Sunday 31 May 2020

The Shadow Of A Bird On The Top Of The Hills.

I went for a walk yesterday along the main road, up a long and winding Boreen and onto the tops of the rocky ridges over looking Dunmanus and Bantry Bays.  Here's some pics for your perusal:

A yellow oak post on the Sheepshead  Way overlooking  Bantry Bay.

 The peaty turf was parched dry apart from the odd place.
 Concrete Trig point with a yellow Sheepshead Way marker painted on it.
 Looking over Dunmanus Bay.

Wild bog cotton.

While I walked over the top the shadow of a bird appeared on the landscape.  
Lonely Sky by Chris De Burgh (we saw him live in Killarney once) started playing in my mental jukebox.  Then funnily enough it came on my daily mix on Spotify.  My companion on my walks:

Saturday 30 May 2020

What A Cracking Month.

I have never known a May so nice.  Here's a photo of one of the borders.  The purple rose my dad bought us before he went to Heaven to see my mother.  It's strange how even flowers have sentimental meanings
isn't  it?

The Osteospermums decided to play out this week.  I lost most of them in the cold snowy 2010 winter.  One or two survived the frost and I have been propagating them ever since.  September is a good month for taking cuttings when it's not too hot and over wintering in a polytunnel or greenhouse.

Don't  the flowers and sunshine give joy to your heart?

Friday 29 May 2020

Through Your Father's Eyes, Your Mother's Smile.

Regular readers will know that I am a big fan of North American  Prog Rock band Kansas.  If you search Kansas in my blog search you can read my post about how I waited over thirty years to see them.

In 2014 I got on the plane  from Shannon and flew the three hours flight to Warsaw.  I was finally going to see probably the greatest Rock band in the world.

It was a great concert and I literally had tears of joy watching Kansas.  The years have moved on and the great Steve Walsh left the band and Ronnie Platt took over on vocals with another keyboard player and a new guitarist.

In 2017 we were going to see them in Poznan and Loreley but security advisers instructed Kansas to cancel their European tour.  My friend and myself still went to Loreley to The Night Of The Prog music  festival and Marillion headlined instead of Kansas.  At least we got to see Rick  Wakeman and Yes.

Any road.  Kansas have recorded a new album: The Absence Of Presence.  One of the singles is: Memories Down The Line.  It's incredibly poignant and appropriate for our times.  It moved me like the time I saw Kansas live.

Hope you like the video:

Thursday 28 May 2020

Daisies In The Lawns.

Here's a photo of some daisies in the back lawn.  Keen gardeners would apply a 'weed and feed' to kill them or may be grub them out and reseed where they have been?

I don't mind them.  I live next to fields in the countryside next to  the sea and I often see Foxgloves and Buttercups flowering in the borders.  Someone once said weeds are wildflowers in the wrong places.

They attract bees and butterflies and lady birds and they can't be that bad can they?  I suppose I just don't  want them to take over completely.

In September I plan on lifting and dividing one of the herbaceous borders which is planted right next to a field.  Who but me would be arrogant enough and would try to grow perennials next to nettles, long grass and other pernicious weeds?

It's like the definition of an hedge: A statement of  man's arrogance towards nature.

Can you live with wildflowers invading your lawns and borders?

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Two For The Price Of One. Maybe Three.

The wife came home with a Lupin plant the other day.  It's  a perennial that we use to have but died in the wet or perhaps the cold of 2010?

"They must think I'm mad"

She said.


Said yours truly.

"The customers in Lidl.  There I was rooting through the Lupins looking at which one's the bushiest so you can get two out of it".

I have taught her well.

I duly took the Lupin plant in my polytunnel and got out the knife and carefully divided it into three.

  You have to be careful because sometimes they have just one big tap root like a Dock.  They don't  like being divided in Autumn either.

Any road.  The operation was a success and we now have two healthy Lupin plants and a cutting which is rooting in a pot in a zipped up plastic freezer bag.

Three, definitely two new plants for two Euros fifty.

You don't need to spend a lot to have a nice garden!

Monday 25 May 2020

A Bag For If You Get Thirsty!

I saw this advertised in a discount supermarket leaflet yesterday.  I can't work out why would you need a shopping bag wine dispenser.

Some of you much brighter folk may be willing to enlighten me?

