f.....d.  Still not to worry.  You only paid twenty quid each for them ! 

Never walk round a car boot sale with small children in tow.  Pharisee car booters will have got up at the crack of dawn and placed toys on the ground just at the right height for little Billy or Jill.  So there you are looking at some interesting books and your child suddenly does it’s Mussolini impersonation:
“I want dat."
Or in other words:
" I demand this toy”. 
You then tell it not to be silly and you don’t need another action man tank.  Small child suddenly takes on its theatrical mode, that it usually plays in the supermarket at the pay point where they keep the TOFFEES! Or under the clothes in Marks and Sparks throwing it self around like a Dervish or somebody being attacked in Jaws.  

Your child goes absolutely well and truly ape shit!  You look in a wing mirror of a car boot seller’s car and see that you have just gone totally grey.  There is only one thing to do in the situation.  You hand over your beer tokens and attempt to walk through the multitudes carrying a Barbie doll, Wendy house, space hopper and a chopper bike.  Forget the gardening books.  Somebody bought them when small child went ballistic!

Those were the days!  Have you got any car boot sales stories?

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Looking At Old LPs.

Regular readers will know we are serious collectors of a myriad kinds of stuff.   Be it old plates, antiques, plants (house plants or the garden variety), books, CDs and yesterday I looked at the old vinyl records we have collected over the years. 

The wife's  are typically immaculate  and pristine whilst  mine have the scratches, finger marked and dog eared album covers.  The wife's  are mainly Chris De Burgh, Evita and Super Tramp records and mine are heavy rock and a few Christian records.  Wonder what happened to my Stranglers records?
 I use to go to Evangelical churches and to Greenbelt Christian festival...?

This was in my late teens and early twenties. 
Friends moved away and I drifted gradually away from the Christian scene but I kept some of the records I collected.  They are like so many of my old books.  I will probably never read them or listen to the records but they are friends that I like to keep.

Any road or any way.  I found an old Nutshell record in our collection.  They are an English band from the seventies and eighties and l think you might like one of their tracks.  It was playing on my mental jukebox yesterday.  Then I went  over to good old You Tube and found the very track.

Does anybody remember Nutshell? Did you ever go to Greenbelt?  I went to Odell and Knebworth Greenbelt festivals.

Hope you like it?

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Bunnykins Rabbits Bath Time In A Tin Bath...

Tasker was showing everybody his Peter Rabbit Christening plate on his blog yesterday.   I said we had a Royal Doulton Bunnykins plate.  Here is Mummy rabbit giving her babies a bath in a tin bath.  The plate was made in around 1936.  We have had it over twenty years.  It's got a slight chip on the edge of the plate on the back.  No doubt somebody had placed a a wire hanger on it to place it up on the wall.?   Maybe they chipped it on the tap washing it?  It's  gone through the second world war and goodness knows what else? Think we only paid a Pound for it.  They make decent money now a days. Over twenty Pounds.  But we won't  be selling it.  Have you bought any charity shop or carboot sale bargains recently?

Friday, 1 November 2019

Jerusalem In Japan.

It's  the rugby union  World Cup final tomorrow  morning.  Hope England win.  It's not rugby league, cricket or 1966, but it will still be a wonderful achievement to see England win the World Cup for a second time.  No Johnny Wilkinson to kick it to victory this time.

I hope they play my old mate William Blake's Milton composition or Jerusalem the hymn by Sir Hubert Parry.  It's far better than God Save The Queen.

The hymn mentions Jeus coming to England's  green  and pleasant land with his uncle Joseph of Arimathea.  They visited Glastonbury (the town not the music festival,  Stonehenge and Cornwall.  He also mentioned  the 'dark satanic mills'.  He must not have liked the Industrial Revolution.  Can't  say I would of either!

Any way her is another version of the great hymn:

Good luck lads!

Thursday, 31 October 2019


No I am talking about not politicians!  I find Comedians amazing people.  Especially  watching one live.  They are like Evangelical preachers, footballers like Best or Ronald or Alchemists.   They can get up on stage and  can make people laugh and smile and forget their troubles for twenty minutes or so.

One of the funniest Comedians I have ever seen live was Billy Pearce at the Gateway Theatre  in Chester.  Keith Harris and Orville the duck was the support.  It was strange hearing Orville swear.

Billy Pearce was amazing and literally brought the house down when he started to dance to Bangra music and the speakers blew up and he fell to the stage like he was shot.  Thanks for a brilliant nights laughter Billy.

Who is your favourite comedian?

