Tuesday 29 November 2016

Temerity Tuesday.

Do you have the temerity to write a book, poems, song or even paint a picture?  Could you press the send button or post that letter and wait and wait longer than even that?  For ever in God's waiting room.  Why don't you get that file up on the screen and start writing your book again?  Or have you got more sense?  


There is even the argument that there are very few markets for working class writer's today.  I can't think of many male working class authors being interviewed on television recently can you?  Perhaps that's what I have been doing wrong all these years.  I have been aiming my working class books at a middle class audience? 

Do you write?  Please tell me what you think.   We have had Black Friday.  Today I am calling it: Temerity Tuesday.  Get writing that book or painting that picture!  

I feel like the next song this week.  Good old Thin Lizzy.  My favourite Irish band.  I once saw them in Manchester in 1981.  Showing my age.  

Saturday 26 November 2016

Ghosting It.

Thanks for the comments and all the views for my Kansas post.  Did you see Henrikh Mkhitaryan (we call him Mickey) play for United the other night?  He reminded me of a cross between Ronaldo and Cantona.  That lad is going places.  He was sensational I loved the way he ghosted past the opposition.  

Talking of ghosts.  I am currently reading a superb novella called A Christmas Carol.  It's the chosen December reading on a blog I follow: Be Sol Be.  Yes it's the one we all know that we see on the television every  year a long with the Wizard of OZ.  

I have seen the Scrooge films many times but never read the book. Charles Dickens seems to have been almost obsessed with ghosts.  Victorian society loved ghost stories and many attended seances or went to spiritualist meetings.  

Do you believe in ghosts?  I saw one a few years a go.  I just noticed something out of the corner of my eye.  Then I looked again.  There looking in our kitchen window was an old lady wearing a long hooded cloak and she had a very pointed nose.  The image was grey and transparent.  I shouted to my wife and the ghost sped past  the other window.  My wife just saw the back of her.  It was very strange.  

Have you any ghost stories?  

Thursday 24 November 2016

The Day I Saw The Band I Had Waited Over Thirty Years To See.

People who follow this blog will know that from time to time I feature some of the rock bands I like and maybe even been lucky enough to see live.  

Two years a go my friend invited me over to Warsaw to see a band I might be interested in seeing.  Who would this band be me thinks?  It was no other than the great American band: Kansas.  The band who I had always wanted to see but I never got the chance.  I had only waited about thirty years to see them. Well not really waited.  I didn't ever think I would see them.  

Sure enough I emailed my friend back and a few months later (August 2014) and I was flying from Shannon to Modlin airport near Warsaw, Poland.  The great day duly arrived and my friend and myself walked up to the Progresja rock club. 

It was a gorgeous summer evening and the Kansas bus was parked outside the concert hall.  My friend noticed the Kansas lead singer sat outside the tour bus on a chair.  He wondered if we should go over and meet the band.  I of course said nay and we just walked passed Steve Walsh.  Wish I had walked up to him now and said:

"I have flown from  Ireland to Poland to see you and it's only took me thirty years."  

Not the flight time.  That was three hours.  I am talking of the time it took until I was lucky enough to see them play live.  I wasn't disappointed either.  They were fantastic!

Is there any band or singer who you would love to see live?  Would you fly three hours or more to see them.

Kansas have a new record out this year.  It's like listening to them in the nineteen eighties.  Here's a sample track for you to enjoy:

Tuesday 22 November 2016

No- One Asked Me To Paint So Why Should I Expect People To Buy My Works?

That's a quote from a very famous painter who painted match-stick men and cats and dogs.

Yes it's LS Lowry.

So you painters, musicians, writers, basket weavers....  What do you think?  

Do you waste your time sending off your manuscripts to book publishers, record producers (I am showing my age I know)  art galleries... For ever hoping one day you will be the best thing since sliced bread, a mega star, celebrity, Somebody will say:

 "I love your work."