It takes me back years when you would ask a girl to put a noggin or small bottle of your favourite spirit in her handbag and take it in the disco for you?  Imagine if she'd had one of these shopping bag wine dispensers?

Sunday 24 May 2020

Not My Cheesecake But Still Very Nice!

The missus made me another cakey wake today.  Two Euros for the Vanilla Cake Mix and one Euros fifty for the Buttercream Style Icing.  From the German supermarket and garden centre.

Just had a slice with a glass of Portuguese white wine.

It's not my favourite strawberry cheesecake but it's very nice!  Cheers.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Another Walk Along T'Road.

I went for a saunter along our main road on Sunday morning.  I met a few people out walking too.

Here's  some pictures:

The road is quiet for a change.
Ferns growing.
"London Pride" Saxifraga or "Saint Patrick's  Cabbage".
"Herb Robert" flowering.   That is one smelly weed.

Bantry Bay.


Friday 22 May 2020

A Look In 'Portugal' My Polytunnel.

Brr....  It's  been a rough night and it's still windy now.  Such is life living in the countryside next to the sea.

I was going to go a walk today but it's dangerous walking along the road especially next to the sea.  I once got blown into the middle of the road and cars just drove round me.  It was not nice.

Anyway I took the following photo yesterday before Storm  Arthur arrived.  It's getting choc a bloc with rooted cuttings and divided perennials.  You can see spudatoes flowering in the right hand corner.    The old compost bags are full of plant pots.  This is my allotment castle/potting shed/polytunnel.  It's  one of my best garden investments.  Even on a windy or rainy day I can still potter about.

Could do with some music to play to the plants and none of that radio stuff playing modern music and telling you the news every half hour.

Number two son got an Alexa delivered to him yesterday.  It's brilliant.  I know what I want for Christmas or my birthday in December.

Thursday 21 May 2020

The Demise Of Menthol Cigarettes.

They banned Menthol cigarettes in EU countries  like Ireland and England yesterday.

Apparently  Menthol cigarettes  encourage  youngsters to smoke.  Yeah right.

"Do yo want a Rothmans  or a Consulate?"

"I'd rather have some Pot".

I started smoking when I was ten and gave up when I was 28.  How well I remember going into my friends house and my mates mum would spark up a cigarette off her own ciggie and pass it to me.  Well I was twelve by then.

A short while later.  Meanwhile back at the ranch.  Anyone remember Bonanza?

My mum found out I smoked and  one day took me to one side and said:

" Hee David.  I know you smoke and me and your Dad don't  really approve.  Stick to them Embassy Number 1.  I have read that Menthol cigarettes can make you sterile."

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Under The Hedge In The Shade Garden.

Yep another gardening post folks.

It's been Scorchio in Portugal my polytunnel and getting far too hot for cuttings.  So I brought my shade garden back into action:

Remember when I made all those Sedum cuttings about three weeks ago?  Well I spent four hours on Monday potting the rooted ones up in to individual plant pots.

I placed them on tiles under the Griselina (New Zealand Privet) .  I water them every day and they are doing fine.

Anybody else have a shade garden?   

Tuesday 19 May 2020

A Glimpse Of When The Pubs Open Again Perhaps?

I've been watching some Hale and Pace videos.  I couldn't  believe how strangely prophetic this one could be when or if the pubs ever open their doors again.  Enjoy!

Monday 18 May 2020

"My Favourite ".

The missus made a jelly trifle yesterday.  Sadly no alcohol was used in the making of this dessert.  It brought back memories of my dear old Mum's Bird's trifle.  Which she would buy from Kwik Save and make every week.  Sometimes we would have fruit cocktail with Carnation condensed milk or maybe a block of Walls ice cream.

Any road the trifle was delicious and I wonder if I could persuade her to make me a cheesecake next?  Strawberry of course?

Sunday 17 May 2020

A Gift From The German Garden Centre..

The wife brought me a gift last week from Lidl. An Orange tree and a Lemon tree.  Reminders of the Algarve.  Oh to go back to Alte in April a few years a go and get a whiff of the aroma from those Citrus trees.  They only cost 2.99 each.

I don't  think we'll  be going anywhere this year.   Ireland's lockdown is a lot stricter than England.  We are only allowed to go five Kilometres at the moment.   A trip to Aldi in Dunmanway sounds like fun these days.  I can't  wait until July the 20th when we  can go to Cork to B and Q or Kerry to Iceland.

