Friday 31 December 2021

Repurposed Railway Lines.

 A wonderful poignant and evocative video lamenting the demise of so many railways in Britain and also over here in Ireland.

I was reading today about Greenways Ireland on the old T'web and Tinternet.  These are paths and roads on old disused and derelict railway lines.   They find work for the unemployed and are to be used by cyclists and walkers and other none motorized  traffic.

I plan to walk some of them next year.  I love the hills where I live but I fancy travelling these old railway lines now minus their tracks.

I love walking and I think it's a great way of repurposing old railway lines.

I wonder what Mr Beeching would think of the repurposing of derelict railway lines like the above?

Happy New year to all my readers.

Wednesday 29 December 2021

English Journey By J B Priestley.


I have just finished reading English Journey by JB Priestley on Kindle.  It was a struggle and depressed me at times.  JB Priestley was commissioned to write this in 1933 the same year my mother was born.

Victor Gollancz also commissioned Eric Blair (George Orwell) to write The Road To Wigan Pier.  I read that years ago and found that book far easier to read.   JB Priestley travels around England visiting different towns and comments about the places and it's people.

He had fought in the First World War and soon realised he was living in a land not fit for heroes with slum houses and mass unemployment and his writing is amusing, shocking and some of it would be politically incorrect today.  

However despite this I was left with the impression of a very patriotic writer who championed the working classes and a man who hated poverty and injustice.  He talks of one scenario of there being coal mines in Westminister and the Miners being treated and paid like Stockbrokers.   If only.

JB Priestley came from the North and it is that and the Midlands that he highlights the poverty but he also waxes lyrically about Southern places like the Cotswolds and Devon and Dorset where the water painting artists painted before the rise of the Industrial Revolution and he describes Norwich to be like a Dickens story with it's fine old buildings, ruddy cheekecd farmers and clerks that resembled a character from A Christmas Carol.

I have been unemployed and felt the depression and worthlessness of being thrown on the scrapheap and realized that hard manual and poorly paid work is better than no work.  But I thank God that I never suffered like the post industrial revolution employees of the nineteen thirties.

However without being hopefully too negative.  I will leave you a joke of his:

A weaver up Blackburn  way had just lost her husband.  She decided to have him cremated and put his ashes in a egg timer.  Th'owd devil wouldn't ever work when 'e wer alive, so 'e can start doing a bit now  'e's deead."

I'm glad I finished reading the book but I didn't enjoy reading about poor people struggling.  But I like how he championed all people especially ordinary folk like waiters or miners or barmaids..  

Tuesday 28 December 2021

Abstract Dog Art?

No not another name for a Prog Rock band.

I was woken up at five in the morning yesterday with Domino (our pussy cat) purring on the bed.  He was no doubt pleased that he achieved this amazing feat.  We should have renamed him 'Cuckoo' because he likes living in other nests!

I couldn't get back to sleep and read blogs and emails for an hour or two.  Then some how I turned off the lampity at the side of my bed and managed to some how fall to sleep.  I awoke at 7.45 and walked into the newish kitchen and found a abstract art exhibition:

Our new puppy dog says her work is called 'Detritus'. It is a fine example of a bored and early riser of a puppy that decided to empty the contents of a polythene bag for recycling and distribute the contents all over the kitchen floor.

She asked me if those posh folk at the Tate Modern would like to buy her work? Well they once bought a pile of bricks didn't they? 

What do you reckon? Twenty grand and a years supply of Winalot?

Sunday 26 December 2021

Is It Global Warming Or Is It Because We Live On The Gulf Stream?

 I had a look at my sadly neglected garden and veg plots yesterday (Boxing Day) and noticed some flowers on my perennials and a wild Irish Rose:

Paris Daisy.
Shasta Daisy.
Geranium.  It's a fragrant one with a lovely perfume.

Bergenia.  They originate in Siberia so they must think it's Summer?☺

A wild Irish Rose.

The world's gone mad.  I just hope the birds haven't started nesting yet.

Thoughts About Boxing Day, Buying Hoovers And Famous Poets Contradictions.

Today is Boxing Day or Stephens Day here in Hibernia or Ireland to be precise.

Traditionally people from the big houses would give the little men and women boxes or presents on this day.  Probably Toblerones and Hoover bags.

Talking of Hoovers you know what we did last weekend? We only went in Argos and purchased three vacuum cleaners.  No they weren't for me and I even gave my usual blog rant about if there was a political party that pledged to ban Hoovers in their manifesto I would vote for them!  I told this to the cashier/receipt checker and she laughed.  The wife carried one vacuum cleaner and I carried the other two.  Oh what looks we got off people.  It was like they were thinking: " Is there an Hoover shortage?" 

