Sunday 31 January 2021

In Search Of The Rock Goddess.

 I thought I would move on from my favourite Prog bands and do a regular weekly post about my favourite females of Rock.  This will hopefully crossover many Rock genres and you can tell me your favourite Rockstresses.  It will also dismiss the myth that the majority of blog writers are old people. 

My blog friend Yorkshire Pudding said I should climb Hungry Hill and polish my beloved brass Spitfire ornament.  So this very morning I got out the duster and Brasso and began cleaning and singing :"Clean you buttons with Brasso"...

It's  not perfect but it's better.

Moving on but still with a Spitfire theme.  Here's some one with English and Irish blood like myself and I have been mesmerised nay almost worshipped for the last three or four decades.  Who else could it be? May I present: Kate Bush:

Friday 29 January 2021

In Love With The Spitfire.

 Here's a photo of my brass Spitfire:  

It needs a good polish.  The brass Spitfire is from the second world war era and lots of people collected them to remind them of the bravery and magnificent skills of the RAF and their planes during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz...?

I was born nineteen years after the second world war but we still grew up digging fox holes, playing Japs and Commandoes and sticking your arms out like plane wings like a Spitfire and running down the road making the sound of a Merlin engine.   I haven't done this since I was forty.

Here's the excellent Public Service Broadcasting with their take and interpretation of the mighty and magnificent Spitfire:

Anyone else like Spitfires?

Thursday 28 January 2021

Fool In The Rain.

 I went for my second six miles walk yesterday in the mizzle and rain:

I put on my "Rainy Day" suit(waterproofs), my twenty five Pounds hiking boots and made sure I took my trusty hiking stick.  I was surprised again how warm it was and apart from my hands and face I didn't get wet.

That's 12 miles so far this week and I will do another six miles or so before the week is out.  Life is so mind bending boring at the moment.    I am so grateful to get outside and go for a walk for a couple of hours.  

Wednesday 27 January 2021

"We're Not Going On A Summer Holiday!"

I have been looking at the online Omni vaccine calculator for Ireland today.  There is one for other countries too.  

According to the calculations I should be offered my first vaccine injection in September.   Which is a very long time away when you consider the population of the Republic  Ireland is only 4.5 million.

For people much younger like children they probably won't get their vaccine injection until April 2022.  

Not forgetting that none of the vaccines are even licenced yet for children.

It makes me wonder why they are prioritising the vaccines? Why should schoolchildren who are the workforce of the future not be getting the vaccine much sooner? Why shouldn't people age 16 to 66 (the workforce age group) be getting it now?

Why is one group more important than another? We are all human beings and should be treated equally, shouldn't we?

You've got to do something looking things up when it's Monsoon season in Ireland, haven't you?

Monday 25 January 2021

Giving The Lawns A Trim When It's Too Wet To Mow Them.

 It wasn't  raining the other day so I decided to give the lawns a trim with the petrol strimmer.  The grass was too wet and long to mow it.  Hopefully the frost will knock back the growth a bit too.

It took me about an hour in total and then to sweep the grass off the paths.  I will see if the grass dries out before raking  the grass trimmings up.  

I noticed the herbaceous borders need pruning and a thorough weeding.  But they will after wait until the weather warms up and the ground is no longer saturated. 

The hedges are next.  They never stop growing.  Like some one said about the definition of an hedge: 

A statement of man's arrogance against nature.

At least I  have made a start outside in the garden.  Have you ventured outside in the garden or allotment yet?

Did you hear about the Greenkeeper who use to pour whisky on his greens so the grass came up half cut?

Sunday 24 January 2021

Hungry Hill On A Cold And Snowy Morning.

 The wife took this picture with her mobile phone this morning.  We had woke up to a snowy landscape across the bay.

It made me think of that great American band Mountain and their classic track Nantucket Sleighride.  I think it's closing bars of the track was the theme tune for "Weekend World"?  

I learned recently that Mountain guitarist Leslie West passed away in December.  I would loved to have seen them play. 

Saturday 23 January 2021

The Lads And Lasses In Their Vivariums.

 I thought I would show you some of number 2 son's pals:

Hero the bearded dragon.

Two Geckos 

Two Corn snakes.

Hope you enjoyed the tour?