Saturday 16 May 2020

More Signs Of The Times..

Someone  sent me this article the other day:

You have got to laugh haven't  you?

Friday 15 May 2020

Remembering A Great Keyboard Player.

One of my heroes from my youth was taken away  by Covoid19 at the beginning of May.   Dave Greenfield played keyboards in Punk band the Stranglers.   He was influenced by  English Prog Rock bands like Yes and Deep Purple.

Sadly I never saw them play live.  I use to buy their albums and new singles and sing along with them on Top Of The Pops.

I have seen some mighty fine Keyboardists like: Steve Walsh from Kansas, Rick Wakeman from Yes, Keith Emerson - Emerson  Lake and Palmer and Geddy Lee- Rush.  Dave Greenfield must be up there with the best in keyboards players:

I have been playing old and new Stranglers records on You Tube for the last day or so.  'Valley Of The Birds' and 'Norfolk Coast' are newish tracks that are well worth a listen a long with the seventies and eighties classics like 'Strange Little Girl', one of my favourite tracks.  You can hear Dave's keyboard playing at it's finest in this track:

Thanks Dave I will never forget you and your fantastic band,

Thursday 14 May 2020

An Old Name For An Old Flower.

The merry month of May is incredible this year.  One flower that is playing the tart at the moment is the Hawthorn  flower.

When I was growing up in Lancashire my dear old mother would say: 

" Don't  ever bring that flower into our house David (Sunday name) it's  called "Mother Death".

"If you bring it into house your mother will die".

I know it's  an old wives tale but it's a wonderful tale.

Years and many moons ago a Ukrakian man who was one of my friends dad.  Took us us on a walk where I wrote the poem: 'Ode To A Ruin'.   He started eating red Hawthorn berries.   He said: " What ever a bird eats you can eat".

Apparently you can eat the leaves too:

Hawthorn  or  'Mother Death'  in flower.  Do you know of wild flowers that have flowers or fruits that have superstitious connotations or are OK to eat?

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Making New Plants On A Warm Sunny May Morn.

I made fifty new perennial plants this morning.  First of all I divided four Ajuga plants and ended with forty new plants complete with roots,  which I potted up with two bags of cheap German garden centre compost:

New Ajuga plants for next to nowt.

I then went to the other end of the polytunnel and checked on some Nepeta cuttings I made about two or three weeks ago.  To my delight they had grown roots:

That's  fifty plants for four Euros.

Tuesday 12 May 2020

Getting Back Into Rambling Again.

I have been on three walks since Friday.  I  am finally getting back into Rambling again.  I can't  do things half hearted.  Like my perennials and vegetables growing hobby.  Walking soon becomes my obsession.  

Where I live in the countryside next to the sea and the hilly peninsula I live on.  There is some spectacular landscape and seascape scenery:

Here's some pictures:

An old ruined farmstead not inhabited since the Great Famine.  Nature is gradually taking it back.

Gunnera Tinctoria.  A native of Brazil and Chile.  This large estate garden escapee is colonising many parts of the West of Ireland.  It's a form of giant rhubarb and very poisonous.

A car park next to the bay.  I have a photo somewhere of us sitting with my late dad on this wall.  I always think of it when I walk here.  You can see Hungry Hill over on Beara in the distance.  It's  a beautiful  place and I didn't  see anyone on my walk apart from motorists.

Monday 11 May 2020

The Slug Pubs That Never Close.

The pubs are never closed in our garden.  The wife uses slug pellets but I'm not keen.  I wonder what they do to us and to other wildlife like the birds?  What are slug pellets made from? I looked this up and came to the conclusion that slug pellets contain poisonous chemical substances that can harm the slugs and also us and contaminate the soil.  

No I  prefer to get some shallow plastic trays leftover from the Chinese takeaway and fill them with some cheap beer, cordial or pop.   I filled ours with Canadian lager.  Is there any lager in cans that is good?  It's drinkable if it's chilled but only just.

Any road here's my slug pubs in the Brassica baths:

Have a  last drink on me sluggies and snails.

How do you deter slugs and snails from devouring your vegetables and plants?

Sunday 10 May 2020

Panic In The Polytunnel.

