Wednesday 30 November 2022

One Old AA/RAC Road Sign That's Had A Tough Life! ("Any old iron?")

 "One man's trash is another man's treasure!"

So the saying goes.  Well I bought something the other week from a car boot sale ("where else?") that people would probably sneer and laugh at and others would find it ethereal, nostalgic and beautiful in a strange kind of way like yours truly thinks so.

You have heard of Arthur Guinness.  Well what about half an AA/RAC sign? It's had a tough life.  Haven't we all?  I don't want a return ticket do you?

I reckon it's from the 1920s and it's  a mileage sign directing motorists to Limerick and Rathkeale. It says 2 and half miles to Rathkeale and 20 and half miles to Limerick on the reverse of the sign.

The AA and RAC are  road side assistance companies that have been going since Victorian times in Britain and also in the Republic of Ireland.

If the sign was intact it would be worth up to 500 Euros/Pounds.  I don't suppose it's worth very much in it's present state? But it caught my eye and I like it in a strange kind of way.  

I'm going to hang it on the front room wall and look at it and think about what it like travelling on the roads and boreens of rural Ireland way back when.  It must have been so much easier to see a mileage sign rather than stopping and asking the brown horse in the left field for the wrong directions?  That's an old joke.😊  The American tourist who was amazed that a horse talked to them. 

Monday 28 November 2022

A Saga Holiday In The Sun By Mistake And The Day I Met Bikini Lady In The Lift.

 In 2019 number two son paid and booked for me and his mum to stay in an hotel in the Algarve.   The taxi from the airport took us to the big hotel overlooking the sea.

We were both in our fifties (I still am) and seemed to be the youngest people staying at the hotel.  Apparently Saga Holidays use the hotel for some of their Algarve holidays destinations. 

There was even talk of a quiz evening and bingo.  I thought:" It will soon  be "Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree." They certainly knew how to have a good time. "Any one for a bird watching excursion?"

Next morning we went down for breakfast and there was hot and cold food placed on tables for us to queue up buffet style.  We decided to go for a 'full' English breakfast and sat down amongst a lot of very elderly people.   

They seemed to be filling their boots before their coach excursions and we (mainly yours truly) began to start our typical Brits/Irish breakfast conversation about the Baked Beans not being Heinz and it wasn't like the "proper" bacon you get at home.  

You go abroad for the sun not the food.  That's my motto.  Perhaps my next holiday will be in Benidorm? Apparently it's like Blackpool in the sun! 

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

We went out for a stroll and a couple/few of sherbet dabs and returned later that day.  We walked round the grounds of the hotel and there was a young man wearing shorts  and a woman in the swimming pool dressed in a bikini.  She was rather scrumptious and about 25 and I realised that we weren't the youngest people staying in the hotel.  

We decided to take the lift and Bikini Lady and her partner got in the same lift.  She was about two feet from me. I didn't know where to look.  Well apart from the obvious.  

The lift journey must have took a few minutes at the most.  Throughout the lift journey Bikini Lady just stared me in my eyes.  She was like Raquel Welch in A Million Years BC and she knew it.  

I bet they thought they had just shared the lift with two people old enough to be their parents.  We had shared the same thoughts at breakfast.

Have you ever been to Benidorm?

Friday 25 November 2022

C Is For Clannad.

 Clannad apparently means 'Family 'in Irish.  They go under the music genre Prog Folk.  I have seen them 5 times.  Twice this year. Once in Limerick and at Cropredy in Oxfordshire in front of 20000 people.  

Clannad originate from Gweedore in Donegal.  Sadly they a retiring soon.  I am sure they will still carry on with their individual solo stuff and still put on group performances at their local Leo's Tavern in Gweedore in Donegal.

They sing in English and Irish and a lot of their tracks are about Celtic folklore and  mysticism and spirituality and inspiration that they get from the beautiful Irish landscape.   I particularly love the harp.  It's an instrument played by Angel's and gifted mortals on Earth.

Clannad to me are like a fine wine that just gets better and improves with age.

Have you ever seen them live? The photo of the above video is very much like my Clannad T shirt.

Look them up on YouTube or why not buy someone an album for Christmas?  Harry's Game is another one of my favourites and we often listen to Clannad in the car.  Great travelling music.  

