Tuesday 30 June 2020

Roasted New Potatoes With A Sprinkle Of Paprika.

"Why does the sun go  on shining.  Why are new potatoes ready when we want summer snacks dining.  Its the end of the...."

Skeeter  Davis might have sung the above if she grew new potatoes or had a veg plot or allotment.

It's  always the case that the new potatoes are ready when it is summer time.  When you say things like: "Is it hot or is it me?"

Don't get me wrong I love homegrown vegetables, especially my own new potatoes.  But  sometimes I like to see if we can come up with something a bit different. 

So I had a look on the BBC Food site on the old T'web and Tinternet and found a recipe for roasted new potatoes with a sprinkle of Paprika.

So I  boiled 12 to 16 potatoes for ten minutes.  Then I tried to squash them with the potato masher.  The potatoes were still rock hard.  I was asked:

"Did you bring them to the boil?"

"Course not.  I just left them cook for ten minutes".


The one who must be obeyed boiled them at an higher heat, took over cooking, squashed them and painted olive oil (Popeye's girlfriend) and sprinkled Paprika over them and roasted them on a baking tray.  Here they are:

They tasted OK.  I was also told the recipe was for four people not the two of us!

I did it wrong again!

Have you any new potatoes recipes?

Here's  Skeeter singing the classic:

Monday 29 June 2020

The Polytunnel Flickers Have Been Eating One Of My New Potatoes.

I have seen the future:  Potato Polo mints.

We( me) lifted the last of the spudatoes from the polytunnel yesterday.  Not a bad crop and wifey noticed one of them had an hole in it.  On closer inspection we discovered the culprit had scoffed the inside of the potato.

Now I am the kind of fellow that would share my cigs or even my beer but not my potatoes to a wire worm.

Hope they are wireworm? Metal or iron  worm would eat the polytunnel tubing wouldn't they?

Apparently they drill the holes and the slugs take over.  I have found no sign of the wireworm and they usually live in old pasture or grassland.  My veg plot was once a pasture and we have grassy areas in the veg plot.    An organic way of controlling wireworm is to sow mustard because wireworm don't  like it.  

That's gardening.  One welly boot forwards and one welly boot backwards!

Sunday 28 June 2020

"I Always Meet My Mates When I GoTo Glastonbury".

Another one of my Glastonbury music festival stories, yawn!

I decided to go for a saunter down to the front of the Pyramid stage with a can of bitter in my hand.  A mud encrusted new age traveller accosted me and said:

"Hiya.  I always met my mates when I go to Glastonbury".

It was like when you're in a pub and somebody comes up to you with a pint in their hand and says: " Hiya Dave I haven't seen you for ages".  You have no idea who they are and they carry on talking about people who you have not yet had to pleasure to meet.  Been there, got the T shirt?

Any road.  My old pal who I had never met before looked like he had never had a bath for donkeys years and he says in a Cockney accent: "Give us a neck of yer beer mate".

Reluctantly I gave him a sip or swig of my grog.   He spat out some of it and said:

"F*cking hell it's warm beer innit."

Then he passed it back to me and walked away into the biblical multitudes.

I thought to myself  with much sarcasm whilst throwing the can into a dustbin:

"If I knew I was meeting one of my old mates.  I would have chilled my beer first".

Saturday 27 June 2020

Planting A Hypericum Hedge In June.

I was bored this morning so I cleared some weeds and planted some Hypericum shrubs I grew from cuttings last year.

 New Hypericum hedge.  This cost me nothing, just my time and energy.
 You can see the Cotoneasters on the right that I planted to cover the septic tank a few months ago.  It's doing very well.

This is what the hedge will look like next year, hopefully?

I have a rule now that I only plant things that flower and attract the bees and butterflies.

A West country woman once said to me if you plant Hypericum witches will never walk into your garden.  Don't  know if it's true but it's a lovely shrub.

Friday 26 June 2020

A Glastonbury Festival Tale.

It should have been Glastonbury music festival this weekend.  Taylor Swift should of been strutting her stuff on the Pyramid stage.  But like most things this year.  It's been called off. 

At least you can watch some highlights of previous concerts on the old electric fishtank tonight.

My mates and me went there way back in 1989.  Twenty eight Pounds for a weekend ticket and the sun never stopped shining.  It was like living in a giant canvas city.

