Thursday 31 March 2022

The Village Vicar's Horticultural Show.

 I found this gem on You Tube the other day.  Dick Emery was a comic genius.  Do you not think so?

During  world war 2 he entertained troops as Vera Thin.  I loved his skin head/ bovver boy character: "I think I got it wrong again dad" , Mandy and all his other wonderful characters like Lampwick. 

In today's mad and sometimes sad world such humour would not be considered to be be PC and we would be denied a good laugh and a joke on our television screens.  At least we have good old You Tube to watch our comedy favourites.   

I thought Double Entendre were a Prog Rock band from Paris. 😀

Enjoy the video.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

The Joy Of Homemade Compost.

 I dug over and weeded a vegetable plot for someone on Saturday morning.  Regular readers may remember the veg plot when I rescued it last year?

This time I weeded, dug over and emptied the compost bins and compost heaps.  Two of them had been there for 3 years.  It was wonderful stuff full of red brandling worms.  Oh how I would have liked them back in my Coarse fishing days.  

The compost will no doubt be full of food for the vegetables and birds and full of really useful anaerobic bacteria.  

The birds started singing and talking to each other: "Hey that bloke from down the road is throwing grub on the veg plot".  I have said it before on here that old gardeners reincarnate into Robins.  

I also removed a tarpaulin covering the weeds and grass that I had cleared the overgrown veg plot last year.  This had turned into wonderful friable homemade compost.  

The soil in the veg plot is the best soil I have found over here.  The owners have been putting composted hen muck on it for years and can't you tell the difference.  

In the photograph above you can see that dark brown compost that I dug out and spread with shovel and pike and raked out afterwards.  The grey area in the bottom right hand corner was the last bit to have compost applied.

I think I will make some more compost heaps.  You can never have enough of the stuff.  Don't take it to the waste transfer station make your own homemade compost!

Who wrote The Joy Of Sex? I thought sex was what posh people got their coal delivered in: "I'll have sex bags of coal please!"😀

Sunday 27 March 2022

Rhododendrons In Flower In April.

 The Rhodies seem to flower earlier here on the Gulf Stream in Ireland than they do in Northwest England where I once lived.  It was usually around May when we saw them in all their glory.

Yesterday we went to a village on our peninsula to take flowers to place on my mum's grave for Mother's day.  We also pulled out a few weeds and left it looking tidy again.

We drove through the village and noticed the Rhododendron that always puts on a mighty floral display at this time of year.  It looks quite old and they seem to thrive on the acidic peaty soil here in the south of Ireland.

I think it may be time to visit some large estate gardens like Muckross in Killarney which is free to visit and park and see the magnificent Azaleas and Rhododendrons that originated in Asia.

They are like Oriental Spring brides.  I love this time of year.

Saturday 26 March 2022

Visiting An Irish Indie Rock Star's Resting Place.

 After our stop off in Adare.  We put in the details of my main purpose of the day in Google maps on one of our mobile phones  We were going to see the final resting place of Cranberries lead singer Delores O'Riordan.

Regular readers will remember when we visited Rory Gallagher's grave in Ballincollig in 2020.  They are both two Irish Rockers who I never managed to see live but I never saw Jimi Hendrix or Elvis Presley but I still love them and I saw Rory's Band of Friends in Kent in 2019 at A New Day festival.

Google maps took us up boreens made for horses and carts but now with a tarmac surface and signs saying 'Dangerous Bends'.  We past farmers who waved and racing horse stables and schools and churches and graveyards and fields and more fields and eventually we saw signs for Graveyard on galvanized steel poles.  We realised they had obviously placed them for fans of Delores to see her final resting place.

We got out of the car and opened the gate into the ancient graveyard with the ruined church and we both spotted the grave:

"There's Delores grave" I said.  

"I know" said J.

We walked to the grave and read the epitaphs on the headstone and there was a Cranberries guitar made out of cardboard and painted, letters laminated to Delores, flowers and Japanese flags.  It felt like a sanctuary, a special place to remember a Rock icon.

We are both quite sensitive to places and we immediately picked up on the sadness and love that resonated like a fountain but also the peace.  Oh what wonderful peace.

Thursday 24 March 2022

Sweet Adare.

 We are enjoying the fabulous Spring weather this week and on Thursday we visited the picture post card town that is  Adare in Limerick.

I have visited Adare before on this blog but anyway here's some pictures of an Irish town that could be in Dorset:

Gerald Griffin Poet lived here.
Sweet Adare poem on a gable of the house where the Poet Gerald Griffin once lived.  He was only 36 when he died.

