Wednesday 31 January 2024

I Have Seen The Recycling Future And Its Not Garlic Bread.

 These reverse vending machines are popping up everywhere in Ireland at the moment.

The government is to add a recycling levy on cans and bottles.  Every can will have a 15 Cents levy on it.  Then you bring back your empties and put them in the machine which will scan it and issue you a receipt for you to be reimbursed at the till.

I think it's going to put a lot of money on eight cans.  

It reminds me when I was a kid and I would take mineral bottles back to the newsagents or chippy for my 10 pence return.  I might have even treated myself to some Caramac or Kayli.  Happy day.

Which Yorkshire 1950s pop group is still going today?  BEN SHAWS. 

I would like manufacturers to be made to state on the tin or bottle how much we paid for the tin or bottle in the first place?

Do you think these reverse vending machines are a good idea or it just a waste of our time and money?  I am sure the supermarkets will make a lot of money out of the scrap metals and plastics?

We take our recycling in a big polythene bag and throw it in recycling skips at the local recycling centre and pay 3 Euros to the man for the privilege.  

In the words of Mrs Merton: " Let's have an heated debate!"

Tuesday 30 January 2024

Bacon Barter.

 Bacon barter sounds like a German town.  

"I've just been to Bacon Barter."

  "Yah I once vent to a rock festival there.  I saw The Scorpions and drank large glasses of Dunkels and ate Bratwurst and it voz good!"

Home cured 🥓 hams.

A chef who bought a pig 🐖 off us last year recently agreed to cure some joints of pork for us in return for some of our joints of pork.

Number one son collected the bacon on Sunday sealed in vacuum packs.

We bought an electric meat slicer from Lidl last year and it made brilliant work slicing the ham:

It tastes like the best ham I have ever tasted.  I love home cured meat and I love barter.

Do you believe in barter?

Monday 29 January 2024

A New Life In The Rain.

 I have thought of an idea for a new Channel 4 programme about ex pat's moving to Hibernia not hot places like Italy, Spain, France or Portugal.

Well it makes a change from A New Life In The Sun doesn't it?

The veg garden is very wet and sticky today and I transplanted some leeks that don't seem to be growing and looking very sorry for themselves.

So I planted them in a raised bed in the polytunnel and they all sang in unison: "I'm doing fine now".

It's too wet for weeding so I checked some Griselina cuttings I planted last September if you remember dear readers?

Here's a bucket of the rooted cuttings:

See the roots?  I didn't ever bother with rooting powder.  I just pushed them into the soil and let Mother Nature help them strike roots.

I then potted over forty of them up:


They will get fed and watered and free bed and breakfast in the polytunnel.  Then I will probably sell them on a carboot sale and get some beer tokens.

Anyone make plants and hedging for nuffink or nowt?

Saturday 27 January 2024

First Osteospermum Flower Of The Year.

 I walked in the polytunnel yesterday and noticed one of my Osteospermums (Cape Daisy) is in flower.

I lost most of mine when we had two weeks of snow ❄️ in 2010.  They originate in South Africa and they don't  really like snow and frost.  Yes Montbretia grows wild here and that's also originates in Africa. Not forgetting all the West Cork Fuchsia hedges that originate from Chile and so does the Gunnera.

So these days I try to remember to over winter them in a frost free place.

They are one of my favourite perennials and I am always propagating them by cuttings or by division.  I believe you can also grow them from seed.  You get about ten seeds per packet.  

There are also annual Osteospermums and these only live for a season.

I love how the flowers close up and go to sleep every night.

If you want to pick a perennial that brightens up any herbaceous border or plant pot.  Get yourself some Osteospermums.  They're beauties!

Friday 26 January 2024

Four Duck Eggs And Seven Hen Eggs..

The blog title could be describing the Tory party.

 Spring must be on its way?  The hens and ducks are giving us fresh eggs every day.

The hens in fairness never stopped laying but the ducks did and they have started laying again.

I will have to look up some recipes that use eggs.  We have been making omelettes and baking bread.

I wouldn't mind a cake.  Hmm...🤔?  A Black Forest Gateaux or a nice sponge cake.

Thursday 25 January 2024

Tenerife Elephants Ears Plant.

 A giant Elephants Ears plant in the middle and back of the picture.

We took this photo 📸 on a recent holiday to Tenerife in the week before Christmas. 

I thought the photo was on the wife's mobile phone but it was mine.  She took it on my phone though.  Any road we found it today after shouting "flipping heck" a few times.

Please click on to the tree/shrub to see it in all of its glory.

The plant seems to have it's roots submerged in the pool full of water.  I would say it's a bomb proof plant for any garden like it's cousins the humble Bergenia which I featured on here yesterday.

Apparently the Taro "Elephants Ears" originate from Asia and the Portuguese and Spanish brought them to the Canaries.  I believe you see these plants in New Zealand 🇳🇿 and Australia 🇦🇺. 

It was good to see them amongst the beautiful flowering Pointsettias 💐 that are usually given to  people at Christmas for house plants gifts.

I found a close up shot of this magnificent plant specimen for your perusal.

Wednesday 24 January 2024

A Potted Bergenia Cordifolia On My Garden Bench.

 The storms and rain appear to be relentless at the moment.  

But there are some green shoots of Spring recovery in the garden at the moment.

