Sunday, 17 November 2019

A Jug Of Punch.

We decided  to make a pan of cider punch the other night.  It's really cheap to make and easy.  We bought ours from the German garden centre and supermarket (Lidl) for 3 Euros and seventy nine Cents a bottle.

Chop apples and oranges, star anise,  a few cloves and a pinch of ground cinnamon and a tablespoon of sugar.  Mix it all up and add to the cider that you have poured into a pan.  You could add spirits if you want to make it really strong and need to reach for the Paracetamol for that hangover cure in the morning.

Any road or anyway.  Warm it up and pour it into a cup or glass with an handle attached.   It's  very.  Any hot punch recipes please?

I was looking at some more of the old records again the other day and I  found one of my dad's old Clancy brothers albums.  When I  was growing up in Blighty my dad would often play them and his The Seekers records on the radio gram.  One song that often plays in my mental jukebox is the following.  Enjoy,

Friday, 15 November 2019

Webster's Yorkshire Bitter Adverts.

Another one of my favourite television adverts for you folks.  You can always join in and post some of your favourite adverts.  Wish I  could get some of that bitter.  I am making hot cider punch today and watching Gogglebox.  Cheers!

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Favourite Television Adverts.

Have you seen Edgar the Dragon in the new Christmas John Lewis advert?  He's a character.  His inventors created the famous Meerkats.  You can buy an Edgar the dragon soft toy from John Lewis stores or online, but you will have to be QUICK!

My favourite  television advert this year is the dancing Pandas on the Sudocrem advert.  Regular readers will know my love for Japanese gardens and pottery.  Its an hypnotising video.  Just a shame it's so short.  I could watch those dancing Pandas for hours.

Thanks for your comments yesterday.  I always appreciate them all!

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Cooking Mushrooms On Top Of The Kitchen Range.

The wife's mother was born in County  Mayo.  She told us how to cook  mushrooms  the Mayo way.  Obviously you set the fire in the range then you place the full mushrooms on top of the hotplate.  After a couple of minutes you just sprinkle sea salt (or ordinary salt will do) over them and cook for a few minutes.  Then Bob's your uncle, they're done!

We can never get over how good they taste and they don't go all mushy.   Wonder what other vegetables or meat could be cooked this way?  Anyone got any ideas?  Thanks!

Monday, 11 November 2019

Martinmass And Armistice Day.

It's the feast day of Martinmass today.  Also Armistice Day when the Great War ended.

Martinmass was the Funeral day of Saint Martin of Tours.  He is the patron saint of beggars,  drunkards and the poor.  Martinmass was also the end of the gathering in of the harvest.  It was a time for feasting and celebrating during the Middle Ages to celebrate Autumn and preparing for Winter.   Martinmass beef was made from cattle fattened  and salted for this time.

Goose was traditionally ate on this day and it was also the time of the hiring  fairs for farm labourers.  Nottingham Martinmass fair used to be held for eight days.

An old Martinmass  saying:

"Ice  before Martinmass,

Enough to bear a duck.

The rest of winter, Is sure to be but muck."

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Another Song About The Berlin Wall.

The old mental jukebox (Neil Peart phrase) began playing in my head today.  Yorkshire  Heavy rock band Saxon composed a song in 1988 entitled: For  Whom The Bell Tolls.  It was penned a year before the fall of the Berlin wall.  So it was incredibly prophetic.

The title is an expression from a John Donne sermon.   He said that because we are all part of mankind,  any persons death is a loss to all of us.  "Any man's death diminishes  me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bells toll; it tolls for thee".

Ernest Hemingway  wrote a book about the Spanish Civil War with the very same title.

We watched the excellent Simon Reeve BBC Americas documentary  again  last Sunday and it showed the wall between South America and the USA.   So much for the land of the free.

Here's Biff and the lads:

I saw them once play live.  A brilliant band..

Friday, 8 November 2019

More Of My Records Nostalgia.

I was looking at one of my Barclay  James  Harvest records the other day.  It's called: Berlin. A Concert  For  The People.   It's a recording of a free concert the band gave to the people of Berlin in 1982.  Apparently  there happened to be 175000 people in attendance and goodness  knows how many were listening on to'ther side of the wall.

Tomorrow is the thirtieth  anniversary  of the wall coming down.  I think the Berlin song is very apt.  Enjoy one of the finest bands to come from Lancashire.  The Beatles were another one.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Car Boot Sales Thoughts.

