Sunday 30 January 2022

"Walking On A Old Railway Line."

 Alternative lyrics to Katrina and the Waves 'Walking On Sunshine'.

We went to Abbeyfeale  town in County Limerick to look at the new Greenway the other day.  It's very well signposted and you walk on brand new tarmac where the railway line once ran.  Here's some photos:

Some examples of the well signposted route signs.

A bit about the railways history.

Abbeyfeale railway station now a private residence.
Abbeyfeale railway platform.
Old water tank where the Locomotives had a welcome drink.
Old railway signal.
Please click on the photos to see them in more detail.

We only walked 3 Kms in the Kerry direction.  We walked along the new tarmac surface.  I was really impressed with the quality of the walking and cycling surface.  The terrain is very easy going and much more easier than the hills down here on the Sheepshead Way where we live.

We said "hi " and "hello" to several walkers and cyclists we met on our saunter.  They were all ages and men and women.  

I never noticed any litter bins or bins for dog waste.  I suppose the powers that be expect you to take your own litter home? 

It was great to see a fantastic job done to a once neglected and seemingly forgotten old railway line.  These Greeenways are arteries and channels of fresh air and give the walker and cyclist a safe and enjoyable and relatively easy leisure routes through the Irish countryside, villages and towns.  

I will definitely go back and walk some more of the Limerick Greenway.  

Saturday 29 January 2022

A Mural Of Mona Lisa Supping Guinness In Tralee.


We went over to Kerry for some retail therapy and some of my favourite English beers from the best stocked off licence in Ireland.  

We walked through a ginnel (northern English term for an alley way) and I noticed the Mona Lisa drinking a pint of the famous Liffey water and Blennerville Windmill in the background.  Do you remember when we walked along the ship canal to the windmill?

I love street art and these murals always make me think and smile and though I can't/couldn't paint anything myself I do appreciate art.  

Sunday 23 January 2022

A Favourite Meatloaf Joke.

You know you're getting old when another one of your Rock heroes left their mortal coil this week and God booked them to play that Heavenly never ending Rock festival in the sky.  God bless Mr Meatloaf I will always play your CD's in the car and watch you on You Tube.

I remember "Meat" once telling the following story on  the old electric fish tank we call television a few years ago: 

A circus Ringmaster observed an elderly man shovelling up the Elephant dung.  He asked the man how long he had been doing the job.  The man said: "Over twenty years".  The Ringmaster asked him if he was fed up and tired after cleaning up after the Elephants?

 "No" said the man.  

"It's show BUSINESS!"

Well it made me laugh.

A classic song from a classic Rock star.  Time to get out your air guitar and hairbrush microphone folks:

Saturday 22 January 2022

Childish Things.

 "When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things." 1 Corinthians 13:11.

I once knew a man who use to keep his now grown up children's bikes and prams from childhood underneath a hedge in his garden.  He hadn't got the heart to get rid of them and he realised how soon they grow up and fly the nest.

We have been carrying out some house improvements like a new secondhand kitchen, laminated flooring and we replaced the Stanley Range for a new second hand Rayburn oil range...  So it's been Bedlam right through Christmas and we might be back to normal for next Christmas?๐Ÿ˜Š

The plus side being we have found some treasure like Noddy and Big Ears in the Noddy car.  It's at least twenty five years old probably older than Number  1 son, we bought it for him back when he was born or very little any way?

The wife gave them a bath in the sink and dried it and it's on display on the shelf next to the cookery books.  There are no Peter Pans  in our household, the boy who never grew up.  But there are some things we won't get rid of.

Are you sentimental like us about childhood toys?

Monday 17 January 2022

A Prog Rock Band From The Garden Of England.

People who regularly read my blog will remember when me and my old friend flew to Germany in 2017 and visited the Night Of The Prog at Loreley.  

Hitler built the amphitheatre to host his celebration victory of WW2.  Thankfully this never happened and the powers at be now host concerts there.   It's a beautiful setting overlooking the river Rhine.  The beer was good and the sun gods did shineth on us.

One band who we particularly enjoyed were the David Cross band.  David Jackson was on Saxophone and other instruments and he was once in Vandergraaf Generator.  The David Cross band were brilliant!  

Now how ever David Jackson is in a Kent Prog band and this also features his daughter on vocals.  Her voice is amazing and reminds me of Sally Oldfield, think Moonlight  Shadow..?  The band is called Kaprekars Constant.  Named after the famous Indian Mathematician I believe.  

