Saturday 30 December 2017

Ears Like A Shit House Rat And Other Rodent Tales.

We were watched television (for a change).  I asked the missus to turn up the television volume (how did she get hold of the tv remote control?) and she told me I had selected hearing and was deaf.  I heard myself retort:  

"You have got ears like a shit house rat."  

I suppose that was probably one of my most romantic sentences in twenty one years of marriage.  Its probably years of listening to heavy rock music and playing the stereo at number ten.

This morning I was told Domino had left me a present in the garage.  The penny dropped in yours truly head.  Didn't I leave some bags of barley there?  Open ones at that.  Sure enough I opened the door and found a brown rat with no head on.    So I got my Celtic shovel (they like the long handled ones in Ireland) and picked up Mr or Mrs Country rat and slinged it over the hedge.  

Oh did I tell you about that lad I use to work with who use to tell me that a rat use to visit his garden every night and he use to leave dog food out for it.  He insisted it was the same rat that visited him every night.  I tried to explain that it would not be the same visitor every night but he would not have it.

Do you have any ratty tails (my dad use to sell them to the council for a shilling a tail) or tales?

Friday 29 December 2017

2017 Highlights.

Its been a very wet year in Ireland and going to Portugal in April and Germany in July were the highlights of my year.

Regular readers will know its our dream to one day soon move to Portugal and buy and rent out an apartment or house and live off the income.  

The other highlight was flying from Kerry to Frankfurt Hahn with an old pal from years a go and jumping in a Joe Baxi (taxi) and getting dropped off in Loreley.  We went to the Loreley Night Of The Prog festival.  We stayed in an hotel and I learned the word Verboten.  I think it mean: "It is forbidden."  Or 'keep off the grass' if you come from dear old Blighty. 

Here's a song by the Chris Thompson Band singing an apt song when I was at Loreley.  Enjoy and have an Happy New Year!

Wednesday 27 December 2017

Thank Goodness For Netflix And Camel.

That's the view of Hungry Hill this morning from our kitchen door.  The water is Bantry Bay which is actually part of the Atlantic Ocean.  The Hill is called Hungry Hill.  Daphne Du Maurier wrote a book about it and there was also a film made.  Its the highest peak in the Caha mountain range.   Yes I know I have mentioned it before. 

So how was your Christmas?  Ours was exceptionally quiet and we ended up watching Carry on films (just for a change, The Vicar of Dibley (all those Christmas dinners) and number two son did set up his Xbox and we watched three Netflix films:  Bridesmaids, What Happens in Vegas and good old Pee Wee's(my choice) Big Adventure.  

Of course the rain gods descended on Ireland and now Jack Frost is scattering his talc on the distant mountains.  I have been chopping firewood this morning and giving my plants in the poly-tunnel a cold hosepipe shower.  

What else?  We watched United struggle to break down a marvellous Burnley team and it seemed like everybody realizes City are the new Barcelona and they already have one hand on the Premiership title.  

Did I tell you I am going to see English Prog Rock band Camel in the Summer?  Have you ever seen them?  Yesterday they sent me one of their videos via their You Tube channel, that I subscribe too.  Enjoy and I look forward to seeing them in Eastern Europe next June.  Have you any holiday plans yet?  Where you going?  Enjoy again.

Friday 22 December 2017

A Merry Christmas To Everybody In Blogland.

Nativity crib in Bantry Square.

 A 'real'  Christmas tree with baubles and a Christmas Cactus.  All from Lidl.  

Domino playing with his toy mouse next to my Black and White whisky ornament.

This is my Christmas Card Blog to you all.  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a much drier year than 2017.  Don't forget to watch Al Murray the pub landlord tonight for his thoughts on Christmas.  See you in a few days and have a good one!

Thursday 21 December 2017

Under The Greenwood Tree.

I have read a few of Thomas Hardy books.  Jude The Obscure is my favourite.  My mother use to believe in predestination and she believed that it's all written down before we had been born.  Every life is ruled by fate and some people never have any luck and of course a lot of people do have luck.  I wouldn't mind winning the Euro Millions this week, someone will!

Any way.  I have a friend  who is something of an authority on Hardy and he goes on his own every year to visit the places Hardy wrote about and where he lived.  I hope one day to visit them myself with him.  

My friend sent me Under The Greenwood Tree to read.  Its wonderful and I would recommend it to anybody who wants to know what life was like in a rural Wessex village in nineteenth century England.  It celebrates the humble country people and speaks of a time when people still believed in god and went around the villages singing Christmas Carols.

I was looking on You Tube recently and I found this wonderful song entitled: Under The Greenwood Tree.  Did you ever see the band 'Amazing Blondel?  I had never heard of them and I think they are wonderful.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Photographs From Hiroshima Peace Park.

We received these photographs of Hiroshima Peace Park by email the other day.  My wife's sister and friend took them on their recent visit to Japan.

 The Cenotaph,  
 A building still standing after the atomic bomb.

There are three peace bells and visitors are encouraged to ring them for world peace.  

We watched the musical Scrooge the other night.  The films message is: Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all men. 

Do you remember this song?

Sunday 17 December 2017

More Stunning Japanese Gardens Photographs.

The wife's sister emailed some more fabulous photographs of her recent holiday in Japan.  I think they are amazing.  

