Tuesday 31 May 2022

Rural Statues In Ennis.

 We got to Limerick far too early on Saturday afternoon (I was ready to go at ten)  so we decided to have a drive past Bunratty Castle in County Clare and ended up stopping in Ennis

Any road or any way please click on to yonder photograph and peruse at the rural statues.  There's some old farmers, a moo cow and a faithful sheep dog.

The statues are reflecting Rural Society where buyer and seller seal the sale of a cow with an handshake.

I must do some research and Google who made these statues that champion rural folk and their livestock.  It's good to see ordinary people being championed.

Monday 30 May 2022

We Chanced Upon A Field Of Turf.

 On our way to see Clannad in Limerick on Saturday.  We decided to take the scenic route via Abbeyfeale and on to Glin and Foynes and the Shannon estuary.  

Near the village of Athea we spotted a few fields full of hand dug turf drying.  They looked like they had been there since at least last year if not longer.

What a sight! It seemed like there was a new branch of natural art called "Turf Art". It looked like some natural sculpture or a work of art.

This is the way our organic ancestors have gathered fuel for thousands of years.  Sweating and toiling and hoping for a dry Summer.  Like the farmers saving hay for the pasture grazing shortage in Winter.

I had seen a part of Ireland's rural past.  It looked so natural and a way of life that is quickly disappearing.

Sunday 29 May 2022

I Finally Went To A Concert Again!

 We all lost at least two years of our  social lives to the lockdown.

On Saturday we drove to Limerick to see the mighty Clannad.  It was my fourth time of seeing them and probably the best.  

The UCH in Limerick is set in a modern campus  down leafy avenues and it's capacity is 1000.  Much more intimate than those big arenas where your lucky if you can see the silhouettes moving on stage.  

I even bought a t shirt and will wear it when I see them again ar a festival in Blighty in August.

It was great to see a live band again.  Clannad rocked!

Please click on photographs to enlarge them.

Moya Brennan walks on stage.

Clannad in concert.
Clannad tour minibus and truck for the musical equipment.
Posters advertising forthcoming gigs.
The cover of their new album and my  Clannad T shirt picture.

Have you any gigs planned?

Friday 27 May 2022

Prawn Crackers Or MeπŸ€”.

 Only a bit of fun.

Every time we go in a a Chinese takeaway we always end up with a complimentary free plastic bag full of prawn crackers:

I have a theory that the owners of these establishment are constantly refurbishing their takeaway kitchens.  

They decide that the cheapest way of getting rid of the polystyrene/styrofoam ceiling tiles is to break them into small pieces and give them away free to the customers instead of paying and sending them  to landfill.

That's my theory anyway.  Don't tell me you like them. Do you?😊

What's your favourite Oriental meal?  Mine's Amber Fire Beef.  It's a Korean dish and very hot!

Tuesday 24 May 2022

More Photographs From Killarney.

Here's some more photographs of our visit to Muckross gardens in Killarney county Kerry yesterday:

Rhododendrons in flower.

Dinosaurs food, Giant Rhubarb or even Gunnera.  They love damp and create shade. They originate in South America and their umbrella like leaves catch the Irish rain.

American Skunk Cabbage.  Originally from North America it was introduced to large gardens to be an ornamental but is now considered invasive and a garden escapee.  It's yellow flowers are said to give off a foul Skunk like odour.

Monday 23 May 2022

Rhododendrons And Other Flowers Spotting In Killarney.

 We went to Muckross House and Gardens again to look at the magnificent Victorian planted Rhododendrons, Azaleas and other plants that are in flower at the moment. 

They are excellent mature specimens and originate in Asia.  They love the peaty acidic Irish soil at Muckross.

Queen Victoria visited the house and gardens put Killarney well and truly on the tourist map.  Killarney is still the most visited town in Ireland.

Parking and entrance to the gardens is free and the estate was left to the people of Ireland to enjoy.  If I lived in Killarney I would walk around the estate every week.  

More pictures tomorrow.

Sunday 22 May 2022

Bed Of Roses.

We woke up at 5.30 and it was throwing it down so we decided not to go to sell at the carboot sale.  There was no way that the car was getting stuck in the middle of a field and we would have to pay someone to tow us with a tractor.  Been there, got the T shirt! This was after we had spent half an hour yesterday filling the estate with trays full of my own propagated perennials.  Rain stopped play.  Never mind there will be other carboot sales another time.