Have you ever been to a car boot sale?  Nobody ever sells one do they?  A car boot I mean.  I used to spend every summer Sunday morning getting up at six to travel to some MONSTER car boot sale in Cheshire or North Wales.  I think the devil must have invented the car boot sale.  They must be the biggest reason for the decline of church attendances in recent years.  Not to forget people like a certain Church of England bishop doubting that God actually existed.  Which is something similar to the manager of Tesco announcing through his tannoy to a packed supermarket of shoppers:
“Don’t buy anything from us.  Go up the road to Sainsbury’s their stuff is far tastier and cheaper!”  

 Car boot sales are great places to get a bargain.  It’s also a good place to buy something that doesn’t work.  I have bought a couple of vacuum cleaners from a spiv with a decorating table in the middle of some farmer’s field. They looked the part and a  great state of the art house cleaning apparatus.  Until you get home that is.  You plug your new Hoover into the socket and end up with more sparks than a rocket launcher.     Or better still, it is like the parrot in the Monty Python Dead Parrot sketch, it is well and truly (answers on a postcard) f.....d.  Still not to worry.  You only paid twenty quid each for them ! 

Never walk round a car boot sale with small children in tow.  Pharisee car booters will have got up at the crack of dawn and placed toys on the ground just at the right height for little Billy or Jill.  So there you are looking at some interesting books and your child suddenly does it’s Mussolini impersonation:
“I want dat."
Or in other words:
" I demand this toy”. 
You then tell it not to be silly and you don’t need another action man tank.  Small child suddenly takes on its theatrical mode, that it usually plays in the supermarket at the pay point where they keep the TOFFEES! Or under the clothes in Marks and Sparks throwing it self around like a Dervish or somebody being attacked in Jaws.  

Your child goes absolutely well and truly ape shit!  You look in a wing mirror of a car boot seller’s car and see that you have just gone totally grey.  There is only one thing to do in the situation.  You hand over your beer tokens and attempt to walk through the multitudes carrying a Barbie doll, Wendy house, space hopper and a chopper bike.  Forget the gardening books.  Somebody bought them when small child went ballistic!

Those were the days!  Have you got any car boot sales stories?

Sunday, 3 November 2019

Looking At Old LPs.

Regular readers will know we are serious collectors of a myriad kinds of stuff.   Be it old plates, antiques, plants (house plants or the garden variety), books, CDs and yesterday I looked at the old vinyl records we have collected over the years. 

The wife's  are typically immaculate  and pristine whilst  mine have the scratches, finger marked and dog eared album covers.  The wife's  are mainly Chris De Burgh, Evita and Super Tramp records and mine are heavy rock and a few Christian records.  Wonder what happened to my Stranglers records?
 I use to go to Evangelical churches and to Greenbelt Christian festival...?

This was in my late teens and early twenties. 
Friends moved away and I drifted gradually away from the Christian scene but I kept some of the records I collected.  They are like so many of my old books.  I will probably never read them or listen to the records but they are friends that I like to keep.

Any road or any way.  I found an old Nutshell record in our collection.  They are an English band from the seventies and eighties and l think you might like one of their tracks.  It was playing on my mental jukebox yesterday.  Then I went  over to good old You Tube and found the very track.

Does anybody remember Nutshell? Did you ever go to Greenbelt?  I went to Odell and Knebworth Greenbelt festivals.

Hope you like it?

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Bunnykins Rabbits Bath Time In A Tin Bath...

Tasker was showing everybody his Peter Rabbit Christening plate on his blog yesterday.   I said we had a Royal Doulton Bunnykins plate.  Here is Mummy rabbit giving her babies a bath in a tin bath.  The plate was made in around 1936.  We have had it over twenty years.  It's got a slight chip on the edge of the plate on the back.  No doubt somebody had placed a a wire hanger on it to place it up on the wall.?   Maybe they chipped it on the tap washing it?  It's  gone through the second world war and goodness knows what else? Think we only paid a Pound for it.  They make decent money now a days. Over twenty Pounds.  But we won't  be selling it.  Have you bought any charity shop or carboot sale bargains recently?

Friday, 1 November 2019

Jerusalem In Japan.

It's  the rugby union  World Cup final tomorrow  morning.  Hope England win.  It's not rugby league, cricket or 1966, but it will still be a wonderful achievement to see England win the World Cup for a second time.  No Johnny Wilkinson to kick it to victory this time.

I hope they play my old mate William Blake's Milton composition or Jerusalem the hymn by Sir Hubert Parry.  It's far better than God Save The Queen.

The hymn mentions Jeus coming to England's  green  and pleasant land with his uncle Joseph of Arimathea.  They visited Glastonbury (the town not the music festival,  Stonehenge and Cornwall.  He also mentioned  the 'dark satanic mills'.  He must not have liked the Industrial Revolution.  Can't  say I would of either!

Any way her is another version of the great hymn:

Good luck lads!