Must check my email inbox to see if the Irish book publisher wants to publish my book.  Why do we spend so much of our life in God's waiting room?  

I said to my wife the other day, we had been talking about favourite author's like Peter Tinniswood and Pete McCarthy, Mike Harding, John Seymour) (my favourites) and Margaret Dickinson, Ruth Hamilton and Lynne Andrews (her favourites)  that I actually enjoy writing and creating my own books the most.  Think I have finally grasped the writing nettle.  Introversion and self indulgence is the answer.  What do you think?

Sunday 20 November 2016

Potato And Bacon Cakes With Baked Beans.

I said we would make some more traditional Irish food on my next post.  Here you are.  Potato cakes filled with bacon.  I got this recipe from our Darina Allen Irish cook book.  You make the potatoes in the traditional way (see video below ) and add cooked small pieces of bacon to the mash.

They are great for a breakfast or any time of the day.  Don't make more than 2 per person though, they are very filling.  Serve them with Baked Beans.  Heinz are my favourite.  I think they are really American foods.  The potato comes from the Andes in South America and Baked Beans originated in North America.  They were originally called Navy Beans and they are actually made from Haricot beans which are white in colour.  They are also stewed beans not baked.  

Regular readers will have seen this Beaked Beans On Toast menu before.  I took it when we visited Faro in The Algarve in April 2015.

Here's a gem of a Keith Floyd video I remember watching.  I found it on You Tube yesterday.  Mr Floyd was one of my culinary heroes.  Such a character and he loved the Stranglers.  One of my favourite bands too.

Enjoy the video and the meal.

Friday 18 November 2016

Lamb Koftas Made On The Farm.

We watched the Food Network Channel the other night on one of the free channels.  They made lamb Koftas.  So we thought we would have a go at making them.

If you want to make them you will need:

500 G of lamb and beef minced mixed together.  Place a big dessert spoon each of Chilli, Mint , Coriander, Cumin and chopped Almonds.  You can use fresh spices if you can get them.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mix together and make into sausage shapes and leave in the fridge for an hour or so.  Then cook in the oven until the juices run clear.  

The sauce is made from natural yogurt, Coriander and Mint.  We served them with red onion, lettuce, tomato and a Vintage Irish cheese.   

Again they weren't really spicy enough for me.  I think in future we would use fresh Chilies.  

Next time I will blog about some traditional Irish food.  Variety is the spice of life, don't they say?

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Forest, Field & Sky.

We watched the Forest, Field and Sky: Art Out Of Nature on BBC 4 last night.  It was about artists whose work explores the human relationship with the natural world.  Well that's what my tv magazine said.  Did you see it?  

It showed a man building a dry stone wall in the trunk of a dead tree, an artist who made a walk by treading the grass down in a line.  It reminded me of a white line on a football pitch.  He also made a 10 mile walk. Here was a lady artist who made a stone structure in the sea and set a bonfire in it.  Then they filmed the ever encroaching sea rising over the structure.  A fascinating programme and confirmed what I have thought for a long time.  Everything can be art.  It doesn't have to be that which is useless.  

Take a meal, a vase of flowers, a blog picture, a blog post, a poem, a painting, a book, a garden, a well dug allotment.  You know what?  I think it's all art?  Mother nature is the greatest artist of them all.  She doesn't draw in straight lines either. Like trees planted like soldiers on golf courses.  Do you agree?

Here's a poem I wrote the other year.  It came to me when I walking.  The 10 mile walk on the programme made me think of my poem: Walking Right Through Time.


I am not walking on the earth,

I am not walking on the stars,

I just keep walking, walking through time.

There's no cobwebs on my finger tips, 

No Ivy growing around my heart,

I am just a Poet looking for a rhyme,

Walking, walking, walking,

Right through time.

Sunday 13 November 2016

Home Made Hungarian Goulash.