 WHY don't they put them back on television on a Saturday night?  I am watching Bobbby Davro from Minehead on You Tube today.  That man is a comic  genius and his impressions are uncanny.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Keeping Warm.

I took this photo last night around six o'clock.  It was nearly time to switch the light on.  The range is filled up with solid fuel and logs and the doors and curtains are shut.

We don't have street lights here in the countryside.  So it's not safe to walk along the country lanes with cars appearing from nowhere.  All we can do is read a book, knit, watch the television, check the blogs we follow or perhaps answer an email.  Maybe have a drink or eat some cheese and crackers?

It's time to think about Christmas, next years holiday or maybe a rock festival or two.  Time to look at seed catalogues and plan the vegetable garden.

Wish we had a bus to take us to town or lived near a pub.   Soon be Spring.

How to you pass the long winter evenings? 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Down On Your Luck.

We watched the excellent Americas programme on Sunday night presented by Simon Reeve.  In one part of his programme he visited Los Angeles.  He went on a tour of Hollywood and showed us the shop where Brad Pitt worked, the Hollywood walk of fame and Beyonces house.  

Then he showed us the opposite side of the coin.  People who are homeless living in tents pitched on the pavements and a lady who lived in a concrete railway bridge with her dog.  She seemed very articulate, self educated and listened to David Attenborough podcasts.

Homelessness seems to be everywhere these days.  Be it urban or rural.  I have often said that if there was a major disaster like a city being destroyed by natural disaster or by war or terrorism.  The governments would find the money to rebuild the city with infrastructure  and homes.  Why can't  they find homes for the homeless now?  America appears to be a land of haves and have nots?

When I visited Kent this summer.  I saw people sleeping in shop doorways at seven in the morning.  When I was young you would see an odd elderly tramp but there weren't  people of any age sleeping in doorways.  

In Ireland.  People often say good luck when bidding goodbye.  I believe in luck.  Good luck and bad luck.  Some people are just down on their luck.  

It will be interesting if there is a general election which parties will build council houses and establish credit unions to help people to buy and renovate houses?  

Time for a Thin Lizzy song me thinks:

I saw them on the Renegade tour.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Potting On In The Polytunnel..

It's been rather a washout here in Ireland this week.  I only managed half a day gardening outside.  Yesterday we bought three bags of potting compost and I spent the afternoon and this morning potting on my cuttings.

It's always a joy to see if they have grown roots.   There are hydrangea, dog wood, hebe, rosemary, fuchsias, cotoneasters, sedums, nepeta, pelargoniums, lavender..   Lots and lots of new plants.  The majority are shrubs with  a few dozen perennials.  Most perennials can be divided but I like to make cuttings too.

A glimpse inside the polytunnel.  There are lots of newly rooted cuttings, kale plants and potato stalks emerging from the polystyrene packaging.

Hardwood cuttings  can start to be taken now.  I tend to make lots of cornus or dogwood cuttings  at this time of year.   You can make your own little shrub nursery and plant them directly  in the soil in the veg plot or grow them in large pots in a cold greenhouse or polytunnel.  Just water them if necessary.   Next Spring they will start sprouting leaves and roots.

Have you had much success with cuttings?

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Still Eating The Vegetables From The Veg Plot.

I picked two small swedes and some more  kale from the polytunnel this very morn along with some  beetroots and a young leek from the veg plot.

The beetroots will go in a pan of water and boil away on top of the range when its lit later today.  The vegetables will be made into a beef stew.  Organic beef mince is on offer at the German garden centre and supermarket (Lidl) this week.  So it's our second stew of the week.  We always say to each other:

"It's  not what you want.  It's what you need."

It's  just the right food when you have been outside and its wet and cold.  Yes it may be boring but it's full of vitamins and it's not been sprayed with weedkillers or grown with chemical granulated fertilizer.

I remember when me and my old friend went in a pub in Doolin last year and we both ordered the Irish stew.  It was excellent and went up to the bar and said to the barman that I would like to pay for two Irish stews.  He replied:

"Were you hungry?"

We both laughed.

What do the Police have for their dinner?

Irish stew!

" I  arrest you."

Get it?

Do you know any stew jokes?  Do you know any jokes?  Could do with a laugh.  

Monday, 21 October 2019

I Am A Cider Drinker.

I have started drinking cider because it's cheap and 5.2 Percent.  That's two litres for 3 Euros and 79 Cents.  We don't or can't get any English beer any more.  Don't know why.  I use to enjoy Newcastle Brown but you can't buy it any more.