Thursday, 31 October 2019


No I am talking about not politicians!  I find Comedians amazing people.  Especially  watching one live.  They are like Evangelical preachers, footballers like Best or Ronald or Alchemists.   They can get up on stage and  can make people laugh and smile and forget their troubles for twenty minutes or so.

One of the funniest Comedians I have ever seen live was Billy Pearce at the Gateway Theatre  in Chester.  Keith Harris and Orville the duck was the support.  It was strange hearing Orville swear.

Billy Pearce was amazing and literally brought the house down when he started to dance to Bangra music and the speakers blew up and he fell to the stage like he was shot.  Thanks for a brilliant nights laughter Billy.

Who is your favourite comedian?

 WHY don't they put them back on television on a Saturday night?  I am watching Bobbby Davro from Minehead on You Tube today.  That man is a comic  genius and his impressions are uncanny.

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

Keeping Warm.

I took this photo last night around six o'clock.  It was nearly time to switch the light on.  The range is filled up with solid fuel and logs and the doors and curtains are shut.

We don't have street lights here in the countryside.  So it's not safe to walk along the country lanes with cars appearing from nowhere.  All we can do is read a book, knit, watch the television, check the blogs we follow or perhaps answer an email.  Maybe have a drink or eat some cheese and crackers?

It's time to think about Christmas, next years holiday or maybe a rock festival or two.  Time to look at seed catalogues and plan the vegetable garden.

Wish we had a bus to take us to town or lived near a pub.   Soon be Spring.

How to you pass the long winter evenings? 

Monday, 28 October 2019

Down On Your Luck.

We watched the excellent Americas programme on Sunday night presented by Simon Reeve.  In one part of his programme he visited Los Angeles.  He went on a tour of Hollywood and showed us the shop where Brad Pitt worked, the Hollywood walk of fame and Beyonces house.  

Then he showed us the opposite side of the coin.  People who are homeless living in tents pitched on the pavements and a lady who lived in a concrete railway bridge with her dog.  She seemed very articulate, self educated and listened to David Attenborough podcasts.

Homelessness seems to be everywhere these days.  Be it urban or rural.  I have often said that if there was a major disaster like a city being destroyed by natural disaster or by war or terrorism.  The governments would find the money to rebuild the city with infrastructure  and homes.  Why can't  they find homes for the homeless now?  America appears to be a land of haves and have nots?

When I visited Kent this summer.  I saw people sleeping in shop doorways at seven in the morning.  When I was young you would see an odd elderly tramp but there weren't  people of any age sleeping in doorways.  

In Ireland.  People often say good luck when bidding goodbye.  I believe in luck.  Good luck and bad luck.  Some people are just down on their luck.  

It will be interesting if there is a general election which parties will build council houses and establish credit unions to help people to buy and renovate houses?  

Time for a Thin Lizzy song me thinks:

I saw them on the Renegade tour.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Potting On In The Polytunnel..

It's been rather a washout here in Ireland this week.  I only managed half a day gardening outside.  Yesterday we bought three bags of potting compost and I spent the afternoon and this morning potting on my cuttings.

It's always a joy to see if they have grown roots.   There are hydrangea, dog wood, hebe, rosemary, fuchsias, cotoneasters, sedums, nepeta, pelargoniums, lavender..   Lots and lots of new plants.  The majority are shrubs with  a few dozen perennials.  Most perennials can be divided but I like to make cuttings too.

A glimpse inside the polytunnel.  There are lots of newly rooted cuttings, kale plants and potato stalks emerging from the polystyrene packaging.

Hardwood cuttings  can start to be taken now.  I tend to make lots of cornus or dogwood cuttings  at this time of year.   You can make your own little shrub nursery and plant them directly  in the soil in the veg plot or grow them in large pots in a cold greenhouse or polytunnel.  Just water them if necessary.   Next Spring they will start sprouting leaves and roots.

Have you had much success with cuttings?

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Still Eating The Vegetables From The Veg Plot.

I picked two small swedes and some more  kale from the polytunnel this very morn along with some  beetroots and a young leek from the veg plot.

The beetroots will go in a pan of water and boil away on top of the range when its lit later today.  The vegetables will be made into a beef stew.  Organic beef mince is on offer at the German garden centre and supermarket (Lidl) this week.  So it's our second stew of the week.  We always say to each other:

"It's  not what you want.  It's what you need."

It's  just the right food when you have been outside and its wet and cold.  Yes it may be boring but it's full of vitamins and it's not been sprayed with weedkillers or grown with chemical granulated fertilizer.

I remember when me and my old friend went in a pub in Doolin last year and we both ordered the Irish stew.  It was excellent and went up to the bar and said to the barman that I would like to pay for two Irish stews.  He replied:

"Were you hungry?"