 The sun and rain is great for flowers.  Two of the Rose's and some Osteospermums are in flower.  You can also see the yellowy lime green leaves of the Montbretia which is a pernicious weed in the West Of Ireland.  It originates in Africa and the other non native Fuschia originates in Chile.  I suppose they came on the Gulf Stream?

My late dad gave us the purple rose before he died and it always makes me a little sad when I see it in flower.   Do you have any sentimental plants in your garden?

It would be a good time to visit some gardens open to the public this weekend.  It's going to be showery but the verdant flowers will make up for any rain.

I saw them at "Monsters Of Rock" at Castle Donington.  Before the concert they flew over the biblical multitudes in two helicopters with Bonjovi emblazoned on the sides and waved to us all.  I don't think the support band "Wasp" liked their set being interrupted.  Happy days!

Saturday 21 May 2022

Cheap Veg and Fruit For The Pigs And For Us.

 That's a afternoon treat for the pigs.  There's bread which a bakery gave us a cardboard box of hard loaves and the fruit and veg was only 49 Cents a bag from the German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket in town.

I don't grow half the vegetables I use to do because they are so unbelievably cheap.  Even the big high street supermarket chains have started selling vegetables and fruit for 49 Cents.  Plus I have become something of a plantaholic and there is little room for the vegetables.

We buy pig ration and barley but we like to give our livestock a varied diet and it gives the meat a much nicer taste.   Yesterday I strimmed some of a field and took the grass to the pigs.  

People and newspapers and the radio and television news complain about food getting expensive.  I find the cheap supermarkets like Aldi and Lidl very reasonably priced.  I think it's because they source so much of their food from Europe.  There's a lot to be said for being in the EU and shopping in the cut price supermarkets. 

Friday 20 May 2022

Two Bargain Tables At A Carboot Sale.

 See why I go to carboot sales?

Some of my hundreds of perennials that I have propagated myself and hoping to sell instead of just buying stuff at a carboot this very weekend.

Thursday 19 May 2022

A Bitter Rather Like Some I Have Sampled In Kent.

 You can't get bitter in Ireland these days.  There's beer from all over Europe but not good old bitter like they have in Blighty.

Perhaps the Irish don't like bitter like Newcastle Brown Ale?  My favourite off licence in Kerry says Brexit and import taxes makes it too expensive to source from Blighty?  

I never wanted Brexit and it's made our economies very  expensive.

I am always trying new beers stuff and a lot of it is like chemical soup or ditch water.

The other day I was in the German garden centre and supermarket and beer providers and found a bottle of bitter.  So I took one home to try. It's an Indian Pale, 6 percent ("Yep"), a craft beer made by The Crafty Brewing Company and specially brewed in Ireland for Lidl.

The beer is very fruity and hoppy and reminds me of the bitter I have drank in Kent in 2019 when I last saw some Prog Rock bands.  It seems like a life time ago.

The photograph was taken in the Lidl fridge not ours! It's better than you commercial lagers and I bought six of them to try after sampling the one above.  I drank it at home not in Lidl I might add.

I think it costs 2 Euros 39 a bottle.  It's a lot cheaper than paying 5 Euros for a pint of gassy lager in a pub isn't it?

Wednesday 18 May 2022

A Bucket Full Of Dandelions.

 No not yet another name for a Prog Rock group or even a concept album title. Remember that tv drama 'A Bouquet Of Barbed Wire'?  I love brilliant titles. Not forgetting Susan Penhaligon.  What about Julie Christie in Billy Liar or Far From The Madding Crowd? 

A bucket full of Dandelions.

You know you have lost the plot when you find yourself hand picking Dandelions.  No I am not making Dandelion wine or Dandelion and Burdock.  

Oh for Blighty stuff like Dandelion and Burdock and Barrs 'Strike' Cola.  We use to call them minerals back in the day and we would take back the empty bottles to get our 10 pence deposit back from the newsagents or chippy.  They call it "the chipper" here in Hibernia.

Which nineteen fifties pop group is still going today? Ben Shaws! That's an old joke.  They are from Huddersfield.  

I picked the Dandelions for my piggy wigs and they loved them.  I suppose in yuppy pubs  they would serve Dandelion salad?  "Cassandra did you sprinkle them in Balsamic vinegar?"

