Thursday 31 January 2019

Shadowlands Revisited.

One of my favourite film of all time is Shadowlands, starring Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins.  I (we) have seen it at least twenty twenty times and it never fails to make cough and shed a tear or ten.  They both deserve Oscars for their acting.

The film is about the writer CS Lewis and his wife Joy, a poet.  CS Lewis fought in the First world war and converted from Atheism to Christianity in midlife.  He was a member of the Inklings writers group in Oxford and a good friend of JR R Tolkien.  He also fought in WW1.  Its remarkable how they both had faith  in God after what they had experienced.

In the film they go to the Golden Valley in Herefordshire.  Jack (CS Lewis) had a picture of it on his study wall.  We have visited the film location at least five times if not more.  One year (twenty years ago) we took my mother and father with us and we pitched a tent in a field next to the pub.  The landlord only charged us four pounds for the priviledge of camping there.  My mother slept in the car with my dad and we slept in our tent with our then two year old number one son.  I can see my dad carrying a tray of drinks to us.  They must have been in their mid sixties and never 'roughed it' like this before.  I spoke to my mother in the morning:

"Did you sleep?"

"It was alright?"

Her sigh and facial expression said it all!

We visited Symonds Yat and drank coffee and ate bacon butties and it was a great time had by all.  

One of the film quotes: We live in the Shadowlands.  The sun is always shining somewhere else.  Round a bend in the road.  Over the bough of an hill.

Here's a clip from Shadowlands for you!

Tuesday 29 January 2019

Domino Likes United Too.

I am not the only one who likes United in our house.  Domino also likes them and is a big Paul Pogba fan.  He also watches Snooker.  He attempts to catch the ball and looks round the back of the television to see where its gone.

Domino decided he was making a new bed out of a Walkers crisp ULTIMATE PARTY BOX.  We put his blanket in it and number 2 son cut out an entrance for him.  Domino sleeps under the coffee table next to where the wife sits and knits.  We also eat our meals on our two coffee tables whilst watching television and looking at Tweb and Tinternet on our mobile phones.  Do you sit down at a dining table or are you like us: couch potatoes?

Sunday 27 January 2019

"Words That Jangle In Your Head.."

I have just learned that the famous composer Michael Legrand passed away. 

 He is probably most famous for The Windmills Of Your Mind.  From the Thomas Crown Affair.  He also won an Oscar for Yentl and five Grammy's.  

I don't have a clue what the song is about, do you?  But I like it very much.

Here's a version by Dusty Springfield.  Dusty's mother came from Tralee and Dusty also loved County Clare.  When Dusty passed away.  Some of her ashes were scattered over the Cliffs of Moher. 

 I saw the incredible cliffs when I went to Doolin Folk Festival last June.  I think this track gives it a real sixties feel, almost psychedelic.  Hope you like it?

Friday 25 January 2019

"Water And Ground In Their Extremity!"

Some more picture from another one of my walks around the Sheeps Head Peninsula.  The title of the blog is a line from Seamus Heney's poem: The Peninsula.  Seamus recommends that you drive, I would say walk.

It was a grey day with leaden skies when I set off on Tuesday morn.  Once I had navigated the main road and the cars whizzing past me.  I walked up through Gearhies and up Glanlough.  This is very hilly and I was wearing my 'rainy day' waterproofs.  I think I may have invented a portable sauna!

At the top of Moulamill.  I took the following photographs.  In the distance is Mizen peninsula.  The water is Dunmanus Bay on the south side of the Sheeps Head Peninsula.

I love this boreen and often think of times gone by when donkeys trod this road laden with baskets of furze and turf for the fires.  It takes you over to Ahakista.  There are a couple of pubs there and you can carry on West to Kilcrohane or turn left like I did and follow the track to Kealties and along the road next to Dunmanus bay on to Durrus.  I stopped at my  brothers house and the wife called over with tablets for him and gave me a lift back in the car.  
An innovative fence post!  It's actually an old car axle.  Who needs to buy fence posts when there are scrap cars?

Hope you enjoyed the nine mile walk.  I have walked twenty nine miles ish this week.  Perhaps I was a dog in another life?

Are you going for a walk in the countryside this weekend?

Here's the Seamus Heaney poem: The Peninsula.  A bit of culture for you!

Wednesday 23 January 2019

Gardening In Winter.

Gardeners World is not back on on our television screens until March.  I don't seem to be able to find any other gardening or allotment programmes at  the moment.  

Last night we did watched Ground Force on the Home channel.  It was from a long time a go.  Its amazing how the presenters get older and yet gardens are still very much the same.  

 Perhaps you could make yourself a dream garden like the following clip?

Monday 21 January 2019

Take Me Home, Country Roads, West Of Bantry".

