Saturday 29 February 2020

Propagating Dogwoods And Laurel In The Polytunnel.

I worked a couple of days this week and the rest of the time I have been repotting plants and taking cuttings in Portugal my polytunnel.

Yesterday I ended up making some Cornus or Dogwood  cuttings.  They are natives in Siberia and although deciduous a lot of gardeners love them for their distinctive red bark in winter.  They love acidic soil like Irish soil is and you can prune them heavily in Spring or now.

Just make six inch or 15 centimetres cuttings above a leaf node and pot an handful of them in a flower pot full of compost.  I am using the German garden centre 3 for 6 EUROS  stuff at the moment.
I made 110 cuttings of Dogwood in total.  They will live in the polytunnel with the Laurel and other cuttings and newly divided perennials.  When the cuttings start forming leaves it means they will have roots!

Dogwood bark used to be use for bathing and treating dogs for Mange.  Perhaps I should put it in my bath water?

The Red Indians believed in the Dogwood people who lived in the trees.

I also sowed some Rugosa  rose seeds that have been residing in the fridge.  It was great to see the little tails on the seeds when we took them out of their plastic containers with RUGOSA wrote on the lids.  Apparently the fridge  creates winter like conditions and helps with the germination.

Tomorrow Sunday.  I will have ago at taking some conifer and holly cuttings.  Storm Jorge is roaring outside today and it's a day on the internet and keeping warm near the solid fuel range.   It's  good to have an hobby that pays and rewards the spirit too.

What have you been up to lately in the garden, greenhouse, polytunnel or even kitchen window sill?

It's  St David's  Day tomorrow, the first day of  Spring!

Friday 28 February 2020

A Spaceman Came Travelling To County Kerry.

I can think of three famous ways:  Sir Matt Busby, Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Clough Way.  Three of my footballing manager heroes.  On Saturday I noticed The Neil Armstrong Way in Tralee.

Apparently the first man  on the moon opened a space exhibition in 1997 in Tralee.  The people were so impressed they named a way after him.  It felt surreal to walk in the place where the great man had tred.

It took me back to watching Apollo 11 landing on the moon and we watched it on the news on our black and white television.   I even remember Blue Peter " Here's one I made earlier" showing us how to make a nuclear reactor out of two old yoghurt pots and some sticky bag plastic or was it Apollo 11?

When Neil Armstrong and the lads went to the Moon.  They took with them a cassette with following track on it.  It was number one in the billboard charts at the time.

Here goes:
I'll have a pint of what they've had.  You could tell it was the swinging sixties.  Just  a little.

There's a theory that the moon landings never happened.  It was all made in Hollywood and the sets were made by the same people who made the Crossroads Hotel sets?  I made up the last bit but there is a theory that man never went to the moon?  What do you think folks?

Why do they not go there now?

Thursday 27 February 2020

Indian Pizza.?

I posted a similar post a few years or so ago.  Well I have been writing blogs for over ten years and I am like the television: I sometimes show repeats๐Ÿ˜€!

There is traditional pizza and there is Indian ๐Ÿ•.  Yep one of the wife and mine inventions:

Homemade Indian  Pizza.

We bought the base so we cheated a bit.  You can use any topping you like.  For our 'Indian' Pizza we mixed  3 dessert spoons of tomato puree and 3 dessert spoons  on Korma curry  paste and we spread it on to the base.  Sprinkle some already grated Mozzereralli cheese  on top and add what ever toppings you like.  We put on ham and onions and sprinkled more cheese on top.  Bang it in the oven and cook for half an hour.
Here it is when it's served.  We washed it down with a fabulous Portuguese white wine from Lidl:  Portal Do Vinho.  It's  six Euros and ninety nine Cents.  I should work for Lidl or they could give me some free compost or grog for keep mentioning them!

We once tried Bolognese pizza in an Italian restaurant in Praia da Rocha in the Algarve  and I tried onion pizza at a Rock festival in Loreley in Germany.  You can make pizza from whatever ingredients you like.

Have you got any different pizza recipes? 

Wednesday 26 February 2020


We spotted an Italian and Irish  restaurant sign on our travels on Saturday  in county Kerry.  We didn't sample the culinary delights but it made me think.

Readers will know we have a very Cosmopolitan approach to food at our house.  We have at least one takeaway a week and that is usually a kebab or a Chinese  takeaway.  Some nights we will eat a stodgy beef stew, usually on a Monday.  We make curries and home made pizzas.  Sometimes we put curry paste on the top and call it a curry pizza.  Bacon and cabbage is popular.  My Irish grandparents seemed to eat it very night.  Eggs, chips and Heinz baked beans is one of my favourites.

