Monday 31 December 2018

A Daffodil In Late December. "Don't Stop Believing|"

Welcome to the Irish Riviera (West Cork) and look what's is happening in the garden and plant pots.

 A special day for us yesterday.  It was my dad's death anniversary (six years) and this little Daffodil decided to open up its flower.  Was it a sign from above?  Dunno but it upset me very much.  We had a drink of Scotch whisky last night and toasted: "Granddad".  It's Grandmas birthday next week and her anniversary the week after.  Isn't it a great time of year?
 Lily's growing in pots.  Their parents once were lovingly tended by my grandmother.  I hope Jack Frost doesn't decide to paint them.  They don't like frost.
 A Daisy still flowering.  Yes the grass needs cutting and I have so much weeding to do.  It's just been so wet.  Even when it's not raining it's wet.  That sounds daft but it's so true!
Bergenias or Elephants ears in flower.  The great English plants woman Gertrude Jekyll loved them and used them in formal edging.  Americans call them "pig squeak",  If you rub their leave they let out a shriek that sounds like a pig.

We watched "Rock Of Ages" last night.  Tom Cruise reminded me of Axl Rose.  The plot isn't great but the songs are excellent and the hedonism is what you would expect from a Rock N Roll film.  I have said before the songs from thirty or forty years ago are better than a lot of today's music.

Any way thanks for reading and I hope you all have a great 2019.  I have so many plans for next year.  One is going to a rock festival in Blighty.  Never thought I would still "Rock n Roll" in my fifties.  Anyway here's a song with appropriate lyrics: "Don't Stop Believing!" 

Friday 28 December 2018

All Kinds Of Everything...?

"Bye Gum!"

It's still 2018 and the Daffodils in the plant pots are nearly ready to flower.  I know its the mildest December I can ever remember and we do live on the Gulf Stream don't we?  "Bye gum!"  yet again.

"Bye Gum!"  Our young lass did do some knitting and only did knitteth (is that a word?) me a jumper for a Christmas present.  I am well chuffed and the wool only cost SIX EUROS!  

"Bye gum!"

Yes I have found the free movie channel: Talking Pictures.  Yesterday we watched the classic: Hobson's Choice.  That's why I keep saying: "Bye gum".  

Guess who noticed the concrete water cooling towers in the wedding scene outside the church?   They didn't have them in Victorian Salford, did they?

Remember this:

Wednesday 26 December 2018


A guest post by Domino the smallholding cat.

Meow.  Or "good morning" Whomans.

Dave isn't here so I have decided to compost I mean compose a blog for all you creatures in outer blog land.  I think Dave thinks he's a dog because he's always on about going for a walk.

Oh I don't like typing this keyboard pad.  It's not paw friendly and the computer mouse is the strangest one I have ever seen or played with,
I had some drinky poohs yesterdday.  The whomans presented me with a pet stocking and a bottle of Pawsecco.  It's not for Whoman consumption.  But Dave still had to try a sip.   Any way they poured it in my dish and the next thing I know I am climbing into a space ship and heading to the planet Zanussi.  Everything kept going round and round. 

"Stop the world I want to get off."

"Are we there yet?"

Scamp made take a photo of her in her new coat.  A present from the whomans, me thinks?  The Jack Russells are really show offs aren't they?

Merry Christmas to you all.


Wednesday 19 December 2018

Taking A Walk On The North Side.

I went for an eight mile walk along the road today.  I put on my "rainy day" waterproofs and took my hiking stick, walking shoes, mobile phone (radio and 'Spotify' (Kansas) headphones) in one ear, cereal bars, reflective high viz jacket, floppy hat, half a bottle of Lucozade Orange and a red eating apple with me.  It's like going on an expedition or is it an expedition? Or even an exhibition? 

I have noticed motorists are getting use to me walking along the edge of the tarmac recently.  The majority of them indicate and pull out away from "yours truly".  I think ("my head hurts!") cars and lorries.., are suppose to be at least a Metre away and the pedestrian HAS the right of way on the road.  They call it the RULES OF THE ROAD in Hibernia ("land of eternal winters"), the Romans name for Ireland!  Yet they never came here.  So how did they know where it was?

The speed limit is supposed to be 80 Kilometres per hour.  Which is in my humble opinion is ABSOLUTE ridiculous on boreens  and tarmac country roads made for horses and carts.

