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.  

Monday 16 May 2016

Enjoying Our Smallholding Flowers.

The weather's been pretty good for the last week.  The hedges and grass are growing like mad and there areolenty of cottage perennial plants coming into flower.  Below in the wall border there are Forget-Me-Nots, Arum Lily's and Aquilegia "Grandma's Bonnets' showing off all their splendour and Array.

The Arum Lilies should have been out around Easter, but they are very late this year.  I love the Folklore connected to so many of our plants names.  Apparently there was an English knight walking by the side of this river (like you do) in full armour carrying a massive posey of forget me nots and they caused him to fall in.  He started to drown and handed over the flowers and said: "Forget me not!"

That's a terracotta ("real plastic") containing 'London Pride' or Saxifrage, "St Patrick's Cabbages." They are said to be the first plants to re-colonize the bomb sites after the blitz.  

Monday 9 May 2016

Every Hiker And Farmer? Needs A Good Hat.

That's my trusty Sheep's Head Way baseball cap.  I have been advertising the way on my hikes over the last few weeks.  Since we sold the cattle we have been making plans.  

The first one is for me to get fit because I am walking the Dingle Way in August with an old friend.   So I have started pounding the old tarmac, boreens, mountain paths and bog for the last fortnight.  Already I have lost 9 Pounds in weight and feel better physically than I have for many a moon.

The Sheeps Head Way is very peaceful and incredibly beautiful.  Especially when you are on your own on top of the hills looking down at the bay.  It's sounds strange but it's like you become part of the rock, grass, mountains...  Walking on tracks that your ancestors walked probably  thinking the same philosophical thoughts and thanking God that you love in such a beautiful place.  

The other plan was to sell some of the land and buy an house or apartment in Portugal.  Eventually we (me and the missus) will retire there and the two lads will still have an house each and a few acres in Ireland.  

So we contacted a few local dairy farmers and asked them if they wanted to buy a ten acre parcel of land.  They both made us offers which we thanked them for but it wasn't the market price we wanted.  So we paid for two estate agents valuations and one undervalued the land by twenty thousand less than we were offered by a local farmer.    

It looks like we might have to put the land on the market, perhaps even sell the lot.  It's very difficult to remove sentiment from a family farm when you want to move on.  Anybody got any ideas what we should do?  Sol, Rachel or Cumbrian will know what to do?

Hope to catch up with all the other blogs I follow this week.   

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...