Yes I'm a man of contradictions.  Saying that they weren't for me.  I sound like a drug dealer or even worse, a Hoover dealer.

Talking of contradictions.  I watched a cracking Sky Arts programme presented by Frank Skinner and Denise Mina: Wordsworth and Coleridge Roadtrip the other night.  I love Frank Skinner because he always makes me laugh. 

 Any road if you can chance go see the programme please watch it.  They visit the poets stomping grounds and point out how William Wordsworth  commented about how he disliked white houses and ended up living in two such buildings.

They visited Dove Cottage where Dorothy had papered her bedroom with newspapers (like you do) and I remember me and my wife buying a book of his poems there and she read them to me in the beautiful garden and I was that moved that I bought her a ginger man from the famous ginger bread shop and I had a few pints of Ruddles in a white painted pub in Grasmere.

So if it's good enough for a poet Laureate to contradict themselves so can l!


Saturday 25 December 2021

Piffy On A Rock.

Merry Christmas to you all.   I spent Christmas Eve afternoon chiselling up tiles and my dear old mum would have said: 

"It's like Christmas Day in the Workhouse".

The thing is I know that manual labour is not the name of a Spanish workman and I am very good at mentally switching off and day dreaming for an hour or three.

I felt like Piffy on a rock.  You wordsmiths out there probably share my fascination with the etymology of words and sayings like Piffy on a rock, don't you?

So I consulted Professor Google.   Apparently it's a Northern English saying.  More than likely derived from a Music hall catchphrase in the 1930s.  It  refers to the idea of feeling left out like Piffy on a rock bun/cake.  It's  in a similar category as "I'll go to the foot of our stairs".

The things you think about when your chiselling up tiles on a Christmas Eve.

I've just looked at tonight's TV listings on Terrestrial TV in Blighty at 8 pm:

BBC 1.   Call the Midwife.  BBC2.  The Morecambe and Wise Show.  ITV.  Coronation  Street.  Channel 4.   The Great British Bake Off.

Well the powers that put a lot of thought into that didn't they? 

Enjoy your day.

Thursday 23 December 2021

A Nativity Shop Window In Killarney.

 We spotted this Nativity scene in the shop window of an Italian Restaurant in Killarney last weekend.

I love it when shopkeepers go to the trouble of dressing their shop windows.  Every year Christmas seems to be more commercial and less emphasis on the Christian Saviour Jesus who was born in a stable in Bethlehem two thousand years ago.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas with your family and friends and a peaceful and very prosperous New Year.    I'm hoping to go on holiday in the sun next year and take in a Rock festival in Blighty next Summer.

Here's wishing and hoping!

Sunday 19 December 2021

Cornish Treats In County Kerry.

 We went shopping in Killarney and Tralee on Saturday.  

We got sorted with our Christmas presents purchases and I found some Cornish treasure:

Eight bottles of Doom Bar bitter.  Ambrosia for ye gods.  They have a wonderful hops smell and taste.

The last time I supped/sampled this bitter was in Wetherspoon's in Kent in 2019 for two Pounds per pint.

The other thing we bought were the famous Ginster Cornish pasties in Iceland, the foodstore not the country.

It's good to be able to get some Blighty food and drink treats.

Friday 17 December 2021

"Psst. Want To Buy A Cardboard Box?"

 You know the tale of the Spiv selling seagulls on a seaside pier?   "Do you want to buy a seagull gov?"

"How much?" 

"Ten bob".

"Go on then.  Which one's mine?"

" That one up in the sky!"

We were in a shop in Killarney and we saw this:

A empty cardboard box with stars on the lid for 5 Euros or four Pounds twenty five pence.  Just so you can put your presents in it.  

Stop the world I want to get off.  Whatever happened to a shoe box or even a black bin bag to put your presents in?

Next Saturday it will be Christmas day and children will rip open  their Christmas wrapping paper, take our their presents (plastic junk) and sit in the cardboard box it came in and play in one for hours of fun.

But seriously don't  you think five Euros is a bit steep for a cardboard box?

Tuesday 14 December 2021

A Birthday Cake For A Canine Pal.

 It was someone second birthday the other day.  It's a week after mine.   

I remembered watching Blue Peter many moons ago and they made a dog food cake for the TV celebrity dogs and cats.  

So I consulted good old Google and sure enough I found the recipe:

A tin of dog  food.  Some powdered  gelatine mixed with hot water.  Mix it in with the dog food and leave it to set.  Then make butter cream and add vanilla essence and spread it over the cake and leave it to set.

