Thursday 31 December 2020

Hungry Hill On New Year's Eve.

 I awoke to see Jack Frost and his missus had been snow painting over on Hungry Hill on Beara peninsula last night:

That's one thing that's really resonated with me this year.  Ireland is such a beautiful country.   

People often commented to my grandmother what a beautiful view there is from where she lived.  My grandmother would give a pragmatic reply: "The view will not feed you".

Sometimes when I go walking on our peninsula I drink the views and the scenery and marvel at God's painting skills.  I feel like I am living in the middle of a giant oil painting.

Hopefully next year we will be able to go to places much farther away and tourists will return to here?

I wish everyone a great 2021.  Thanks for reading and special thanks for all your comments.

Happy New Year.

Wednesday 30 December 2020

A Good Tuesday Tea And A Glass Or Two Of Mulled Wine.

 We had a really nice tea last night.  The wife went to town to the German garden centre and  food and beer providers.  As there ever been a better thing to come our little bustling seaside town than good old Lidl? Any chance of a case of Czech beer or English beer or even Dunkels for that advert?  😊

Wifey duly came home with two pre packed steaks and cooked them in the solid fuel  range/ oven.  They cost five Euros twenty nine for two.   We ate them with chips and a peppered sauce that came from Aldi.

Whilst that was cooking.  We made a pan of mulled red wine on top of the range.  It's  really easy.  You get yourself a good bottle of wine and pour it in a pan and add a mulled wine tea bag/ sachet thingamyjig (Supervalu supermarket) and place it in the pan with some sliced apple.  Bring it to the boil and serve in some heat resistant glasses.  CheersπŸ‡:

Mulled wine sachets and the finished glass of mulled wine.  It's the best winter warmer we have drank since we had some Irish coffees the other night.  I'm having a dry January.  We managed one in October.  Do you like mulled wines?  Any good recipes?

Tuesday 29 December 2020

Logs And Turf.

 One of my wife's abiding memories is getting off the ferry at Dunlaoghaire and the smell of turf from the houses chimneys just before Christmas.

She would also go for four weeks to her grandparents in County Mayo every summer.  She often reminisces about going to the bog by donkey and cart and collecting the hand dug turf and bringing it back along the Boreen's and stacking it for the range in winter. 

My dad told me how he left school when he was fourteen and his first job was digging turf in Clonee in Durrus.  He would cycle there and back after a full days digging.

Number one son brought home some machined cut turf a few weeks ago and some logs.

The aroma is amazing.  It reminds me of smoky Scottish malt whisky πŸ₯ƒ.

Do you have certain aromas you miss or remind you when you were young? You know fresh tarmac, Caramac, your local chip shop..?

Pipe tobacco is another reminder of my grandad.   A few years ago I was digging in the veg plot and the waft of my grandads pipe tobacco reached my nostrils.  Nah it couldn't be.  Could it?

Sunday 27 December 2020

Figures In The Landscape.


Every so often dear old Google sends me a photo from 7 years ago.  The lad with the red coat on is old Northsider himself.  His dads family have been here for at least 200 years.  

The young lad sat down at the front is about twelve or thirteen at the time.  He will be twenty in February.

That's the beauty of taking photos and writing blogs.  You chronicle your time living in the countryside next to the sea.

The pile of stones is the stone cairn I blogged about in October.   My grandmother use to tell us that if we placed a stone on top of it we will always come back.  How true and prophetic.

We will have been here twenty years next July.  Where does the time go?

I often think of my dad and his brothers walking to Sunday school in Durrus and walking over the hill where we walk and how they looked at the same view across the bay and over to Beara.  Not forgetting my grandfather and his father's  father digging for turf and placing it in baskets and donkeys carrying it back to the homestead.

That's what we are I guess? Figures in the landscape.

Saturday 26 December 2020

Christmas Day Presents Photos.

Rosie was delighted to get a pet stocking and she got a rain coat.
Domino trying to open his pet stocking.

A nice bottle of Scottish Malt for me.  Dalwhinnie.  My favourite.  

Hope you got what you wanted for Christmas?

Thursday 24 December 2020

To You And To Yours.

A very merry Christmas to to everyone  and here's to a better 2021.

Not forgetting it's  Prog on a Friday.  Here's  one of the greatest Prog bands from  Blighty.   Yes it's  Magnum.

Wednesday 23 December 2020

A Nice Christmas Display In The German Garden Centre And Beer And Food Providers.

We went shopping in Kerry yesterday again.  It rained most of the time but we did get to go in Iceland for English cheese, Heinz Beanz n Sausages, Ravioli and Vimto.  We also went to an off licence and I came home with a slab of Newcastle Brown Ale and some Somersby cider for number 2 son.  The last time he drank that was in the Algarve.  I hope we can still get these things after Brexit? 

