Thursday 28 November 2019

Christmas New Potatoes Progress.

Thought l would show you how the new spudatoes are growing.  The  haulm or foliage look very healthy and it's looking good for Christmas  dinner if not before.  It's  amazing what a microclimate is created with a bit of plastic.  God bless the polytunnel!

We recently  watched  Alan Titchmarsh harvesting new potatoes in the summer and placing them in an empty biscuit tin and replacing the tin lid and planting them in the allotment until Christmas.  Sounds a good idea.  Anybody had success with the biscuit tin new potatoes planting method?

I know quite  a few readers have veg plots and I thought I  would show you how the spuds are doing.  The shrub and perennials cuttings are also doing well and you can still see KALE growing in the right hand corner of the olde polytunnel.  There's only me who eats it.  All I get is pull a face and "me not like" when I mention or bring it into the kitchen.  Think I won't  bother growing it again.

So what you having with the new potatoes on Christmas day Dave?  We have decided to have striploin steak and a all day buffet, "help yourself" menu with dishes full of sprouts and carrots and pigs in blankets, home made sherry trifle, sausage rolls, just general buffet stuff.  No Turkey though.  I hate left overs.  So what will you be eating on Christmas day?  Anybody growing new potatoes at the moment?  The Brussels are nearly ready too.

Wednesday 27 November 2019

My Saturday Night Telly Thoughts.

Thanks for your comments on the last post.

Saturday Night Telly Thoughts. ( Anybody under forty five may not remember some of the programmes on UK television!)

What ever happened to Seaside Special and The Grumbleweeds  Radio Show on Saturday nights?  They were fun when I was growing up in the Seventies and eighties.  Then it would be Starsky and  Hutch or Kojak.  Followed my the News and Match of the Day. 

I often fell to sleep waiting for my mum to bring back something from the chip shop.  I never understand why they always gave me a pile of newspapers?

 Once I remember my mum and dad coming back with my dad’s rather posh female cousin and her even posher fiance.  Posh fiance attempted to wake me up to eat my chippy supper.  

My father thought that this would not be a good idea.  I would turn into a wasp if I was disturbed whilst dreaming of Wonder Woman. 

Said posh fiance

"I’ve had lots of experience in my time dealing with children”. 
He tried talking softly in my ear:
“Come on Davy boy wake up”. 
I thought:
“Why does he suddenly have an Irish accent?”     

I was not rousing from my slumber.    Posh fiance begins to shake my arm.  I suddenly wake up sounding like a leprechaun with a Poteen induced hangover:

“Piss off, piss off leave me alone!” 

Posh guests were not impressed, and  they never visited us again.  But what’s that got to do with the X Factor?  Absolutely nothing.  But it describes my Saturday nights when I was young. 

I quite like the X Factor and Britain’s Got Talent.  Well apart from Mickey Most or is it Simon Cowell?  Remember the New Faces?  The idea of finding some new talent from the great “unwashed” is a brilliant idea.  They do find some remarkable talent like Susan Boyle and Paul Potts.  But your not telling me that it’s a surprise when a odd looking person changes into the Next Elaine Paige or Pavarotti?   

They obviously have lots of auditions before they meet the panel? No doubt picking out the most eccentric 'Turns' to appear on the programme.  Any body average looking or acting normal with talent.  Need not bother.  It’s car crash television.  A modern day equivalent of watching somebody in the stocks!    

An old friend once told me he was stood outside the pub having a smoke and he saw two women fighting last night.  It was: 

“You bitch, you slag”.  

They were pulling hair and scratching.  One even started to punch. 
"It was bloody brilliant!.”  

Who needs the X Factor?  Wonder what's on RTE?  Perhaps I should start going to the pub again on a Saturday night?  Fancy a pint? 

Monday 25 November 2019

The Sheepshead Way In November.

I walked fourteen miles last week.  Not every day or in one hike.  I do it mainly for my back.  I hurt my back many moons ago doing somebody a favour.  Never never try to move a double wardrobe down stairs.  They weigh 500 Kgs and do a great job at crushing people.  Any way I have the war wounds and the Irish inclement weather is great for arthritis.  So to stop the back giving me jip I go on my walking gymnasium.

It's  good  to get off the country roads and the cars and lorries whizzing past me.  Sometimes I listen to Spotify to my favourite Rock bands like Kansas, brass bands or The Beautiful South.  Yep my music taste is very eclectic.