I reckon we should sell them to pet shops.  Dog food cakes a speciality.  This time next year we'll be Millionaires!

Thursday 9 December 2021

The King Of Rock'N'Roll.

Some say Elvis Presley is the king of Rock'n'roll.  I can think of someone else who dragged the world screaming and kicking and changed the music world once and for all.

Johnny B. Goode was written in 1955 by Chuck Berry.  It's  the story of a semi illiterate country boy from New Orleans who plays a guitar and one day will have his name in lights.  It was released in 1958 and reached number two.  

Who could be the king of Rock'n'roll? Bill Haley? Buddy Holly? Eddie Cochran? Maybe it was this man?

I would have loved to have seen him play live.  Yep he's got to be up there with the best of guitar players.

Does he make you get out the old air guitar or even the broom handle? 

Tuesday 7 December 2021

Biscuits Not Suitable For Cavemen.

 Brr.  It's  that cold and windy today that  you wouldn't put a milk bottle outside.

Storm Barra is creating havoc today in Hibernia or the Emerald Isle.  It been forecast to cause  more havoc and most folk including myself are sat at home today.  

I stayed in bed most of the morning and thought of Ted Hughes ' Wind' poem, read some emails and read blogs.  

Then I Googled flooding in Bantry and Cork city and noticed there are lots of fishing boats sheltering and probably fishing in the bay which I can see from our kitchen window.  I'm glad I'm not on the ferry this morning.

The wife said she had brewed up and I sat down to sample a lovely cup of real coffee from the cafetier.   She makes a lovely brew unlike myself who always makes it too strong but it's an excellent home made laxative.😊

The wife produced a packet of Mcvitie's Bourbon biscuits.  I attempted to rip open the packet open and she piped up:

"Pass them me!"

Then she proceed to unwrap the bit on the packaging  that you easily tear.  Out popped the biscuits.  I don't think they are invented to be used by cavemen like myself.

There has just been a mighty wind gust and the wife shouted: " Bloody Hell."

I am waiting for the usual phone call:

"Have you still got electricity, we haven't?"

Sunday 5 December 2021

Cider With Roadies.

 I have read another Kindle book this week: Cider With Roadies by Stuart Maconie.  It's got to be one of the cleverest book titles I've ever seen and a wonderful play on words with Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee.   

Stuart Maconie writes about the Gloucestershire classic and his (and    mine) Lancashire uprising with petrol rainbows in the back street puddles.  He could have been a lyricist for The Smith's.

The book was wrote/written in 2005 but I only discovered it recently through Kindle book recommendations.  I have read two other books of his: Pies and Prejudice and  The People's Songs.

I enjoy his humour and I share his infatuation with music and he's met some of my Rock heroes like All About Eve, Elvis Costello, Kate Bush and Morrissey and how Lemmy supplied Keith Emerson with SS daggers to stab his keyboards when performing with ELP.  I saw this spectacle in action at Manchester Apollo once. I have never felt sorry for a Moog keyboard before.  RIP Keith and Greg.  ELP were probably England's finest Prog band. Up there with the greatest like my favourite band Kansas. 

Stuart even mentions my favourite Wigan joke which goes something like the following:

These Wigan lads see a sign outside a pub: A Pie A Pint And A Woman  For A Pound!

One of the lads says to the Bouncer:

"Whose pies are they?"

I found it laddish humour with a infatuation with music.  Something I share and imagine going from playing in pub bands to becoming assistant editor at the NME?   

I found the book very enjoyable with some laugh out moments like Mark E Smith of The Fall (I knew his cousin)  asking a journalist if  they would like "summat to eat?" Going into the kitchen banging pans down and opening and shutting kitchen cubpoards and twenty minutes late presenting a crisp sandwich on  a plate.

There are many facts some true and some that Stuart made up like the guy from the Monkees with the woolly hat.  His  mother actually invented Tippex (true) and Jimmy Page use to have jam sessions with the Loch Ness Monster in Alistair Crowleys  old house ( I made that up) and Bob Holness from Blockbusters played the sax solo on Baker Street by Gerry Rafferty.  Stuart made that up!

He also waxes lyrical about Stretford's Philip  Larkin and Elvis Presley: Morrissey.   Also that music journalists are failed or frustrated musicians and it's the Rock bands who pay for everything not the record companies.  It's all took out of their royalties in the end.

It was a good read and I will read some more of his books in the future.  I think my next book I'm going to download is Engish Journey by JB Priestley.  Anyone read it?