Do you make Dandelion tea, wine or eat the leaves or feed them to your livestock?

Remember this:

Tuesday 17 May 2022

New Chicks In The Vivarium And Browsing In Skips.

 More creatures arrived at the smallholding last week.   We put them in the vivarium over the snakes and other reptiles and they are warm and doing very well.

All we have to do now is  build a chicken coop and pen for them.  

We went to the recycling centre in town yesterday to get rid of our plastic and cans and bottles and wifey noticed some rolled up green metal fencing mesh.  I was a bit peeved because she saw them first and asked the people who run it how much they wanted for the mesh? Luckily we have an estate car and we made two trips with the rolled up mesh.  They gave us the mesh for free! 

We were happy bunnies and the chicks will be when we make their coop.

Monday 16 May 2022

Guess Where We Went Shopping Yesterday Morning?

 Yep you're right. We went carbooting again just for a change.

The Darling buds of May were blooming and the sun did shineth and biblical multitudes and the world and his wife had decided to set up stalls and people shopped in verdant pastures of a Dairy farm near Mallow in County Cork.  

So what did we buy? Starting from left to right: a cottage teapot biscuit barrel, two sugar cottage pots and the green cottage butter dish and plate.  I bought them for the wife's ever growing cottage teapot collections.  I would say they are 1940's  and would make good money in a antique shop.  Look them up on Ebay!

I bought myself two brass M 80 mortar shells and a Lidl carrier bag full of brand new work gloves. Plus a poached egg plant and another plant I can't remember it's name.

Wifey purchased me The Concise Guide To Self Sufficiency by my smallholding guru, hero and writer John Seymour.  I don't think anyone's inspired me more than that man.  Well apart from Linda Carter when she played Wonder Woman that is!😊  I have big copies of the book but not a concise one.  I must have read that book numerous times.  It really is the self supporters bible.  It inspired me to grow my own and rent allotments and end up with a smallholding.  Also to write about such things.

We also bought the Antiques Source Book by Martin Miller.  I will probably give that to my brother.

It was well worth the run out and we are well on our way to appearing in Hoarders very soon.πŸ€”

Sunday 15 May 2022

Shoat Treasure Hunters.

 Number one son bought me a gardening trowel a few years ago and I some how mislaid it and thought I would never find it ever again.  

It was made by Gardena and quite expensive.  Not one of those cheap ones that bend and snap when you hit a stone. 

Like most things you lose they usually turn up again some time. I once lost wire cutters down a field and found them encrusted in rust five years later.  A spray of WD40 and they worked perfect again.

Any road or any way.  I went over the feed our pigs the other day and noticed my blue trowel had been rooted up and lay there waiting for me.

I have been planting some Parsnip plugs with the trowel today where the rogue potatoes grew.  It's a bit rusty and encrusted but perfectly functional.  What clever pigs to find a tool for a fellow digger.


Friday 13 May 2022

The Last Of The Rogue Potatoes.

Freshly dug.
Straight from their colander bath.
The 'Rogue' potatoes I found growing in the veg plot and I replanted them in the polytunnel if you remember?

Their foliage was turning yellow and starting to die back.  So myself and number one son decided to dig them up today on Friday the 13th of May and find the buried hidden treasure.  There wasn't a lot but still.

I see The Libertines are touring this Summer.  Wish they where touring Hibernia.  Killarney or Cork or even West Cork.  

If Pete Doherty had an allotment he would probably change his lyrics to my blog title hey?

Thursday 12 May 2022

"Lucky Man"

 I have been reading another autobiography over the last couple of weeks on Kindle.  

Lucky Man Greg Lake's  personal story of how he was born in a working class home in Poole in  Dorset and got a guitar for Christmas and had guitar lessons and wrote 'Lucky Man' when he was a lad and went on to join a group of home county solicitors (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) or even surely the most magnificent Prog band to come from England.

Prolific blog writer Yorkshire Pudding saw the Nice and I think he saw ELP at the  Isle Of Wight Festival in 1970?  I was lucky enough to see them live at Manchester Apollo in October 1992.  Well so Professor Google informs me.

I will never forget Keith Emerson sticking his SS daggers (Lemmy from Motorhead use to source them for him according to Rick Wakeman) into a screaming organ.  Was it a Moog? Whilst hanging precariously off the edge of the stage.  ELP were truly awesome.