Next week is D.  Hmm..?πŸ€”  Do you like Devo?

Tuesday 22 November 2022

"It's Like Christmas Day In The Workhouse."

 It was an horrible wet and very windy night last night in the countryside next to the sea.

The leccy (electricity) went off twice for long periods of time and we couldn't watch the footity ball or use the WiFi.  I thought of my late mother's old saying when something went wrong or rather depressing:  

"It's like Christmas Day in the Workhouse".

Luckily I have pay as you go on my mobile phone so I could look at the Internet and read blogs and follow the football matches.  

I thought about the people long ago.  How did they manage without radio, WiFi or even television πŸ“Ί?  They probably knitted, played cards, read the Southern Star newspaper for the fiftieth time that week or maybe even talked to one another?

I believe people were much more sociable and neighbours came round for a few bottles and few drams from the bottle what lives on the topshelf in pubs. People talked one to one and not just by WhatsApp and other social media.

Maybe they played cards or even "spin the bottle"? πŸ˜€ No wonder people had such big families with no television. I am joking.  "Who's Joe King?"

It will be a long Winter if we get power cuts this Winter.  We might have to talk to each other?  Do you think we are becoming less sociable or is it just living somewhere with no amenities that makes me feel like this and need to write blogs so much?

Monday 21 November 2022

Knitting Season.

 It's knitting season at our rural abode in the countryside next to the sea.

Wifey is back in full swing knitting cardigans.  She gives them away to any one she knows who have recently gave birth to a baby.  Also to friends and relatives.

My night time  hobby/pastime  is reading and writing blogs and leaving comments..

I also like to be in full charge of the tv remote control.  Some nights we don't even watch television.  We use to always watch it every night.

Any road.  It's going to be a long Winter listening to ,"click click" so I dedicate this song to all knitters.  Enjoy!

Saturday 19 November 2022

Advent Calendars For Dog πŸ•s.

 No it's not another great name for a Prog Rock band.  It's what some one (not me) brought home from that other German garden centre and beer and food providers. 

 You know the supermarket where you pick up a 27 Cents tin of cheap baked beans and then walk up the middle aisle and pay 500 Euros for a 52 inch coloured television πŸ“Ί. 

So what tail waggingly mouth watering culinary delights will there be for our four legged Canine pals have to sample from December the 1st?  

Well.. There's Duck and Orange Bites, Lamb and Rosemary Strips, Meatballs With Turkey and Chicken Fingers With Carrot.  

They sound like mouth watering treats.  I might even try  them?  Well I have been known to have sampled dog biscuits and I can't resist Good Boy chocolate buttons.  They might even give me a shiny coat? Would you try them πŸ€”?

A man goes to a Psychiatrist and tells him he keeps wanting to be a dog.  The Psychiatrist says: " Ok jump up on the couch and tell me all about it".  The man says:"I can't jump up on the couch, I'm not allowed, I'm a dog".

Friday 18 November 2022

"Do You Want A Bag On Your Head?"

Carrying on from my self deprecating tale of me buying a digital camera in Argos yesterday.  Or how to be a plonker in one easy lesson. 

My mental jukebox and video recorder remembered a Not The Nine O'clock News sketch from the 1980s.  It's a bit dated in terms of it being a Hi Fi shop and Somewhere like Curry's or Harvey Norman would be more current.  But it still makes me laugh.  Mel Smith was brilliant and much missed.  Enjoy.

Thursday 17 November 2022

Irish Brussel Sprouts?


I saw them advertised in a Lidl brochure the other day.  

I suppose they mean they are Irish Brussel sprouts grown here in Ireland?  

Brussel sprouts originate in Brussels in Belgium.  Am I just nit-picking?

This is rich coming from me.  I once went in a Chinese Takeaway and didn't then know what to order.  So I looked at the Menu and heard myself say:  "Beans and Sprout" soup please".  I should have asked for Beansprout soup!

I also walked in an Argos store and purchased a digital camera and asked the girl on the till: "What film does it take?"  She said: "It doesn't it's a digital camera" and everybody laughed.

Have you ever made a plonker out of yourself out shopping?

Wednesday 16 November 2022

B Is For Blue Oyster Cult.