Saturday 4 December 2021

Steamed Up Reading Glasses When I Wear A Mask.

No I have not been reading "Big Girls Weekly" or looking at  the women's lingerie in Littlewoods catalogue again:

"Stick em up!"

People of a certain age like myself have to use reading glasses from Lidl to read.  This is ok until I have to wear my mask.  My glasses steam up like the upstairs  deck of a Selnec (South East Lancs and North East Cheshire) bus full of smokers or a chip shop on a Friday night.  

I find it very annoying and I have to get my handkerchief out of my pocket every few minutes.  So I thought I would see if there is any way I can solve my steamed up glasses problem.  I Googled steamed up reading glasses and it said you should pull up  your mask just under your glasses and they shouldn't steam up.  So I gave it a whirl and it's much better.

I also read that you can get anti fog glasses.

Do you have problems reading when you wear a covid mask?

Wednesday 1 December 2021

A Classic Rock Track That I never Tire Of Listening To. "Ruby Tuesday".

 It was way back in August 2019 when I last saw some live bands at a Rock festival in Kent in Blighty.

These days I seem to find myself going over to good old You Tube and clicking on to some memorable tracks.  I might even start featuring them on here? 

One track that I absolutely adore is Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones.  It's over fifty years since it was released and it still resonates with young and old and not so young like yours truly.

Apparently Keith Richards penned this track and it's about his girlfriend dropping him and moving in with Jimi Hendrix.  Like they do.  He said:

"Sometimes you're just left with your keyboard and guitar."

So here's a version of Ruby Tuesday sung the by Corrs and accompanied with Ronnie Wood.  

I actually think it's a  very good cover like that donkey jacket  I used for a blanket and my my mum said: "call it an Eiderdown."   

She was having some posh company round and I shouted downstairs: 

"Mum the sleeves just fell off the Eiderdown".

The old ones are always the best.

I would love to see The Corrs.  People often tell me the time they played Bantry Mussel Fair in the nineties and how good they were.  I often read and hear people talking about Rory Gallagher playing Macroom Castle and Nirvana playing Cork.  Someday Kansas will play somewhere exotic in West Cork like Dunmanway or Bantry even  I can dream.😊


Monday 29 November 2021

Another Interesting Cushion!

Yes I found another very interesting cushion on Saturday.  We drove sixty miles or so to Cork and visited The Range.  It's an English home furnishing store that is now appearing in parts of Ireland. 

We noticed this fifteen Euros cushion with the Donkeys and Robin Christmas scene.  Are they looking at the manger in Bethlehem or are they looking at you and me?

Any one else seen any fab cushions lately?

Sunday 28 November 2021

Compostable Plastic Bags.

 We went in Aldi yesterday for a tin of Scottish shortbread and I picked up some compostable multi use bags for 99 Cents.

Great idea thinks me.  Then I thought to myself:

"What do you put in them?"

So I started to think and  perhaps ask Doctor Google for some information.  But before doing that I consulted the missus:

"What do yo put in them?"

"Potato peelings and any vegetable peelings."

I said :" But I can just put them in my weeding bucket or a cardboard box or even just carry them in my hands to my compost heap".

"Exactly she says".

Have these manufacturers tried to reinvent the wheel or am I missing something?

So I  consulted Doctor Google for more information on these compostable plastic bags.  Apparently they are made out of potato starch and will start to decompose after five weeks.  You can put food waste or garden waste like lawn clippings but no meat or diseased plants.

I wonder how many people put ordinary household waste in them and lob them in the wheelie bin and they end up in landfill?

Don't get me wrong.  If you used them to bring your shopping home in they are a brilliant idea especially if you compost them afterwards.

Answers on a post card please or better still in the comment box!  Thanks.

Saturday 27 November 2021

Dining Time For The Cat And The Dog.

 Keen eyed viewers will have noticed this picture on Tuesdays post.

It's a photo we took last year or so and it's been put on a tile and hangs on the wall in the kitchen/dining room.

I think I have posted it before? I took the photo because we thought it remarkable that a dog and a cat could eat their tea together without any hissing, spitting or scratching.  

I have just remembered the picture I posted before was my loyal tripehoud and Jack Russell Fido who went to doggy heaven a few years ago.  We still talk about her and our beloved departed pets every day.  Seriously, every day.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

An Autobiography Of A Genesis Guitarist.

Back in the the early eighties my mates and myself would listen to Heavy and Prog Rockbands records and Kansas, Rush and Steve Hackett would always be playing along with a myriad of other great bands.  