We both laughed.

What do the Police have for their dinner?

Irish stew!

" I  arrest you."

Get it?

Do you know any stew jokes?  Do you know any jokes?  Could do with a laugh.  

Monday, 21 October 2019

I Am A Cider Drinker.

I have started drinking cider because it's cheap and 5.2 Percent.  That's two litres for 3 Euros and 79 Cents.  We don't or can't get any English beer any more.  Don't know why.  I use to enjoy Newcastle Brown but you can't buy it any more.

I had a few attempts at brewing my own beer but we didn't like the taste of it.  Recently I have tried some of the Craft beers made over here.  I found them expensive and up there with my home brewing attempts.

When I  went to Canterbury at the end of July.  I would go in Wetherspoon's and order a pint of Cornish Doom Bar bitter for two Pounds a pint.  Then I would go in Sainbury's and purchase a few bottles of Newcastle  Brown Ale.  The cashier would ask me every time if I wanted a bag and if I  wanted a receipt.  Dear old Blighty.

Time for a sing song me thinks:

Friday, 18 October 2019

A Day Trip To The Top Of Snowdon.

For Gwil.

About twenty years a go my wife and my two or three year old son and my self decided to go to the top of Mount Snowdon in Wales.  We traveled by car and then boarded the mountain train.  Its a very scenic railway line and also quite steep.  On the way up we passed some Gurkha's marching up Snowdon.  Yep marching, 

 We eventually arrived at the summit and the wife went into the cafe for an ice cream for number one son and a "nice" cup of tea or coffee for her good self.  

I decided to proceed a bit higher to the cairn at the very top of the mountain.  It's more of a place of where angels fear to tred.  I slipped and slid and was not an happy bunny.  In fact I felt rather frightened.  So I scaled down the rocks and entered the sanctuary of the cafeteria.

I looked like I had been dragged through an hedge backwards.  My hair was unkempt and my leather jacket was saturated with the relentless rain and mist and my slip on shoes were saturated too.  I looked across to my son who looked like he was having a shave with his ice-cream.  Then I noticed the Ghurkhas looking at my apparel in sheer horror.  It was like they were thinking:

"We've just marched 3000 feat to the top of Snowdon in full army uniform and he's walked and climbed up it in a leather jacket and slip on shoes!"  

They didn't realize we had got there by train and I had only walked to the cairn at the top..

Thursday, 17 October 2019

"I'm Living In A Cardboard Box.."

Domino is on sentry duty in the kitchen today. 

It's easy to get cabin fever when it seems to never stop raining.  We did watch Ronnie win again at the snooker this afternoon.  Domino watches it too.  He looks round the back of the television when a ball is potted.

Apparently  the word Snooker is a British army word.   The game of Billiards was designed to be played outside.  The green baize is supposed to look like grass.  They took it to play in India.   Then the Monsoon season started and they took the table inside and the game of Snooker was invented.  I  think I have mentioned this before?

Think it's Monsoon season here in Ireland too.  At least there's Snooker on the box or you can even sit in a cardboard box.  Hopefully it will stop raining and I  can make some money.  Or else it's a day potting up rooted cuttings in the polytunnel.

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Phil Lynott Coin.

Not only is there a special edition set of stamps celebrating Thin Lizzy being fifty years old.  There is also a special limited 15 Euros coin being minted to honour Phil Lynott.

He would  be seventy years old this year.  The last time I saw him he was 31 and l was 17.  Where does  the time go?   The coin costs sixty five Euros.  There was a coin minted for Rory Gallagher a few years ago by the same company.

My birthday and Christmas are in December.  So I think l will leave a few hints about the coin.

Here's  a video featuring Philo.  It's  about Elvis but I often think of Phil.  Dire Straits guitarist and rock n roll hero Mark Knopler is also on the record.  I would love to visit Gracelands.  Anybody been there or planning  a visit?

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Electric Aeroplanes In 2019.

A company in Israel is making and selling electric planes.  They are only nine seaters at the moment.  But already American  airline companies are buying them.

Who knows in ten years time we could be all flying to our holiday destinations in electric Aeroplanes.  Our cars will be electric and so will our Aeroplanes.

Would you fly in one of these?  Do you think electric powered cars are the future?  What do you think of wind farms?  I would rather have a blot on the landscape than nuclear power.  Imagine if we could harness wave power too.  I think the protestors may no longer need to protest if we all go green.

What do you think folks?  Would you vote for the Green Party?  Why can't  there be a green alliance with other political parties?

Monday, 14 October 2019

Bantry Bay And Hungry Hill On A Autumn Day.