I went for about an eleven mile walk along the roads yesterday?  It was supposed to be ten miles but I ended up walking up an unknown track.  I did see some nice houses though.  Eh?

I live on the Sheeps Head Peninsula.  This is in County Cork, Ireland.  Its a good place to visit and be in the countryside next to the sea.  Bantry Bay to be precise.  I live on the North side.  Hence the title for my blog.  

You can walk the Sheeps Head Way which is sign posted or you can be like me and walk the roads and boreens in Winter.  Here's some photos I took on my saunter at the weekend.

 The Camelia bush in flower at a former Anglican church.  The church is built on a former ancient church site which was ransacked by the Danes in the ninth Century.  The present day church was built in 1866 following a design by William Atkins.  He also designed Cork Lunatic Asylum!   There were a lot of Cornish miners in the area at the time and it was an overflow church for Durrus church or St James.  My great great grandfather was a miner.  They worked the lead and silver mines.  
 The church closed its doors for the very last  time in the nineteen eighties.  It's been sold a few times since and was an artists studio at one point.  This was the church that my father's parents and their parents went to every week.  I can remember going to the services when we came on holiday.  
 Hungry Hill over on Beara.  Famous for the Puxleys and the novel and film Hungry Hill.  Its also said to be an extinct volcano,  the biggest one in Europe.
 One of the oak Sheeps Head Way finger posts.
 A deserted section of the main road.  Well its deserted while I took the photo.  I like how somebody mowed the verge and cut back the brambles on the stone hedge.  Wish all the roadside verges could be like the one above.  The Irish government could create lots of permanent rural jobs maintaining the road verges.  I met an elderly man picking up litter near here.  Aren't there some wonderful people?

Dunoir carpark.  I turned round at this point and walked the five miles back home.  

A new information board.  It would be a good place for a drinks and grub van ("Daves Dogs"), toilets and even litter bins!  May be a bench  or three?

Beware of livestock.  That's a good one.  I once walked five miles over hill and dale and met a GIANT bull and his wives grazing!  There was no way I was walking (or running) past him.  Oh no!  I had to turn round and walk the five miles back and I kept looking behind me in the process.

Any way.  There are three peninsulas where we live: Mizen, Sheepshead and Beara.  You can visit them any time of the year.  Especially if you walk the roads in Winter!  

I am toying with doing air B and B (or moving to Portugal?) and we have just renovated a two bedroom farmhouse.  Or you could pitch your tent in one of the fields?   I don't really want to rent the farmhouse out full time.  

I could also take you on one of my walks along the Sheeps Head Way or along the Northsider Dave roads and boreens way?  We could go for a pint and I could tell you some of my jokes?  Or sing the Manchester United Country Roads version?  Or just leave you in peace even?

Thursday 17 January 2019

A Magical Ring Fort And A Gold Bracelet.

Here are a few photographs from the walk I mentioned in my last post.

Below is a Sheeps Head Way marker post leading to Brahalish Fort.  The yellow painted oak posts are scattered  all over the walk to show walkers where to go. 

The magical hillfort I spotted when I walked down the road and turned a corner and there before me was Brahalish ring fort.  There are said to be over 10000 ringforts, stone circles, standing stones and wedge tombs in Ireland.  Some historians say they were built to house farmers and protect against invaders and wolves.  Some say the'little people' and leprechauns live in them.  They are also said to be homes for local dignitaries, clan leaders or even royalty!

Near this ringfort.  Workers digging the road from Durrus to Kilcrohane in 1843.  A workman found a ancient gold bracelet.  Probably Bronze age gold found in a stream and smelted and fashioned before Jesus was born or the pyramids in Egypt were constructed.  The Brahalish bracelet is in the British Museum.

The craftmanship is incredible and some very'special' people must have lived there.

Monday 14 January 2019

Walking To Keep Fit And To Observe.

I have been walking a lot for the last week.  It's been so dry and walking does wonders for my back and I don't need the Buplex and Paracetamol much, if at all.

Charles Dickens frequently walked twenty miles a day.  He once said:  "I must be the descendant, at no great distance, of some irreclaimable tramp".  He used his walks for a fact finding mission.  Walking into areas of all the social classes and no doubt spotting characters that metamorphosised into the literary characters we love and hate in his books.  

Any way I walked twelve miles yesterday along the roads and boreens of the peninsula.  I nearly got knocked down by a speeding car racing along one part of the road.  But thankfully I lived to tell the tale.

In one garden I noticed a yellow Rhododenron in flower in January and I noticed an ancient Bronze age ring fort too.  We must have drove passed it hundreds of times but we never saw it.  Perhaps its because there are no leaves on the trees?  I will post a photo of the fort some time.  

Some of the beaches had plastic washed up on them and I see lots of litter in the brambles and verges at this time of year.  I never understand why county councils don't provide litter bins or create litter picking jobs.  I would do it gladly!  

