Wednesday 28 December 2016

Carry On Christmas.

Image result for carry on cowboyHave you recovered?  We spent Christmas day afternoon watching Carry On Camping and Carry On Cowboy on ITV3or what is 4?  Our two sons had never seen them before and they laughed.  It was predictable, joke led and full of double entendre's  and good old laughter.  It was sheer escapism and a great way to pass Christmas day.

We watched the Carry On Up Th Sexual Harassment Tribunal sketch on the Walliams  & Friends last week.  It's a parody of the Carry On films and brings them right up today.  The wonderful Sheridan Smith appears in the sketch.  I think it's very clever and very funny.  You can watch it on good old You Tube.  It sends up todays political correctness and it's well worth watching.   2016 wasn't the best of years and we all need a laugh.

Thursday 22 December 2016

What If The Star Of Bethlehem Was A Space Ship?

I heard some good news this week.  Kansas are playing Europe and in England next summer ("Ramblin Man" Festival) and Chris De Burgh is playing Killarney in April.  Guess who is going to be buying some tickets in the New Year?

Seeing it's nearly Christmas.  I thought I would feature one of Chris De Burgh's songs: "A Space Man Came Travelling."  He read the book Chariots of the Gods?  Erich Von Daiken wrote it.  It inspired  Chris to think "what if the star of Bethlehem was a space ship?"  Could you imagine what the shepherds thought when they saw the UFO in the Sky.  They would react like we did a few months/blogs ago when we saw the light in the bay.  See August posts if you're interested?
Chris De Burgh also read "The Second Coming" by  William Butler Yeats.  Which avers that every two thousand years a major cataclysmic event happens, like the birth of Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem.  I love the last verse.  We are all waiting for his return.  

Merry Christmas and peace on Earth. 

Tuesday 20 December 2016

Outside Of A West Cork Wedding Reception.

We took this photograph outside the West Lodge Hotel in Bantry on Saturday.

It seems to be the latest craze to dress up tyres or big round bales straw for the bride and groom.  You can't tell we live in a farming area can you?  What's the latest wedding craze near you?

Saturday 17 December 2016

A Full Irish Or An English Breakfast.

We made ourselves an 'all day' breakfast the other day.   We cooked it in the range.  It didn't curl up and wither like it does in a frying pan.

Ours is a combination of an English and Irish breakfast.  This breakfast is said to have originated on farms and in houses where the inhabitants did physical work.

A Full Irish consists of: "The Rashers" (bacon), Irish sausages, Black and white pudding, baked beans ("bachelors")eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes (halved) potato farls/cakes or traditional boxty, soda bread, butter jam, Barrys or Lyons tea, orange juice...

I found this video about what Americans think of the "Full" English breakfast.  Please let me know your thoughts.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Staring At Lakes Or Even The Bay.

Last week I featured a book by Mike Harding.  This week I read (ate) a book called: Staring at Lakes.  It's an award winning memoir by an Irish writer called Michael Harding.

 The book was very funny and so so emotional.  He writes a myriad of thoughts down; Does God exist? Mid life crisis, depression, sadness, lying in a coffin, melancholy,failing health, love, Christianity, Buddhism,the loneliness of being an artist or even a writer, even a human being...?

I read the book in two days and found it profoundly poetic and very moving.  I found emotions inside me that I thought I had locked up and thrown away the key.  Especially when my mother died in 2012.   For me the book was like opening a ribbon containing old letters from a loved one.  I cried inside when I read this book.  It's beautiful and I am going to buy his other 2 memoirs.

I won't spoil the book for you, but...  One evening his wife suggest they drive to the lake.  So they get into the car and drive there and park up and just stare.  They don't talk they just stare and think.  I do it myself looking at Bantry Bay, every day.  Thinking thoughts like: is life futile, does God exist, why are we here, will we ever see our loved one's again..?  I am sure the same thoughts my ancestors thought years, a go staring at the bay.

Sun going down on Bantry Bay.  A view from our garden.  

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Irish Soda Bread And Home Made Vegetable Soup.

I made some vegetable soup today; onion, celery, garlic and carrot and an OXO vegetable stock cube.  Then when it boiled and the veg felt soft with a fork.  I put it in the Smoothie maker for about 30 seconds.

The missus made a loaf of Soda bread with Odlums BROWN Soda Bread mix.  It's less than 3 Euros.  Odlums is an Irish company.  We get 4 loaves out of it.

Hey presto.  Soda bread and soup for two for less than 2 Euros.  Why do we buy soup when we can make it?

Talking of Bread.  Here's a song of theirs from way back when I love the lyrics.  