I've admired Steve Hackett and his guitar music for around forty years but I never managed to see him or when he was in GTR.  But I bought his records and in recent years I am always watching his Genesis Revisited shows on good old You Tube.

I have just finished reading my eleventh book in eleven weeks on good old Kindle.  The last one his called " A Genesis In My Bed" an autobiography by Steve Hackett:

It's a very good read and if you like Steve  Hackett  I would purchase his book.  The book starts with his working class roots and it talks of his upbringing, the wonderful 1945 Labour government,  Grammar school, writing an advert in Melody Maker and Peter Gabriel phoning him up and he successfully auditioned for Genesis.    

He mentions lots of famous Rock musicians and singers and his influences like Buddy Rich who greatly influenced Neil Peart author and Rush drummer.  

Steve Hackett also talks about spiritual experiences and seeing a ghost.  Something that I can relate to.  

It's a good read and I enjoyed it.

Tuesday 23 November 2021

"Brew Time."


It's getting cold now and even our canine friends are brewing up.  She likes tea but I'm a real coffee in a cafetiere kind of person.  

I think they  have finally taken over the house.  

They sent me this photo at work and it made me laugh.  

Sunday 21 November 2021

A New Kitten Called Little Miss Missy.


I mentioned on my previous post we had  a new feline addition to the family the other day.  There are lots of adorable kittens needing new homes at the moment.

Regular readers know we already have Domino who is a brilliant mouser and you need a good cat living in the countryside next to the sea.  

Debby from Lifes Funny Like That blog said she would like to see a photo of our new addition.  Little Miss Missy is quite a character.

Many moons ago, probably late eighties early nineties I went to Manchester Apollo and I saw the great axe man/ guitarist Ted Nugent.  What a musician!

Here's one of Ted's hits and I dedicate it to Little Miss Missy:

Wednesday 17 November 2021

A West Cork Town Under Street Lights.

The Square in Bantry.

French Armada anchor.  See plaque below.

I walked from the ferry pier tonight through my local town near where I live.  I'd arranged to meet up at the vets where they had an appointment to get a new cat vaccinated.  I also bought a shish kebab for my tea.

On the way there I took some photos of the square and surrounding features above and below:

Wolfe Tone statue.  Irish Revolutionary leader and the square is named  after him.  

One thing I miss living in the countryside next to the sea is street lights.  It was good to walk through the street lit town instead of pitch darkness.  

Please click on the photos to enlarge them!

Sunday 14 November 2021

Save The Trees.

 I'm reading another Laurie Lee book: Village Christmas And Other Notes On The English Year on Kindle on my phone on the ferry at the moment.  I love short pieces, short stories and essays are almost like paper monologue blogs.  His village childhood Christmas reminisces are magical and so un materialistic like the world we live today.

Another essay in the book  is The Fight To Save Slad.  He mentions the Slad Valley which was the idyllic rural setting for Cider With Rosie.  He talks about rural private housing developments and when developers wanted to chop down twelve ancient trees to make way for a new Tesco supermarket in Stroud.  Many people protested and climbed up into the trees.  He himself penned a joke verse:

" I think that I shall never see
  Tesco lovely as a tree
And if we are forced to cut ours down 

"Twill shame the gateway to our town".

The trees were saved and it proves that the word can be mightier than the axe so to speak.  The trees didn't know what was going on apart people climbing in their mighty arm like branches but thankfully they are still there.

Friday 12 November 2021

A Stihl Saw In The Front Room.

It's  Bedlam at our house at the moment.  Number one son decided to buy us a second hand kitchen this week.  We've done this before when I bought a kitchen for 300 Euros from a posh house in Schull a couple of years ago for the farm house next door.

Apparently people just buy houses and go for planning and demolish the house they have just purchased along with all the internal fixtures and fittings.  They are virtually assured of getting planning because there is already a dwelling there.  

So one day this week I came home from work and he'd knocked down the utility room wall.  I barrowed the concrete blocks outside.

Number one son purchased our 'new'  kitchen units from a posh house in Cork city.   He got a friend to transport down it to West Cork in a van.  Since then he's been busy fitting the units:

We're getting there.  It just shows you don't need to spend thousands to have a nice kitchen.   

I'm having a day off today so I have smashed up the old kitchen units with my sledge hammer and been Kangoing the kitchen tiles off the floor and using a lump hammer and bolster chisel  to chisel up the tile cement.  The Joy's of DIY!πŸ€—

Wednesday 10 November 2021

A Walk Along The Road In The Countryside By The Sea.

I managed to go on a four mile saunter on Sunday morning.  The road was incredibly devoid of cars and lorries and I felt safe walking along the road for a change.  