I walked down into the area where you could get a glass of Scrumpy for your breakfast  for about a Pound and a paper tray full of chicken and rice covered in blue bottles for five Pounds.  We decided to have a pint of Scrumpy each.  Well it was eight forty five on a Saturday morning after all.

There was a Rastafarian gentlemen shouting: "Rocky, Rocky".  I thought he was calling his dog.  Then I realised he was selling Moroccan or Pot.  There he was acting like your Asian market trader shouting: " Ladies knickers.  One ninety nine". 

It was a great weekend and the highlight for me was seeing All About Eve. 

Here they are at Glastonbury 1989.  I know because I was there.  That's  my Max Boyce impression.

Have you any festival tales?

Thursday 25 June 2020

Friendly Northerner.

I found the following video on good old You Tube recently.

It made me think of when I was on the Tube and trains at rush hour.  Nobody speaks and they just look or pretend to view their mobile phone or read the newspaper.  I have been to airports on my own and no body spoke to me for two hours at the airport or three hours on the plane.

I am a bit backwards coming forward but if you speak to me I won't shut up.  I would talk to a scarecrow if it talked to me.

Yesterday I went on a eight mile walk and had three conversations.  That is very rare living in the countryside next to the sea.  When I use to smoke (I also sweat a lot) people often asked me for a light and then we would start talking.

I suppose that what blogs are.  Written conversations.

Any road here's the video:

The second episode of Tess of the Durbevilles is on BBC four tonight folks!

Wednesday 24 June 2020

Visiting A Beach And Film Location.

Here's some pics of Inch beach in County Kerry.  It's a beautiful beach and was used for several scenes in the David Lean filum Ryan's Daughter.  It's  free to park one's car and you can even hire a surf board and a wet suit for five Euros  a hour.  There's even a pub/restaurant when it opens again.   You could even stop at one of the Lidl stores in Tralee and get the ingredients for a picnic?

One thing I love so much about Ireland is it's very small population.  It's never difficult to get away from the madding crowds.

Here's the same beach in 1970:

Any one for a dodgy American Oirish accent?

Tuesday 23 June 2020

Beltaine Celebration On BBC4.

I stumbled on the four part television adaptation of Tess of the Durbevilles last Thursday evening.   Part two is on Thursday night on BBC Four.

I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to Hardy's fictional Wessex/Dorset in 2018.  When I met the labrador on my blog profile. 

Gemma Arterton plays a brilliant Tess and is just how I imagined her.

One of the the things I love about Thomas Hardy is the way he celebrates the Pagan traditions in his novels.  In the following clip Tess and her friends are celebrating May Day or Beltaine.  It's an ancient fertility dance:

I would loved to have lived in those times.  Would you?

Monday 22 June 2020

A Wet Monday Morning For The Seagulls And Yours Truly!

I went for a four miles walk along the main road in the mizzle this morning.  It was quite windy and not very pleasant.  But I am determined to walk eighteen miles a week at least.  I hurt my back many moons ago and if I don't  walk it gives me jip.

I think I must have been a dog in another life because I always want to go for a walk.  I wouldn't like their dinners or Pedigree Chum farts either.

Any road:  here's a photo of some  forlorn seagulls on the rocks not far from where we reside:

Oh to be in Ireland when it's raining in June?  Or maybe not!

Saturday 20 June 2020

A Slab Of Newcy Brown.

One of the things that I miss so much from England is Bitter.  Especially beer that is brewed from the Midlands and the North of England.

For some reason it's never taken off in Ireland unlike the black stuff.  Perhaps it's because you don't see Hops over here?  I dunno but it's  one of the little things in life that I miss so much.

Apparently when Rolling Stones Rocker Bill Wyman moved to France he missed Piccalilli.  Pork pies are another culinary delight that I miss.

Any road I got an early Father's Day present today.  Twenty four cans of Newcy Brown.

What do ex Pat's miss from Blighty or what would you miss if you didn't  live there?

I often go in Oirish bars when I go abroad to places like the Algarve.  It's a shame there aren't some English pubs (Wetherspoon's are here) in Ireland serving good old fashioned English Bitter.  Cheers!

Friday 19 June 2020

A Boat Ride On Dunmanus Bay.