I met my new friend on the way West and talked about the runaway train called Brexit, the weather and of course the local history..   Then I walked a few miles further and it started raining and so I turned back and my new friend was clearing moss from his drive and we talked for another twenty minutes.  

Then it rained again and I walked home.  

Have you been on a walk lately?  I think I must of been a dog in another life.  All I want to do is go for a walk!  

Here's an appropriate song for you:  I once saw the great man at Milton Keynes Bowl in about 1986.  There must be some great Rock concerts in Heaven.

Monday 17 December 2018

Another Piece From My Yet Unpublished Book. Going Camping At Christmas In The Lake District.

Regular readers have read some extracts of my unpublished book before.  Especially the ones about allotment characters.  Seeing that its Christmas or nearly.  I thought I would share with you the following.  Hope it makes you laugh

Here are a few adventures on the campsites of Great Britain and mainly the Lake District. Myself and about six others. Used to go the Lake District to visit Dove Cottage, sample the Kendal mint cake and consume gallons of Jennings best bitter and Theakston’s old Peculiar if we crossed over into the Yorkshire Dales. Or found a Lake District pub that sold it.

We always tried to get to the Lakes for News Years Eve. I mean when else would you go camping and want to sleep under the stars, with a bit of frost, rain and snow thrown in?. We weren’t the only one’s though. The local farmer said he always did a roaring trade round Christmas. 

My old friend D, always brought his camping equipment with him; a apple, bottle of cider and ten Benson and Hedges and a box of matches. He said he only brought enough stuff with him for four or five days. Besides he could always borrow some money from somebody on a permanent basis. 

My most terrifying encounter with D, was one New Years Eve in a little village in the Lake District. After wrestling with the tonsils of every young lass in Cumbria ,and being shown the door by the pub landlord. “yes it’s painted red with a brass letterbox”. D decided he needed a few carry-outs, to get him back to his tent for his midnight feast, and stash of half a bottle of Strongbow cider and half a Granny Smith’s apple. The only trouble was. He didn’t have a bottle opener. No problem for D. Oh No. He only smashes the top off a bottle of Pils, against wall of the Police station. Leaving a bottle with pointed shards around the top. D placed his mouth around the jagged edges and drank down his lager. I stood there thinking he would cut his lips and tongue to shreds.

“What’s up with you”?

He said spitting pieces of glass from his mouth. He was a complete and utter beer monster anorak.

Another time. It was Summer time for a change. We all came back from the pub rather the worse for wear. Everybody was acting tiddly and rather silly. I include myself. To my absolute horror. A unit from the British Army. Had only gone and decided to pitch their tents and their trucks besides our tents.

They looked like the S.A.S on their holidays. Some of us had long hair and were quite the opposite to the soldiers. I had visions of them cutting off our hair and ears for souvenirs. We retired for the evening and my friends started to mouth off. Yours truly quickly sobered up.

“Shut up. Just go to sleep.”

“Hey Dave. Is it you who said they are in the T.A? You know. The Toy Army?”

The soldiers started to laugh. They had a sense of humour.

A posh sounding female voice from a nearby tent shouted:

“Excuse me young men. Will you please turn off your heavy metal music and go to sleep.”

One of my inebriated friends shouted back:

“No f**k off”.

The Army lads roared with laughter. There must of been at least fifty of them.

My drunken friends sensed they had a audience in their hands. So they shouted back to the woman.

“Are you Princess Anne on your holidays?”

“No I am not. Now go to sleep?”

“Where’s Peter and Zara?”

The Army lads guffawed and laughed again.

Saturday 15 December 2018

What You Having For Christmas Dinner?

Any one following this blog for the last eight years or so.  Will know we don't go for Turkey and all the vegetable trimmings.  One thing Turkey doesn't float my boat and its hanging around for days.  Even the dogs and cat will say: "Not bloody Turkey again!"

Then on Boxing Day ("Stephens Day")  we would go to me mam's and she would come out of her  kitchen clutching some plates and say:

"Does any one want a Turkey sandwich?"

The very next morn you go for a saunter and you meet a friend and say:

"What you having for your tea?"

"Turkey curry!"

We are having a buffet.  But no Turkey and there will be curry on the menu though.  Probably a load of frozen buffet stuff from Iceland, the store not the country!  They (Iceland) even give you a free frozen Turkey if you spend one hundred Euros (Pounds) or more.  