Tuesday 13 December 2016

"I Was Just Thinking What A Champion Crop Of Onions You Could Grow In That Soil."

Back to my occasional series on some of my favourite writer's, especially from up North.  Today I would like to talk about Peter Tinniswood.  I have half a dozen of his books.  He was born in Liverpool and lived over a dry cleaners in Sale in Cheshire.  He was mad on cricket and wrote many books plays and the brilliant television series: "I Didn't Know You Cared."

It's set in Sheffield and features the Carter family.  Uncle Mort is my hero.  I have featured him on this blog before.  He tends his allotment and has an old railway carriage for his shed.  One day he finds out he's got the big C and blames it on drinking the water at his allotment.  This is my favourite comedy series of all time.
Here's a clip to remind you of Uncle Mort and his gang.  I think Peter Tinniswood was a comic genius.  Thanks to the people who post these clips on You Tube.  They are brilliant!

Why doesn't BBC 4 repeat all these amazing programmes?

Saturday 10 December 2016

Bake Potatoes The Grow And Cook Way.

That's the torn and Sellotape (patented in 1933) cover of our Grow and Cook by Violet Stephenson.  It came out  in 1976.  It's one of my favourite gardening/cook books. Violet Stephenson tells the reader how to grow them and how to cook them.  I found the book on a car boot sale in Cheshire about twenty years a go.  Think I paid 20 Pence for it.  I know,  but you have got to splash out sometimes.

Baked potatoes in their jackets the Violet Stephenson way. 

We used Wilson's Country Navan potatoes for the above.  Scrub them and slit around the centre to break the skin.  Rub them all over with a little olive oil or dripping (beef dripping butties!) and then lightly sprinkle them with SEA salt.  Place them on the oven shelf all allow about an hour at a moderate heat.  Or just so you can put a fork through them and they are brown on the outside and cooked.  We have a solid fuel range so the heat is never constant.  

They are delicious.  Some times we have Chili with ours.  My mum use to call them "David's potatoes."   I think it's because I found the recipe and she loved them.  The credit should go to my other half though.  She watches them while they are cooking and she took the photograph.  

Have you a favourite gardening or cook book?  

Thursday 8 December 2016

The Passing Of A Rock Hero.

It is a sign that you are getting old when your rock heroes are passing away.  Today I read that Greg Lake From Emerson Lake And Palmer has gone.  I once saw them in Manchester in the late nineteen eighties.  I honestly think they are the greatest band to have come from England.  Rest in peace Greg and thanks for the great rock memories!

Did you ever see Emerson Lake and Palmer?  Please tell us about them.  Thanks.  Here's an appropiate song by Greg Lake.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Kitchen Sink Dramas.

I talked the other week about great English working class authors.  One of my favourite films and books is Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse.  It was made in 1963, the year I was born.  If only they made films like that today.  Sheer escapism.  Billy Liar England's Walter Mitty.

I think my father based himself (I am joking) on Billy Liar's father.  Especially on a Saturday morning when he decide to hoover the whole of the house, banging into the skirting boards and shouting:

"I am up.  So we are all up."

One doesn't think he appreciated me coming in the early hours of the morning probably quite the worse for  wear.  I am sure we put our parents through Hell when we were growing up.  

Any way.  This is one of my favourite British films.  A classic kitchen sink drama/comedy.  It also introduced the world to Julie Christie.  I just love the way she struts her stuff without a care in the world.  If you have never seen the film.  You don't know what your missing.  You can watch it on You Tube.  

Here's a clip for your enjoyment.  Do you like this film?

Tuesday 6 December 2016

My Birthday And Christmas 1914

It was my birthday yesterday.  Number one son bought me a bottle of malt and number 2 son bought me a notebook for my scribblings..  Psst.. If you want an idea for a blokes Christmas present.  A bottle from the top shelf of the Scottish Malt  variety always goes down well.  My favourite is Dalwhinnie.  My rock hero Neil Peart (Rush drummer and song lyricist) drinks MaCallan.

 The wife bought me a book by one of my favourite comedian's, bus conductor's, folk singer, poet , rambler and author:  Mike Harding.  Check out his website for some great folk music and his books...

The book is called: Yorkshire Transvestite Found Dead On Everest.  If you type Winston Churchill and the sticky bomb in You Tube you will find Mike reading an extract from the book.  Have you met any loons like the sticky bomb creator?  I found the book very funny and if you want a good read about his ramblings, I recommend it very highly.  I am now the proud owner of three of his books.