Thursday 21 January 2021

"What's That Horrible Smell?"

 One day  recently I walked in our  house next door.  There was an horrible smell eminating from the machine that goes ping or microwave to  be precise.

I said: "What the flippity flip are you cooking?"

Number two son smiled and said:

" I'm defrosting two mice for my snakes".

" Do you want some for your tea?"

Unbelievable.  I thought St Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland?

Joke:  What did Saint Patrick say has he drove the snakes out of Ireland?

"Are ye alright in the back lads?"

Wednesday 20 January 2021

Trouble At Polytunnel.

 I noticed a foot long rip in the plastic of "Portugal" my polytunnel yesterday.  We made a patch on  the inside with some plastic and used polytunnel repair tape to hold the patch on.  It was raining and the plastic and the tape was wet and not wanting to stick.

I looked this morning and it seems to be working.  If it's dry tomorrow we will attempt to put some tape on the outside of the tunnel.

In fairness we have had our money's worth out of the polytunnel plastic covering.  It's been on the frame since 2013 and it's survived some of the worst gales in living memory.

The man with the Dublin accent who delivered the tunnel kept saying to us: "If you have any problems, it's on the web!"   I kept repeating "It's  on the web" for months". 

So I Googled polytunnel plastic plastic on "the web".  Apparently if you start seeing rips on the plastic seams it means the sun (Haha that's a good un) is starting to break the plastic down.  The plastic is also very milky.

Flipping heck.  It will cost over 200 Euros for new polytunnel plastic and best of all.  Yours truly will have to dig trenches to retrieve the buried plastic and then fold it up and take it to the local recycling centre.  I am hoping the patch works and "Portugal "lasts a bit longer.  At least until I can find some work or sell some of my shrubs and perennials.  There's going to be  no carboot sales for yonks.  Bloody Covid!

Tuesday 19 January 2021

Donning The "Rainy Day" Suit.

 The weather's been horrible wet and windy the last few days.  Cabin fever and feeling depressed this morning I decided to go for my six mile walk over the hills and down the boreens.  So I put on my new "Rainy Day" suit/waterproofs and set off.  Not forgetting my trusty hiking stick.  

Up the hills into the mizzle and beyond.  

A babbling brook.  

I never saw a soul.  Neither human or sheep.  I think they must be in the sheep shed watching A Place In The Sun? 

The rain was suprisingly not cold and the walking changed the endorphins in my head from fed up to happy.  There's something to be said for a good walk and blowing the cobwebs away.   You can't beat some good waterproofs and the will and get up and go to make you go for a walk.  No matter what the weather.

Monday 18 January 2021

When Did Tangerines Or Mandarins Become Easy Peelers?


We picked up this net bag of "Easy Peelers" for 39 Cents today from our German garden centre and supermarket and beer providers.  I looked at the label: "Easy Peelers".  

Who decided to change their names?  I mean they do what it says on the tin/label.  They are very easy to peel.  I am sure they will still fit in a Christmas stocking? 

All the way from sunny Spain to rainy West Cork.  Well it is today and tomorrow.  

Sunday 17 January 2021

The Oily Spade.

 I once worked on a golf course for a few years.  The Greenkeeper insisted that every hand tool was cleaned under a cold water tap, painted with oil and hung on it's own nail.  This was EVERY DAY.   

There was one ancient spade that must have been painted with more oil in a year than the spade was worth.

I would often ask why couldn't we clean and oil the tools once a week?  But no they had to be done every day.   

Now a days when I have finished gardening.  I rub the tools in some grass and put them away in the shed or "Portugal" my polytunnel.    There's no way I am going to spend my time dipping my paintbrush in a tub of oil and painting my spade.

Saturday 16 January 2021

You're Not In Coronation Street..

It's well and truly cabin fever in lockdown Ireland.  You're not supposed to go further than five Kilometres unless you're going to work, visiting a grave,  shopping, going to a wedding or a funeral or you're a farmer who wants to go and look at a cow.  There are some other reasons too.   

So I walked into  the kitchen the other day from the "new" front room.  The wife was putting the crockery in the Welsh Dresser and then she started taking the HP sauce and tomato sauce( they call it " the red sauce" over here) and other condiments off the kitchen table.   I heard myself say:

"We'll be using them again tonight!"