Perhaps other restaurants should food diversify with their menus?  Why be a one trick pony food restaurant?

My dear old mother never asked us what we wanted for our tea.  We got what ever she decided.  Perhaps that's why I like hot spicy food so much.  Kebab shops and curry houses would always still open after the pubs closed and you could always get four more pints, even it was lager and you always left half your curry!

Do you have a mixed weekly menu?  I could live on kebabs, beans and sausages and eggs, chips and beans, fiery amber beef and a beef curry.  I like home made pizza too.  Onion bhaji too.  I'm making my self feel hungry

Monday 24 February 2020

"Don't Forget Your Shovel If You Want To Go To Work".

Here's a similar  post to the one I posted and deleted yesterday.  I just thought nobody was commenting so I deleted it.

Anyway on our Kerry  travels on Saturday we went shopping in Tralee and I noticed a statue of a man and his guitar.  It's  Tralee commemorating one of it's  most famous sons: Christie Hennessy.

He moved to England (like my dad) and worked on the building sites in London by day and he sang in the pubs and folk clubs by night.  He was in his early forties  before he became famous and passed away at the still relatively  young age of 62.

One of his most famous songs: " Don't  Forget Your  Shovel  If You Want To Go To Work" was recorded by Christy Moore who incidently has a holiday home on my Peninsula.

Here's some photos  of the statue and Christie Hennessy singing his song:

Saturday 22 February 2020

A Day Out To County Kerry To Get A Taste Of Blighty..

We visited an off licence and Iceland in Tralee for Newcastle Brown  Ale and Heinz Beanz and  Sausages.  It's strange the food and drink that you miss from Blighty.  Especially English bitter and beans and sausages.
A pint of Newky Brown bitter in a barrel glass.  They only had two bottles. I can never understand why we can't get it over here anymore.  After all the supermarkets and off licences are full of beer from other European countries.  Notice Domino the cat sat on his cat kennel posing for a photo?

What food or drink do other expats miss?  I forgot to mention we also go some tins of Ravioli and some English cheese and some pork pies.

More pictures from  Kerry in another blog post.

Friday 21 February 2020

Division Time For One Of The Phormium Plants.

Many of the plants living here both wild and cultivated species come from overseas.  The Griselina cuttings I potted on the other day are also called Newzealand Privets.

The wild Fuchsias hedges and Montbretia that you see in the West of Ireland and the Isle of Man and Cornwall originate from Chile and South Africa.

Today I looked at one of my pineapple variegated Phormium Tenax Flax plants outside the bungalow and thought of the Gardeners mathematical equation:

"The only way to multiply is to divide".

Here's some photos of the dividing operation for you:
 Here's one of my pet Phormium Plants. Growing  happily until I decided to divide it today.
Poor Phormium extracted from its plant pot.
I pulled them apart and also used my faithful old bread knife to divide and extract FIVE  plants!  Yes I know I don't  like odd numbers.  So we'll keep the parent plant and sell or plant the other four.   April is a good month for dividing large garden specimens.

I hope you enjoyed my Tight Wad gardening tips?  You don't  to spend a lot of money to get plenty of plants.

Anybody else doing plant operations and dividing or making cuttings or sowing seeds?

Wednesday 19 February 2020

Is It The Beer Or is It The Plastic Cups?

It's  that time of year again when me and my mate start planning a trip to a Rock festival in the summer.  Regular readers will know we started going to festivals again in 2017.     We've visited ones in Germany, Ireland, Dorset and Kent.

Last year we went to A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens near Faversham in Kent.   It's a Rock festival aimed at the over fifties.  So we don't look out of place and the music is far better than anything you hear now a days.  Did you see the Brit awards?  I wish I hadn't.  Talk about being ageist.  You wouldn't think anybody existed over forty. Yes we know Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart played.

Any way.  I was not very impressed with the festival beer for four Pounds a pint.  It could be to do with the  reusable plastic cup you have to buy before you can purchase some beer?  Plastic cups, flasks..? Me not like.  Especially  when we had been just an hour or so earlier supping copious amounts of Sharpe's Doom Bar in Wetherspoon's pubs in Canterbury  and Faversham for just two Pounds a pint and real ales at that.

So I  noticed  on the old Tinternet that Cambridge Rock Festival is a four days music festival in June and they serve Real Ales in REUSABLE PLASTIC cups.  I know it's a great way to eliminate any litter problems and you can keep it for a souvenir but there's got to be something better than plastic?

Any way.  One of the 'turns' at the above said music festival is Hazel O Connor.  Somebody who always makes me laugh and jump about like the Top Of The Pops audience  in the video.

What do you think about plastic cups/glasses at music festivals folks?  They won't  let you take your own beer in the festivals either.  Oh what a sight to remember the bottles of wee in the air landing on your head or on the stage at the Monsters Of  Rock Festival at Castle Donington!  Happy days.