'Portugal' my polytunnel, plastic office, potting shed and "escape from the missus" garden room was playing at 'Scorchio'  and "we wish it was the Algarve" yesterday.

The poor Broccoli plants that we (me) had transplanted and potted on started to wilt and wanted a Siesta or even a lie down in the afternoon.  So what would I do?

I planted them outside in the veg plot.   Then we made a cloche out of old plastic water pipes and a cut down plastic corrugated sheet.

Yes folk it's another one of my tight wads:

 "how to mek it for nowt"

 Gardening series again.  

Here goes:

Hmm..  Well yeah.  Tiz a little bit industrial, nay out of a builders skip.  The ends are closed in with old manure (fertilizer) bags to keep the 'flickers' out like slugs and snails and other 'wee beasties'.  Weighed down with Cornus or Dogwood twigs in plant pots.

Yet again I display my City and Guilds Apprentice in Allotments ' Make Do And Mend' certificate.  The University  Of Life that is vegetable growing:

I checked on the Broccoli plants progress this very morn.  

"Mr and Mrs Broccoli had a quiet night and are doing  very well".  

Thank you Matron.

Heath Robinson eat your heart out!

Saturday 9 May 2020

"On Wednesday's I Go Shopping And Have Buttered Scones For Tea.."

The wife finally took the hint.  She made my favourite scones.  I gave her 11 out of 10.  

I was in Scone Heaven.

Friday 8 May 2020

Fresh Baked Bread: "I Want To Bake It With You".

I spent most of a very wet Tuesday in and out the polytunnel potting up my perennials, watering, making cuttings and dividing plants and look at blogs and my own Northsider blog on my mobile phone.

Meanwhile back at the ranch or bungalow even.  Wifey was busy baking two loaves.  
Two many cooks make too many loaves.  She had followed her bread making book instructions and ended up with enough bread mix to make two loaves.  Don't  they look good?

They tasted good too.   The aroma of fresh bread is something up there with the aroma of the orange blossom we experienced one gorgeous April in the Algarve.

I believe in countries like France.  Bread makers bake new loaves every day.  So much nicer than the sliced stuff you get from the supermarkets and freshly baked.   I hinted that we haven't  had homemade scones with jam and cream for yonks,  is there anything  more quintessentially English than that?  

Thursday 7 May 2020

Thinking Of A Summers Evening In Kent Last August.

It was around tea time  on a Sunday evening last August.  I had spent the week in Kent and the weekend at A New Day Festival at Mount Ephraim Gardens near Faversham.  It had been fantastic weather and I had met up with two great mates.  One of them I hadn't seen for about thirty years.

The festival is aimed at the over fifties Rockers and its capacity is only about 5000.  It's  a beautiful rural setting close to Canterbury.

One artist who I was finally going to see was Ulri Jon Roth and his band.  I had seen the Scorpions at Birmingham  Nec  years ago but not with the guitar legend himself.  He didn't disappoint.  

I wish my wife was like the vocalist on this track.  She (the singer) grew up singing into the upright vacuum cleaner.  I am more of an air guitarist myself.  It's also a requisite in our house that one wears headphones when listening to 'my' music.  It's different when I have to listen to the Hoover.  I go outside and look at my plants and polytunnel.  Why not just use the brush and I can improvise it for an electric guitar? Snooker or pool cues make good guitars too😊.

Ulri is wearing the red shirt.  Perhaps he's a United fan?  Gosh how I miss the football and Rock concerts.

Hope you enjoy the Scorpions classic.   Type Ulri Jon Roth into the blog search to see my photo of the great man and his band and a post I wrote about the gig.  I was close to the front and it was a wonderful last day of a great week and festival weekend in Kent.

I am sure there must be people on here who remember this Scorpions classic?

Wednesday 6 May 2020

You know Your Bored When....

Tuesday night 6.50 and I am stood in a field planting Dogwood twigs in the soil in the rain.  Here's  the latest  photo of my new garden here in West Cork in the countryside by the sea:

Bank Holiday Monday morning I spent three hours listening to my petrol strimmer cutting grass.  The borders are starting to fill up with perennials, phormiums and Cornus. 

Expenditure on the new garden up to now= 9 Euros for petrol and 2 stroke oil and 4 Euros for diesel for micro digger.  Thats  13 Euros.  Not bad!

I dug it all over yesterday with my long handled four prong pike.  I am going to plant some Myrtle trees today in the rain. 