J turned round and said:

" It's not Coronation Street".

Oh dear.  It's going to be a long  long lockdown.  Why does everything have to be moved every day?

Friday 15 January 2021

"Prog On A Friday." "A Companion Unobtrusive".

 The Prog Rock band I would like to feature again is Rush.   They are a Canadian Prog rock band and their drummer and lyricist Neil Peart passed away last year.

I have read his excellent travelogue, motorbike travelling memoir "Ghost Rider".  In it he often mentions his "mental jukebox".  A phrase I often use on here.   The book also mentions his personal tragedies.  It's an excellent read,

I have liked Rush for over forty years and I have been lucky enough to have seen them twice, once at Birmingham  NEC and once at Sheffield Arena.  We missed twenty minutes of their Sheffield concert because we decided to have another pint in the pub across the road because we thought the support band was playing.🤣

Any road.  The track I have chose today is "Spirit of the radio".   It takes me back to the days when people tape recorded the top forty and played it on a cassette recorder walking to and from school.   Back in the days when my designer bag was made of plastic and said Kwik Save on it.  Happy days.  Not really.

I digress.  But do you remember when you get so excited when you heard the first bars of a catchy song and you would either tape it or rush (Rush) to town to get the single?  This is one of those songs that I couldn't  stop playing.    

It's  about FM radio becoming too commercialised .   There's even a bit of a Reggae experiment in the middle of the song.  Ironically it's probably their most commercial single.

The lyrics are poetic and display Neil Pearts literary and drumming genius.  He's been compared to the jazz drummer Buddy Rich.  I feel honoured and privileged to have seen the three piece band from Toronto: Rush.


Thursday 14 January 2021

Inside "Portugal" My Polytunnel.

 It's not raining here in Ireland today.   It's still too wet outside to start getting the veg plots and gardens ready for Spring.  At least there are some positive things happening in "Portugal" my polytunnel:

Welcome to my office.  My "Japs" or Winter onions are loving it inside in the containers and fish boxes.  The white containers are two polystyrene boxes/ packaging that number one son's welder came in.  It's  grown potatoes and onions for the last two years.  How resourceful is that? 

I'm going to empty the polytunnel soon.  I only water it twice a week at present.

The polytunnel is also full of shrubs cuttings that have successfully rooted.  I apologize for the organized chaos.  

Are you getting itchy feet and wanting to start growing things again?  

Wednesday 13 January 2021

Rosie And Domino Have A Sleepover.

 Domino went next door to visit Rosie over the Christmas holiday.   He seemed to settle in very well and it didn't take long before he fell asleep besides Rosie.

Joke: A man goes to see a Psychiatrist who asks him what is his problem?

Man: I keep thinking I'm  a dog.

Psychiatrist:  Ok.  Jump up  and lie down on the couch.

Man:  I can't lie down on the couch,  I'm not allowed.  I'm  a dog!

Tuesday 12 January 2021

Meat And Potato Pie. Monday Night is "Stodge Night".

 We had homemade meat and potato pie last night for our tea.   None of  that Dinner or Supper stuff.  Supper is what you eat before you retire for the evening or go to bed.

Monday night is "Stodge Night" during  winter.  There is nothing better than sitting down to a good hearty meal after a good hike or saunter, potting up in the polytunnel or after some gardening outside.  If conditions permit.  It's rain stopped play here at the moment after the frost.

The wife baked a meat and potato pie in our Stanley Mourne number 7 solid fuel range:

Freshly baked meat and potato pie.  Growing up in the Northwest of England it was common to see this served with red cabbage and mushy peas at a "Do" or social function.  Who needs voulevants when you have got meat and tater pie?
Red cabbage.  We got this in Aldi.  Must make a mental note to grow some this year again?

The meal when it's served.  Lidl mushy peas.  

Any one else make homemade pies?

Monday 11 January 2021

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas Wrapping Paper.

 January is a good month to look for bargains or even Christmas presents.  The wife went shopping in our local German garden centre and beer providers yesterday.  She came back with ten rolls of Christmas wrapping paper for the princely sum of TWO EUROS!

I know.  But you have got to splash the cash sometimes:

Any one else started buying their Christmas presents yet?