Tuesday 18 February 2020

Deferred Plant Gratification.

The work dried up again yesterday.  So it was back to the grind in 'Portugal' my polytunnel today.

We bought 3 bags of potting compost for fifteen Euros and I potted up twenty shrubs and sixty Griselina hedge cuttings.   Gosh how I love the marvellous creature that is Mother Nature.   Working like my knitting wife at night when I'm reading blogs, answering  emails and watching the telly.   The plants are sprouting stalks and forming root systems.  You've got to hand it to Mother Nature haven't  you?

Checking the Gristelina hedging cuttings for roots.
After their reporting operation.  They will soon be outside though.  That's where the new potatoes are being planted.
Shrubs and Griselina plants in their newly potted plant pots.  I gave them a drink and they look to have settled in nicely.  They will either get sold (deferred plant gratification) or they will be planted in the gardens.  So I have still made a days wage today but I might  have to wait a week or two for my wages.

It was a great  way to spend over half a day in the polytunnel.  Have you been up to anything plant wise recently?

Saturday 15 February 2020

Chitting Time In The Front Room.

Hope you have had a good week?  We bought some seed potatoes from the German garden centre (Lidl) and supermarket in town this week.

Here they are sat on our dining table  in the front room  waiting to sprout.  Well what else would you use your dining table for?

These will be planted in'Portugal' my polytunnel for our 'first earlies' new potatoes.

We have also started some Parsnip seeds on paper towels in the kitchen window.  Philip from Notes From A Suffolk  Smallholding blog shared this tip last year to germinate Parsnip seeds.  Parsnip  seeds can take up to 28 days to germinate.  Some people sow Radishes with them to use for markers to show where the Parsnip seeds are.

I am going to get some compost to start my onion sets off in trays this week. 

You don't need a garden to grow vegetables.  A big plant pot  full of compost will suffice to grow your very own vegetables.  Go on give it a go.

I hope to catch up with all my blog friends blogs too.

Sunday 9 February 2020

A Mexican And His Terrier In Killarney.

"Hey Gringo".

"How's tings?"

We spotted this painting on the side of a a wall of a Mexican restaurant  yesterday.  I think it's excellent don't you?

Saturday 8 February 2020

I Love You From The Bottom Of My Pencil Case...

We got up this morning and went to Bantry to vote in the Irish General Election.  I voted number 1 for Holly Cairns the Social Democrat candidate, number 2 for Michael Collins an independent candidate who is very popular down here and Karen Coakley Fine Gael was my number 3 choice.  Be interesting to see who is in government  next week.

Then we  drove along the tunnel road to Killarney and got two silver Celtic  jewellery rings for our 25th wedding anniversary next week and I bought a fur lined parka type coat for ten Euros in Penneys, treated the wife to a slap up Big Mac meal in McDonald's and went to the Inec ticket office and bought two tickets to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott in April.

We last saw them in 1994 in Oldham when they were in the band The Beautiful  South.  The Queen Elizabeth  Hall was a brilliant venue with no seats and two bars.  The band were great too.  I think it was Jaqui's very first gig?

We managed to get two tickets downstairs near the main stage.  So I can do my dad dance and generally look rather silly, just for a change.

Here  they are singing the title of my blog post:

Have you got any tickets for any gigs coming up?  I have not seen a live band since 2019.

Sunday 2 February 2020

Winter Flowers.

I went for a stroll around the gardens this morning and noticed my Bergenia Cordifolias are flowering.  The ones in the photograph are in plant pots and I divided them in Autumn.

It's an old fashioned garden perennial.  Originally from Siberia and very cold tolerant.  It's got large leathery leaves and is sometimes called pig squeak.  If you pull or squeeze the leaves they make the noise of a pig.  The leaves change colour through the seasons too and change from yellow to green, brown and purple.

Gertrude  Jekyll the great English plants woman and garden designer used to call them Megasea and liked to plant them to edge borders and next to stone walls to soften the abrupt hardness of the stone.

They are one of my favourite herbaceous perennials and I would recommend them for even a Northsider facing garden like mine or Sol's in Scotland.

I have perennials and shrubs for sale or barter.  What's in flower in your garden at the moment?

Saturday 1 February 2020

Oh You Silly Thing You've Really Gone And Done It Now!

No blog for a few days.  Been busy working all week filling skips with timber and household rubbish.

There's a General Election in Ireland next week. My workmates discussed this and the disaster that is Brexit over sandwiches and bottles of pop at dinner.  People in Ireland fear another recession all caused by Brexit.

Here's an appropriate song for the UK.

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 ...