Thatched cottages like you see in Dorset.  The cars spoil a chocolate box picture. Move the double yellow lines to the other side of the road!

Some nice antiques behind an old sash window.

AIB bank.  The Spring garden is a credit to them.  No pun intended on credit.
Dave's Outpost.  Not me!

Vintage car permanently parked outside a pub.  

Wednesday 23 March 2022

A Frustrating Day Out In County Kerry.

 It's Scorchio down on the Irish Riviera this week.  So we decided to have a run out to Kerry.

We decided the other day that we are not going to Dublin to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott.  We paid to see them in Killarney. So we went to Killarney INEC to ask for our money back.  The man in the ticket office said he could not pay us back in CASH even though we had paid CASH for them and he couldn't pay out such a large (88 Euros) amount but he would put it on a bank card and it will be in our account in three to five days.  We were not happy bunnies, would you be? Especially when I was relying on the cash for our day out in Kerry.

With it being such a nice week weather wise.  We drove to Inch beach.  I noticed people sat at the pub/restaurant  beer garden benches eating sandwiches and drinking.  So while I took some photos for the world wide web and all my blogger pals I asked wifey to "get me a jar".  I knew there was no chance of a pint of bitter shandy but a gassy pint of lager would suffice.

I took the photos and wifey came back empty handed and informed me that the pub was CLOSED!

When we walked back to the car we noticed there was a cafe open on the gable corner of the pub building.  The people sat in the beer garden  had been buying food and bottles of water not beer.  

What a week!

Tuesday 22 March 2022

A Grumpy Brew.

I like a nice cup of black coffee in the morning brewed in a cafetiere or French press if you live across the pond or Atlantic.

Wifey sat near me and started dishing out our tablet's.  She bought me some Men's Health  Multivitamins.  I quipped about them putting lead in the pencil.  Only I thought it funny.  Never mind!

Then my wife started dishing out Paracetamol tablets.  We both have our aches and pains and somehow the lid off the tablets bottle fell into her cup of coffee and floated on top of the surface.  So she started fishing it out with a pen.  

Noticing a damsel in distress.  I promptly used the arm of my reading glasses to rescue the lid and someone bellowed:

"I don't want your filthy glasses in my brew that's been around your ears.  Bloody hell."

You just can't  help some folk.

Gosh how I wish I had see The White Stripes.

Monday 21 March 2022

If You Want To Make God Laugh. Tell Him Your Concert Plans.

 To misquote Woody Allen.

Flipping heck! We purchased tickets over two years ago to see Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott in Killarney.  Then along came Covid and all the restrictions like the 5kms rule and the guards stopped your car and asked you "why you are going shopping...?"

The concerts been rescheduled and cancelled many times since.  Then the other day we got an email saying the concert is now going to be held in DUBLIN in June at St Anne's Park and Deacon Blue are supporting them.  Don't get me wrong.  Deacon Blue are a great band and 'Dignity' is an absolute belter of a song.  But I don't think I will be going all the way to Dublin and paying to stay in a hotel.  So it looks like we will have to get our money back, sadly.

Any road or anyway.  I noticed Clannad (I have seen them 3 times) are playing some Irish venues this week on their last ever world tour.  So after much persuasion I persuaded the missus to go to see them.  So we purchased tickets and I played You Tube videos of Clannad last night to get us both excited about the concert.

Now to put the tin hat on it.  I got an email this morning to say some of the band and road crew have tested positive for Covid and they have had to cancel the tour and hopefully reschedule the tour.  Flipping heck again.

Some things are not meant to be!

Sunday 20 March 2022

Back To The Carboot Sale Yet Again.

We saw a car boot sale advertised online and decided to go and have a browse and of course we came back with more treasure.  I should have gone selling plants but there's not a lot in flower at the moment.

Here are some of the things we purchased:

Remember in 2020 when I bought 'Landfall, Slea Head, Co Kerry by John Skelton? Well I  bought 4 more of his prints which include the 'Landfall' (bottom left).   Please click on the picture to see all the Kerry scenes.  

A carved man carrying what looks like a stone head.  It looks Maori but I have Christened him Sisyphus.  Next to him are two Oriental resin figurines.  They have what looks like Chinese writing underneath them.  I love Japanese tea gardens and it's nice to have figurines made out of resin not ivory.

It was a good morning and we will need one of those Barbapapa cartoon houses soon that always bulged at the seams.