The book is very good and Greg talks about the amazing concerts when they played in exotic places like Madison Square Garden in New York and when they played Wigan.  At least they would have got some decent meat and potato pies there.🎸😊.

One festival they played was in front of 500,000 people and he even saw Elvis Presley play the compere say: "Elvis has left the building".

Sadly Greg and Keith went to play the greatest Rock festival in Heaven but their videos and records legacy live on:

Did you ever see ELP?

Wednesday 11 May 2022

It's Not A Long Way To Tipperary To Visit Swiss Cottage.

 Somebody told me of a chocolate box thatched cottage in Tipperary.  So yesterday we drove to Cahir in Tipperary.

We parked in Swiss Cottage carpark and walked along the river walk and along the old coach lane meandering like a river does to Swiss Cottage.  Here's some pics:

Heron statuesque like fishing.
Swiss Cottage.  Exquisitely beautiful in our humble opinion.
Lilac tree.
Wisteria growing on the cottage. Below Mallards talking about the price of fish.
Designed by the famous architect John Nash.  It is said to be one of the finest examples of a 'cottage ornee'.  Built for an holiday home for gentry where they could pretend to be peasants and dance and entertain guests.   We have all pretended to be poor at some time haven't we? 😊

 It was well worth the visit and it is was free to walk the grounds.  The cottage is closed to the public at present.  There are some good videos of Swiss Cottage on good old You Tube for your perusal. 

Tuesday 10 May 2022

A Drove Of Donkeys. "I'm Not A Tyre Kicker",

 That's the collective name for donkeys.

On Bank Holiday Monday we went donkey shopping.  We made the deal and said we would get the loan of a cattle box and collect our new equine pals. Two lady donkeys and a man donkey in total. 

I said to man I will leave a fifty Euros deposit for my bond that we were not 'tyre kickers' or time wasters and would return soon.  He refused the deposit because he said if we don't return he would have to keep the donkeys for a year and a day.πŸ€”

Number one son collected them  the other night.

We had spent a good few hours buying fence posts, knocking them in and fixing insulators and electric fence horse tape around the edge of the field.  We also plumbed a water trough and fitted a ballcock and it fills itself automatically.

Do you remember that nineteen eighties channel programme 'Scully'?   It was about a Liverpool lad who said he wanted to go on his holidays to the Donkey Islands off Scotland.  He was referring to the Shetland islands.

Any road that's three more four legged mower additions to the smallholding.   

Do you have donkeys?   They can live to the grand old age of thirty and they are pregnant for eleven months.

What's a Blackpool donkey get for it's dinner? Half an hour!

What do you call a three legged donkey? A wonky!

The wife wanted a fur coat for Christmas so I bought her a donkey jacket!

I'm here all week.😊

Monday 9 May 2022

Seal Bars?

 We went in the other German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket store on Saturday.

We bought some chocolate bars called 'Seal Bars".  They are Penguins in all but name:

Clever bit of advertising or remarketing a chocolate bar me thinks?  

Perhaps I could open a fast food takeaway called Mc Trumps? or Burger Queen Or Underpass instead of Subway?

We ate the chocolate bars. There was nothing wrong with them.

Why do Polar Bears not eat Penguins?   There are no Aldi supermarkets in the North Pole.

Why do Polar Bears not eat Penguins? Penguins live in the South Pole and Polar Bears live in the North Pole.

Sunday 8 May 2022

More Carboot Sales Shopping.

 We got up about eight this morning and went to a carboot sale, just for a change.

I bought a strong plastic flexi tub for weeding made by Gardena and I bought myself another miners lamp made in Eccles where the cakes come from.  I have two now and I gave my one I found last year to my brother for a Christmas present.  

Have you been to any carboot sales recently?

Saturday 7 May 2022

An Abba Song That I Missed.

 I was looking at music videos on good old You Tube the other day and I found the ABBA video "So Long".

Some how it's passed me by by or I am getting forgetful but I honestly do not remember the track.  Do you?

ABBA were and amazing Swedish band.  Blessed with two gorgeous female singers and dancers and two very talented and gifted songwriters and musicians.  

Some people label their music genre 'Swedish Pop'.  I think 'So Long' is Rock.