I had a few attempts at brewing my own beer but we didn't like the taste of it.  Recently I have tried some of the Craft beers made over here.  I found them expensive and up there with my home brewing attempts.

When I  went to Canterbury at the end of July.  I would go in Wetherspoon's and order a pint of Cornish Doom Bar bitter for two Pounds a pint.  Then I would go in Sainbury's and purchase a few bottles of Newcastle  Brown Ale.  The cashier would ask me every time if I wanted a bag and if I  wanted a receipt.  Dear old Blighty.

Time for a sing song me thinks:

Friday, 18 October 2019

A Day Trip To The Top Of Snowdon.

For Gwil.

About twenty years a go my wife and my two or three year old son and my self decided to go to the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales.  We traveled by car and then boarded the mountain train.  Its a very scenic railway line and also quite steep.  On the way up we passed some Gurkha's marching up Snowdon.  Yep marching, 

 We eventually arrived at the summit and the wife went into the cafe for an ice cream for number one son and a "nice" cup of tea or coffee for her good self.  

I decided to proceed a bit higher to the cairn at the very top of the mountain.  It's more of a place of where angels fear to tred.  I slipped and slid and was not an happy bunny.  In fact I felt rather frightened.  So I scaled down the rocks and entered the sanctuary of the cafeteria.

I looked like I had been dragged through an hedge backwards.  My hair was unkempt and my leather jacket was saturated with the relentless rain and mist and my slip on shoes were saturated too.  I looked across to my son who looked like he was having a shave with his ice-cream.  Then I noticed the Ghurkhas looking at my apparel in sheer horror.  It was like they were thinking:

"We've just marched 3000 feat to the top of Snowdon in full army uniform and he's walked and climbed up it in a leather jacket and slip on shoes!"  

They didn't realize we had got there by train and I had only walked to the cairn at the top..

Thursday, 17 October 2019

"I'm Living In A Cardboard Box.."

Domino is on sentry duty in the kitchen today. 

It's easy to get cabin fever when it seems to never stop raining.  We did watch Ronnie win again at the snooker this afternoon.  Domino watches it too.  He looks round the back of the television when a ball is potted.

Apparently  the word Snooker is a British army word.   The game of Billiards was designed to be played outside.  The green baize is supposed to look like grass.  They took it to play in India.   Then the Monsoon season started and they took the table inside and the game of Snooker was invented.  I  think I have mentioned this before?

Think it's Monsoon season here in Ireland too.  At least there's Snooker on the box or you can even sit in a cardboard box.  Hopefully it will stop raining and I  can make some money.  Or else it's a day potting up rooted cuttings in the polytunnel.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Phil Lynott Coin.

Not only is there a special edition set of stamps celebrating Thin Lizzy being fifty years old.  There is also a special limited 15 Euros coin being minted to honour Phil Lynott.

He would  be seventy years old this year.  The last time I saw him he was 31 and l was 17.  Where does  the time go?   The coin costs sixty five Euros.  There was a coin minted for Rory Gallagher a few years ago by the same company.

My birthday and Christmas are in December.  So I think l will leave a few hints about the coin.

Here's  a video featuring Philo.  It's  about Elvis but I often think of Phil.  Dire Straits guitarist and rock n roll hero Mark Knopler is also on the record.  I would love to visit Gracelands.  Anybody been there or planning  a visit?

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Electric Aeroplanes In 2019.

A company in Israel is making and selling electric planes.  They are only nine seaters at the moment.  But already American  airline companies are buying them.

Who knows in ten years time we could be all flying to our holiday destinations in electric Aeroplanes.  Our cars will be electric and so will our Aeroplanes.

Would you fly in one of these?  Do you think electric powered cars are the future?  What do you think of wind farms?  I would rather have a blot on the landscape than nuclear power.  Imagine if we could harness wave power too.  I think the protestors may no longer need to protest if we all go green.

What do you think folks?  Would you vote for the Green Party?  Why can't  there be a green alliance with other political parties?

Monday, 14 October 2019

Bantry Bay And Hungry Hill On A Autumn Day.

I strimmed some of the garden today and around our pets graves.  Then l decided to go on a four mile walk along the boreens and on to the tarmac main road going west.  Cars and lorries sped past and I couldn't see around some of the bends because of brambles and overgrown black thorn stockproof hedges.  Sometimes it's a wing and a prayer when the vehicles come so close to me.

When I got close to the sea I took this photo with my mobile phone.  You can see Hungry Hill over on Beara.  Immortalised in book and film.  Old people would tell me that a cap of cloud on Hungry Hill means it's going to rain.  It did last night and probably tonight.  But it didn't  rain on my walk, thankfully.

