Saturday 23 June 2012

No More Heroes Any More (except for my first new potatoes)

You know you're getting old when you see one of your favourite bands from your youth, performing at the Isle of Wight Festival, and you see a group of middle aged men playing instruments.  Yes I have been watching Sky Arts coverage of the legendary 'rock' festival.  The band in question was the Stranglers.  Time waiteth for no man, so goes the saying.

Like wise I got up this morning and dug my first Solanum Tuberosum (new potatoes).  Talk about there being gold in them there hills.  I  (we) planted them in the first week of March and it's seemed like an Elephants pregnancy waiting for them.  Here's some photo's for you:

The top picture is my new potatoes sitting in my old Kenwood Chef stainless steel bowl.  Bought from a car boot sale in England for £1 in 1999.  You can also see peas growing in a old bath and carrots growing in a boulder raised bed.  I really like 'untidy gardening'.  All praise be to your allotments.  We are the artists with our hoes and spades and forks for paint brushes.

Would loved to have seen England during the 'Dig For Victory' campaign, when every where was used to grow veg.  Wouldn't minded being a Spitfire pilot either or a train driver (steam of course) or writing Ealing comedy scripts.  See you next week!

Sunday 17 June 2012

Why Do We Write?

The great thing about having a blog is that you can choose what to write about.  Today I want to talk about what Charles Bukowksi told us not to talk about: writing.

Ever since I was little I loved to write essays and short stories.  So many people who write blogs are frustrated writers.  Now thanks be to God (West Cork phrase) we have the technology to publish on-line.  We are the William Blake's of the Twenty First century.   No longer do we have to wait for the postman to deliver that rejection slip that says:

"Thanks but no thanks."


"It's not quite what we are looking for."

Isn't 'quite' a big word?

Yet deep down we hope and pray one day that we will become bona fide published writers.  I like many others have that still voice inside that wants to be a published author.  A couple of years ago I actually got my manuscript accepted, paid an advance and one day after an Elephants pregnancy,  I was published.  My (sadly late) mother was delighted and over the moon.  It was amazing to see my name and book on Amazon and I thought I had made it.

Two years later and I still haven't seen my book reviewed in a national newspaper  or been invited to the local literature festival.  Perhaps you have to be a celebrity, a best selling writer or a big London publisher?

One of my favourite films is Shadowlands.  It's about CS Lewis and it's incredibly moving and one scene always sticks in my mind when one of the characters says:

"We read to know we are not alone."

I would change 'read' to write.

So don't be discouraged when you don't get comments or you can't get published or nobody leaves a comment, or you do get published and your book doesn't sell that well.  Just keep writing and sharing it with us.  

God bless and have a good week.

Friday 15 June 2012

Cable Car To the Island With "No Facilities."

Me being very serious and philosophical for a change.  Where did you get that striped jumper Dave?
I went for an excursion last Sunday to Ireland's only cable car that crosses over the water to a little island.  The man in the little hut asked us if we wanted to go across to the Island?  He told us that the cable car didn't return for 2 hours and there were:

"No facilities on the Island."

However we could go for a walk or do some bird watching.   It's a shame he hadn't painted the hut because we could have watched the paint dry.

We decided to just pay 20 Euros and go on the cable car ride and not get off.   The man's final greeting was:

"Just close the cable car door behind you please."


Thinks me.  Have they never heard of health and safety, or seen the Monty Python 'Meaning of Life' film with the machine that goes "ping"? 

Sunday 10 June 2012

Isn't It Time Somebody Made A Rural Time Machine?

"I talk to walls.  You write a blog."
I often find my self watching historical rural programmes on television.  Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm are two of my favourites.  Think it's because I used to visit my grandparents farm in Ireland and help (get in their way) make hay by hand with horse and cart.   The smells, sounds and sight of a horse working are something that stays with you all your life.

Every town and village had a blacksmith who made horse shoes, fixed and made farm equipment like machinery and farm gates and repaired anything you wanted.  Now like everything else sensible and sedate and noble, they seem to be confined to the history books for ever.

But why is my cry.  I was reading recently (probably Google) that it was quicker to get round London in the 1830's with a horse and carriage, than it is today with a car.  Interesting what?

Now  we live in these days of rising fuel costs and we are often reminded of climate change, carbon footprints and global warming.  Is the time coming when the horse can come back to work the land, even transport goods and people?  There are horse drawn trams in the Isle of man and boats are used to pull narrow boat cruises on some of Britain's canals.

I have a  little Ford 3000 tractor.  She's called Anna Ford (named after the news presenter and she is a Ford) and I wouldn't really want to part with her.  She's even mentioned in my book.  However, I wonder if it would be possible to purchase a pony and cart and use it around the farm and to get about?

The only thing what puts me off is the crazy speed limits on Irish rural roads.  Eighty kilometres an hour.  Which is about 50mph in English mileage terms.  Would motorists slow down or would they frighten the horse/pony to death?  Would I be able to source a mobile farrier that is reliable and doesn't want a hundred quid (Euros) every few months to put factory made shoes on it?

Problems, problems.  Does anybody know how to make a rural time machine?  It would make life a lot easier.

Any thoughts on horse transport please?

Sunday 3 June 2012

A Gold For A White Rose Garden. (and a photo from my garden and some Thin Lizzy for your enjoyment!).

Howdy folks,

Did you watch Chelsea Flower Show on the old electric fish tank?  I always look for the Artisan gardens, follies and allotment type rustic gardens.  One garden that really stood out for me this year was the Bronte Yorkshire garden.

I have been to Haworth many times and had a pint or ten in the Black Bull, Branwell's haunt, and visited the Bronte parsonage, church, the great chip shop and of course walked the moors to Top Withins, the said place where Emily Bronte got her muse and inspiration to write Wuthering Heights.  It's one of my favourite books of all time and I once remember walking up there and a beautiful Japanese girl walked passed me on her own, reading the novel, totally oblivious to anybody.  Talk of literary magic!

I read on the Interrnet the other day that there is a theory that John Lennon was the reincarnation of Branwell Bronte.  They both had Liverpool connections, were surrounded by women and the both wore glasses.  Honestly!

Another interesting fact about the Brontes.  Patrick Bronte (their father) was originally called Brunty.  However, when he moved from Ireland and went to study at Cambridge, he changed his name to Bronte.  To quote  Michael Caine.

"Not many people know that."

Anyway.  The Bronte Yorkshire garden won gold.  I think the designer and the people who built it thoroughly deserved it.  I really like the millstone grit ruin.  It reminds me so much of Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Lake District.  Have a look at the You Tube video for the Bronte Chelsea Garden and see what you think.  Going off the television presenters comments, I think the garden is about YORKSHIRE.  Well he only says it SIXTEEN times!  To quote Barry Norman:

"And why not?"

Here's a photograph of a exquisite purple rose in my front garden.  It was taken on Friday before the rain.   I have just noticed the Dock leaves!

Keeping with the rose theme.  I am a classic heavy rock fan.  Here's one of my favourite bands Thin Lizzy playing Black Rose. God must have some great concerts with Gary Moore and Phil Lynott in his band.  The instrumental part of Black Rose is simply amazing.

Have a good week.

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...