One year we had a Mexican Christmas Dinner.  Another year it was Indian.  Not a red Indian one though!  That would be different wouldn't it?  You could be like an old mad work mate I use to know.  He would walk in a pub and grab anybodies hand and shout at top of his voice:

"Is anybody playing Cowboys and Indians?"

Are you having anything different for Christmas Dinner?  Do you think traditional Christmas dinner is boring?  Have an "all day" buffet and let the women sit down and have a day off.  Well half a day any way.

Thursday 13 December 2018

Even Domino The Smallholding Cat Is Interested In Brexit!

Domino is very worried about Brexit and Mrs May looking after all the fat cats and not doing a thing about farm cats.

He watched for a while and got bored and rather depressed with it all.  He wants free movement for all cats and rodents and dogs can have one way tickets away from cats.  

He eventually decided he had heard enough and decided to make himself an hibernation home in a Walkers crisp box.   
Domino hibernating until March the 29th.  Funnily enough that was my mum and dad's wedding anniversary (how did the Brexit negotiators know?) and traditionally the day of the Grand National.  Horses for courses, I suppose?  I think Mrs May needs to get out her whips ("get it?") and turn into Velvet Brown and win her own National Velvet  or Brexit?

Domino reminded me of our two lads on Christmas Day when they were young.  They would remove the expensive piece of plastic (toy) and sit in the box and play for hours.  Why didn't we just get them Christmas cardboard boxes for Christmas?

Here's a song for Domino.  

Monday 10 December 2018

The Music Was Better Forty Years Ago And The Passing Of A Legend.

You know when your getting old when you can't stand the music on the wireless (showing my age) radio, don't you?

One day recently when I was working on the island.  Abba ("Money, Money, Money") was on the radio ("wireless") one dinner time.  Then Blondie: "Picture This" came on!

I shook my head and said or announced:

"The music was better forty years ago".  

The lads agreed with me.  The music was better forty years ago or even longer.

The lead singer of The Buzzzcocks passed away last week.  The news genuinely shocked me and I was very sad.  They were one of the best bands to come out of Lancashire in my opinion.  Up there with: The Smiths, Barclay James Harvest, The Beatles, 10 CC, Vander Graf Generator...?   Three minute songs that everybody could sing along and even dance too.  

Punk was like the garage band scene or even writing a blog for free on the internet.  You didn't need money.  You just put a band together and off you went.  What's more working class than that?  It's like George Best or Wayne Rooney running on the pitch and showing the world what they can do.

Remember this ?:

Thanks for being a legend and inspiring so many Pete!

Sunday 9 December 2018

Sugar Candy Mountain ("What About The Animals?")

I was talking to a barmaid in England last summer about the weather, family, Ireland, writing, England, music (It was a long conversation) and Heaven.  Yes Heaven.  My dear late mother use to say to me:  

"Where ever I end up  David (Sunday name!) I will know somebody.  If I end up in Hell at least I will be warm."

I don't think Heaven is just looking at holiday photographs, supping "nice cups of tea" and singing hymns, do you?  I think it will be like Earth and you will get to see your loved ones again, see some super Rock groups, Rock super groups and football geniuses, cricket legends and see all your beloved pets too,

Any way I said to this barmaid:

"Do you believe in God and will we go to Heaven one day?"

She looked at me and said:

"Hmm..  I dunno?  It doesn't mention the animals going to Heaven in the bible and if they don't go there, I don't want to go there either".

She had a point.

But God made Heaven and Earth and every living creature.  So surely Heaven will be the same, won't it?

Have you read George Orwell's (Eric Blair) Animal Farm?  There is a Raven character called Moses.  He preaches to the hard working farm animals like Boxer the cart horse that they should work hard and one day they will get their eternal reward in Sugar Candy Mountain.  Nobody will need to work there and everything will be provided for free.  It's a parody on Stalinism and perhaps even religion.  

What do you think dear readers, is there an after life for our pets?

Friday 7 December 2018

The Irish Spitfire Ace With The Shamrock On His Plane.

Thanks for the comments and all the views for my last post.  My friend in that post is no longer around.  He was such a character and I was only thinking about him the other day.  