Sunday 10 January 2021

West Cork Pasties.

Another thing we miss from Blighty is the Pasty.  I have sampled Cornish, Dorset, Lancashire and Wiltshire pasties on my travels around Merry olde England.  

Have you noticed on Sky News they have started saying England instead of Britain or the UK?  The other in word is "the jab."

Any road.  We can't  find a decent pie shop here in West Cork.  It's  bacon and sausages or chicken curry and steak pies.  No spud (meat and potato) pies or pasties.  So we decided to make some:

West Cork pasties made with potato, onion and mince.  The wife made four of them.  I'm having another one for my dinner this morning.

The moral of the story is if you can't  buy something,  make it yourself!   Anyone else doing any baking?

Saturday 9 January 2021

Frost In The Afternoon.

 It's finally stopped raining and we have had a week of dry weather and very hard frosts.   Living in the countryside next to the sea I know that the rain always follows the frost.  

It's been too cold to garden and the ground is frozen in places so I have had three walks this week.  A three miles, a four miles and a 6 miles walk.  That's 13 miles in total.  

I took my hiking stick to help me walk up the hills and to stop me falling on any icy or slippy parts of the journey.  It's a mixture of hill, rock, peat, grass, rock and tarmac.  

Here's some pictures:

Frost on boulders that probably fell during the last ice age.   This was taken at one o'clock in the afternoon.

Over the hills and along the old cart tracks.  The vegetation looks very bleak and brown and yellow at this time of year.  I listened to Kansas on Spotify.  What a soundtrack to accompany me on my walk.  Did I ever tell you that I finally got to see Kansas in 2014? Please God I will get to see them again soon.    
Dunmanus Bay glistening in the sun.  I remember walking this track with my dad when I was a teenager.  Ireland is such a beauty of a country.  

I slipped on some frozen black ice coming back down a tarmac boreen down on to the Northside.  Thankfully my  hiking stick saved me from any injury.   It's always worth taking a stick with you when you are walking on the peaty hills and the roads that might be full of black ice.

It was a a good week to get back into the walking after all the Christmas celebrations.  Well food and drink anyway.  The rain comes back on Monday.  It always follows the frost.  I will have to try on my new "rainy day" waterproofs and still go walking.  I mustn't forget my trusty hiking stick.

Friday 8 January 2021

Prog On A Friday. "Miracles Out Of Nowhere".

 Have you ever experienced tears of joy?  I have.  Twice when I saw my two sons born and once when I saw Kansas play live.  It's a surreal feeling.  Tears running down your face and your heart bounding with joy.

I  dreamed and dreamed of seeing Kansas.  Then one day in 2014 my old friend emailed me and told me he would get us tickets if I wanted to fly over to Warsaw to see them.

A few months later I flew there and one night we saw Suzanne Vega and the next night we saw the world's greatest Prog Rock band: Kansas.  They didn't  disappoint. 

Today's track I would like to play is "Miracles Out Of Nowhere".   Founder Kansas member Kerry Livgren had a Christian conversion and a lot of the Kansas songs have spiritual meanings.  This song could be about someone realising that God is real and that earthly treasures are not really so important.

The song could also about a little band from Topeka in Kansas being signed up and becoming the legend that is Kansas.  If any band deserves to be in the Rock Hall of Fame it is Kansas:

In the times we live in.  We could all do with a miracle out of nowhere.  Enjoy:

Wednesday 6 January 2021

"Imagine If Carlos Santana Was An Hairdresser? "Got A Blackmarket Haircut?"

You Rock fans out there will have heard the classic Santana track: "Black Magic Woman".  If he was a Barber or Hairdresser he would make a lot of money on the side at the moment.  "Got a Blackmarket haircut".  

Apparently now all the High street hair salons are shut and the Devil finds work for those with scissors.  

My Barber in Blighty when I was in my twenties was the pub landlady and she use to cut my hair in the pool room for a drink or a fiver.  Well you have to be smart for an after time "lock in" haven't you?  It was surreal to walk down the road and listen to the birds Prog  Rock Dawn chorus.   

My wife has been cutting my hair for the last 25 nearly 26 years.  I think we have gone through two or three Argos hair trimmers and pairs of scissors in that time?