Continuing with my A to Zed or Zee of Rock bands I like and some I have been lucky enough to see play live.  Sorry I never mentioned  Black Sabbath or Barclay James  Harvest...

BOC were formed in New York in around 1967.  They have also used the band title Soft White Underbelly which they sometimes still use when they wish to play small intimate venues.

I was lucky enough to see them at Manchester Apollo in 1989 or was it 88?  It was on the Imaginos tour me thinks.

What an amazing Hard Rock band. Watching them play songs like 'Godzilla', 'Joan Crawford' and 'Hot Rails To Hell' had me transfixed.  It was a brilliant concert by a brilliant band.

You will probably know their most famous track: "Don't Fear The Reaper". It's supposed to be about drugs and being young and not fearing anything, even death.  

Like President Roosevelt once said: " There is nothing to fear but fear itself".  I think it's even on the soundtrack to the film "Helloween".

This track reached number 12 in the American Billboard charts and they have sold 25 million records or more.  I would be happy to be famous in Iceland or even Asda.  πŸ˜€Enjoy.

Tuesday 15 November 2022

Nettle Clearing And Feeding It To The Livestock.

 It's actually not raining yet today.  So I took the wheelbarrow on to the veg plot and pulled nettles and grass and filled it and pushed to where the pigs and hens and ducks are residing for the Winter.  

I of course remembered to wear some work gloves to avoid getting stung.

Some people say you should let the nettles wilt and dry before feeding it to your livestock.  But I just threw armfuls of the stuff.  One of the pigs used the McDonald's slogan:

'I'm lovin it!"

Nettles will give them vitamins and add flavour to the eggs and meat.

There are many uses for nettles.  We've made a liquid garden tea, nettle tea and soup.  Army uniforms can be weaved out of it and you can even make rope with it.  Their seeds are supposed to be good dewormers.  It's also good for arthritis especially if you lie in a patch of them.  

The best thing about nettles is they are FREE!

Do you feed nettles to your livestock?  Have you ever made nettle hay?

Monday 14 November 2022

Observing The Japanese Onions Growing Progress In The Polytunnel.

 I had a look in 'Portugal' my polytunnel pal this morning to see how the Japanese onions are progressing in their new polystyrene cases that I rescued recently.  Well there's no chance of digging over the veg plot and clearing it of weeds and grass.  I would love a few days of no rain but I guess I will just have to wait a while?

The Pasedenas began to play in my mental jukebox: " I'm doing fine now".  Well if vegetables could sing I'm sure that's what they would say.

You can't beat growing vegetables in compost instead of the cold and saturated earth full of weed seeds.  

Sunday 13 November 2022

The Day Tiger Kitty Met A Young Tamworth Weaner..


What a confrontation.

"This place isn't big enough for the both of us".

"This is my house".

"I have only come in for a warm".

"Ok.'  "Would you like a 'nice' cup of tea 🍡?"

"I don't mind". 

The piglet was limping so we brought it in the house to clean it's foot and see if needed any medication.

Do you keep pigs or thinking of getting some?  Would you let them walk around your house?

Remember Pinky and Perky?

Friday 11 November 2022

A To Z Of Great Rock Bands.

I have decided to write an A to Zed or Zee  featuring some of my favourite Rock bands.  Some I have seen and some I still live in hope to see one day:

First one up is April Wine.  A is for a Canadian band who I have liked but never seen live.  I bought several of their vinyl records and watched them on Rock Goes To College many many times.  Do you remember Rock Goes To College on the beeb? It  was excellent.

If they ever come to West Cork or maybe Cropredy or A New Day Festival in England or some other music festival in Blighty or Ireland.  I would move Heaven and Earth to see them:

I don't get many comments when I feature Rock bands on here but I always get hundreds and hundreds of views.  

Thursday 10 November 2022

When The Lady Of The Big House Was Not Amused With The Vegetables.

 When I applied for a vegetable gardener role up at  the "big house" many moons ago. 

 The Head Gardener told me an anecdote that the Lord and Lady have a menu everyday  (like you do) and Cook sends a vegetable list to the Head Gardener with their vegetable requirements.

One day they sent some exotic and unknown vegetables to the kitchen.  Cook and kitchen staff prepared a slap up meal out of this newly found delicacy.

