Sunday 21 August 2016

A Haymaking Meithial.

To paraphrase Harold Wilson: A week in hay-making is a long time.  Last week we made small square bales of hay.  Thanks to the help of a few local farmer's we mowed the grass, turned it with an haybob and put it into windrows, baled it into small square bales of hay, gathered it into groups and carried it away with pick up and trailer.

There is an old Irish word called 'Meithial'.  It refers to a word for the communal help people got on the farm during harvesting.  Last week a few local people helped us gather in our hay.  

It reminded me of when we use to come "on holiday" to my grandparents farm in Ireland and gather in the loose hay with pikes and horse and carts.  My grandmother and my mother would come down the fields laden with bottles' of cold tea (really refreshing), Guinness, sandwiches and my grandmother's currant flat cake which was covered in butter.  

Yes it really took me back to when the neighbour's helped each other and no money was exchanged.  It was great to get the help last week and the sun shone.  So different to the last few days with gales and the relentless rain.  

Do you believe in the Meithial?  

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Scenes From The Sheeps Head Way.

I have been getting myself fit lately walking the hills, boreens and bogs around the Sheeps Head Peninsula in Ireland where I live.   The walking is doing my back and my general fitness the world of good.  My poor feet have been suffering though, any one for blisters?  

The one thing about the hiking is that I have started to fall in love with Ireland again.  She really is the most beautiful island and you realize it's us humans who do the damage not nature.  Here's a few photographs from my latest walking adventures:

Dunmanus Bay in the distance.  Managed to capture my rucksack on this snap.

Another picture of Dunmanus Bay.  I had climbed a few hundred feet for this next picture.

Bantry Bay.  Famous in song and one of the deepest natural bays in the world.  You can see 'Hungry Hill' in the distance.  Daphnne Du Maurier wrote a famous book about the copper miners on the Beara Peninsula.  They also made a film of it starring Margaret Lockwood.  

A concrete trig point.  These are very helpful for hiker's who can use a compass and a map.

One of the many hundreds of oak yellow painted markers on the Sheeps Head Way.  

Another oak finger-post.

Sheep on the Sheeps Head Way.
If you want to spend an hiking break on  an unspoiled peninsula free from traffic and not that many hikers.  This is the place to visit.  It really is beautiful.  

Have you fell in love with the place you live again?

Here's a song about walking.  It's always playing in my mental juke box.  

I saw them at Glastonbury Festival way back in 1989.  It was only 28 Pounds for a weekend ticket.  Only another week or so and I am off walking the Dingle Way.  Must keep telling myself it's supposed to be an holiday.  It's only 122 miles.  I think this could be another midlife crisis.  

Friday 12 August 2016

Strangers In The Night. A UFO Over Bantry Bay.

We had spent all day Wednesday making small square bales of hay.  It was a really rewarding day.  The curtains in the kitchen were not yet closed and we were observing the absolutely amazing sunset.  It reminded me of the art work off a Camel or Gong record cover.

The other members of my family were watching the television next to the kitchen window.  I looked up and saw this amazing object in the sky.  I said something like:

"What the flipping heck is that?"

Then I ran outside.  They followed me shouting:


There in the sky over Bantry Bay was this round red object crossing fast across the sky.  My wife quickly picked up her mobile phone and took this photograph.  I thought it was flying at the height of an helicopter or a hang-glider.  There was no sound of an engine!  Perhaps it was a meteorite or a unidentified flying object.  Have you ever seen anything so strange?
 Another picture of the amazing sunset on Wednesday night.

 Red sky at night, Shepherd's delight.  Red sky in morning, Shepherd's warning.  Red sky in afternoon, burn't shepherd's pie for tea.
 Another picture of the mysterious object.

Here's an appropriate track from a great Yorkshire band:  Saxon..  It's called: "Stranger's In The Night."

Another great English band: UFO also did an album called "Strangers In The Night."  I think it's the best live rock album along  with  the Thin Lizzy classic album: "Live and Dangerous."  Gosh I need to some rock music soon.  Time to plan a city break me thinks.