In all my years of visiting and living in West Cork I had never been on Dunmanus Bay.  Regular readers will know we live between Bantry Bay and  Dunmanus Bay.  I have been on Bantry Bay many times but never on Dunmanus Bay.

Any way.  A friend I met this year said a few months ago he had a boat and he would take me out on his boat on Dunmanus Bay.  Sure enough the other day he kept his word and we went over the hill  to Ahakista.

It was like we had gone to Italy or the Mediterranean not Ireland.  The weather was glorious:

Celebrity house next to the sea.  Who lives in a house like this?
It was a fantastic afternoon here on the Irish Riviera.

Oh what a difference a few days can make.  May was the driest May in one hundred and fifty years.  I hope Summer didn't arrive early and go pear shaped?

One of Akahista's most famous residents was English man Charles Wells.  He actually broke the bank at the Monte Carlo Casino twice.  The Croupier had to say: "We haven't  got a light"  Or when you go in one of those posh restaurants  and the waiter presents you with the bill and you say: " Can we have the Marigolds please?"

We could have been in Monte Carlo it was such a beautiful day!

Charles Well gambling exploits/adventures were actually made into a music hall song.  May I present:

Thursday 18 June 2020

Move Over New Potatoes It's Time To Pot On The Perennials.

I harvested the new potato border in the polytunnel.  Cut a long the edge of the of the compost bags and lay down prostrate for a weed suppressant and puddle mat for the perennials.

These are mainly this years  Nepeta cuttings.  I have potted them and they will make good new plants.  It's very hot in the polytunnel but hopefully the heat and watering should make them grow and force them on a bit.

Any one else like diving and taking perennials and shrub cuttings?

Any one want some cheap plants for their garden?  I will barter or swap you for any perennials  that I haven't got.  This offer is only to people living in Ireland, sadly.  If you come over for your jollies we can fill up your boot.

Wednesday 17 June 2020

Old Milk Churn Stands.

I often walk past this milk churn stand on my walks.  It's a concrete churn stand.  It looks bomb proof.  It had to be strong for eight churns of milk or more.

I always think of visiting my grandparents farm when they had the horse and cart. My grandfather and my uncle would have 7 milking cows and they hand milked them every morning and night.  My uncle would sing songs and a cow  full of devilment would swish her tail or kick the bucket once it was filled with milk.  But only when it was filled.

Next morning the horse would be dressed with its harness and the cart would be attached and we would collect the churns from our own churn collection point.  Then we would sit on the cart and go to our neighbours farm churn stand to drop off our churns.  The cart had car tyres and sometimes the horse would stop and graze the verges.   It's a time gone forever, alas.

Why aren't  these churn stands preserved for ever?.  It's sad to see they are no longer needed.  Progress is the car, a necessary evil?  Perhaps.

I wish I could go back to times when people were poor and the roads had few cars or lorries and people had time to stop and talk and horses and carts collected the milk churns.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

An Ice Lolly Blast From The Past..

I went for a five mile walk yesterday and actually had a conversation with someone  for half an hour.  Usually cars whizz past or I get an occasional "Morning"  if a walker or cyclist pass me. 

I arrived back and the wife had been to the German garden centre and beer retailer.  I don't  do shopping much because 'We' have to do every aisle.  I just like looking in the middle aisle, the plants and compost of course the beer and wine bit!

Any road.  Wifey handed me an ice lolly.  Not any iced lolly I might add.  It was a FAB ice lolly.  Well knock me down with a feather and I will go to the foot of our stairs.  I hadn't seen a FAB lolly for Yonks or donkeys years.  Here's  some pics dear readers:

I must be getting old ("you are") because they looked thinner and smaller.  But they tasted the same and  Thunderbirds started playing in my mental jukebox.

Back in the late sixties Nestle brought out the FAB iced lolly to coincide with Thunderbirds.  Back in the days when you talked about Thunderbirds two, had a crush on Lady Penelope, did Parker impressions: "Yus milady".

Things seemed so much simpler then and you were easily pleased with a FAB ice  lolly!

Oh yes.  Fully Audible Broadcast.  That's what it stands for.    They do look smaller though.

Monday 15 June 2020

"You've Got A Radio. What Have You Got A Radio For?"

That was number 2 sons reaction to the new 'wireless' the wife bought me the other day.
The new 'wireless'/ transistor radio.

