Monday 30 January 2012

More Chipshop/Chipper Thoughts.

Following on from my last post.  I have decided that the best chips I have consumed in Ireland are probably the one's in a chip shop in Kenmare Kerry.  Yes I have to confess I often venture over the Cork and Kerry ( the setting for the Highwayman in'Whiskey in the Jar': Thin Lizzy) mountains for a 'nice' bag of chips.  They are definitely the best chips this side of Haworth in West Yorkshire.  If you know of a good chippy/Chipper (Irish name) please let me know?

Anyway.  I was reminsicing to myself (me, myself and I) about the time when I was growing up in Lancashire in the late 1960's early 70's.  In those days everybody (the world and his wife) used to queue up outside the chip-shop on a Friday tea time.  I think it was down to your dad getting paid on a Thursday.

Chips and fish (why is it: Fish and Chips?) were cooked in lard and beef dripping in those days.  There was none of those frozen or microwave kind of chips that we have today.  I can remember from a very early age going with me mum and brother for six penny worthy of chips a piece.

The conversation in our school playground on a Friday afternoon was usually something like the following:

"We're having a chippy tea tonight."

"So what!  We have a chippy tea - EVERY NIGHT!"

I remember the queue stretching out the door and down the street.  Everybody would be excited they were having:

"A chippy tea".

I remember looking up at the enormous counter trying to see the glistening fish and bottles of 'Strike Cola' and Tizer ("made from girders") covered in steam and condensation.   Very often (every week) a 'little old lady' would push in and elbow you in the ear and shout:

"Here Sid.  Can you put my steak puddings in this bowl and keep em warm in the back of the range."

You don't seem to get the same kind of clientèle in the Pizza shop!

Thursday 26 January 2012

A Few Reasons Why I miss the Northwest of England. Buses especially!

They have started selling Vimto in Dunnes and Tesco's in West Cork.  All we need now is some (now follows a list) Hollands pies, black peas, a 'proper chippy' which still cooks them in beef dripping and wraps them in newspaper, public transport, some rock concerts, Thwaites bitter, Greggs the bakers, a real football team to support and SHOUT at, real ale, a cricket club, car boot sales, allotments and a BUS..........?

You see I am a Lancastrian who resides on a little smallholding in West Cork.  Its a beautiful location and I have lived here almost 11years.  The one thing I miss the most is a bus.  Buses are great and keep the carbon footprint in check.  You also meet people and talk at bus stops and on the bus.  Yes I know you do get bus nutters like Jasper  Carrotts: 'Nutter on the Bus' Sketch:

"Eek anybody seen my camel?"

West Cork towns are often jam packed with cars.  Isn't time that these places had 'park and ride' and the cars kept out of the towns?  In Dublin they have 'the Dart' like the 'Metro Link' in Manchester and surrounding areas.  Why can't we have a bus in rural areas?  When I lived in England there used to be a bus every 10 minutes.  I used to miss it because I had not got the patience to wait for it.

We often hear and read about politicians saying that tourism brings in lots of money.  So why don't they provide some public transport for them and for the people who live in the countryside and towns?

What do you think readers?

Friday 20 January 2012

What Did We Do To The Weather?

I met up with a third (or was it fourth?) cousin the other day.  We had a few pints of stout after my mum's funeral.  We got talking about my mum, the state of the country (all the kids seem to be emigrating), the price of cattle and the best small talk of all - the weather.

We worked it out that we have not had a proper summer since 2003.  To those of you who didn't do metal work at school.  That is nearly a decade since the (Lancashire expression):

"Sun was cracking flags".

We then talked about the prospects of Iran having a war with America and Europe over the oil and when round silage bales were first introduced into Ireland instead of hay.  We agreed that it must of been around 1980.  We came to the conclusion.  Since Blondie, The Police and The Boom-town Rats.  Farmers have had to make silage.

My father tells me that when he used to come over from England in his twenties and thirties (he's in his seventies) for his annual 'wakes' holiday (making hay by hand with a pike and a horse and cart) from the Lancashire mills.  It never used to rain and the hay was golden brown.

We had one good week in July (fair to middle) and I managed to make a field of loose hay.  Oh what fun we had piking it and bringing it in on a pallet tied to my bale spike.  Even our blisters had blisters.  One of my neighbours had more sense.  He got 15 round bales of barley straw delivered on a lorry and pushed them into his barn.

So what made the weather change?  Why did we have the coldest winter on record last year and the mildest one this year?  It's only just stopped raining this week since August.  Is it all the cars and pollution that gives us all the seasons in a day?    I am itching to get to work on my vegetable plot.  But it's just too wet.

Anybody got any ideas please?

Friday 13 January 2012

My Mum Was So Proud When My Book Was Published.

Its been a strange week - a terrible week.  I said goodbye to my mother.  To lose your mother is heart breaking.  It puts everything else into perspective.  You only have one mother and you have no bigger fan.

I remember how proud my mother was when she held my book in her hand when it was published.

"Eeh David.  To think my son's a published author.  I have never known a writer before.  I always thought they had be middle class or been to university!"

Like I said:  My mother was my biggest fan.

Sunday 8 January 2012

What Happened to the Grumbleweeds and Play For Today?

Hi Folks,

To those of you who don't already know I spend my life thinking and tapping the old computer keys.  Yeah I am one of those odd creatures who spends hours, months and nay years practising and trying to be a writer.  It took me over ten years to get published and see my book on Amazon.  I am currently attempting to get another book published.  Its a funny travelogue memoir and I am quite pleased with it.  Do you write?

I think it was growing up in the sixties, seventies and some of the eighties, watching Play For Today and all those great comedies; Monty Python, The Goodies, Spitting Image, I Didn't Know You Cared, Russ Abbott, The Grumble weeds, Selwyn Froggatt, Good Night Sweetheart (what a brilliant time travel idea!), Ripping Yarns, Some Mothers Do Ave Em., Dear John..., that inspired me to want to become a writer. They're just the one's off the top of my head.  Sorry to any of those I have not listed.

Barry Hines: Kes, was one of my favourite books and favourite films from back then.  Along with Billy Liar and  Saturday Night Sunday Morning.   They were films and books about ordinary people, that contained pathos, humour, social reality and perhaps even escapism.

Do you write books or scripts?  What do you think about today's television?  Are you always watching UK Gold?  So am I.  Bring back the Grumble-weeds and Play For Today.  

Tuesday 3 January 2012

Ways to Cure Rural Isolation.

Happy New Year readers.

The countryside is very quiet at the moment.  Too quiet for people even to knock on your door and wish you all the best and :

"Compliments of the season.."

Will the end of society happen when people stop communicating?

I have had the same really really quiet Christmas and New Year.  It's been like a week of Sundays.  Shall we sing Morrisey's: Every day is like Sunday?

So I have been thinking.  How do we solve rural isolation.  Here's a few ideas.

1.  Rip up the credit cards and start knocking on your neighbours door and ask for a cup of sugar or even a crate of Guinness.

2.  Leave the countryside and move to a village or town with a pub and a kebab house?

3.  Start your own public transport service.  But make sure you don't have to drive.

4.  Move back to the town or city - I am very tempted.

5.  Write a blog and see if anybody makes any comments?

6.  Pretend to be a cow.  Don't talk to anybody and just graze contentedly.

7.  Read a good book or ten.

8.  Go to the city for the day and notice all the misuse of electricity and all the awful traffic.

9.   Become a recluse and don't talk to anybody.

10.  Win the lottery and become a 'weekender' and only visit the country-side in the summer and at Christmas.

That's 10 of my ways to cure rural isolation.  Have you any suggestions?

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...