I visited my parents graves and noticed dwarf daffodils pushing their way through the soil.  Somebody had mowed the grass around the graves and there were more daffodils in flower.

Stopped at my brothers for twenty minutes and then walked home another way along another tarmac road for a few miles.  A jogger said: "hello" and so did a man and woman in high viz jackets.  Going for a pleasant walk like myself.  

I often wish I had a fellow walking companion and sometimes listen to RTE radio playing the tunes of today.  I also think of my ancestors walking to Confirmation lessons and digging turf (peat), making hay, digging spuds and me and my dad having having a pint outside a pub in Durrus.  I was only fifteen and we walked over the hills and looked at Dunmanus and Bantry bays.  

Isn't it great to go for a walk?

Wednesday 9 January 2019

I Beg Your Pardon. I Never Promised You A Rose Garden. Also Onions Sprouting And Picking Carrots In JANUARY!

The weathers gone mad here in Costa Del West Cork.  I went into the garden plot to do some weeding and found a red rose in flower.  There are also forget me nots growing in the Phormium plant pots.

Remember my onion drying frame that I made for the grand sum of NOWT!  I went to pick them this very morn and they have decided to root and grow again.  Mother Nature's gone Sea Lion.  I mean senile.  That's a Peter Kay joke and we do live next to Bantry Bay.

 Do you remember when I made the carrot planter out af an old wheelbarrow?  Old Mr and Mrs carrot fly can't fly over twelve inches or 30 Centimetres if they're metric.  So we did soweth the carrot seed and they left the carrots alone.  Today we did picketh the carrots in January.  Isn't nature amazing?

Shall we have a sing song?  Good!  I think the lyrics are so clever

Saturday 5 January 2019

Booking An Alternative Airline. "Anybody Want To Sell An Old 747?"

I see a certain short flight air company was voted the 'worst airline' for six years in a row.  We always use them because they are extremely cheap but I do think they could give you a free beverage, not try to sell me a lottery ticket and provide some in flight entertainment.  This got me thinking, hmm...?

Imagine if you could get a second hand flight simulator or even a 747 jet.  Park it up on a supermarket car park.  Then you could sell “stay at home holidays”.  A hostess greets you with your favourite drink and they show you to your seat.  A band  starts playing your favourite music: “Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree.”
Then the hostess serves you your favourite native dish.  No I am not talking about Chicken Tikka Masala.  Yes we all know it was invented in a London restaurant. Margarine is actually grey and electricity slot meters are not money boxes for saving up in. 
You have some more drinks and listen to your favourite comedian.  Then you chat up the air hostess and think you are having an intelligent conversation.  In reality she is thinking:
“Oh no?  Not another two pot shouter”.
She must be Australian? 
Don’t ask why you never see Skippy the bush kangaroo any more on the television: "Tut, tut, tut".
"What Skippy?  He's fallen down the mine and I need to bring a rope and couple of tinnies to quench your thirst?"

The poor air hostess goes to the toilets (outside one’s on the wings) and wipes your spit from her ears.  
You then go home and sleep in your own little beddy wed. 
I forgot to say that there is a big sign advertising the tour.  It says;

What do you think?  You think you have been on holiday.  But it reality this is not true.  All you did was walk out of Tesco’s and climb up some steps on an old 747.  I am surprised that anybody hasn’t already thought of it? 
You know how they say fact is funnier than fiction.  Well... 
I read in some book (can’t remember?) that if you jump into a taxi in Dublin and say;.
“Take me to Butlins please driver.”
The driver takes you to Asylum Seekers centre.  Yes believe it or not.  They incarcerate asylum seekers in the former Butlins holiday camp. 
Here's another alternative airline for you to consider:

Thursday 3 January 2019

Planting Spudatoes On The Moon.

Apparently those clever lads and lasses in China have landed on the Moon this very morn.  No doubt Gwil will put is in the picture?  Apparently they want to plant potatoes.  Remember the Smash adverts:

 I have had one of my ideas.  I think it relates to a Channel Four television programme I never watched a few years ago.  Eh? 
Pray let me explain dear readers?  
I once listened to a radio presenter talking about last night’s telly.  A group of people who were recruited (press ganged more like) to appear on a programme where “ordinary people” jumped on a plane and traveled to the hmm- MOON.  Yeah I know! 
Anyway they all made videos before they set off on their INCREDIBLE Lunar voyage.  

One not very intelligent sounding  character said something like the following:
“Good bye every body.  All my school teachers said that  I would never do anything wiv my life and become sum fink.  But look at me now I’m going to the Moon!”

I don't think the plane even set off!

Here's a space track by the brilliant band The Pixies.  You have seen them haven't you Dave?  Yeah way back in 1989 at Glastonbury festival.  It was only twenty eight quid for the weekend.

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...