Apologies for the concrete floor in the background.  The home improvements are still in development.  I said everything would be right and back to normal for Christmas, 2022.😊

Saturday 19 March 2022

Planting New potatoes In The Veg Plot Time With A Bamboo Mulch Idea.

 We usually plant our chitted new potatoes on St Patrick's day but we never got a round to it and I dug two trenches whilst good old wifey planted the potatoes.  They are Duke of York and we purchased them from the place where buying beer is  verboten before 12.30 on a bank holiday or a Sunday.  They'd run out of compost yesterday

Duke of York newly planted and chitted seed potatoes.

Then I covered them up with soil and decided to experiment and cover the area up with some bamboo we cut down the other day.

The wife reckons it will work like straw and protect the emerging shoots from frost.  I think it will keep the weeds down and will degenerate and feed the soil and crop. Plus the potato stalks will easily push up or push through the bamboo mulch.

I often use old lawnmower and hedge clippings to mulch vegetables.  It's a way of feeding the soil without first composting it.  I have seen videos and read articles on line about using bamboo for a mulch.  A lot of them recommend putting them through the wood chopper first.  I think this would be time consuming and also being a natural or organic gardener and a bit of a tight wad.  I don't want to add to my carbon footprint or my eccentricity (electricy or "leccy") bill.

Have you ever used bamboo for a mulch or planted your 'outside'spudatoes yet? We should have enough with two rows and if you remember we still have our "inside" potatoes in 'Portugal' my polytunnel.

It's  glorious weather for the next few days down on the Irish Riviera.😊

Thursday 17 March 2022

A West Cork Pub Singing A Journey Song.

It's St Patrick's Day today.  In fact today and tomorrow are public holidays and then there is the weekend.

I think it's wonderful that the 4.5 million people in Ireland and the ninety or over 100 million ("I think?")  Irish diaspora around the world can celebrate this day.  There are 6 million people in Blighty who have an Irish parent (like me) or grandparent.  Which is a whopping ten percent of the population.

A few years ago a few of us saw a West Cork band called Rubicon play outside the Boston bar in Bantry.  They sing traditional songs and even Rock covers like the  Journey song.  I particularly like the last section of their take on the song.  Enjoy and Happy Saint Patrick's Day.

Tuesday 15 March 2022

The Diary Of A Plantaholic.

The vegabulls(vegetables) seeds are doing really well.  Especially the ONIONS that we grew from seed to go along with ones we grew from sets and not forgetting the Japanese winter onions.  Why do we grow so many flipping onions? There only 49 Cents from you know where?
All my Hebe shrubs cuttings seem to be rooting.  Soon they will need potting on into bigger pots and more bought compost.  See the Rogue Potatoes growing in the polystyrene "styrofoam" welder packing case? I am talking about those potatoes I dug up and replanted the other week not The Rogue Potatoes the name of an obscure Prog Rock band from Morecambe.
Today I have been taking Osteospermums cuttings and you can see the newly bought bag of compost.  The plants in pots have all rooted and now I am taking cuttings from them.

It's  raining this afternoon and we came back from Cork City with a steak pie from Iceland (not the country) some Guinness and a bottle of German white  wine(strictly medicinal) and some cheap German garden centre and beer providers) potting compost which contains John Innes (hope he is ok?) 

Sunday 13 March 2022

Tumble Dryer Drum Veg Planter.

 Number two son noticed that  the stainless steel drum in the broken tumble dryer had holes in it.  He said to his mum:

" Do you think my dad will want to grow vegetables in it?"

She told me his idea and I went outside to have a look at my new vegetable gardening project.  It was perfect and I placed it on the sheet of builders plastic  which are full of homemade compost next to the baths planters and fish boxes. It was perfect!

Have you repurposed a domestic appliance for a planter in your allotment?  I wonder if I could use Henry the vacuum cleaner for something?  Hmm...? 

Perhaps I should change my blog name to Stig Of The Dump? 

Saturday 12 March 2022

Fugitive Plastic.

 No not another name for a fabulous Prog Rock band.  It's the term for plastic litter which very often ends up in our seas and landfill sites.

We paid a visit to Dealz in Killarney last weekend.  It's the Irish sister company of Poundland.  I often buy Jimi Hendrix design t shirts and tracksuits bottoms there amongst a myriad of other household and garden items.

We had left all our carrier bags in the car and we decided to buy one of their recycled plastic bottles carrier bags.  It was about one Euros fifty and it's very strong and should last a long while before it needs to be recycled again.

Plastic will probably be always with us even if there is more food starch based biodegradable plastic.  I think the carrier bags are a brilliant way of combating or even recycling fugitive plastic!