Other times I don't listen and just take in the surroundings.  I reckon God would make a very good artist because he did an excellent job making Bantry Bay.

Some times I get down with the weather and things on the news and then I go for a walk and I fall back in love with rural Ireland.  I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place.  I just wish it didn't  rain so much!

Saturday 23 November 2019

A Song And Video About West Cork.

I always like reading and seeing photos of places where other bloggers live and explore.  West Cork is a beautiful part of Ireland.

A West Cork band have recently made the following video.  It even shows The Shruggs singing in Bantry Square.

Thursday 21 November 2019

Christmas Hamper Ideas.

We were in a charity shop here in West Cork the other week.  The wifey picked up two wicker baskets and we both said out loud: "Hampers"!

For the princely sum of 2 euro a piece.  We purchased the two baskets.  For the last few weeks or nearly every day supermarket trip.  We have been buying "A little  bit of what you fancy".  You know: jars of sweets, bags of fudge, tins of biscuits, English Cheddar, Christmas pudding, peanuts.., you name it.  We haven't  missed them either.  Just a Euro or 3 or four.  Two Christmas hampers for next to the blink of an eye.  That's  two presents off the list.  All they need is some sellophane.

We started making our Christmas Hampers about twenty two years ago.  I was watching one of those Park hampers television adverts and remarked that I would like one of those.  We couldn't afford one though so the wife made her own Christmas Cupboard.  She started this in September.  Every week she would go in Netto and buy extra items like a bag of sugar or a jar of pickles and they would go in her 'Christmas Cupboard'.  The house rule was you can use them if you have to but they have to be replaced or "put back"!

Now it's evolved into making our own Christmas hampers.   Anybody else make or thinking of making a Christmas hampers?  You could even make your own and fill it with Watneys Party Sevens, Caramac and Maynards wine gums?  Go on have a go.  It's still not too late to make a Christmas hamper or two!

Wednesday 20 November 2019

I Miss My Allotment. Thoughts About Rural Isolation.

We will have lived in Ireland  nineteen years next year.  I was thirty eight when we came over to live here.  So I suppose we have lived here half my life?  Well not half my real age of 55.  I was 38 when  we came here.  So that's  19 isn't  it..  Eh?

One thing that I really miss is watching live football, cricket, heavy rock concerts, public transport, pubs that sell real ales,  being able to buy English cans or bottled beer from the supermarkets, massive  car boot sales and also allotments.  That's ten things Dave.  I should have took off my socks and shoes and used my toes to count.

Allotment people are the salt of the earth.  They are friendly and share a common bond in cultivating the earth and growing vegetables and fruit.  They may even have a shed to escape from the missus, read their dog ears copies of "Big Girls Weekly"  or drink a few tins of beer or home brew?

I like having my own patch of Gods earth here in Ireland, especially my polytunnel.  But gosh it can be a twee bit quiet at times.  Allotments are places where you have a laugh and a joke , put the world to rights and tell people  how they are doing it all wrong.  Well they were twenty years  a go.

I wish I could paint a picture for you of a typical allotment that was next to mine: home made sheds made out of plywood, corrugated roofs with a rusty patina, lumps of concrete hold down the sheets, polytunnels made out of old plastic water pipe tubing and covered in polythene, supermarket trolleys with wheels that have a mind of their own and now the trolleys are full of drying onions, vegetables sown in lines like army regiments, an old front door for a gate..?

Rural isolation is peaceful and there are no rules or regulations or an allotment committee telling you what to do.  But there is a lot to be said for the camaraderie and mickey taking of an allotment.  Which would you prefer an allotment with other like minded gardening comrades or a patch of land of your own in the countryside where you are on your own?   Wouldn't  mind an pub like Wetherspoon's that serves real ales.  Suppose the grass is always greener on to'ther side  of  the fence?

When its rainy nearly every day and cold the rural isolation can get to you a little bit.  Thank goodness for television, radio, books, the internet and for blogs and country walks.  I have walked ten miles already this week.  The veg plot and the gardens are too wet to do anything at the moment.  Suppose one could find some potting on to do in the polytunnel?

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!

A Bus man's Holiday To See Some Pigs At Balmoral Show.

You know what a bus man's holiday is don't you?  It means going on holiday and doing the same thing that you do at work.  Or on the ...