I strimmed some of the garden today and around our pets graves.  Then l decided to go on a four mile walk along the boreens and on to the tarmac main road going west.  Cars and lorries sped past and I couldn't see around some of the bends because of brambles and overgrown black thorn stockproof hedges.  Sometimes it's a wing and a prayer when the vehicles come so close to me.

When I got close to the sea I took this photo with my mobile phone.  You can see Hungry Hill over on Beara.  Immortalised in book and film.  Old people would tell me that a cap of cloud on Hungry Hill means it's going to rain.  It did last night and probably tonight.  But it didn't  rain on my walk, thankfully.

 The dots/shapes in the middle of the bay are salmon rings where salmon live and are fattened.  Not quite wild but at least they live in salt water in the bay.

I never spoke to or saw anybody on my walk.  But at least l am keeping fit and l love walking.  Think I was a dog in another life.  I wouldn't like their dinners though.

Have you been on any walks lately?

Sunday, 13 October 2019

On Top Of The World Or Even The Northside.

I went for a walk on the Sheeps Head Way yesterday.   It was a long my own designated walk.  Only part of it is on the official  yellow finger post Sheepshead  Way walk and the rest is along tracks and roads.  Walking and slipping and sliding and looking at Dunmanus Bay on one side and  Bantry Bay on the other side.  Perhaps it could be called Northsider  Way.  I christened another walk near Kilcrohane: The Dragons Back.  Suppose that's  how places get their names.  Somebody makes it up and it sticks. 

A concrete trig point on the Northside overlooking  Bantry Bay.

No radio or ear phones to today.   Just listening to the wind, gargling streams, bird song and a myriad of thoughts in my head.  Thinking of my ancestors walking similar routes and foraging for turf and loading it in wicker baskets strapped to weary donkeys.  This is my Ireland.  Forever accompanied with the weather but always aware of the emerald dress that she wears and dazzled by her beauty.

It's been very wet the last few weeks and my garden works dried up a little.  There's irony for you.    I have work it's just not been suitable for gardening work.  Anyone for a wheelbarrow rut in their lawn please?

About an hour into my walk the problems start to leave me and the landscape and me blend into each other.  We are one and the same.  Go for a walk and leave your troubles at home.  Makes you want to sing that Carpenters song:

"I'm on top of the world looking down on creation and the only explanation  l can find.."

All together now.

Friday, 11 October 2019


When I went to my rock festival in Kent in August.  My friend  and I met a man in Fathersham (or even Faversham) who wanted to know which bus to board for the festival.  My friend told him that we were going there and we would show him which bus stop to get off.

We sat upstairs  and chatted about the line up and previous concerts we had been to.  I rhymed off seeing Thin Lizzy, Enerson Lake and Palmer, Rush, Blue Oyster Cult and of course when I  saw Kansas in Warsaw..., yawn!.  It was a pleasant bus journey with lots of rock n roll nostalgia and humorous anecdotes.

The man told us that he once went to see a legendary rock star at some rock festival.  The 'legendary rock star walked (stumbled) on to the stage. Clearly very inebriated and stoned.  He duly fell over a stack of amplifiers which crashed to the pieces. He was then heard to say:

"Eff it.  We will have to play the acoustic set now!"

Well it made us laugh.

 Have you ever seen some famous rock star rather the worse for wear?

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

I Got My Thin Lizzy Stamps.

The good lady wife did purchase me two Thin Lizzy stamps this very morn.  The black rose on the left is the name and front cover of their classic Black Rose album.  The great and much missed Phil Lynott is on the stamp on the left.

They cost one Euros each.  I won't be using or posting the stamps.  We will put them away and hope they will be collectables one day.  Especially when it's commemorating Thin Lizzy's 50th anniversary one year early.

  • Hope you like them?

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

A Stamp Dedicated To Thin Lizzy.

The leaflet that our postman delivered.  Do you like the Border Collie coasters?
An Post have just had two limited edition stamps Thin Lizzy stamps made to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the band.  I will be getting mine this week.  Who knows they might be worth something one day?

Thin Lizzy are one of my favourite Rock bands.  I saw them at Manchester Apollo in November 1981.  When I was just seventeen.  It was the Renegade tour and the belted out all their classics.  Phil Lynott was a big Manchester  United fan and he was only 36 when he went to Heaven.  Snowy White was also in the band and I saw him again in 2013 playing in Roger Waters band in Warsaw.  I also saw other former Lizzy member Gary Moore play at Milton Keynes and I have seen Eric Bell play The Mariner in Bantry twice.

Somebody recently pointed out that Thin Lizzy's 50th anniversary is not until next year.  But does it really matter?  Fair play to An Post for printing the special edition stamps and dedicating to Thin Lizzy.  Fair play for posting the leaflet too.

