Sunday 28 February 2021

A Blonde Rock Goddess. " Uh huh make me tonight".

Yep it's than time of the week again when I feature a favourite Rock Goddess.   Can you guess who she is?  Well her band is called Blondie yet a lot of folk thought she was Blondie herself.

Yes it's the one and only Debby Harry.  She's 75 now and I still think she's gorgeous.  

" I'm in love with a 75 year old Rock star."

Here's Debby Harry singing "Atomic".  Hope it's the one with her all dressed up in a black bin bag ?   You may have missed out buying new clothes in the January Sales that never happened.  Reach out for a black bin liner and make your own sexy outfit!

Way back to 1980 when music was great:

How long before we see some live music again? I see some music festivals are saying that they will be back this Summer.  I'll believe it when I see it.

Saturday 27 February 2021

Digging Over This Years Potato Plot.

 The rain gods finally left us for a while on Thursday.  So I got out my trusty gardening tools and set to work on this years proposed new potatoes plot.  It was pretty overgrown but there is life in the old dog yet.  Here's some pictures for your perusal:

Two lazy Azada hoes.  The one on the left is my Crocodile Azada made by Chillington hoes.  I have had it for over ten years.  The one on the right was made in 2013 by number 1 son.  Just type Azada in my blog search.  It cost nothing and still works brilliantly.  If you're taking on an overgrown allotment, they are the perfect tool for the job.

Tools used included  one shovel, two Azadas,  a four prong pike, one spade, tub to put weeds in.

All weeded and forked over and ready for me to dig trenches, add fym, plant spuds spread seaweed around Paddy's Day.  

Have you started on your veg plot yet?  My next job is to collect seaweed.

Friday 26 February 2021

Tight Wad Polytunnel Potato Planting.

 " What a difference a day makes" sang jazz singer Dinah Washington.  Yesterday I was out in the gardens pruning my potted perennials and I decided to plant some  seed potatoes that my friend gave me last Autumn.  

They are British Queen tubers which he gave us for our Tea.  But being the rather resourceful (Tightwad) that I am.  We saved some of them to plant in the polytunnel:

Digging out some homemade compost to grow my potatoes in.  Yes there are a few weeds growing it but nothing grows where weeds won't grow.

Twelve chitted seed potatoes planted in homemade compost  in old fish boxes.  They have good drainage holes.

Seed potatoes ready to be covered up with our homemade compost.

Ten or twelve weeks time they will be ready to harvest before the outdoor new potatoes are ready.  Hopefully it won't be too hot and we won't  be saying: " It's  too hot for spuds".  Or that other English classic: " Is it hot or is it me?   Chance would be a good thing.  

Any one set their spuds yet in the polytunnel or greenhouse?  See vegetable gardening needn't  cost the earth.   Just some free homemade compost and my friends potatoes!
Total cost of potatoes and homemade compost= Nowt or Nuffink!

Thursday 25 February 2021

The Bergenias Are Putting On A Show.

Lots of flowers both cultivated and wild are starting to put on a Spring show.  One of my garden favourites is the Bergenia:

It' originates in Siberia and China and the wild West Cork doesn't bother it one iotta.  

The great English Victorian Plantswoman Gertrude  Jekyll (one of her relations was a friend of Robert Louis  Stephen and no doubt inspiration for one of his literary characters) loved Bergenias and liked to use them for edging borders and next to stonework to give them a sculptural appearance.

I divide them Spring and Autumn.  In fact I have lots of perennials and shrubs in pots ready to be planted or sold.  Oh for the day when we can go carbooting again.

Wednesday 24 February 2021

The Resilience Of The Daffodils.

 Rain Stopped Play would be a good sign at the moment.   It's throwing it down while I write this post.   There's not an hope of digging over the veg plot.  I have seed potatoes chitting away on the unit in our front room.  They are nice and warm and haven't got an inkling they will be getting planted in a couple of weeks, weather permitting.