I've  been reading nay devouring four Laurie Lee books recently.  Oh to go back to Cider With Rosie and no motor cars or lorries and just horses and carts.  Any road here's some pics for your perusal:

Looking across the bay and over to the Beara Peninsula and Hungry Hill.  

Looking over the bay at a promontory headland and Bantry Bay.   Immortalised in song and poems.  God was a brilliant artist the day he painted these scenes.

Sunday 7 November 2021

Spring Cabbage And Japanese Onions.

I have done a post on my vegetables for a while.  I seem to have had such little time for vegetable growing with me working full time on the island and the wet weather tyesterday doesn't help either.

I did how ever manage to plant my Japanese onions sets outside in the old plastic baths filled with soil and my homemade compost.  They are a very hardy onion and don't mind the Irish climate.  

The Roman's apparently never set foot here but they named Eire "Hibernia , meaning " land of eternal winters".   They must have been on a stag do to Dublin when they gave Ireland that name?

The Japanese onions are a bit weedy but they are loving growing in the old baths filled with soil and topped up with homemade compost.  They will be ready to harvest next June.  We often pick them before they are fully grown.

Here's some seed sown Spring cabbages growing in polystyrene welder packaging.  They are loving the polytunnel microclimate.  

I wish I was only working three days a week and I could spend more time in the veg plot and polytunnel and go walking a few times a week.  

I only water twice a week now in the polytunnel.  It's full of plants and they have managed quite well with out me.   

Friday 5 November 2021

A Super Cover Group Singing The Smiths Songs.

Not had time or inspiration to post a blog this week.  Sorry about that I will try to post more shortly.

I recently heard that Stockport band Blossoms and that lad ("never going to give you up") from Newton Lee Willows, Rick Astley, had teamed up to play some concerts and sing only The Smith's sets.

All too good to be true? Not at all.  

I love Morrissey and The Smith's and theyare in my opinion, one of the finest bands to come from the Manchester area.  Not forgetting, Vandergraf Generator (Manchester University) James, Oasis,  10CC and of course Barclay James Harvest......?

Anyway here they are singing one of  The Smiths songs and a favourite of mine: Cemetery Gates.

Have a great weekend. 

Sunday 31 October 2021

The Stolen Village.

 I was up in Tralee a couple of weeks ago and found a great second hand book shop.  The owner was really interesting to talk to and we talked about books about Cork and Kerry..

I purchased two books.  One about a lad growing up on the Blasket Isles and one about the 1631 raid on Baltimore village in Roaring Water Bay here in West Cork by Barbary  pirates.  I've worked in Baltimore and there are pubs named after the 1631 raid.

It's a fascinating reading and apparently 35000 Europeans were captured by Barbary Algerian pirates from the 16th to the 19thcentury.  It's a great read and certainly a different take on the slave trade history we all learned and read about at school.  Imagine being a West Cork milk maid and ending up in a harem or a galley slave?

English Heavy Rock band  The Darkness were staying once on Valentia Island in County Kerry.  They heard the story of the lost village and were inspired to pen the following song:

It's wild today looking at our Bay.

Monday 25 October 2021

The Front Room Stove.

 That's a photo of our front room stove.  One thing about living in the countryside next to the sea you can still have a domestic stove or fireplace.

Regular readers will also know we have a Stanley Mourne number 7 solid fuel range in the kitchen/dining room.  We've been thinking of changing it for an oil range.  Fuel is getting very expensive in Ireland and also in Blighty.

We use Eco blocks which are compressed wood pulping held together with lots of glue.  They are made in Eastern Europe in places like Latvia and Poland.  They are incredibly warm when the dry kindling gets them going.  We find a deposit of dust in the morning.  They cost five Euros fifty and we purchase them from a petrol station in our nearest town, Bantry.

We  are also going through a lot of logs now.   I like reading to the glimmer of the flames.  I'm on my fourth Laurie Lee book on Kindle.  It's called I Can't Stay Long.  I think he's a national literary treasure and I would love to visit Slad in Gloucestershire where he penned Cider With Rosie.  At least I can read him in front of our stove in West Cork and raise a glass to his writing.

Sunday 24 October 2021

Hot Sauce Bargains.

 We went looking in Tesco's for pork pies and I spotted six bottles of Bulls Eye Hot Sauce - Kentucky Habanero Chilli with whiskey for 20 Cents EACH!  Best before 04.11.21.  

I can't/don't  think sauce will go off soon and it's reduced from two Euros to 20 Cents.