Here's an appropriate Thin Lizzy  video called ' Dedication', enjoy!

Monday, 7 October 2019

Going For A Third New Potato Crop.

You can see new potatoes  sprouts pushing up their stalks in the polystyrene packaging case on the left.  

We have grown early new potatoes in the polytunnel which were ready to harvest in May.  Then we sowed some carrots in their place and we grew potatoes outside in the veg plot too. 

Stuff grown in the polytunnel was far more successful and quicker to harvest and it didn't have to contend with the very mixed weather, lots of rain and a field day for the slugs and snails.  Perhaps Ireland should see if it can apply to the EU for an enormous  polytunnel grant and cover the whole of the country?
My dad used to tell me that my grandparents always had new potatoes ready for Christmas.  So I decided to save some little ones and go for a third crop.  Hopefully the frost won't blacken the tops with them growing in the polytunnel?

Anybody else growing any out of season vegetables?

Monday, 30 September 2019

Isambard Kingdom Brunel Built A Railway In Cork.

One of my Victorian heroes was Isambard Kingdom Brunel.  He wouldn't have been concerned about some pernicious perennial root on his allotment, oh no.   This man was bordering on architectural and engineering genius.

Any road.  Or railway.  The man who built ships that crossed the oceans and connected telephone cables under the sea to India...   He also built the Cork to Midleton railway in county Cork. 

Some Irish wit once remarked that the English  built the railways and the Irish got on them and emigrated!

They still lament the demise of the  Cork, Bandon and South Coast railway in 1962.  Imagine if people could commute to Cork from down here by train?  I could go to Rock concerts, shop, watch a football match, go in Wetherspoon's or even work there.  If anywhere needs rural jobs, West Cork does.

I think my dad caught the train to Cork and caught the boat train to Holyhead in the black fifties.  He was only 17!

I read the above article today and was awestruck with the craftsmanship of the people who built this stone culvert.  It reminds me of the tale of some stone Mason carving a gargoyle  high up on the roof of some English  cathedral.   His workmate remarked:

Nobody will see that.

The stone Mason continued chiseling and said:

Yes, but God will.

Didn't  they have pride in their work way back when?

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Homemade and Homegrown Kale And Onion Soup.

We lit the solid fuel range stove in the kitchen this morning.  So I decided to make some soup.  The onions have already been picked and live in a stainless steel bowl in the utility room.  The Kale Triffids are  turning into tree trunks in ye olde polytunnel.

We (me and the wife) had a lively and heated discussion  yesterday about the Kale polytunnel crop not being harvested and ate.   I was told that I only want the space for "MORE BLOODY" plant cuttings!  Am I  really that obvious?  I did plant some potatoes in the tunnel and (hopefully) will be ready for Christmas.  Did you say Christmas Dave?  Wonder what else one can grow other than plants and shrub cuttings?  Maybe VEGETABLES even!

Here's  the soup in the pan on the range:

Do you have any soup recipes?  Anybody make Mulligatawny soup?  That's another product from the British Empire along with Snooker and  Piccalilli and IPA.

Hope you're  well and keeping warm and dry?

Thursday, 26 September 2019

A Bruised Knee, Wet Days And Time To Plant The Japanese Onion Sets.

It's not been the best of weeks weather-wise here in not very sunny West Cork.

Storm Lorenzo could hit Ireland and Blighty in the next few days.  Gale season seems to be happening more frequent than the usual November to March.

I prepared the ground a couple of weeks ago when it was dryer.  Every week we have been asking our local farm cooperative hardware store if the sets had arrived.  This week they finally did arrive.

So this morning I cleared the newly appeared weeds, picked a few stones and planted the Japs.  I hurt my knee last week.  A wheelbarrow decided to stop suddenly when I  was pushing it.  I think it was the pruned branches in the wheelbarrow that wouldn't fit through the gate.

Any way or road.  I forced myself to pike and rake and get the old knee joint working.  I was like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz.  That's a parody on self determination and agnosticism you know?

Here's the Japs:

If you have never grown them before I thoroughly recommend you get some.  Its wonderful to see the green stalks poking through the snow and ice.  They're tough old beggars those Japanese onions!

Monday, 23 September 2019

A Post About Jack Russell Terriers.

We have had three Jack Russell Terriers since I have lived here in Ireland.  They are one of our favourite breeds of dog along with the Border Collie.

  I have the cup with a Jack Russell on to drink my black coffee every morning.   The wife drinks out of a cup with Border Collie dogs on it.

I seem to have fallen off the old blogging horse now the weather is turning for the worse and I  have been struggling what to write about.  So I was sat drinking my black coffee this morning and noticed the terrier looking back at me.  So I thought  I would write about them.