Any road with out further ado.  I give you 'So Long'':

They the girls show they are dancing queens.  Especially  Friendly.  She is hot and so is Agnetha.  Their dance sequence at the end of the song is mesmerizing.   It's  a bit of a slow start but give it a bit of time and it soon gets going.

That song/video was made 47 years ago.  It's amazing.  

Friday 6 May 2022

Allotments For Less Than A Euro A Week.

 We noticed a sign for parking and drove up the hill and parked next to some allotments;

How's that for an introductory offer?  You can tend and rent your very own allotment for only fifty Euros a year.

The allotments.  

I didn't notice any sheds with lumps of concrete holding down the roof  or polytunnels made from plastic water pipes and covered in builders polythene, onions drying in repurposed supermarket trolleys, miserable tight wads wearing knotted handkerchiefs on their heads, sat in wheelbarrows, drinking Special Brew and eating ferret sandwiches.😊

Donkeys years ago when I lived in England that last paragraph would aptly describe my allotment apprenticeship and the verdant landscape of my pursuit.  I told my mate Brandon that I was getting an allotment.  He said: "When are you going on a Saga holiday and getting a purple rinse?"  He was a wit and how things have changed.  Nowadays there are waiting lists for allotments and people of all ages grow their own.  Maybe they also grow vegetables?

It was great to see though.  I have my own private allotment/smallholding but I miss the camaraderie and the laughs and jokes that you have when you rent an allotment.

Thursday 5 May 2022

Midweek Flea Market Bargains.

 We went to a flea market on Thursday morning.

It was my usual carboot walk around a few times procedure. You always miss something.

On the second time round I spotted an heavy nest of tables.  I would say they are varnished oak and were probably quite expensive new.  They will be perfect in our new/secondhand Conservstory: 

I paid ten Euros for them.  The wife bought some net curtains.  She will make two curtains for the front room.  The German Shepherd pup chewed a big hole in the last ones.  She paid five Euros for them.

A nice bit of bargain hunting on a Thursday morning.  Why buy new when you can buy secondhand?

Table collecting seems to be another thing to add to my list of hobbies!

Have you bought any bargains lately?

Tuesday 3 May 2022

Four Paw Drive Weeders/Browse Grazers Arrive At Our Smallholding on The Irish Riviera.


I purchased two  nanny goats kids last week.  No kidding! 

The land needs an organic or natural way of tackling the brambles and ever encroaching scrub like Gorse.  

I have read that in Australia and New Zealand goats are used to tackle wild places.  Farm animals have tamed the countryside over many centuries and it's good land husbandry to use animals for grazing purposes. It is after all the animals that have made the countryside look like it is.  

I try not to use chemicals to spray but rushes in particular are a big problem in rural Ireland.  I think they like the acidic peaty and very damp soil.  I have read that rush seeds can live for up to sixty years in the soil and living on a windy peninsula like ours they spread very easy.

Any way here's my new four paw drive weeders/browse grazers:

They are eating their way through a bramble patch at the moment.   Number one son cut out openings in two old plastic heating oil tanks to make hutches for the girls and I made them straw beds inside the hutches. 

Goats like donkeys originate in Asia and do not have oil in their coats to protect them from the Irish rain.  The Roman's called Ireland, Hibernia.  Meaning the land of eternal winters.  They were good weather forecasters along with making straight roads and building sanitation..?

I have Christened them Beyonce and Gaga.  One is calm and one is a bit highly strung.  

We bought them a bag of goat food and it cost me fourteen Euros.  I wish I had shares in a farm store at the moment.  

Do you have an organic approach to taming undergrowth or would you clear it with a digger and spray the weeds? May be even lime and reseed?

Anyone else keep goats?   How do you deal with rushes? Do you spray them or do you top them before the go to seed?  Perhaps I could strim them?

More livestock photos soon.

Sunday 1 May 2022

Sea Dogs Perhaps?


It's been fabulous weather down here on the Irish Riviera in West Cork.  We have had a barbecue, drank Sangria and took the dogs for a swim and a paddle about.

We live only a few minutes by car to the pebble beach.  You can see the girls having fun and Hungry Hill in the background over on Beara peninsula.

April has been a rather nice month!  These 3 photos were taken yesterday.  Today it's mizzle and rain.  At least the plants will get a much needed drink.  

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...