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!๐Ÿ˜Š

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 bikes๐Ÿ˜€.

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.

Carboot Sale Plants Selling.

We drove over to nearby West Cork  town to a carboot sale on Sunday morning. The online info said we could set up from nine.  I am one of th...