We also went in Lidl and I took a photo of their indoor Christmas display.  Like the shop window displays I blogged about a few weeks ago.  I think its  wonderful that people go to the effort to make the seasonal scenes which I am sure are enjoyed by people of all ages:

Lidl indoor Christmas display.

Fairplay for making the display.

Monday 21 December 2020

Two Wreaths On Top Of The Bookcase.

There are two wreaths on top of the bookcase in our front room.  They make no sound but I am aware of their presence.  Like an elephant in the room.  

One dry day soon. That's  a good one.  They will be picked up and put into the car boot and we will take the short journey to the South side and place them on my parents, grandparents and my dad's brothers and sister's graves.  Two wreaths for two graves.  

Sometimes it gets to me and the tears begin to well up and other times I think of how they are at peace.  Oh such perfect peace.  They don't feel the cold and the rain or worry anymore.   I hate the silence of the graves.

Christmas is a very difficult time this year for everyone.  We will remember the living who can't be with us and we will remember those who have passed on and gained their eternal reward.

Mike Rutherford wrote: "It's too late when you're gone" in his 'Living Years song.'  No longer will we share a drink or a meal or open a present with our departed loved ones.

Sleep tight mum and dad.  Tell baby Jesus "to take care of everyone."

Sunday 20 December 2020

The Morning After The Night Before.

I think Domino must have had his Christmas works do.   He looks rather the worse for wear.  Too many drinks of milk stout me thinks:

 Perhaps Domino has got his own Shebeen?  Drinking the West Cork lemonade?  

Here's one of Domino's favourite songs:

When I was growing up in England my dad would play his Clancy Brothers, The Dubliners and The Seekers records.  All these years later I still play them in my head and on good old You Tube.

Friday 18 December 2020

"Prog On A Friday" "Merry Christmas": Big Big Train.

One Prog Rock band I would/must see live is Bournemouth group: "Big Big Train".   Here is a Christmas video they made a couple of years ago.  

It stars the great Middlesborough actor Mark Benton.  Or "Eddie" in Early Doors.  It's one of my favourite pub sitcoms.  If Coronation Street was real The "Rovers Return" would be the "Grapes."   

Any way enjoy the video it put me in a good Christmas mood and if you're out walking say : "hello or Merry  Christmas' to anyone you meet.  If they don't answer just say: "please yourself"  or sing them a song.🎀🎡.  Have a good weekend.  

Thursday 17 December 2020

Escape To The Country?

 I met a man on my new boots testing hike last Saturday.  I commented how there hadn't been many tourists on the walks this year.  He agreed.  

One thing a lot of people who I have met have commented on is the sale of houses on the peninsula.  Houses for sale are becoming rarer and rarer.  A lot of the buyers seem to be English owners too.

Are they escaping the cities because they want an EU base after Brexit or is it the Covid threat and the rush to get away from the big towns and cities?

I suppose if you are retired and can drive it's not so bad and you can afford to have your shopping delivered online.   Life ain't so bad.  Well apart from the wet weather we are having at the moment.  It must be different if you have a mortgage and have to commute for work and your house is dormitory housing?  Somewhere that you have your tea, watch the telly and sleep in.  

I love the views and walking inthe countryside and the seaside but one thing I have never got use to is the rural isolation.  Perhaps  being born in a town means you can't take the town out of the person?

I think that's why I write blogs.  It's a way of communication to other people.  It's been a strange year for everyone with no holiday, social events, Rock concerts, closed "wet" pubs...?  

I have been isolating for nearly twenty years.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

Still Making Cuttings With The Glass Of Water Method.

There is not much gardening I can do at the moment except for potting on and watering and weeding the newly rooted cuttings in the polytunnel and that's not every day.

However there is the kitchen window allotment.  This consists of small glasses full of water containing cuttings.  Here's the latest success:

You can see roots forming on the 'Touch Me Nots" or New Guinea Impatiens.  These are house plants and originated in the Solomon islands.  Now it's living on the Sheeps Shed Peninsula in the Southwest of Ireland 

You just get a pair of scissors and cut yourself a cutting.   Remove most of the leaves and pop it in a glass of water.

I have got 13 'Wandering Jew' plants growing in compost that I rooted by using the glass of water method.  Go on have a go.

Monday 14 December 2020

Mrs White Plastic Chair Woman "Wants" Her Allotment Weeding.

 This is a new post I composed the other night while the other half knitted and we watched the electric fish tank (television) in the corner.  It's going to be a very long winter. 

 I met this creature on a very overgrown allotment over twenty years  ago when we lived in Blighty.  She would sit on a white plastic chair and look at the grass and weeds growing on her newly acquired allotment.  