We were born in 1963 and there was still much celebrating and play acting about the World War Two victory.  We would buy the Victor comic, dig fox holes and make guns out of wood and fought each other in "Japs and Commando" battles and of course the times he or me would run down the street, arms stretched.  Pretending to be a Spitfire shooting down a Messerschmidt.  

Anyway I was on one of my strolls (eight miles) the other day and I met an oldish looking man.  He thought I was a tourist but he couldn't work out my accent.  I told him that people in shops often ask me how long am I on holiday here?  

"Seventeen and a half years". 

That's my usual reply.

We must of been talking for nearly an hour.  We talked about literature, travel (he' was in the Merchant Navy), Brexit (not again!) the British Atlantic fleet being based over on Beara, across the water from us.  We got on like an house on fire.  

Then he asked me if I had hear of the Spitfire ace: Paddy Finucane.  He told me he use to have a Shamrock painted (emblazoned) on his plane.  I rushed home and Googled: "Irish Spitfire Ace."Paddy was born in Dublin.  His mother was English and his father fought in the 1916 Dublin Rising.  Paddy joined the RAF and fought in the Battle of Britain and was shot down by machine gun fire, but not by an enemy plane  the rest is history.  What a guy and so, so brave.

I am going to buy a book about him.  Perhaps I may get it for a Christmas present, hint, hint!

I have mentioned Public Broadcasting, the band before.  Here's a very appropriate track of theirs:

Wednesday 5 December 2018

The Polar Bears That Ate My Mum's Butties. ("These animals are dangeroos" ).

The following anecdote came to mind when I walking over the hills the other day:

When I was young growing up in deepest Lancashire.  We would have our annual school trips to far off places like: York (I sat on Dick Turpin's bed), The Lake District (Dove Cottage), New Brighton (pebbly beach) and even Manchester.  

Anyway one year we went to Belle Vue Zoo in Manchester.  I remember me and one of my mates walking passed the Polar bear pit.  This looked like a squash court for Polar bears.  The Polar bears lived in a concrete pit and we could look down at them.  Not in a condescending way, but literally!  

I pulled out one of my home made sandwiches that my dear mama had made that very morn.  It was Ham and lots of salt and pepper in between two slices of bread (brown of course).  I said to my mate:

"I don't like these, they're crap!"  

So I threw it down to Mr and Mrs Polar bear.  

My mate duly pulled out his sandwiches, threw them down to Mr and Mrs Polar bear too and said:

" Mine are crap too Dave!"

We looked down and there were Mr and Mrs Polar bear (all 12 feet of them) in their white stocking feet.  Scoffing our sandwiches that our mother's had sweated and toiled and made that merry morn! Stood eating our butties with the generous offerings of ham and salt and pepper.  

We laughed and walked into Wimpy or what ever the zoo snack bar was called and bought ourselves an hot dog a piece!

Have you any zoo tales?

Monday 3 December 2018

Non Alcoholic Beer And Domino Gets A Warm.

I have finally decided to give up the sauce.  Give up the sauce?  Yes that's right.  Have a break or even call it a day to alcohol.  Its my ninth day with out any drinky poohs.  It's the longest I have gone with out a cold beer in over twenty years.

So how do you feel Dave?  With my fingers!  No seriously.  My body needs a break from alcohol.  So I have been drinking non alcoholic drinks like Becks Blue.  The bottle in the photo below.

Have you ever tried it?  What do you think of it?  It's better than nothing .   I am a bit like the ex smoker carrying a packet of cigarettes around with them. 

Do you like beer Dave?  I feel like those 10 CC lyrics:  " I  don't like Cricket, I love it."  Please paraphrase the word beer instead of cricket.

I miss Real Ale in England.  But I have decided to knock drinking on its head for a while.

I admire people who just have a drink at the weekend and can leave it alone.  I like a drink most nights.  It alters my mood, relaxes me and I would never have plucked up the courage (Dutch) to talk to lasses and spit in their ears and talk about romantic things like Manchester United, Black Sabbath, allotments and Xena Warrior Princess.

Anybody else had a break or even thinking about giving up the sauce?

Domino having a warm in front of the range.  He looks like he's been on the milk pop.

Carboot Sale Plants Selling.

We drove over to nearby West Cork  town to a carboot sale on Sunday morning. The online info said we could set up from nine.  I am one of th...