Might even go a walk.  It's  a while since I went walking. 

Here a daft walking joke for you:

Two packets of crisps walking down the road.  A Police car pulls up and the officer says:

"Do you want a lift home lads?

One of the packets of crisps says:

"No thanks we are Walkers".

Monday 4 May 2020

A New Antiques Programme On Blaze.

We've been a watching a new antique programme on the free channel Blaze on Thursday nights called Irish Pickers.

Last week they went to Manchester United and filmed the Trinity statue that is Best, Law and Charlton.  I wish I had a replica statue for the new Northsider garden.

Any road.  It's  about an antique  dealer from Dublinand his pal going round Ireland with cash and making some great antique purchases and then selling them on at a profit.

Being a collector (Womble) myself.  I find the programme fascinating, especially when Ali the girl on the left, researches their new found treasures provenance.  The only difference with them and me is I can only buy things I like and then I don't  like or wish to part with them.

You can even download load the Blaze app and watch all the series today.  In the first episode they visit Bantry market near where we live.  Then he goes to Blackwater Antiques.  We have met Michael the dealer who also owns a Del boy Robin Reliant,.  Here's  a snippet to whet your appetite.


Two more videos follow the one above.

I can't  wait for the charity shops and carboot sales to be open again for business.

Puddling In Leeks.

It sounds like the name of some posh Home Counties town in Blighty.

"I live in Puddling In LEEKS".

" Do they have sex there?"

"I think so.  One rings up the coal merchant and says I will have sex bags of coal please good man."

"Yes sir".  Pulling forelock, doffing cap.

Perhaps it should be Puddling On Leeks?

Any road. Yonder cold frame was wanted (needed) to put some Brussel sprouts in.  So I planted some small Leeks with the wooden dibber next to the degging can.  That's  a Lancashire word for a watering can.  A Manchester screwdriver is another name for a claw hammer I might add.

"If in doubt, give it a clout".

Is one of my adages folks.

To those of you who have never planted Leeks before.  You make an hole with a dibber, drop your Leek in and water in the soil around them.  This way Mr or Mrs Leek end up with a nice white sock  so they can grow to the thickness of the hole you made with your dibber.

The water or watter if you come from up North soon dissipated and the Leeks settled in very nicely.😊   That was part of my Sunday morning.

It was a struggle to get into the new polytunnel.  I had to crawl in it!  Nah that's  a new Cloche from the German garden centre  in town.  It's stops the flickers and nasty wee beasties from devouring my cabbages.  It makes them grow too.  I think it only cost 5 Euros? 

Not long before we eat our first new spudatoes and cab cab or cabbage and we say " Is it hot or is it me?"

Back tomorrow.

Sunday 3 May 2020

Northsider Garden Tour.

"All aboard. "

Here's  some more pics of some of the gardens:

 The new long border is starting to fill up nicely.  You can see the bay and Hungry Hill over on Beara peninsula.  We live on Sheepshead in between Mizen and Beara peninsulas.
'Portugal' my polytunnel  and the potatoes and my perennials  nursery.   I even managed to capture my Wellington boot when I  took the photo  sitting on the newly painted bench.
 Inside 'Portugal'my polytunnel. I put some soil round the  new potatoes yesterday.

 The perennials and shrubs  nursery.  Want to buy any cheap plants?  Or I will swap you some for some English bitter like Newcastle Brown or Thwaites..?
 The new potatoes covered in soil.  There's even perennials next to the spudatoes.

Inside 'Portugal' my office, potting shed and polytunnel. 

Hope you enjoyed my tour?

Saturday 2 May 2020

Domino Looking At New Plants In The Small Nursery.

Domino our cat was up early the other morning.  He was looking at my baby plant nursery.  That's getting full like my main perennials and shrubs nursery.  I planted another twenty of them yesterday in the new Northsider garden.

I got up early  this morning(7) and was out earthing up the spudatoes in the veg plot and polytunnel.  Watered everywhere and now I am having a brew.

I am thinking of strimming for the morning or maybe do some perennial dividing and potting up? It's  a beautiful day.  Shall we have a sing song?

What We Had For Our Smallholding Tea.

 The polytunnel and veg plot keeps on giving and we seem to be eating new spudatoes every day at the moment: Snowball onion, kale and new po...