We would often pass the time of day and I would talk about how my vegetables were growing and what I planned "to do" on my allotment  that very day.

The lady would sigh and say:  "I need to find a bloke to pull out the weeds and dig it over for me."

The weeks went by and I suggested covering the new allotment with cardboard boxes and one could lay them flat and  prostrate on the ground and then cover them with some kind of organic material.  The woman sighed again and said:

"I'll have to go to the supermarket for some cardboard boxes some time."

A day or two later I walked past her and she sat on her white  plastic chair and noticed nothing had been done on her veg plot.

"I  still haven't found anyone to dig it over".

"No" .  

I think she was after meeting some one or finding a  soil slave to cultivate her plot for her?  I thought of offering to dig some of her plot over for her.  Honest.  But I had "volunteered" on veg plots before and been rewarded with: "Thank you very much".  

My Grandfather on my Mum's  side had been in the army and he said: "Never volunteer for nowt". He also said you should never make a good job of any given task or else that job will be "yours".  He died before I was born and he had an allotment.  My other grandfather had a smallholding.  Perhaps it's  in the blood?

The lady looked middle-aged and had a grown up daughter who often accompanied to her new municipal potager/allotment.

"She doesn't like gardening, she's like me"

Said the lady.

They never cultivated the plot and someone told me:

"They've decided to give it up.  Says it's too much for them".

I think the lady was looking for some one to share the rest of her life with.  Perhaps she should of gone in the Dog and Duck on her own  and met some bar lizard who would have said:

"Can I buy you a drink love?"

They might have sat there  all night with her sipping like a puppy dog and him slurping and scooping downing his pints and spitting and shouting in her ear?  Isn't  that how you get to talk to members of the opposite set? Well you couldn't do it sober, could you?

Or perhaps she put her name down for another allotment where she would find a bloke who would cultivate and tame her veg plot and grow leviathan like vegetables and she wouldn't need to say:

"There's a pie in the microwave."

Post Blog:

I read this to the missus and she said it could be deemed sexist.  I suppose one could say that but it was more about the woman wanting some one to clear and dig over her new allotment while she sat on her white plastic chair.  At least when you have an allotment you can people watch.  


Sunday 13 December 2020

New Boots And A Good Hike.

Bantry Bay.

 My new walking boots arrived midweek via the post.  I paid twenty five Pounds for then from Amazon.  On Friday I put them on and walked round the house in them.

Yesterday I decided to give them a road test.  I couldn't  be mithered (northern English word) to walk and slip and slide over the saturated grass and peat and Rock of the hill tops in between the two bays where we live.

A lonely boreen with Bantry  Bay on the horizon.

A oak yellow Sheepshead  Way finger post.   But I kept to the roads.

Cattle outwintering.  They looked very healthy and one said: "Wot you looking at Mister?"

Paul McCartney's  'Long , lonely road '

started to play in my head.

Then back down on  our North side of the peninsula.  Which is on the South side of Bantry Bay.  I walked between nine and ten miles.  Met a few walkers and one car.  Steeleye Span was my walking soundtrack via Spotify and my ear phones.  No blisters to report and a very good walk was had by my new boots and yours truly.  

Saturday 12 December 2020

Just Like A Child At Christmas.

Someone not me.  Bought Domino our smallholding cat his own "house" kennel or cennel,  seeing he is a cat.

It's upholstered and people often sit on it and use it for a seat.  I have seen Domino inside it about twice.

Last night we found Domino in a cardboard box on top of the cennel.

Typical.   It reminded me of when our kids were little.  You would fork out for a big lump of plastic.  I think they call them 'Toys'.  You see the toy discarded and they would be sat in the cardboard box in an imaginary car, plane or spaceship.


Friday 11 December 2020

"Prog On A Friday". Steeleye Span Putting Us In A Christmas Mood.

 Prog, Folk, Celtic Rock, even Pop.  One band that always make me smile are Steeeleye 

Span.  'All Around My Hat' even made me get up and have a merry dance at Christmas.

But seeing it's only two weeks  to Christmas today.  Here's  'Gaudete'.

It's  absolutely mesmerising and I could listen to it all day long.

Have a great weekend. 

Thursday 10 December 2020

Shasta Daisy's Flowering In December.

I spent yesterday morning in the polytunnel potting on and watering the newly rooted shrubs and perennials cuttings.  

It was bucketing it down and I looked outside and noticed two of my Shasta Daisy's were still flowering.  According to gardening internet sites they should stop flowering in September.

Perhaps it's living on the Gulf Stream or that I didn't cut them back like the others?   

But  there they stood in the heavy rain in all their glory.  

Have you got flowers flowering out of season in your garden?