If Kim Jon Ung makes peace with the West I would go there  myself and maybe meet him and we could talk about our favourite footity ball team:  Manchester United.    Enjoy.

Saturday 16 December 2017

Is There Any Point Growing Your Own When Vegetables Are So Cheap?

A new store opened in our local town the other week.  So I reluctantly went for a look round the store.  I usually head for the centre aisles to see what special offer highlights are for sale.  So you spend 27 Cents for a tin of "El Cheapo" baked beans and 300 Euros for a 52 inch colour television that promises to cook your tea.  OK I exaggerate.  But you know what I mean.  

Any road.  I walked every aisle and even checked out the price of vegetables.  Ten bob or 50 Cents for a York cabbage.  Sixty Cents for a small bag of onions...  What on earth (even fym) am I doing hand weeding onions when I can buy them so cheap?  The vegetables are probably sprayed and grown with chemicals and have massive carbon footprints from Israel and Scunthorpe?  But what the heck, they're cheap!  

Am I going to stop growing my own?  Of course not?  But I realize I don't need to have a big plot.  I will use some of it for more garden and for plant propagation.  What do you think?

Here's a funny song about Lidl for you!

Thursday 14 December 2017

Remembering The Shawlies In Cork City.. First published in 2017.

I published this in December 2017.  There's a lot of talk about statues this week.  Here's one that celebrates ordinary people not politicians.

We went to Cork city yesterday and we noticed this statue called the "Onion Seller".  It's a sculpture by Seamus Murphy.  I wrote a blog last December about his statue : an speir -bean in Killarney.

 The statue commemorates the "shawlies" women market traders who use to sell their wares in the Coal Quay area of Cork City.  I think its great how the statue remembers working class people who lived there.

Update:  I Googled: The Shawlies and the Four Courts Press have published a book called The Shawlies, Cork women street traders and the merchant city 1901-50 by Susan Marie Martin.  It sounds fascinating!

Statues  can be controversial and stir emotions.  For me the 'Onion Seller' stirs warmth and dignity.  The  'Trinity' outside Old Trafford makes me happy.  A statue of someone like Margaret Thatcher makes me annoyed.

What do you think?

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Shop Windows With Train Themes For Christmas.

We went Christmas shopping yesterday in County Kerry.  One place we visited was Listowel.  This is the home of the writer John B Keane who wrote 'The Field' and many other stories.   I recently found two antique shops there (remember the Black and White Whisky dogs ornament?) and we decided to see if we could find any Christmas presents there.  Unfortunately both shops were closed on a Monday.   

How ever we still looked round the shops.   Here's some pictures for you:

Lartigue Monorail in Listowel is hosting the North Pole Express running up to Christmas.  So the shops have dressed their windows with a train theme.  I love it when shops make an effort and dress their windows, don't you?

Saturday 9 December 2017

Some Amazing Garden Photographs From Japan.

My wife's sister told her that she was going to Japan with a pal of hers for a couple of weeks. When I found out I said: "Tell them to take pictures of  the amazing Japanese gardens for me and for my blog".

Here goes folks:

Aren't they absolutely beautiful.  The nearest thing I have ever been to Japan is when we use to visit Peasholm Park in Scarborough on our holidays.  We would spend many an afternoon and night there.  

Would you believe the Sycamore is related to those beautiful Acer trees?  

My dad use to grow Chrysanthemums in his green house, I love Rhododendrons and I know the Nolans were very big in Japan.    I would love to go there, would you?

Do you remember this song?

Tuesday 5 December 2017

Barrowing And Spreading FYM For Next Years Potatoes..

We got two dumper loads of fym delivered the other week.  I have been spreading it on next years proposed new potatoes plot.  

Of course I dug it over first and piked and barrowed the muck.  I don't kill myself any more though and the most I pike and wheelbarrow in one session is ten barrows.  I don't spend all day knackering (is that a word?) my back when I can do it over a few days or weeks.  

 Dung spread and my empty plastic compost container called: "Compo".  I lost the plastic piece on the side so I stick a piece of wood instead.  Any vegetable waste goes in there now we have no livestock this winter.  I got tired of paying for feed and mucking out for no profit.  We will probably buy a couple of weanling heifers in March to keep the grass down and fatten.  

My wheelbarrow having a rest.  Hopefully the worms will take the fym down over the next few months.  I don't want all leafy growth and small potatoes.  

I think I will dig a trench when I plant the tubers and put some dung under them.  I am still not fully convinced about "No Dig".  Old Jack Frost and the winter rains and some rough digging all contribute to making a good crop of potatoes and lovely friable soil.  

Friday 1 December 2017

Gothic Ruins And A Great Composer.

We have often  drove passed this sign going to Killarney.   The other day on our way to Lidl in Kenmare we stopped and took these photographs.  

 We had never heard of the poet and composer Ernest John Moeran.  Like myself he had and Irish father.  He served in the First World War and was badly injured and had to have a metal plate in his head.  He loved Norfolk, Herefordshire and Ireland.  He settled there and died in his fifties.  I have been listening to some of his work on You Tube this week.  I think his music is wonderful.  On his headstone it says:  He rests in the mountain country he loved so well.

Killowen church is a gothic ruin and even without a roof it looks amazing.

I found this wonderful video on You Tube about Ernest John Moeran.  Many thanks for making and posting the video on You Tube.

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...