Have you any unidentified flying objects stories?

Sunday 7 August 2016

Minced Pork Pies Made On The Smallholding.

Another thing that we miss from dear old Blighty is Pork pies.   We have to travel to Tesco in Cork or Killarney if we want to buy some.  So on Friday the good wife did make these pies for the four of us to consume.  

They went down very well and we washed ours down with a Newcastle Brown shandy.  That's a drink that we have been able to get in Ireland since 2012.  It always amazes me how supermarkets and off licences carry so many foreign brands of beers and lagers yet there is so very little choice of English beers. Especially bitter from the Midland upwards.  You know the sort of beer with a frothy head. 

If you want to make the minced pork pies here's the recipe: make short crusty pastry with 4 ounces of butter/margarine, 8 ounces of flour, rub together to make bread crumbs, add 3 tablespoons of cold water and blend together.  Leave to one side.  

Take a pound of pork mince and place it in a big bowl.  Add salt and pepper, also add a tablespoon of mixed herbs.  We uses dry mixed herbs.  Blend together using your hands.  

Roll out your pastry into the pie size of your choice.  Brush with egg wash, cook in a medium oven for approximately forty minutes.  Place on a rack to cool.  We find they taste better when you have left to mature for a couple of days.  Enjoy!

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Kebab's For Tea.

One thing I miss living in the countryside next to the sea is a doner kebab.  You can get them in the towns.  But I never find them spicy enough like when I lived in England.  You could always ask for mild, medium or HOT!  Here it's just a Doner kebab!  

We went to to Lidl today in Clonakilty and they had the above for sale.  You just add meat.  We got some Sirloin steak from the same German supermarket.  Then you open their spicy sachets and Bob's your uncle!  I bet their not spicy enough. 

Doner kebab anecdote time. 

I remember once going to see Fairport Convention somewhere in Lancashire and we ended up missing the last half hour because they served Younger's bitter in the bar.  What would I give for a pint of Younger's these days!  Any way after wards we walked into this chippy and there was this sign up saying Donna Kebabs.  It didn't really.  So of course we ordered one a piece.  

"Do you want sauce lads?"  

Shouted the amiable proprietor and chip fat fryer.  

We all nodded in agreement.  

Two minutes walking down the street.   And Anglo Saxon expletives were hitting the air.  

The kind shopkeeper had only filled our kebabs with tomato sauce!

Do you make your own kebabs or have you a funny kebab tale?

Monday 1 August 2016

A Fool In The Rain.

It was your typical wet bank holiday in Ireland today.  It's thrown it down all day.  Even the puddles seem to have puddles.  I decided to go on a ten mile road hike in the rain, like you do.  There was no way I was squelching about in the peat bogs on the hills over looking Bantry bay and Dunmanus bay.  

Many cars passed by and most of them waved.  I didn't speak to a soul and listened to County Sound 103 on my phone.  One earphone in my ear and the other ear listening out for cars.  It's about time they cut the hedges and verges.  I had to cross the road a few times because the hedges were obscuring my view round the bends.  

I wore my "rainy day" suit, my good old waterproofs and even sang along to the radio playing Thin Lizzy and me singing "whiskey in the jar."  Did I tell you I saw them in 1981 at Manchester Apollo on their Renegade tour?  One of their guitarists was Snowy White.  I saw him again in 2014 in Warsaw playing in Roger Water's band on his The Wall tour.  

I got home with two foot blisters and looking like a drowned rat.  I had Led Zeppelin's 'Fool In The Rain' playing in my mental juke box.  It's off the 'In Through The Out Door' Album.  I once saw Jimmy Paige play at Castle Donington 'Monsters Of Rock' Festival.  

Apparently the song is about a man going to meet a woman and he thinks she doesn't turn up.  But he was waiting on the wrong corner.  Sounds like lady luck.  What was your favourite Led Zep track?  Did you see them at Knebworth ?  I have been to Knebworth but not to see Led Zep.  I felt like I was walking on England's Woodstock.  

Enjoy the tune folks!

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...