So how old am I?  Well Princess Elizabeth became queen this year and the FA Cup Final was called the Matthews final that year.  Even though Stan Mortenson scored an hat-trick for Blackpool.  No I wasn't born in the fifties.  Can you guess how old I am?

I was talking to Rachel on her blog this morning about how I wish there was footity ball on Christmas Day.  In 1914 there was a truce and the Germans (no Stan Boardman jokes please!) and English exchanged cigarettes and sweets and had a game of football in No Man's Land.   Here's Mike Harding singing about it.

Monday 5 December 2016

A Statue For The Gaelic Poets.

Part 2 of our Christmas shopping trip to Killarney.  We spotted this statue on Saturday.  It was erected in 1940 and the sculptor was Seamus Murphy.

I think it's the mark of a great country when it's poets are commemorated.

Do you think poetry is important?  I do.

I read a on a poem publishers website  the other day stating  that it doesn't buy poems.  They pay poets for the number of books they sell.  What ever happened to the advance?

Who is your favourite poet?  Do you write poems?  I do some times.  Culture on a Monday afternoon.

PS. Are you watching the Turner film on Channel Four tonight?  It's on for nearly three hours - yawn!  It stars Timothy Spall.  I can only picture him in Auf Wiedersehen Pet Playing the Midlands character Barry bragging about the time he won the the West Bromwich Second Division Table Tennis League.  Seriously.  It's supposed to be excellent.  Will try and post tomorrow!

Sunday 4 December 2016

Art Discovery On A Killarney Christmas Shopping Trip.

Yay an Nay. And (never start a sentence with And) it did come to pass that we did venture over the Cork and Kerry mountains to go shopping  of the Christmas kind in Killarney.  We went in The Works In Killarney Outlet Centre and I bought a book (for myself) and we bought a lot of other stuff for presents.  Then we walked along Old Market Lane and spotted this Muriel (Hilda Ogden's phrase) and we think it is superb, don't you?  Wish I knew who painted the images.  Anybody know?

 Any body tell me what the Gaelic writing above the two women says?  Thanks.  

Anybody out there paint or write?  Tell us about your work.  I wrote another one of my tales last week.  The collection is growing.  Keep up the good work!

An employer once asked me if my teacher wrote on my school reports:

David is a like-able pupil but is very easy distracted.  Must do better."  

I was amazed and said:  "Yes.  How did you know that?"

He smiled and said:

"They wrote that on every-bodies school report."

See you tomorrow.

Friday 2 December 2016

Hungry Hill With A Literary Connection.

That's a mobile phone photo took from our kitchen door over looking Bantry Bay.  It's Hungry Hill over on Beara Peninsula.  The hill inspired Daphne Du Maurier to write: Hungry Hill.  Margaret Lockwood starred in the 1947 film or "filum" if you say it that way.  The novel  was her seventh book and there have been 33 editions printed.  The film and novel are based on the the history  and family saga of Daphne Du Maurier's friend Christopher Puxley who owned Copper mines in the area.  I have never read it have you?

It's often said locally that when there is a cap of cloud on top of Hungry Hill, it's going to rain.  The transparent like cap on the top in our picture.  Made no difference and the weather is glorious at the moment. There has been a lot of frosts lately and this is always followed by the rain.  I think it comes next Tuesday.  

My grandfather could look at the tide and tell you what time it was without looking at a clock or watch.  Another sign of rain is Beara Peninsula looking really close, dogs eating grass and rocks shining in the distant hill sides.  What ways do you know for predicting the weather?  I don't mean watching the news!

Thursday 1 December 2016


Did you see the match at the Theatre Of Dreams (Old Trafford) last night?  The lads in red put on a great show and Henrikh (Mickey) Mkhitaryan is quickly taking on the role of the new king.  I haven't been so excited about a United player since Ronaldo, Cantona, George Best (he was called Best and was the best) Kanchelsis, Bryan Robson... Shall I go on?  

Apparently Sir Bobby Charlton nicknamed Old Trafford the "Theatre Of Dreams" because it was/is the place where you followed your dreams, glory and happiness.  Isn't football amazing?

Talking of dreams.  I had a dream the other night that my son won FIFTY Miillion on the Lotto.  I was over the moon and in my dream, I woke up and was going:

"Yes, yes.  All our money worries are over.  We are going to be rich."

Then my wife turned to me and said:

"I don't know what you are so happy about.  He wouldn't give us any of it.


I screamed and pulled the pillow over my head.

What would you do if you won the lottery?  I would start my own publishing press, invest in a football team and have lots of holidays in some very nice places.  What about you?

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...