I have just been outside and noticed an Agapanthus flowering.  I think the plants think it's  Spring.


Wednesday 9 December 2020

Hungry Hill With A Talcum Powder Scattering Of Snow On Tuesday.

 I went for a walk on the main road yesterday and took the above picture with my mobile phone.  I captured a rainbow on the right and the cloud just about to deposit a cloud on top of Hungry Hill.

Hungry Hill is over two thousand feet high and its Mares tail waterfall is the largest in Ireland and the UK.

It's over on Beara Peninsula across from us here on Sheepshead.  Behind us is Mizen Peninsula. 

Daphne Du Maurier wrote the book "Hungry Hill" about copper mine owners.  There was also a film of it starring Margaret Lockwood.

It was good to have a four mile walk, look at the view, not get wet and listen to some Prog Rock on Spotify through my earphones.  I never saw a soul to talk to except some kind motorists who pulled out and indicated when they drove past me.

Ireland in the countryside next to the sea is a nice place to be when it's not blowing a gale or raining.   Today it's throwing it down. Spent the morning potting on and watering in the polytunnel.  Roll on Spring.  I hope we can go on a sun holiday next year.  

Tuesday 8 December 2020

A China Cabinet Full Of Animals....

 Yorkshire  Pudding has posted a great blog about Galloways.    So I thought  I would show you our "jumper" cows.

My late dad was a Womble like we are and he spent every Sunday morning in summer collecting.   I think that's why we like going round carboot sales and charity shops.

When my dad passed away after my mam.  We ended up with his collection of pot animals and the China cabinet.  I have added to the collection since, of course.

See the Galloways on the the left side of the top shelf?

Sentimental items that we will always keep.  What sentimental items do you treasure?


Saturday 5 December 2020

"The Best Of The Bad."

 I spotted this wonderful mural (Hilda Ogden said "Muriel") the other day when we went Christmas shopping.  

When you have been posting blogs for ten years or so you are always on the look out for interesting things and people watching.

Clint Eastwood is one of my heroes and especially his Spaghetti Western films which a lot of them were filmed in Spain.  He was neither good nor evil.  Probably indifferent or something in between.

The late and great Lee Van Cleef was Clint's main protagonist in the films.  Incidentally good old Channel 5 are repeating these films on Friday nights this month.

Friday 4 December 2020

"Prog On A Friday". In The Bleak Midwinter .

 Seeing that it is coming close to Christmas.  I thought I would feature a Prog giant and keyboard wizard playing a traditional Christmas hymn.  

I saw the giant of a man that is Rick Wakeman performing with Prog Rock giants Yes in Loreley 2017.  He is one of the greatest keyboardist I have ever seen and he's up there with my other Rock heroes: Geddy Lee, Steve Walsh and Keith Emerson.  

The Yes singer Jon Anderson is from Accrington where the bricks come from.  It is also in the red rose county that is Lancashire. πŸ‘

Incidentally there are now TWO Yes bands.  You couldn't make it up.  I believe the other Yes band are hoping to tour next year.  Gosh what I would give to see some live music again.

Here's  Rick Wakeman playing In The Bleak Midwinter written by Christina Rossetti and the music was composed by Holst. 

It's only short but it puts you in the Christmas mood.  It also happens to be my favourite Christmas hymn.

Enjoy the weekend folks.

Thursday 3 December 2020

Seasonal Shop Windows.

 We noticed these shop window displays on our shopping trip on Tuesday.   I love shop window  displays.  Especially Christmas themed ones.  

Fair play to the shop workers for thinking up and creating these displays.  Apparently snow is on the way.  So the snow themes are very appropriate.

I must order a big trailer of logs.  Our log pile is nearly gone.  

Have you seen any wonderful Christmas shop window displays on your travels?

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Christmas Presents For Dogs.

 Wouldn't that be a brilliant name for  a Prog Rock band?

The missus and myself went Christmas shopping yesterday.  Suprisingly there weren't hordes of shoppers and apart from the "supermarket essentials" we managed to purchase the majority of our Christmas presents:

I have seen the future folks.  Doggy Mince Pies.   Yet another great name for a Prog Rock band.  We didn't  buy them but we did get a necklace that lights up for Rosie and a stocking which contains  Catnip for Domino.

You can't handle or see new ideas when you're internet shopping.  I bought a pair of walking shoes online last month.  Half the price you would pay for them in the High street.  But the soul is so thin and very uncomfortable on rough terrain.  I put some insoles in them and they are much more comfortable.

Yesterday I handled new walking shoes and treated the sole like I was buying tyres for the car.  Comfort and safety must come first.  I didn't buy any though.  I will wait for the January sales.

I am glad our Christmas shopping is over.  Why can't Christmas day be this week?

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 ...