The Lady of the house was far from impressed.  She voiced her disapproval to the Cook and the Head Gardener was summoned to the big house.  He wiped his work boots and doffed his cap and walked into the holy of holies- Dining Room.

The Lady asked him about the new vegetables and said: "We haven't had those before have we?"

"No Maam"

"And we SHAN'T be having HAVING them again.  SHALL WE?"

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Overgrown Walled Kitchen Garden In Dorset.


I took this photo when my friend and I visited Winterborne Came near Dorchester in the summer of 2018.  

We were visiting the church and grave of Dorset priest and Dorsetshire Dalect Poet William Barnes. Pop over to You Tube to see William Barnes poetry.  I love the West Country accent.

I have had a thing about walled kitchen gardens for many many years.  Especially the one at the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall.  I (we) have visited several of them in England, Wales and here in Ireland.

Walled Kitchen Gardens were often built in stately homes to hide the dung heaps and general productivity and of course the gardeners:

  'Don't forget to doff your cap and pull your forelock".

The walls also create a unique microclimate and protect crops from wind and frost.

I love them and would love to restore one like the one in the picture to it's former glory.  The nettles are a sign of high fertility.  "Where nettles grow, anything will grow".  So goes the old country saying.

I can't get on my Irish plot at the moment with days and days and weeks of rain.  At least I can write about them though.

Would you like your own walled kitchen garden?  We'll all have to have a go on the Lottery this week.  Fingers 🀞.

Tuesday 8 November 2022

Dorset And Hardy Country Revisited.

I love this sign.  A sensible sign composed with a sense of humour!
 Gold Hill Shaftesbury. Film location of the Hovis bread lad on a bike advert and the two Ronnie's parody of the very advert.

Lulworth Cove.  We walked up the hill and down to Durdle Door.  Which was a location in the film Far From The Madding Crowd.

Allotments and canal in Dorchester.

Tess Cottage.  Picture postcard, chocolate box you name it   Thomas Hardy said this was the house where Tess resided.

Google photos reminded me the other day when I went to Dorset and Thomas Hardy country in 2018.  Sorry if you have seen them on here before.

If you go into my blog search and type Dorset you wild some of my posts about the visit.

I think it's  the one place in England I would like to live more than anywhere, Shaftesbury in particular.  

Hopefully I will visit Dorset again next year.  Do you have a favourite place that you would like to visit again soon?
Just found my Durdle Door photo.

Monday 7 November 2022

"There's Whiskey In The Giro".

 I have been a Thin Lizzy fan most of my life and saw them on the Renegade tour at Manchester Apollo when I was just 17 in 1981.  I'm 59 next month and I still love them.

I was also lucky enough to see Gary Moore at the Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986 supporting Marillion.  I have also seen founding Lizzy member Eric Bell play twice in West Cork.

Probably their most famous song is the folk ballad 'Whiskey In The Jar'.  It was composed in the 17th century and tells the story of a Highway Man or Footpad holding up a British Captain and spending all his money or ill gained takings  in the rub a dub dub, he loves his girlfriend Molly and she betrays his trust.  It's set in the Cork and Kerry mountains and we often sing the song when going along the tunnels Road to Kenmare.

An old Rocker friend use to sing: "There's Whiskey In the Giro".  Meaning you get a drink from your green government dole cheque once a fortnight.   Back in the days when so many of us had no employment.  The Thatcher years were truly awful.  At least the music was good back then.

Apparently Eric Bell and the Lizzy lads were in a pub and he started playing the ballad on his guitar and their record producer or manager asked them: ""What's that?"  He liked it and they recorded the song and it was number one in Ireland for 16 weeks  and it made the top then in the UK.

Are there any Midge Ure fans out there? Midge had recent replaced Gary Moore and he gets a mention at the beginning of the track.

Sunday 6 November 2022

New Ducklings In An Heineken Cardboard Box.


Two more eggs hatched in the electric incubator the other week.  

We cleaned them out today and put them in the cardboard box while we did it.  In the corner you can see some crushed Weetabix they say they are unbeetabix.

Have you ever hatched ducks?   

Saturday 5 November 2022

"Oh Your Hair Is Beautiful".

After I wrote yesterday's post I thought more about recycling and making costumes from rubbish.  Atomic began to play in my mental jukebox (Neil Peart expression) and it was nineteen eighty all over again:

Here is Debby Harry.