Thanks for the comments on my last post and also for reading it.  Following on from last post.  We decided to have a go at making Hungarian Goulash  yesterday.  Here you are:

This is is said to be a traditional meal that can be either a soup or stew.  It's said to have it's origins from the Hungarian cattle and sheep herder's who lived in the Hungarian countryside.  So it can be made with mutton or beef.  I believe in Germany they make it from sausages.  I love Paprika and I think it gives a bit of thump instead of plain beef stew.  I found the recipe on the BBC Hairy Biker's Recipe page.

I would love to visit Hungary one day.  One of my favourite (seen them 4 times) English rock bands is Jethro Tull.  One of the songs from the Crest Of A Knave album is called Budapest.  Thanks to You Tube and the kind folk who put these videos on there.    Anybody else like Jethro Tull?

Thursday 10 November 2016

Watching Television The Other Night.

We watched the Ben Fogle New Lives In The Wild on Channel 5 on Wednesday night.  It featured an English couple who looked up houses on Right Move for 3 grand and they found an old rural house with land in Hungary.  Did you see it?

The programme started with Ben walking down a street asking people if they knew where the English couple lived?  We must have all done something similar in a foreign country.  It reminded me of the time myself and the missus went to Folkestone in the middle of the snow one February, like you do! We stayed in a B & B and they served our breakfast in our bedroom?  Seriously.  

Any road.  We decided to go on a ferry to Boulogne for the day.  When we got there we went in a cafe/bar and had a couple of drinks and the best omelette and French fries we have ever tasted.  Then we went into an "Oirish (Irish) pub.  It had all the traditional fittings and they even made a shamrock in the froth of your Guinness.  Only trouble was none of the bar staff spoke English.  No problem thinks me.  All I did was gesticulate and make hand signals for a large glass, small glass and two fingers for: two drinks.  Who needs translation books of even French lessons?

Any road again.  The couple in Hungary said they had a budget of six Pounds a day to live on. I bet six Pounds goes a lot further than it does in Britain or Ireland?  I say fair play to them for having the get up and go for making a new life in the countryside.  Don't fancy killing rabbits though.  Think I would buy them oven ready from the rabbit owner up the road.  

I decided long a go the only way to get away from the rat race is to live on a smallholding or even get yourself an allotment.  I just hope Brexit doesn't stop people from living their rural dream in other countries.   

Tuesday 8 November 2016

Chicken Skewers And Super Bock. (What Do You Want For Your Tea?)

This is turning into a food blog.  Thanks for all the comments and I have been getting a lot more views every day.  I suppose we have all got to eat haven't we?  The usual early morning conversation in our house is:

"What do you want for your tea?"

ME:  "Dunno."

We some times go to the Chinese Restaurant and Take Away in Bantry.  We never eat in and I usually order Beef in Black Bean sauce.  The missus will order her: Chips and Curry sauce.  The lads usually order Chicken Skewers with Rice.  Our house is full of cook books and we are always scouring the T'web and T'internet for new recipes to try.  So yesterday we had a go at making chicken skewers.  They only cost 10 Euros to make and they went down really well.  Here's how you make them:

Get 4 chicken breasts (one for each person) and we cut them into one inch chunks and we covered them in honey and pushed them onto skewers.  Then they where placed in the cooker (range) and cooked for about half an hour, turning once until the juices run clear. Serve with rice or chips.

We enjoyed them.  Let me know if you like them.  

On Saturday. The local supermarket and off licence in town had run out of Newcastle Brown on Saturday.  I have been able to get this wonderful English beverage since 2012.  So I searched through the shelves of stout, lager and bitters...  When I set my eyes on my old friend: Super Bock.

If you have ever been to Portugal.  You will have seen this beer for sale.  I think it was two Euros fifty a pint (big glass) when we last went to the Algarve.   I hope to go there next year.  This time we will probably explore the Silver Coast and higher up.  Places like Lisbon, Porto and the Douro wine region... 

I chilled the beers in the fridge.  They brought sunny Portugal all back to me.  Cheers!   Where are you going next year on your holidays?