I tried to explain the missus  had bought it me to listen to Classic Hits in 'Portugal' my polytunnel.  Then he noticed the radio came with an extension lead:

"Where you going to plug that in?"

"The Earth".

I replied.

"Why didn't you listen to music on your mobile phone?"

I must be getting old folks.  But what's wrong with a tranny radio/'wireless'/crystal set?  I can listen to 80s,90's music.  Or 'Dad' and 'Grandad' music.  Hope the batteries last?  Those battery hens must cost poultry  farmers a fortune.

The following kind of music I liike:

Sunday 14 June 2020

A Stop Off At Kanturk Castle.

We had a ride out in County  Cork yesterday.  Cork is the biggest county in Ireland.  We stopped off at the ruined Kanturk Castle.  It's  no roof and really a fortified house.  It's still very nice though!

There's even holes in the walls to place your gun inside and persuade unwanted visitors that you want: "no milk today please".  Perhaps I could make one to hold a water pistol to  shoot water at canvassers and Jehovah's  Witnesses?  One  consolation of the lockdown they haven't visited for months.  Saying that I do let them in and we talk about God and Jesus coming back in 1914?  I know but you have got to have some visitors haven't  you?

Any way I was very impressed with the stonemasonary and dove tailed buttresses of the castle.  I wonder how many Barratt houses will still be standing in four hundred years?

Would the Irish Tourist Board gis a job?  I have just turned into Yosser Hughes!  They could pay me in pints of the black stuff, red lemonade, Tayto crisps,  briquettes even?

More ramblings tomorrow!

Saturday 13 June 2020

Fifteen Hebe Cuttings With Roots In June.

I checked on the Hebe cuttings I made about a month ago.  May was the hottest in a hundred and fifty years or since weather records began.

It's not exactly cuttings weather.  Especially if you own a friendly polytunnel  called 'Portugal'.  It's  been Scorchio and not all the cuttings have survived.  Even I have failure sometimes.  This is some one who eats sleeps and drinks plants and their propagation.

Any road or any way.  Some one gave my brother  some plants pots the other day ("thank you") and they looked the perfect size to pot on some cuttings.  So this morning I got up and inspected the lads and lasses cuttings in the polytunnel:

 Rooted Hebe cuttings.  "Oh what joy!"  I sound like Miranda's mother!
Fifteen new Hebe plants have taken up residence where the new potatoes where until yesterday.  Cheap multi purpose compost bags used to keep the weeds down and for water to puddle and the roots can have a drink when they want.  Sounds like yours truly.

The compost came from the German garden centre and beer retailer of course.

Have you made any successful shrub cuttings recently?  There's  plenty of time to make them from late July to September.

We enjoyed our new potatoes last night with some corned dog (corned beef) our potatoes, one of our cabbages and some Japanese onions.  All from the veg plot.  The sliced corned beef and bottle of Portuguese white wine came from you know where!   They should give me a job writing for them! 

I wouldn't  mind writing gardening articles or perhaps a book called: Gardening On The Sheepshead Peninsula?

Friday 12 June 2020

More New Potatoes From 'Portugal 'The Polytunnel.

We harvested some more new potatoes today from inside the polytunnel:

A full colander of the Devils.  The Japanese winter onions are also ready for harvesting and so are the cabbages that we grew under the five Euros cloche we bought from the  German garden centre and beer retailers.

The vegetables haven't  had any manmade chemicals just fym and some organic poultry manure pellets and lots of water from the deep well.

There's  nothing to beat vegetables grown this way.  I bet there's not a shop or restaurant that's got potatoes so fresh?

I posted a blog about a large house and garden for sale (put Crosshaven in the blog search) last year near Cork City.   Could you imagine sitting in a restaurant and looking out the window of a large glass Conservatory and watching a gardener digging  and harvesting your vegetables in front of your very eyes?  Then they take them inside and cook and prepare them and bring them to your table?  Homegrown, chemical free and minutes old fresh food!  No plastic packaging either.

You can always tell a potato is fresh if you can peel the skin with your thumb nail.  Steam or boil the potatoes and add some butter and salt and maybe some mint sauce.  You're in potato heaven!

Thursday 11 June 2020

Meaningful Statues And Monuments And Preserved Remnants Of Buildings.