I love hot chilli sauce.  Something not very popular here in Ireland.  I use to always ask for a medium hot doner kebab in Blighty.  

I wonder if they advertise Bulls Eye sauce with superlatives like "smashing, super, great?" 

At least I could afford the bus  fare home.  Not there is any public transport where I live.  Oh for a taxi rank or a pint of bitter.

Saturday 23 October 2021

A Lost Engraving.

 I was trying to contribute to dinner time conversations at my workplace the other day.  I raised the subject of the second world war or the 'emergency' the Irish called it.  Ireland was neutral and my English mother's brother served on a British Navy minesweeper.

Amazingly he was in Bantry Bay for a while.  Little did he know his little sister, my mum would in a few years be marrying a man, my dad living across the water on the peninsula facing him.

Apparently it was quite common for the British Navy to be patrolling Bantry Bay and U Boats surfaced in Dunmanus Bay and they would go into Durrus and Kilcrohane for the 'messages' like cigarettes, Tatyo crisps, red lemonade and peat briquettes and Guinness and newspapers like The Southern Star...?

There have been Luftwaffe  air crashes around West Cork like Dunbeacon near Durrus and Dursey Island near Castletownbeare.  

One of my work colleagues contributed an amusing anecdote: Apparently he had worked with a man who had an old wrist watch belonging to one of the crashed planes Luftwaffe air crew.  There was an engraving on the back of the watch in German.  

He thought it would be a great idea to get the engraving translated and he would hopefully trace the name and hopefully find the airmans relatives and present them with the watch.  So he took it to a local Jeweller in his West Cork town.  And he said he knew German and he could tell him what the engraving said:

"Stainless steel!"

Said the Jeweller.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Some Old Ironstone Willow Pattern Meat Plates From Another Carboot Sale.

 I have not thought of much to blog about the last seven days.   Then I remembered purchasing two

 Willow pattern meat places a few weeks ago:  

They were made by Staffordshire and Derbyshire potteries.  One of then is stamped Ironstone.  These were made around 1830 to cope with the demand for willow pattern plates from China and other parts of the Orient.  

Potters in Staffordshire realised the land was very heavy with clay which wasn't  particularly good for farming but excellent for crockery.  

The two plates are meat plates suitable for big birds like Turkey roasts.  I will probably get plate wires for them and hang them on the walls.  I love Japanese and Chinese Tea houses and their gardens.

It's incredible that they have survived over 100 years old, three or more generations and are still beautiful and could be used to serve the Christmas roast or a traditional Sunday Roast Dinner.

Sunday 10 October 2021

Some Interesting Cushions In Killarney.

 Do you remember the birds nest cushions I recently purchased from a carboot sale?  

Well we spotted some more Christmas shopping in Killarney yesterday:

I think they're fab and would brighten up any drab settee or couch.

Isn't there some clever people who create these wonderful designs?

Thursday 7 October 2021

Another Kindle Book To Read.

 The Jewel Garden: Monty and Sarah Don.

I purchased this Kindle book over twelve months ago and only read snippets of it.  

Travelling on a ferry half an hour a day and five days a week.  It's given me the perfect opportunity to read Kindle books on by dog and bone (mobile phone). In fact I'm  on my fourth book in four weeks. 

Monty Don is up there with my favourite television gardeners: Geoffrey Smith, Bob Flowerdew,  Geoff Hamilton and Carol Klein.

In the book Monty takes the reader around his Herefordshire garden created from fields and how plants self seed and care little about his formal garden plans.  He also talks about his personal business successes and failures and depression and how a day gardening refreshes him both mentally and spiritually.

There's some wonderful prose about how the exhausted swallows arrive at his Herefordshire homestead from South Africa every May and a fox howling in the distance.

I enjoyed the book and I like him and his wife because they use organic gardening methods.   I also find my polytunnel friend 'Portugal' and veg plot and herbaceous perennials borders cathartic and edifying to mind and soul.  We won't mention what it does to the back, especially  my back.

It would make a good Christmas or birthday present for any soil slave!😊

Sunday 3 October 2021


 I took this picture this morning of the Nasturtiums flowering in the veg plot.  They self seed and come back with new plants every year.

We've been growing them in Europe since the sixteenth century.  They originate from South America and Central America.  No doubt they arrived in Ireland with the tobacco, potatoes and fuschia hedging that grows everywhere in the West of Ireland.

The Incas in Mexico grew Nasturtiums for salads.  You can eat the foliage and the flowers.

During WW1 Nasturtiums were used for a pepper substitute when kitchen table pepper was difficult to source along with Hoover bags and Sky TV remote controls and ashtrays on motor bikesπŸ˜€.