Dressed up in a black bin liner and doesn't look trash.  Quite the opposite in fact.  

The wife wanted a fur coat for her birthday.  So I bought her a donkey jacket.  I wonder if a bin liner dress would do for Christmas?😊  

Maybe some ripped fishnet stockings even?

Friday 4 November 2022

Halloween Thoughts A Few Days Later.

 Even Halloween is a fashion and money making venture these days.

No it's not the nineteen seventies with 3 day week and power cuts.  Just Halloween on the Irish Riviera.   A 20kg bag of smokeless fuel is 21 Euros this week.  "Yoikes Scooby!"  That is scary. 

My generation was brought up or even dragged up watching Magpie and Blue Peter and you would make your own costume out of a black card or paper rolled into a witches hat held together with some sticky back plastic and perhaps you would make a tunic out of a black bin bag or even be a ghost if you wore a sheet off your single bed?  Happy days!

Life was so  less complicated and you didn't expect your parents to pay an arm and a leg for an Halloween costume did you? Says the one who's wife bought pet Halloween costumes from Lidl.

Thursday 3 November 2022

Growing Onions In A Polytunnel With A Torn Plastic Cover.

 Number one son bought a span new (brand new) table saw last week that came in two polystyrene boxes.

"Hmm..πŸ€”"  Thinks yours truly.

They could be repurposed and used for growing vegetables in. Off to the wind torn polytunnel I did go:

Poor Portugal my polytunnel pal.  We've repaired it a few times but it's getting to the end of its days.  I'm still using it though. In fact the rest of the tunnel is fine.   There's no point replacing the plastic until next spring when hopefully the gales will have gone on their holidays?

I had two polystyrene box sides.  Operation bread knife to make drainage holes. I wonder how much we actually pay for packaging?

Look how well my Japanese onions grew in the compost in the plastic modules.  Ignore any weeds!

I turned them upside down so you can see how the roots have developed.  I find it's the best way of growing them instead of planting them in the very wet Autumn soil where they are prone to rot.

Bob's your uncle.  All planted up with my Japanese onions.

Wednesday 2 November 2022

More Car boot Sale Clutter Or Not?

 We went to a carboot sale on Sunday morning.  It was almost a wash out with the relentless rain we're having at the moment.

The car boot sale organiser didn't even charge us our one Euros admission each. 

 There were about twenty or so brave souls selling stuff like clothes, vegetables, hens, ducks, tools, work wear and bric a brac...

We noticed from a far a pot lady duck resembling Jemima Puddleduck  looking at us with puppy dog like eyes saying: "Take me home, please!"

We walked over to the table and asked the seller what he wanted for Mrs Duck?

"She's an egg holder.  You lift her head off and put your eggs in her.  I paid ten Euros for her but ye can have her for five Euros"

We didn't haggle and handed over our five Euros note.  She was ours!

I think we will all have webbed feet if this rain and wind keeps up. 😊

Tuesday 1 November 2022

Somewhere Outside Tokyo Invented Time.

Sunday night seemed to drag forever after the clocks went back at two on Sunday morn ing.  It was time for my twice a year speech: 

'This time yesterday it would be seven o'clock now.  But it's only six."

Somebody would reply:

"Yes we bloody know.  You say this every year".

Why do they change clocks and make the Autumn nights even longer?   We are not first world war ammunition workers who need extra light.  That's why they  changed the clocks in the first place.

Songs like Cher's "If I could turn back time" come to mind in my mental jukebox.  I wonder who invented time?

My grandfather in Ireland could look at the bay and the tide and tell you what time of day it was.  He needed no watch.  He was a fisherman and a farmer and the seasons were his visual calendar.

I never understood why school children need to get up early on a Winters morning.  Why can't they start school at 9.30 or 10 even?

Regular readers will remember I finally got to see Hugh Cornwell at A New Day festival in Kent in August.  He was a member of the Stranglers who were a favourite band of my youth along with Thin Lizzy and Kansas of course.

I use to play their  Black and White album religiously over and over again and the lyrics became like poetry to my ears.  When I play them today I can remember all the lyrics. Here's one of my favourite tracks about time and my blog title;

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...