I'm hoping to see them this year at a festival in Blighty.  My friend and Prog fan kindly told me about them in a email.  Here's  one of there tracks for your perusal and enjoyment:

Do you like them?  You can't beat a bit of Prog.

Any one explain Kaprekars constant mathematical equation? No you're  alright thanks!๐Ÿ˜Š


Saturday 15 January 2022

Mining Under The Trenches.

 I have been interested in the Great War of 1914-1918 for a very long time.  I think it was reading about war poets like Wilfred Owen that have always led me to read or watch anything to do with the war that they said would be over by Christmas.

Last night I flicked through the British Films on Netflix and found The War Below.   I remember that I had read a short story by Alan Sillitoe (I think๐Ÿค”?) many moons ago about some Nottinghamshire miners digging tunnels under no man's land and laying explosives under  the occupied German trenches.   

The miners in the film come from Yorkshire.  It's been made for only 500000 Pounds.    

It's a good film with some very good acting.  It champions ordinary people like the miners who sweat and toiled and risked their lives for King and for Country. They listen to the hyperbole that their efforts will make a difference and end the war.  

The film highlights social class.  Thankfully not something I notice here in Ireland.   Yes I have met ignorant people and people in work places that seem to think they are superior and they will walk past me without even acknowledging me.  But that's life isn't it? I would talk to a scarecrow if it spoke to me.

 It's a good film and shows how brave these men were. Here's a trailer for your perusal:

Thursday 13 January 2022

Getting The Baths And Fish Boxes Ready For Spring.

It's been dry here for the last couple of days and I spent half the day in the veg plot today.   

I've been weeding and digging in the compost heap and mulching the plastic fish boxes and baths.

You can't buy a pallet compost heap like this from B &Q.  It's held together with rope and old baling twine.  I dig out the compost with my trusty four prong pike and fill up and old poultry manure pellets  bucket with it.

Fish boxes topped up with compost make very quick and easy raised beds.       I am using builders plastic to smother the weeds.  I think this is called sheer mulching? It's  an easy way of clearing ground without digging off any vegetation.  The only thing is the slugs and snails love to live under it in warm and humid conditions.  I will no doubt cover the plastic with my ever growing shrubs and perennials collection.

Here's my Japanese onions freshly weeded and mulched with our home made compost.

Have you started work on your veg plot or allotment?   

We don't grow so much vegetables these days especially when you can buy cheap vegetables from most supermarkets for only 49 Cents.  We have never used any chemicals on our homegrown veg and you can't buy that freshness can you? But cheap vegetables are better than nothing especially during the hunger gap before your fruit and vegetables are ready!

Tuesday 11 January 2022

Tight Wad Hedge Planting.

It's been a dry day for a change today here in West Cork.  I spent the morning in the polytunnel dividing perennials and potting on rooted cuttings...

This afternoon  I planted a Myrtle hedge.  I purchased them/ retrieved from Northsider Plant  Nursery or my vegetable plot to be precise.  I picked some Myrtle seedlings a couple of years and potted them on a couple of times.

I hope the flower like my Mrtyle tree does.  I am going to train to be an hedge and it's roots will prevent any slippage or erosion from the bank I planted them in.

All they cost me was my time nurturing them and digging the holes and a some compost.

Gardening doesn't need to cost a lot if you're not fussy what you grow and if you're prepared to propagate your own plants!

Any one else been planting their own hedging plants?


Sunday 9 January 2022

January In The Polytunnel.

Welcome to my office: 'Portugal' my polytunnel friend.   I have been busy today taking Hebe cuttings and dividing some Osteospermums or Cape Daisies:


Makeshift potting bench.
Over wintering yellow Sedums, newly divided grasses and ginger Lily's on the right of the plastic chair.

Osteospermums  flowering.  My Spring cabbages have been devoured by snails.  

I made these Hebe cuttings today.  I took some three weeks ago and they have rooted in the microclimate conditions created by the plastic and humidity.  I only water once or twice a week at this time of year.  

Everything is saturated out in the veg plot and gardens but at least I can still potter about in the polytunnel.  

I have lots and lots of perennials and shrubs that I have grown from cuttings and division and sold them at carboot sales.  But now I I am seriously thinking of getting a traders licence and having my own plant stall.  Have you ever had a market stall? Any advice gladly appreciated.

Have you got anything growing in your greenhouse or polytunnel at the moment?

Friday 7 January 2022

The Seaweed Children.

 No not another name for a Prog Rock band.  I searched through British films on Netflix last night and I found one filmed in 1973: Malachi's Cove.  