Any road.  Now all none essential shops like hairdressers have closed.  There's apparently the rise of the blackmarket hairdresser.  I say good luck to them.  Of course there are mobile hairdressers.  Are they allowed to visit our houses?  How can clothes and shoe shops and hairdressers not be essential?

In a few weeks time see how many people you see walking around with new manicured hairstyles.  We will be saying:  "How did they manage to get their hair cut?"

Talking about haircuts.  I found this David Bowie gem of a video and Impression:

Tuesday 5 January 2021

A New Super Group: Iron Abba.

Remember when I posted Elvis singing ACDC? Well a certain very popular band from Stockholm have joined forces with some Heavy Metal lads from the East End of London.

I kid you not it's true.  ABBA have formed a Supergroup with Iron Maiden.  I have seen Iron Maiden and I have travelled through the East End of London.  But I have never been to Sweden.  Regular readers will know that we sometimes go shopping in Iceland for Hollands pies and Vimto.  The closest I have ever been to Sweden is visiting IKEA furniture stores in Warrington and in the Algarve.

Anyway with no more ado.  May I present Iron Abba:

Isn't there some clever folk?  Thanks for making this excellent mash up of a video

Monday 4 January 2021

Beef Cooked In Guinness And A Nice Pint Of The Black Stuff.

 We made beef stew cooked in Guinness yesterday in the range.  Who did?  Well I came up with the idea and I did slice some onions.    It turned out really well and it's well worth googling for the recipe.

Did I tell you how once I was in a pub in Doolin and we ordered Irish stew and after eating it I walked up to the bar and said:

"I would like to pay for two Irish stews please".

The wit of a barman replied:

"Why were you hungry?"

Any road:

A nice can of Guinnes and leas than half a pint.  I am an "half" glass kind of person.  A realistic pessimist not a positive optimist.

Irish beef cooked in Guinness with Maris Piper mashed spudatoes.  If you really want to make it and if you ask me I will tell you how?  

Yes I know my "Dry" January should have begun on Friday.  We are using up what's left in Northsider Towers and hope to start not drinking on Monday, maybe Tuesday?🤗   We did manage to complete "Dry" October after all.

Saturday 2 January 2021

A New Kind Of Logs.

 The wife went to town and came home with some  Ecoblaze hardwood Briquettes on New Year's Eve.  She bought them at our local builders merchants in Bantry.  

Apparently they are made from hardwood sawdust and they are also smokeless.

After I asked how much do they cost?  We put two of them in  the stove in the front room.  I didn't think much of them until they got burning:

The heat was incredible.  Absolutely "Scorchio".   I felt like that man from the Remington razors advert: " I was so impressed, I bought the company".  No I am not getting paid for recommending this wood product.  But if the manufacturers would like to send me some FREE ones.😊

They really are excellent. I don't  know if it is glue or the hardwood sawdust compressed into briquettes that makes them give off so much heat?  Any one know?

So we had a few hot Toddy's and watched the Paddington film for the second time.  Well you do need some intellectual stimulation don't you?  At one point I thought poor old Paddington was going to die.  Thankfully for me and millions of other grown up kids, he didn't die.

Friday 1 January 2021

"Prog On A Friday". 'Northern Lights.' Renaissance.

 Happy New Year.  Today I would like to feature Prog Rock band Renaissance.  I am sure you remember the song and it reached number 10 in the charts.

In recent weeks I have found Lancashire connections to some of the bands I have featured like Jethro Tull, Maddy Prior, Jon Anderson and now the leader singer of Renaissance is a Lancashire lass and she comes from Bolton. 

I also like to think that Keith Emerson wore a Manchester United shirt when he played his keyboard on the Lancashire side of his street in Todmorden.  Readers may be unaware that Todmorden is in Lancashire and Yorkshire.  

Apparently the song is about Annie Haslam leaving the northern lights of northern England.  I and I am sure millions others thought it was about Aurero borealis.  Any road here's a great song and I hope they play a major Prog  Rock festival in Europe soon and I can see them.  Enjoy:

Many thanks for Yorkshire Pudding awarding me Irish blogger of the year award for 2020 in his Laughing Horse awards.  I am truly chuffed.  

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...