I have plants like Bergenias, Hebes and Azaleas and Daffodils coming into flower and yesterday I decided to see how my Daffodils are doing (surviving) after all the wind an rain:

They are fine and there are even more flowers than before.  How do they survive all the buffeting and rocking and rolling and all the rain?

Apparently the Romans introduced Daffodils to Blighty.  Daffodils originate in Africa,  Spain, Portugal and Morocco.    We got our bulbs from Lidl.

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Corned Beef, Garlic New Potatoes And Our Homegrown Brussel Sprouts.

 Brr..  It's that wet and windy that you wouldn't put a milk bottle out in this weather.  Even the rats and mouses (mice) are wearing fur coats.

We had a 'proper' tea last night.   This consisted of a packet of Corned beef (Lidl 2 Euros), some garlic new potatoes for two Euros fifty and some of our homegrown Brussel Sprouts which we grew from seed.  The seeds cost about 2 Euros.   But we have had quite a few meals out of them.  So our meal cost about: 5 Euros for three of us.

A cheap tea.

Apparently Corned  beef is supposed to contain far too much salt.   We demolished everything and a good meal was had by all.  

Sometimes traditional food is all you need.  I love Cosmopolitan food but I also like the stuff we were brought up on.  

How about you?

Monday 22 February 2021

An Irish Indie Rock Goddess: Delores O'Riordan.

Thanks for your comments and views on my last post about the humble seed potato.

Seeing that I live in Ireland I thought I would or should,  better mention an Irish woman in my  list of favourite female Rock Goddesses.

I have seen some classic Irish Rock bands like Clannad :Maire Brennan female singer, (seen them 3 times), Thin Lizzy, Aslan, U2 (before they were famous), Band Of Friends, Hothouse Flowers...  But unfortunately I never got to see The Cranberries.

What a great band with such an amazing and energetic female singer: Delores O'Riordan who sadly passed away in 2018 aged 46.

She was born in County Limerick and never lost that amazing accent.  At the grand old age of 12 she stood up on a school chair and announced: "I'm Delores O'Riordan and I'm going to be a Rock star."   Of course she fulfilled her dream and became an household  name.  

Here's  Delores and The Cranberries:

I find this video so amazing and I feel very sorry that Delores and The Cranberries are no longer entertaining audiences around the world.  At least she lives on in videos and listening to her music.

Saturday 20 February 2021

Time To Get The Spudatoes Chitting.

 The missus came back with three net bags of  Orla seed potatoes yesterday.   They cost fifteen Euros.  I have also got some British Queens what a friend gave me when he harvested his first ever crop last year.   

My Irish Grandfather always grew British Queens and Kerr Pinks.  Back in the the days when most people had a 'garden' and set spuds and other vegetables for themselves and Cow cabbages and Mangels for the livestock.

Last year we grew Home Guard which we bought from our local German garden centre and beer providers.  They were very good in fairness.

We have grown Orla before because they originate in Scotland and are therefore much more blight resistant and for their delicious taste.  My friend sprayed his potatoes for potato blight.  Something I never do.   If we have a wet and humid June.  I usually cut the potato haulm/stalks off with garden shears or use the petrol strimmer if we see any signs of blight on the leaves.

Orla are a first and second early and they can also use for a maincrop.  We only grow early potatoes.  I am going to grow some new potatoes in the polytunnel too. Me thinks I will grow the British Queens in big pots in the polytunnel.  

It's far too wet to do any digging at the moment.  So I am going to start collecting seaweed from a local beach.  I will also cover the seed potatoes with homemade compost when we plant them around Saint Patrick's Day.

What seed potato varieties are you growing this year?

Friday 19 February 2021

The Last Of The Brussel Sprouts.

 I harvested the last of the Brussel Sprouts yesterday.  Between lifting and picking and topping and tailing the sprouts with my kitchen knife.  It took me an hour and half of my life to carry out this task.  The wife duly washed them and put them in three freezer bags.  So that's three meals for us to enjoy of sealed in frozen freshness.  