It's been an interesting week watching the news and reading blogs that triggered my memories of visiting Warsaw.  It's a beautiful city and here are some photos.
Warsaw Uprising monument.
The Little Insurectionist.   A monument to a boy soldier who died close to this spot in 1944.  I found it very moving to think children had to take arms and fight the Nazi's.

Ruins of the bank of Polski.  You can see the pock marked bullet holes from WW2. 

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Statues Of Ordinary People.

I first featured the "Onion Seller' statue in December 2017.  There's a lot of talk about controversial statues and the removal of them this week.  Here's one that celebrates ordinary people not politicians...:

We found the 'Onion Seller' statue at Coal Quay in Cork city.  It's a sculpture by Seamus Murphy.

The statue commemorates the 'Shawlies' who were women market traders who sold their wares there.  I think it's great how the statue remembers working class people who lived and worked there.

Statues can be controversial and stir emotions.  For me the 'Onion Seller' stirs warmth and dignity.  The 'Trinity' statue of Best,  Law and Charlton makes me happy.  A statue of a politician like Thatcher makes me annoyed.

What do you think?

Tuesday 9 June 2020

A Ride Out Over To Mizen.

Phase 2 of the easing of the lockdown allows people to travel anywhere in the county they live from yesterday, Monday.

We decided to take Rosie the golden Retriever over to Barley Cove over on  theMizen peninsula.  This is a beach and the sand dunes where deposited there by the Lisbon earthquake  and Tsunami of 1755.

It was strange travelling through villages and a town and not seeing throngs of tourists and pubs and restaurants open.  There's is or going to be a massive recession I fear.  Rural and coastal areas like West Cork need tourism.

 A boarded walkway.
Looking  out to sea.

 Just a big chain.  The plastic floating walkway had been removed bo doubt to stop people going on the beach.
Sea Holly.
It was good to have a run out and go somewhere different for a change.  

Monday 8 June 2020

A Flock Of Seagulls On The Farmhouse Roof.

We noticed a flock of Seagulls on the roof of the old farmhouse the other day.  I wondered if it was a sign that it was rough out at sea?  But it wasn't.  Perhaps they just congregated there because they are having a rest from flying South?

The wife reminded me of that Seagull we named Sid that cadged chips from us when sat on the hotel balcony in the Algarve  last February.

I don't think it was Sid but it looked like him.

"Bom Dia".

I shouted.  But they never replied.

" Anything strange?"

Thinking they might be West Cork residents.

They never answered me either.

The moral of my story is that Seagulls are either deaf or ignorant?

Answers on a postcard or down below.  Thanking you kindly folks.

Sunday 7 June 2020

A Sign And A Band That Makes Me Smile.

There is a metal sign I have on one of the walls.  It's  a quote by Benjamin Franklin.

Beer Is Proof That God Loves Us And Wants Us To Be Happy.

It's the simple things in life that you appreciate so much.  What would I give to sit outside a country pub in a beer garden in somewhere magical like Dorset and drink a pint of bitter or more.

What do you miss so much before our world changed this year?

Here's the wonderful Blackwater Country who we saw at Wimborne Minster Folk Festival in 2018 in The Paddock.  I love the Irish/Punk/Folk mix:

Saturday 6 June 2020

A Weed Or An Old Garden Favourite.

Another wild flower  or garden escapee that lives in my gardens is the Valerian.

It's actually a Mediterranean plant but you find it in Ireland.  Especially next to the sea and it loves masonary and old walls.  I planted some next to the house  when  we built it and they seed freelyevery year:

Here it is growing next to the path.  Butterflies love it.  It also attracts cats and rats like catnip is attractive  to cats.  In fact rat catchers years ago use to bait rat traps with Valerian.

Funnily enough it's one of the few plants that slugs and slugs don't like.  The snails and snails don't  either!

There's  an herbal variety of Valerian that is made from its roots to cure insomnia and for bad nerves.  I have tried the Valerian tea bags and capsules from health shops.  They are very good.

Do you have Valerian in your garden?

Friday 5 June 2020

The First Spudatoes Of This Year.

According to Google we lifted our new potatoes on May the 16th last year.  So they are a bit late this year but not really.  It's good to harvest them before we start saying:

"It's too hot for potatoes".


"Is it hot or is it me?"

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...