Nasturtiums also have medicinal qualities and they have been used in dressings to help heal wounds and blemishes.

Winter is approaching very fast and it's nice to see some colour in the garden at this time of year.

Friday 1 October 2021

Miracles Out Of Somewhere. .

 I've got back into reading books again.  Well Ebooks and Kindle to be precise.  Every working week day I read my Kindle ebook on the fifteen minutes ferry to the island and back.  It's a good way to pass the time and exercise my brain.

My friend and fellow Kansas band fan in Poland recommended some Kansas reading the other week.  So I duly paid for and downloaded via Kindle Miracles Out of Somewhere by Kansas founding member Kerry Livgren.

It's  a memoir and full of life experiences and how a little Rock band from Topeka near Kansas who became Rock royalty and how he became a born again Christian .  

There are miracles like long lost guitars returning, pathos when Kerry and his wife have life threatening challenges through stroke and cancer.

For me a Kansas fan it was the tales about Kansas on the road and the writing of the all time Prog classic Dust In The Wind.  I really enjoyed the book and I feel I know more about one of my favourite if not my my favourite Prog Rock band: Kansas.

I am lucky enough nay blessed to have seen Kansas live in 2014.  I never saw Kerry Livgren but in his book I feel through his writing I have got to know him.

Here's  Kerry with Kansas.

Tuesday 28 September 2021

My Michaelmas Daisies.

 Yep it's  Michaelmas tomorrow the 29th of September.  It's the time of year when the Asters or Michaelmas daisies come into flower.

The Anglican/Episcopalian and Roman Catholic churches all celebrate the feast of Saint Michael.

It was traditionally the day for paying rents, hiring staff and eating goose.  A lot of goose fairs like Nottingham were held around day.   

The next big feast was Martinmass or November the 11th, Armisstice Day.  This was the day when animals were slaughtered and smallholders decided which farm animals to keep for the long winter and hunger gap.

I think we best order some logs and coal.

Sunday 26 September 2021

Another Trip To The Carboot Sale.

A lovely jug featuring Welsh ladies in their national costumes.  They originate from the 
 Dragon Pottery in Rhayader in Wales.  I think the Veg Artist would like this?  Three Euros. 

Price Kensington  Apple Sauce face pot.  From the 1950s for 8 Euros.   They also made  the Cottage teapots the wife collects.

Two bird and nests cushions for one Euros each..

I also picked up 6 CD  albums for 30 Cents each.  Not a bad mornings shopping.

Saturday 25 September 2021

Mince Pies In September?

 Yep.  We happened to be in Iceland  looking for Blighty culinary delights like Vimto and Hollands pies (Lancashire delicacies) and doner kebabs and stuff for my nosebag: dinner on the island across the bay.  

We noticed mince pies and:

Yes less than fourteen weeks before Christmas Day.  

It seems to get earlier every year doesn't it just?

Tuesday 21 September 2021

Rescuing A Young Snail Crawling Along The Top Of The Kitchen Sink.

 Call me soft but..?  I picked a beetroot from one of my raised bed old baths yesterday afternoon.    I brought it into the kitchen and placed it in the sink.

A few minutes later I was summonsed to the kitchen and asked to remove a young snail from drowning.   

Believe it or not I felt sorry for old Snaily and dutifully carried  it out to the garden and gently placed the beetroot leaf and snail in the herbaceous borders.

I know one day it will grow big and devour my veggies but for now I let it go free. Perhaps I should have painted it's name  Snaily on it's shell? Then next year when I see it in my cabbages we can reminisce and discuss how I saved it's life?  But if it doesn't  leave my brassicas alone I will not be a happy bunny ..

My newly picked beetroot lying prostrate and looking forlorn in my polytunnel.  Do you think it would make a good still life photo? I do.

Sunday 19 September 2021

I Found A Miners Lamp From Wigan At A Carbootsale In West Cork.


We got up this morning and  went to a carboot sale here in West Cork.  It's great to see things getting back to normal after the Covid lockdowns and restrictions.

I  bought a few things, just for a change! I spotted the silver and brass miners lamp.  It's 1940s and JH Naylor Ltd Wigan is engraved on it.

I've put it next to my brass M&Q safety lamp made in Ecckles  1977.  I have been looking for another one for a while and never expected to find one here in West Cork.

You never know what you might find on a carboot sale do you?

Two Charity Shop Vases Full Of Feverfew.

"The 18th Century Aspirin Plant." I have this plant growing in my veg garden at the moment.  It is supposed to be brilliant for al...