What do you think?

Friday 11 March 2022

A Tight Wad Raised Bed Project.

 Living in such a damp and mild climate like Ireland is.  Raised beds are definitely the way to go to improve drainage.  Years ago when I lived in Blighty I would dig over my allotment and allow the big clods of earth to be broke down by the frost and rain.  

I decided to make a raised bed yesterday from old pieces of wood I had left over like some old cracked scaffolding planks, some posts, my stash of  cardboard boxes and my homemade compost.

I didn't even use any screws or nails.  My tools were my trusty bow saw and my timber axe that I used to knock the posts in to support the planks:

Newly constructed raised bed.  Just posts knocked into the ground and supporting plank on each side.
I didn't bother digging off the vegetation.  I just covered it with cardboard and dug out my homemade compost from my compost piles. I think they call this sheet mulching and even Lasagna gardening.
Same again.  "A pint of Newcastle Brown Ale?"  "Yes please".  It's good idea to remove any "sticky back plastic" or even Cellotape.

Finished raised beds.  It took me an hour and half and cost me the grand total of Nowt or Nuffink even!

My allotment apprenticeship served me well.  I don't think my vegetables will be bothered that they are growing in a homemade raised bed.  The other vegetables in the old baths and fish boxes don't  mind either.  You don't have to have much money to grow your own vegetables and plants.

Wednesday 9 March 2022

Coffee Table Book Gardening.

 The weather is very wet here in Ireland this week.  If it wasn't for my polytunnel I don't know what I'd do.  That would make another verse to Billy Connolly's "If It Wisnae  Fur Yer Wellies" song". 

Talking of wellies I stepped on a nail on a plank of wood the other week.  Luckily I didn't injure myself but one of my wellington boot let's water in.  Being a tight wad gardener my wet wellington foot  now wears a plastic carrier bag. 

Any road we went shopping in a local charity shop yesterday and I came home with these two hardbacks gardening books:

We paid the kings ransom price of two Euros each for them. They were thirty Euros/Pounds each when new. 

Geoff Hamilton's Paradise Gardens is a a gem of a gardening book and I watched him avidly and he's one of my favourite television gardeners along with Geoffrey Smith, Monty and (dear old Nigel), Carol Klein because she's from Lancashire and eats and drinks gardening and Bob Flowerdew who I mentioned the other day.

The other book is Around The World In 80 gardens by Monty Don.  There's lots of nice pictures of gardens from around the world.  I would love to visit Sissinghurst next time in Kent.  

My two favourite gardens in Blighty were Heligan in Cornwall and Cholmondely in Cheshire complete with its Italian sunken garden and quintessentially English  tea rooms.

Over here in Ireland I would choose Muckross House gardens (completely  free) and lakes, Bantry house, Garnish Island in Glengarriff.  George Bernard Shaw wrote Saint Joan there.  Dereen gardens in Lauragh over on Beara from us have wonderful Rhododendrons and seaside walks and Kells Gardens on the ring of Kerry.  With it's magnificent tree ferns.

Which is your favourite garden to visit? I would love to visit Japan.  Peasholm park gardens on holiday in Scarborough inspired me to like Japanese gardens.

Yes there's going to be some good coffee book gardening book browsing.  I wonder if there's any carrot cake in the cupboard?

Tuesday 8 March 2022

Why Don't They Think About The Wildlife When They Build New Roads In The Countryside?

 We stopped at the side of the N22 road to Killarney the other day to take a photograph of the new Macroom bypass.  

It's an amazing feat of engineering and is ahead of its proposed completion date.  

There are videos on You Tube of the new road.  No one who travels through the town of Macroom can really argue that it is not a bottle neck for traffic and a bypass is needed yesterday.  The same could be said for my nearest town Bantry and many others in West Cork and no doubt where you all live?

I know that cars are a necessary evil and public transport and subsidised rural taxis are virtually non existant in rural Ireland.  

The reason why I'm writing this post is to ask what about the wildlife? First of all the birds and animals who lived in the fields and had their habitat destroyed permanently and the new road is built between fields.  

How much road kill victims will there be when the road is up and running? Could they not budget to put perspex see through panels at the sides of the roads or fencing?  Or can you think of some way to prevent road kill on our rural roads?

Watching Fantastic Mr Fox made me think about these sensient creatures.

This post was inspired by a young badger road kill victim we noticed on a recent car trip to County Kerry.

Sunday 6 March 2022

Growing Bags From The Carboot Sale.