All safely gathered in.

A full pan of sprouts ready to be frozen.

Brussel Sprouts are said to originate in ancient Rome and they started growing them in Belgium since the thirteenth century.  Hence their name: Brussel Sprouts!

There aren't many vegetables that originate from the British Isles.  May be Leeks from Wales and white carrots and parsnips from England and 'neeps' or swedes from Scotland or even Sweden originally.  

I suppose we could of bought some 'cheap' sprouts for 49 Cents or 35 Pence from a discount supermarket?  Probably grown with artificial 'bag manure ' granulated fertilizer and in a field with no weeds and sprayed with pesticides and fertilizers?  But hell yeah.  We buy cheap veg too in the 'hunger gap'.  

But one thing with growing your own is you know they have had no weedkillers or chemicals and they taste so fresh!   

It also keeps you kind of sane having an hobby when you live in the countryside next to the sea.  I think so anyway.  

Thursday 18 February 2021

Remembering Dig For Victory.

I would have loved to have seen The Dig For Victory campaign during World War Two.  

People young and old were encouraged to grow food anywhere they could.  Be it at an allotment next to a railway line or even digging up the village green.

Merchant ships were being sunk in the Atlantic and Irish and North seas and English Channel..  If it wasn't for Dig For Victory.  Britain would have starved.   

Ration books were still being used in the nineteen fifties and people ate dried egg and Spam:

Classic Monty Python comedy.  

When the lockdown ends we will go the the Iceland store in Cork or Kerry and buy some Spam and Vimto.

Here's the brilliant Public Service Broadcasting with their take on Dig for Victory:

Have you started working on your veg plot or allotment yet?  Perhaps you use to have an allotment or perhaps you would like to get one?   I miss my allotment even though I have my own veg plot and polytunnel called ' Portugal'.

Wednesday 17 February 2021

The Dig.

 We watched The Dig on Netflix on Monday night. Sadly it's  not about vegetable growing and allotments.  It's about Sutton Hoo.  

The brilliant Suffolk born actor Ralph Fiennes plays amateur archaeologist Basil Brown.  Incidentally or coincidentally even.  Ralph lived on our peninsula in the seventies and went to Kilcrohane school.

Basil Brown reminds me of that great plants man Harry Dodson (Victorian Kitchen Garden and The Wartime Kitchen Garden) with his humility and yet an head full of knowledge and wisdom.  

Carey  Mulligan plays the widow and country estate owner Edith Pretty.   She senses that there is something special buried beneath the mounds on her estate.

It's  a film with lots of sub plots and some great music and the foreboding and poignant threat of world war two is often rippling to the surface.   It also shows that death faces us all rich or poor, Anglo Saxon or twentieth century.  

Any road I won't spol it for you.  It's well worth watching.  Especially if you like nosey archeaological programmes like Time Time and Alice Robert's history programmes.  Alice like Heavy Metal like I do.

Here's a snippet of a trailer: 

Tuesday 16 February 2021

Potting Up The Shrub Cuttings And Weeding The Winter Onions In "Portugal" My Polytunnel.

I spent a few hours in "Portugal" my polytunnel yesterday morning.  It's starting to warm up and I was sweating.  Here's some photos:

Successful rooted shrub cuttings.  I repotted some of them into bigger plant pots and topped them with compost.  They will be going outside in a few weeks when we need the space for vegetables and no doubt, more shrub cuttings?

My "Japs" or Winter onions, all weeded and growing very nicely.  It should be fun moving them outside.

Anyone else spent a few hours in their polytunnel or greenhouse, pottering around and getting ready for Spring?

That's  a cracking clump of Rushes outside the tunnel, behind my onions.  They are everywhere!

Monday 15 February 2021

Dog Gone Fleas! Don't Forget Your Reading Glasses When You Go For A Barf.