Saturday 5 November 2016

Bolognese Pizza.

I believe this is another one of those meals that have never seen their supposed country of origin.  Apparently Bolognese pizza was not invented in Italy and Chicken Tikka Masala was created in a London restaurant.  It's like one of my old sayings:

"They advertise Persil washing powder on the side of a bus.  But it doesn't mean they sell it."

Any way we first sampled this dish in the Algarve a few years a go.  A young lad stood outside this Italian Restaraunt inviting tourists to dine and he recommended the Sangria and home made Bolognese pizza. He was a cheerful lad and we had a laugh and a joke with him and when in Rome or even Praia Da Rocha, we sampled his recommendations.    We weren't disappointed.  Hopefully one day we will live in Portugal.  

Any way (again) the missus made 4 Bolognese pizza's for thirteen Euros yesterday.  She was in a hurry though and bought the bases. Then she put the mixture on top of the bases and put them in the range and I offer you Bolognese pizza made in the farm house.  

Thursday 3 November 2016

Moroccan Meatballs. Catering For An Army!

We are always looking for new recipes to cook.  The missus came home with a SuperValu (Irish supermarket) leaflet yesterday.  So we decided to give it a whirl on top of the range.  

Moroccan Meatballs With Couscous.

It only takes ten minutes preparation and 30 mins to cook.  You make 24 meatballs from 454g of minced beef.  Season it with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 15 mins.  We cooked it on a baking tray on top of our range.  

Meanwhile (back at the ranch or smallholding) I warmed the olive oil (where's Popeye?)  and a chopped onion in our skillet on top of the range.  Then we added a teaspoon each of garlic, cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger and added 2 tins of chopped toms.  Let it simmer for 10 mins and seasoned with salt and pepper.   Then we cooked the meatballs in the sauce for another ten minutes.  

To serve we made couscous from a packet and just added boiling water.  The meal was different but nowhere spicy enough for me.  I think it's with using dried spices.  We could do with some ethnic food shops moving to West Cork.  

We also made too much.  It was supposed to be enough for 6 people after all.  Hence the catering for an army title.  Do you make too much food?  I am also told that I use every pot and pan when I attempt to cook.  I have lived in this house for thirteen years and I still don't know where any cooking utensils live!

Did I tell you about the time when I asked my wife once to order me a kebab?  In England you can get mild, medium or hot.   I told her to tell them tell to make it 'super hot'. 

Inside the kebab house. 

"Are you sure?"

"Yes that's what he wants."

Half an hour later.  I takes a bite of my Doner kebab.  I think I had just swallowed some volcanic lava.  I was like a mad bull.  But the steam was coming out of my head not my nostrils.  I honestly thought I was going to die.  Oh and drinking pints of water, beer, flower vase water..., does not work.  I never asked for a 'super hot' Doner kebab again!

Tuesday 1 November 2016

A Long And Winding Road. One Of My Walks!

One thing I really love about living in rural Ireland is walking the hills.  Where else can you walk for miles and not see a soul?  The other day I did my six mile walk on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.  It's so incredibly beautiful and peaceful.  I have started putting my earphones on my mobile phone and listening to classical music on the radio while I walk.  It's like being in the opening or closing of a film.

Walking always clears my mind and makes me so grateful for nature and where I live.  Here are some photographs I took with my mobile phone:

 A deserted road on the Sheep's Head Peninsula.

The mental juke box in my head started playing the following:

 The grass is autumn brown now on the hillsides.
Found this stone circle on my travels.  What could it be?  A witches meeting place?  Perhaps ancient chieftains met here?  Or did somebody just felt artistic and made a circle of stones?  I think it's rather beautiful.
Looking down over Bantry Bay out of the mist.  You can see the outline of the Beara Peninsula across the bay.

I have a manuscript about the Sheep's Head Peninsula that needs finishing this winter.  So that's two books to finish this winter.  Anybody else writing any books?  What are they about?  

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...