 The sun was cracking the flags so to speak on Saturday morning.  So we had a ride out to Kerry to visit a carboot sale and the others wanted retail therapy.

I found a carboot sale advertised on line on Collect Ireland.

It was at a Church of Ireland carpark in the town of Killorglin which is famed for the puck goat fair once a year.

Any road or any way.  I bought some potato growing bags (6 for 5 Euros) and some plastic seed trays.

Have you ever grown potatoes or any other vegetables like carrots or parsnips in these bags complete with drainage holes?

You just fill them with a few inches of compost, homemade or bought) and place your chitted seed potatoes on them.  Cover them up and add some more compost when their shoots appear.

You can grow them in old polystrene packaging like Tight Wad gardeners like your truly does.  Or even in cardboard boxes.  Did you ever see Muck and Magic years ago on Channel 4? When Bob (real name) Flowerdew grew potatoes in soil filled old tyres?  It was a great programme and not for snobs and aimed at scruffy people like me. 😊

The potato growing bags are a perfect growing medium and you don't even need a garden to grow your own new spudatoes.

Growing Bags.  Perforated holes and ready to set in the polytunnel. 

Filled with 3 inches of  homemade compost and planted with Charlotte seed potatoes from Lidl and covered up with compost.

Saturday 5 March 2022

Digging Out The Homemade Compost For The Veg Plot.

My trusty four prong pike digging out compost for the fish boxes and raised beds and large plant pots raised beds. You can see nettles growing in the compost.  You know the old saying: "Where nettles grow.  Anything grows".  They are so rich in nitrogen and like the legumes ("peas") they put the goodness back into the soil.
I topped up the plastic baths containing my Japanese onions.

We seem to have lots of onions growing at the moment.  I  must find some more fish boxes or even build some wood raised beds?   You don't need to spend money to grow your own vegetables.  You just need to be resourceful like a tight wad gardener like yours truly!

Tuesday was a nice day and I spent the day dead leaving and weeding my many plant pots filled with perennials and shrubs that we have propagated by cuttings and division.  

Then I dug over this years proposed potatoes plot.  I just turned the grass and weeds in to use for a green manure to keep the soil fertile.  Then when I plant the chitted potatoes before Paddy's Day or on it.  I will mulch with fym, seaweed, lawnmower grass clippings and any homemade compost I can find.

You can never have enough homemade compost can you? Don't be taking your green waste to landfill sites and waste transfer stations, compost it!

Wednesday 2 March 2022

A Very Funny Read By A Prog Rock Keyboard Wizard.


I have just finished reading Grumpy Old Rock Star by Rick Wakeman.  It's  got some really funny chapters and I bought it because reading rock memoirs is another one of my hobbies.  

Regular readers will remember me writing about Steve Hackett's A Genesis In My Bed recently.

Apparently according to Kindle I'm on week 25 of my reading spree.

I was lucky enough to see Rick at The Night Of The Prog with Yes in Loreley in Germany in 2017.  I have seen some great keyboards players like Keith Emerson, Jon Lord, Geddy Lee and Steve Walsh from Kansas, the best band in the world in my humble opinion.  I put Rick Wakeman up there with them.

The chapters about him smuggling a KGB uniform out of Moscow by wearing it under his clothes and the hooker in the recording studio are hilarious.   He also meets Fidel Castro and Ronnie Biggs and some crazy characters like the time he went for a meal with Keith Moon and what happened next.

Rick use to drink like a fish.  Rick is very funny and an accomplished musician.

If you want a good laugh I  recommend this book.  I read it on Kindle.

Also: Do you know who played the piano on Cat Stephen's hit single 'Morning Has Broken'?  The hymn was written by Eleanor Farjeon.  I will give you a clue:

Tuesday 1 March 2022

The Rogue New Potato Polytunnel Experiment.

 I noticed some rogue Orla new potatoes plants growing in my veg plot.  I had obviously not dug them all up last year.  So I thought: "Hmm .... " 

Then I carefully dug six of the plants complete with their seed potatoes and decided to be resourceful and planted them in the homemade compost filled polystyrene packaging that my son's welder came in.  It's been a great planters  for the last few years.

Six instant new potatoes plants growing in the polytunnel.

Another one of my tight wad gardening ideas.  Have you ever transplanted potatoes from outside into your polytunnel or greenhouse? 

Hopefully these will be ready within less than twelve weeks to harvest and eat.  Usually they are ready when it's Scorchio and you hear your self saying: " It's too hot for potatoes" and "Is it hot or is it me?"

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...