Anthony Trollope also called his novel 'The Seaweed Children'.  Have you seen the film or read the book even?

It's set in Cornwall in the nineteenth century.  A poor young girl called Mally (Veronica Quilligan) lives with her elderly and infirm grandfather in a hovel overlooking the beach where she gathers seaweed to sell it for fertilizer with her donkey.

It's a beautiful film with great actors like Veronica Quilligan and I remember David Bradley in Kes.  The two giggling girls in the village shop went on to appear in Birds Of A Feather.  I really enjoyed the film.

We have a few oil paintings from Cornish holidays and we once visited The Lost Gardens of Heligan.  The walled vegetable garden is idyllic.

I often said I would like to live in Cornwall but it never was affordable to do so but at least we did manage live in the countryside next to the sea here in Ireland.

Would you like to live somewhere else? I still dream of moving to Portugal at least for the winter anyway.

Wednesday 5 January 2022

The Girl In The Pink Dress.

I once visited Glastonbury music festival in 1989.  Put Glastonbury festival in my blog search and you will find some of my stories.  Or just leave a comment asking me and I will share anecdotes for you.  Perhaps you have some tales yourself?

We watched Glastonbury The Movie on Netflix to'ther night.  It brought back what it was like to live for four days and nights in a dairy farm that's suddenly become a canvas tent city of 20000 folk, Scrumpy, mud men and women and a girl in the pink dress.

There is a young woman in the film and she just walks around wearing her pink dress.  She reminded me of Julie Christie in one of those nineteen sixties films that I can't remember who walks through London with a smile on her face.

It was a good fly on the wall kind of film and I liked The Verve but I preferred it when we saw The Pixies and All About Eve.  

The first Glastonbury Festival in 1970 cost the astronomical admission price of a Pound and they gave you a free bottle of milk.  It cost us 28 Pounds in 1989 and now it's something like 225 Pounds and sells out in 5 minutes.

Happy days!

Tuesday 4 January 2022

Over The Hills And Faraway.

Sheeps Head Way January 2022.
A stone dragons nest?
Bantry Bay in the distance.
Boreen going over the hills down to the bay.
A meandering boreen with no cars.
The Ice Age must have been fun when these hills were formed.  

I walked up on the hills yesterday near where we have lived for more than twenty years.  I didn't see a soul.  Just sheep and an odd car far away in the distance.

It's been a few months since I had done my hill walking and my heart was going like a kettle drum.  I've still done plenty of walking recently but mainly on the flat and along the roads.  I call it my mountain gymnasium.

I didn't have my headphones with me yesterday's, just my bottle of water and my 'trusty' hiking stick.  Yet again it stopped me when I slipped descending the hills and slipping in the saturated tracks of the Sheepshead Way.

However my mental jukebox began to play in my head.  Good old Gary Moore (RIP) ex Thin Lizzy and who I saw at the Garden Party at Milton Keynes Bowl way back in the 1986.  Seems like a life time away. What a day that was with Mamas Boys, Magnum, Gary Moore and his band, Jethro Tull  and Marillion with Fish headlined the music festival and the sun shone like it did every day when you and I was young.

It was a good walk and blew the cobwebs away.  

Sunday 2 January 2022

Sops Of Grass And A Trip To Ownahincha Beach.

 We had a drive out today.  Our neck of the woods is incredibly quiet at the moment and I don't know if the holiday homes residents haven't come down for Christmas or people are just doing their own voluntary lockdown?  It's definitely been very quiet yet again.

We drove through Caheragh and noticed the customary sop of grass in the road.  Living here over twenty years I know this the rural sign equivalent telling road users that Road Bowling was taking place.  This sport is played predominantly in West Cork and County Antrim.

Men (usually always men) gather at the sides of the roads while men compete bowling a metal ball down the boreens.  We past over thirty men who were waiting to follow the competion.  You often see someone with a metal detector looking for a lost steel ball.  Apparently people bet heavily on the competitors and money is often raised for worthy charities.  

Onwards we travelled through Skibbereen, Leap and to Ownahincha beach.  Remember when I visited there last July and we went in Patrick's chippy for a slap up bag of chips?

There were lots of brave souls walking along the treks, roads and beaches.  We pulled up and wound down the car window:

See the Lichens on the sea wall in the bottom picture? That's a sign of clean air.  The air wasn't very clean when we noticed the chippy was shut!

At least we saw some white horses waves and had a run out.  It was better than me going for a walk on my Jack Jones and not seeing a soul up on the hills overlooking the bays.

It's been a very very quiet Christmas in the countryside next to the sea.

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...