The Jack  Russell Terrier breed is over 300 years old.  A fox terrier bitch called Trump was the Reverend John  Russell's first mother of the breed named after him.

We have had three Jack Russells since we have lived here in the countryside next to the sea.  Toby had the bravery and heart of a lion and he would think nothing of stick down an hole in a ditch or a tree.  Fido lived until she was 17 and we talk fondly about them every day.  There is never a day they are not mentioned. Fortunately  we still have Scamp to keep us company.

Here's to the terriers, enjoy the video.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Sedums In Flower Pots For The Butterflies And Us To Enjoy!

I planted up some of the flower Pots with Sedums on Sunday morning.  If you want to attract Butterflies and Bees to your garden grow Buddleia shrubs and Sedum perennials.  I make hundreds of Sedum cuttings and they are one of the quickest cuttings to root.

Don't  think I have ever seen so many Butterflies in our gardens than this year.  We must be doing something right.

The old Butler's/Belfast sink was my grandmothers.  If it could speak.  What stories could it or would it tell?

A better picture.  

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Life On The Range.. Or Even In Front Of It!

Domino decided to lie in front of the lit range last night.  It gets nippy at night in the countryside next to the sea.  There was no watching Gardeners'World or Gogglebox for Domino.   He just lay there and dreamed of catching rats and mice.  He calls them Mr and Mrs Longtail.  He did eventually get up and go on his night shift.

Have you lit your fire yet?

Thursday, 12 September 2019

Old Gardening Books.

The wife recently bought me a gardening book from a car boot sale.  It set her back the princely sum of 50 Cents.  Its entitled: ROCK GARDENS By Lewis B Meredith.
Published in 1914.  The year of the start of the First World War.
The Iris Valley In the Author's Garden.
A touching couple of lines of a gift from a son to his mother.

  I browse read the book in less than an hour.  The principles of clearing, weeding, construction and planting are the same but the price of plants have altered a little in the last one hundred and five years in the following passage:

The cost of plants varies also not a little; but, excluding the rarer kinds, I should say about five shillings a dozen is a fair price to pay.

Flipping heck.  I thought I sold my Perennial plants cheap!

Did I learn anything reading the book?  Yes that gardening methods are still basically the same: two men working together will do more in one day than a man working on his own for two days.  

Also cutting up zinc strips and tying them together with copper wire and wrapping them around precious and tender plants will give old Mr and Mrs slug or snail a mighty electric shock!  

The book is a second edition and you can buy it on Amazon for Four Pounds plus packaging I suppose?  I had a good hours reading for fifty Cents.  I put it on my book shelf and it seems to have settled in nicely with all the other myriad of books and stuff we collect!

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

"I Thought You Were Laughing At Me?" " I Was".

When I went to A New Day music festival in August.  I was walking down  the sloping natural arena of a field towards the beer tent and a middle aged lady started laughing at me.  I just shrugged my shoulders and carried on to the beer tent.  I purchased a pint of ditch water, I mean bitter. Four quid for a pint of cat wee.  An hour earlier I had been purchasing pints of bitter in Wetherspoon's for just two Pounds a throw

Any way.

The lady had only followed me into the beer tent and smiled and  I said to her:

"I thought you were laughing at me?"

She laughed and said:

"I was."

We both laughed.

Then she told me she was looking at my t shirt.  It was my Night Of The Prog festival T shirt from 2017.  Which was in Loreley in Germany.  Her son was in one of the bands listed on the back of my shirt.

She was Norwegian.  So I said: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

We laughed again.

A Norman Wisdom song began to play in my mental jukebox:

Friday, 6 September 2019

Cuttings, Cuttings, Everywhere!

I have been busy making shrub cuttings and dividing perennials.  Some of them live outside.  In the photo above you can see some fuchsia and Sedum cuttings that I found with roots attached this morning.  They only took three weeks to grow roots.  These ones have been living outside and have had plenty of rain to water them.
Here they  are potted up and ready to grow on.  Do you like the organized chaos that is my poly-tunnel?  An old patio table is now my potting bench.

Shrubs that I potted on and grew over the last year or so.  Even the paths are full of plants.

Sedums in pots and more cuttings in trays.  The nettles like it here too!

The poly-tunnel is filling up with shrub cuttings next to the Kale and Chilies.
Have you made any plant cuttings lately?  It's easy to get them to strike.  All they need is watering and a bit of patience.  Three weeks can seem a very long time.  The wife says I would make plants in the bathroom.  Well you have to do something when you live in the countryside next to the sea.

Monday, 2 September 2019

Gone Away Toby Jug.