 I decided to have a barf or bath on Saturday night/neet.  No it wasn't my birthday and no we haven't run out of coal.

"We couldn't afford a tin bath when I was growing up.  We had a paper one."

  That's a Bobby Ball joke.  I bet he's making my mum and dad laugh in the Lancashire part of Heaven?

Any road.  I got into the bath and reached for the shampoo. What ever happened to Carbolic soap?  I wasn't wearing my two Euros 'Reading' glasses from Lidl.  Look what I picked up:

Do you think  someone was trying to tell me something?

Sunday 14 February 2021

Yet Another Rock Goddess: "I Love Rock'n'Roll Put Another Dime In The Jukebox Baby".

Continuing with my favourite women nay Rock Goddesses of Rock.  Today it's another former member of The Runaways: Joan Jett.  

She is one Lady of Rock that gives the audience full on in your face Heavy Rock.  I love the high scream/ screech of her guitar too.

Probably her biggest hit was "I Love Rock'n'Roll.."  It's a cover of the Arrows hit.  They were a London based band in the Seventies and they had their own television show.  Apparently Joan was in England and she watched them playing the track on her television set and she loved it.  

Sadly Arrows bassist and lead singer Alan Merrill passed away from Covid last March.  

In 1982  Joan recorded the song and made this video in monochrome or black and white even.  I was about 19 at the time and I remember singing along to the song on the pub jukebox and me and my mate turned our pool cues into imaginary electric guitars.  Happy days when you could listen to a song on a pub jukebox and have a gargle of some good Northern bitter with your pals.  

Enjoy Joan.  She Rocks.

Friday 12 February 2021

February Daffodils Swaying Forlornly In The Wind.

 I know how you feel oh messenger of Spring.

One thing I have learned on my many walks recently is nature's love is unconditional.  

Lambs are being born, the Gorse and the Daffodils are in flower.  No matter what happens or what weather, nature will carry on.  

Thursday 11 February 2021

Countess Rosie.

 Here's Rosie at Bantry House.  Doesn't she look regal?

Actually we do have a connection through marriage to Bantry House.  My grand uncle married one of the once titled Earl of Bantry's daughters in the nineteen twenties.   She was a school teacher and they moved to Birkenhead.    My grand uncles aunt had previously emigrated to America and became a maid at a big house.  When she retired she moved back here.

My grand aunts followed them and worked in big houses in Cheshire.   Then came the "black fifties" and my dad moved to Lancashire and met my mum at a Palais.

Twenty years ago we moved over here.    My eldest talks of going to Australia or the states and we still want to live in Portugal. Well at least for the winter at first.  The Irish and UK climate is apalling in Winter.    

Two years ago this week we were in the Algarve celebrating our 24th wedding anniversary.  It seems like years ago.  I wonder if we will ever return there?  Everyone and everything is on hold for us all.

It's been quite a reflective post today.

Wednesday 10 February 2021

Winter Views From The Northside.

 Went for another walk this morning over the hills, tracks and boreens of our peninsula in the Southwest of Ireland: West Cork.

According to my mobile phone I did 12667 steps.  

Today I decided I wasn't walking along the main roads and avoiding traffic.  I met a few walkers harmed with all the right walking equipment and of course their "trusty" hiking sticks.   I also met a man walking his dog along one of my favourite boreens.  All of them said: "Hello".

I stopped at one point and took two photographs for my blog:

The remaining snow on the Sheepshead Way overlooking Bantry Bay and Hungry Hill.

Another disappearing snow scene of the Northside and Bantry Bay and Beara  Peninsula.

Hope you enjoyed my walk?

Tuesday 9 February 2021

A Walk In T'Snow.

We had some  sleet snow which settled this morning.  I decided to go for a walk like I did yesterday.  So I decided to put on my "Rainy Day"suit/waterproofs, woollen hat,  boots, two odd gloves and "Trusty" my trusty hiking stick:

No footsteps/footprints, only mine!