 The dots/shapes in the middle of the bay are salmon rings where salmon live and are fattened.  Not quite wild but at least they live in salt water in the bay.

I never spoke to or saw anybody on my walk.  But at least l am keeping fit and l love walking.  Think I was a dog in another life.  I wouldn't like their dinners though.

Have you been on any walks lately?

Sunday, 13 October 2019

On Top Of The World Or Even The Northside.

I went for a walk on the Sheeps Head Way yesterday.   It was a long my own designated walk.  Only part of it is on the official  yellow finger post Sheepshead  Way walk and the rest is along tracks and roads.  Walking and slipping and sliding and looking at Dunmanus Bay on one side and  Bantry Bay on the other side.  Perhaps it could be called Northsider  Way.  I christened another walk near Kilcrohane: The Dragons Back.  Suppose that's  how places get their names.  Somebody makes it up and it sticks. 

A concrete trig point on the Northside overlooking  Bantry Bay.

No radio or ear phones to today.   Just listening to the wind, gargling streams, bird song and a myriad of thoughts in my head.  Thinking of my ancestors walking similar routes and foraging for turf and loading it in wicker baskets strapped to weary donkeys.  This is my Ireland.  Forever accompanied with the weather but always aware of the emerald dress that she wears and dazzled by her beauty.

It's been very wet the last few weeks and my garden works dried up a little.  There's irony for you.    I have work it's just not been suitable for gardening work.  Anyone for a wheelbarrow rut in their lawn please?

About an hour into my walk the problems start to leave me and the landscape and me blend into each other.  We are one and the same.  Go for a walk and leave your troubles at home.  Makes you want to sing that Carpenters song:

"I'm on top of the world looking down on creation and the only explanation  l can find.."

All together now.

Friday, 11 October 2019


When I went to my rock festival in Kent in August.  My friend  and I met a man in Fathersham (or even Faversham) who wanted to know which bus to board for the festival.  My friend told him that we were going there and we would show him which bus stop to get off.

We sat upstairs  and chatted about the line up and previous concerts we had been to.  I rhymed off seeing Thin Lizzy, Enerson Lake and Palmer, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult and of course when I  saw Kansas in Warsaw..., yawn!.  It was a pleasant bus journey with lots of rock n roll nostalgia and humorous anecdotes.

The man told us that he once went to see a legendary rock star at some rock festival.  The 'legendary rock star walked (stumbled) on to the stage. Clearly very inebriated and stoned.  He duly fell over a stack of amplifiers which crashed to the pieces. He was then heard to say:

"Eff it.  We will have to play the acoustic set now!"

Well it made us laugh.

 Have you ever seen some famous rock star rather the worse for wear?

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

I Got My Thin Lizzy Stamps.

The good lady wife did purchase me two Thin Lizzy stamps this very morn.  The black rose on the left is the name and front cover of their classic Black Rose album.  The great and much missed Phil Lynott is on the stamp on the left.

They cost one Euros each.  I won't be using or posting the stamps.  We will put them away and hope they will be collectables one day.  Especially when it's commemorating Thin Lizzy's 50th anniversary one year early.

  • Hope you like them?

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

A Stamp Dedicated To Thin Lizzy.

The leaflet that our postman delivered.  Do you like the Border Collie coasters?
An Post have just had two limited edition stamps Thin Lizzy stamps made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the band.  I will be getting mine this week.  Who knows they might be worth something one day?

Thin Lizzy are one of my favourite Rock bands.  I saw them at Manchester Apollo in November 1981.  When I was just seventeen.  It was the Renegade tour and the belted out all their classics.  Phil Lynott was a big Manchester  United fan and he was only 36 when he went to Heaven.  Snowy White was also in the band and I saw him again in 2013 playing in Roger Waters band in Warsaw.  I also saw other former Lizzy member Gary Moore play at Milton Keynes and I have seen Eric Bell play The Mariner in Bantry twice.

Somebody recently pointed out that Thin Lizzy's 50th anniversary is not until next year.  But does it really matter?  Fair play to An Post for printing the special edition stamps and dedicating to Thin Lizzy.  Fair play for posting the leaflet too.

Here's an appropriate Thin Lizzy  video called ' Dedication', enjoy!

A Talcum Powder Sprinkling Of Snow Over On Hungry Hill.

Brr...  It's  getting colder by the day here on the Irish  Riviera.  This is a photo of Hungry Hill taken from the back garden this v...