We went scouring the charity and antique shops and a car-boot sale at the weekend.  One needs to satisfy the inner Magpie and Womble instinct that we both share.

The wife spotted the Toby jug in a cabinet.  It's from the 1950's, Royal Doulton entitled 'Gone Away'and a limited edition.  I like how the fox cunningly resides  on the huntsman's shoulder.  My brother collects the jugs so we bought it and it now sits in the display cabinet with the rest of the jugs!

I bought 5 spider plants and four Aloe Vera house plants from the car boot sale.  I have now got 8 spider plants.  You know the gardeners mathematical equation don't you?  The only way to multiply is to divide!

Friday, 30 August 2019

A Very Strange Looking Vegetable.

I walked into someones poly-tunnel the other day and I saw the weirdest vegetable I have ever seen.  Do you know what it is?  Apparently its a Tromboncini or Italian squash or Zucchetta.  Sounds like an Italian scooter.  Or perhaps a scooter what an Italian Mod would ride?  

Any way.  The kind grower gave me a Tromboncini to take home, cook and eat.  So I took it home, chopped it up, deseeded and saved a dozen of the seeds to grow next year and got an adult (the wife) to roast it in the oven for yours truly.

It tasted very much like Courgette or Zucchini or Marrow.  It's supposed to be full of vitamins or Viteamins if you live on t'other side of the Atlantic.  

Did you like it Dave?  Hmm...  Not really!  Would you grow it again?  Yes definitely if only for its trellis like growth and its looks like something from Jack and the Beanstalk. Anybody know where the goose that lays the golden egg lives?  

What's the weirdest vegetable you have seen or grown?  

Monday, 26 August 2019

Red Hot Chilli Peppers Grown In Our Polytunnel.

Here are some red hot chilli peppers that the wife grew from seed this year.  Lidl gave away free seed pots earlier in the year.  It's not  been a fantastic summer but it was still warm enough to grow something new and exotic in the polytunnel.

When I went to Germany in 2017 to The Night Of The Prof Festival in Loreley.  I saw posters for The Red Hot Chilli Pipers?  At first I thought I had read the poster wrong.  I later googled The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.  I love this video from Shrewsbury Flower show featuring the band and the amazing lady dancers.  Enjoy!

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Kale Grown In The Polytunnel.

I thought I would publish a gardening post today.  We planted some Kale plants in the polytunnel a month or so a go.  Mainly because there was no room in the veg plot/ perennials nursery.  It's normally a winter plant but we're eating ours already.  It's amazing the difference a bit of plastic makes.  It creates its only micro-climate.  We are delighted with our growing results:

I am thinking of getting another polytunnel.  Polytunnels are great even when its raining and your growing season is extended.  Anybody thinking of getting one?  

Monday, 19 August 2019

Ancient Canterbury Buildings And Places Of Interest.

Ancient hospital.
Anybody for Punting?
Outside Sainsbury's.
The Cricketers pub.
The Black Griffin with fabulous hanging baskets!
An ancient milestone near Canterbury on an old coaching route.
A pub named after a saint.
Noticeboard outside of the Quakers meeting place.
Inside Kent Spitfires cricket ground.  We stopped for refreshments.  
A Freehouse from 1372.

A fairly modern inn.  It only dates back to 1500.

Hope you enjoyed my pictures of my recent trip to sunny Kent?

Friday, 16 August 2019

Old Kent Churches, A Famour Author's Grave And The Home Of Rupert The Bear.

I took over two hundred photographs on my recent Kent trip.  Many of them are of old churches.  I often feel like the Poet Philip Larkin in his poem: Church Going.  Yet I have to visit them.  I noticed the National Lottery is funding a lot of preservation and restoration of these ancient ecclesiastical places of worship. So you're not throwing your money away when you go on the lottery.  It helps to preserve ancient building for us and future generations to appreciate.  

St Martins in Canterbury.  The oldest church in the English speaking world.
Joseph Conrads grave in the city cemetery.  The film Apocalypse Now was based on his film The Edge Of

Yet another beautiful Anglican church.  I saw an incredible grave stone.  I think I will have it engraved on mine:  Goodnight. See You In The Morning.  Isn't that beautiful?  It's lovely to think that we will see our loved ones again.  Hope we see our pets too!
The entrance to Canterbury Cathedral.  They wanted twelve pounds fifty admission to the Cathedral.  I didn't bother.  Besides I have visited it before.
Saint Augustines ruined Abbey.
Saw this sign on the side of the Travelodge building in Canterbury.  Rupert Bear's author once lived here.

A Jug Of Punch.

We decided  to make a pan of cider punch the other night.  It's really cheap to make and easy.  We bought ours from the German garden...