I didn't see any humans.  Just some cattle eating silage from a ring feeder and some new Suffolk lambs with their mums.

Today's walk was just under seven miles and yesterday's was four and a bit miles.  

Monday 8 February 2021

A Tractor Sign From Our Front Room.

 If you walked to our humble abode you would see some of a myriad of eclectic things we have collected over the years living in Blighty and Ireland.  

Here's a tractor metal picture hung up in our front room:

Allis-Chalmers are an American tractor manufacturer.   I thought the sign was appropriate for the weather forecast later this week.  

Sunday 7 February 2021

Another Eighties Rock Goddess. "Kiss Me Deadly"

 Lita Ford is my chosen Rock Goddess today.  She was born in London and moved to North America in her teens.  Lita was a member and lead guitarist of the all girl Heavy Rock group The Runaways.

I love eighties Heavy Rock with the big hair and amazing clothes and music. 

Here's Lita:

Did you play your air guitar then? Well  I did.  Imagine having a wife or girlfriend like yon lass that could play the lead electric guitar?  It's  better  than listening  to a Hoover isn't it?  

Friday 5 February 2021

A Walk On The Southside.

Dunmanus Bay yesterday morning.

A boat planter full of Daffodils about to flower.

A bin for dog waste.  Shame there's no litter bins!

St James  C o I church Durrus.  Final  resting place for the Booker Prize Author (twice) JG Farrell.  He was born in Lancashire  like me.   This is  also where my parents and my grandparents rest.  I once visited my grandparents graves when we were just married and my wife said: " They lived by the sea and they are buried by the sea".

I went on a five miles walk with my brother's terrier.  She was absolutely knackered and I don't think she's ever walked so far.  That's 21 miles I've walked so far this week.  


Thursday 4 February 2021

Some Good Telly Tonight.

 Adrian Dunbar presents a programme tonight on Channel 5 at eight PM.  It's  about Irish Coastal Walks:

In tonight's programme he visits Mizen Head which is on to'ther Peninsula to us.   We live in the middle Peninsula which is Sheepshead which is between Mizen and Beara.

The programme will show you  some knock out Irish coastal scenery all from the comfort of your living room.

Fair play to Channel 5 for making such interesting programmes.  Not forgetting Susan Calman tomorrow night when she and her little van go to wonderful Pembrokeshire and it's also on channel five.  

Wednesday 3 February 2021

Blessed Are The Litter Pickers.


I went for my saunter the other day on the main road on the Northside (Northsider) of our Peninsula.  Which is actually the Southside of our Bay.  Eh?  

I notice that some very kind soul or souls had gone to the trouble of collecting the litter washed up on the beach and bagged it up.  All done voluntarily.

These people are the salt of the earth and I thank them very much.  

I can't see why the powers that be can't  create permanent jobs to collect rubbish from the beaches and road verges.  Any chance of a job?  I would gladly do it!

Just think what wombling I would do and find?  Fish boxes, rope, seaweed...

Tuesday 2 February 2021

A West Cork Beach And Some White Horses And A Chat.

 I went for another walk on Saturday.   That's twenty miles last week and 11 so far this week.  I am sure I must have been a dog in another life.   I wouldn't like their dinners though.  

The bay was playing at white horses on this lovely dry day for a change.  The Irish climate is  very mild but it gets far too much rain and wind.   

I took this picture with my mobile phone of one of the beaches on the Northside near where we live:

It was good to talk across the road to a friend who I met a couple of years ago when he was walking to town.  We talked about the weather, the lockdown, Manchester United, the white horses and Bantry Bay being part of the Atlantic Ocean and finally about "Heart Beat", Pickering and Bill Maynard in Selwyn Froggitt.  

It was great to have a chat for half an hour.  The only way to meet people these days it seems is  to go for a walk .  Hopefully there will be someone there to have a chat with?

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...