My Bergenias are in flower and hopefully if the rain ever abates I will hopefully attempt to sell some of my perennials at a carboot sale very soon.

Bergenias or Pig Squeak or Elephants Ears originate in China and Siberia and are very hardy.

Their leathery leaves change colour during the seasons and don't mind the salt laden rains that we get living in the countryside next to the sea.

They are very easy to propagate and I divide mine most Spring or Autumn.  

The Great English plantswoman Gertrude Jekyll (Robert Louis Stevenson) used her relations surname for his famous literary characters partner Hydes sidekick) planted them in rows and make formal herbaceous edging.

There are a plant that you plant for life and need little maintenance except to remove any spent flowers and brown leaves and to divide clumps every couple of years.

Tuesday 23 January 2024

Little Goth.

It's up to letter J already in the storm alphabet and no doubt there's more to come?

Jocelyn is the chosen name for the storm today.  Apparently it's roots are French/ German and means " Little Goth".

Goth to me means great Gothic English / Irish singers like Julianne Reagan.  She's English/Irish like yours truly. 

Julianne was lead singer of All About Eve and I saw them twice in 1989.  Once at Manchester Apollo and at Glastonbury festival.  The festival ticket was 28 Pounds.  It's in the hundreds of Pounds these days and sells out in about five minutes.

Any way and any road.  Thanks to good old YouTube I often spend my time on stormy days like today looking up old festivals I attended.

If you listen to beginning of the "In The Clouds" you can hear some lads shouting: "In The Clouds". I'm sure it's  me and friends shouting out our song request.

Do you surf the internet for old concerts you attended?

Sunday 21 January 2024

Atomic Battery.

No not the name of a Heavy Metal band. I was reading and watching good old YouTube about an atomic battery the other day.

 I thought the ancient Chinese were brilliant when they invented the wheelbarrow thousands of years ago. A two handled apparatus that can carry heavy loads on one wheel.  

But now they have invented a battery what will never need charging for fifty years.  So if I buy one it will see me out.  They are going into full scale factory production and aim (hope) to have them in the shops for 2025.  The only downside is they cost five hundred Pounds each.

I thought I had found the answer to my "roughing it" camping trips when I go to Blighty for my annual camping literary trips and Prog Rock festivals.  

A lot of the music  festivals don't have any mobile phone charging points (Cropredy does!) and I try to find a friendly pub that allows us to recharge while I have my full English breakfast.  Normally don't  mind you plugging your phone lead in if you buy a breakfast or a pint.  

Other than that.  Two or three times during the trip  I will book a Travelodge room and have a shower, sleep in a bed and charge my mobile phone.  

You would think in this day and age that there would be places to charge your mobile phone at airports, shopping centres, libraries and the like?  Not everyone stays in houses, hotels or even travels in a car when they go on a "roughing it" trip.  I never understand why libraries and even charity shops and banks  are not open on a Sunday when most people are not working?

Or unless I win the National lottery and buy my own atomic battery?  I suppose if I did that I could buy my own house in walking distance of the festival?

Friday 19 January 2024

More Soup Making And A Home Baked Soad Bread.

 Brrr..  Another night of Jack Frost painting. Making every field and garden all look the same.

We made some more vegetable soup yesterday and baked a Odlums soda bread mix.  🍞   

It's an Irish bread mix company and costs four euros.  You just add an egg (ours are freshly laid) and some buttermilk to add to the bread mix.  

You get four loaves from one mix:

The kitchen smells wonderful and the bread tasted delicious.  I have heard that if you have got prospective house buyers coming to look around your dwelling bake bread.  The aromas will give them that "home sweet home" ambience feeling. They also said trim your bush but we won't go there because nothing's growing yet. Phew.

I once read in a book that the author knew someone who rented out their holiday home and they left a visitors book for holiday homes to leave their comments.  One person wrote: Not enough baking tins! 

It was the height of summer and someone wanted to go baking!

Any one else making or baking bread at the moment?

My MacArthur Park Alternative Lyrics. 

"Someone left my loaf out in the rain and I don' think that I can take it because it took so long to bake it and I'll never have that recipe again, oh no..  

So I went to the local supermarket and bought a Odlums bread mix like you do".  

Thursday 18 January 2024

Make It Yourself Curry Bratwurst.

 Look what we found in our local German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket yesterday:

Make it yourself?  🤔 

Two minutes in the machine that goes "ping" and they're only two Euros.  

I had them for us supper or me tea last night.  The others had 🍕.   I thought they were 👍.   

Not very spicy hot like the ones we made but I suppose they have to cater for everyone? I like spicy food that is "hot,hot , hot, hot". 

Would you eat them dear readers?

Wednesday 17 January 2024

Countryside Etiquette.

 One thing that you notice living in the countryside next to the sea is how passing motorists always wave to each other.

This can be a nod of the head, a one finger or even a wave.

I am lead to believe that if you don't reciprocate with a wave it means you are not local.  

I don't know about that but it's good for people to be friendly.

I haven't done much walking recently in the countryside.  We walked a lot when went to Tenerife in December.  The sun always makes us feel like a saunter.

I always let on to fellow walkers with a 'good morning" or " afternoon".  If they don't let on I hear myself say: "Please yourself".

I'm not Crocodile Dundee walking through the streets of New York saying " good day" to everyone.  But I don't think there's anything wrong with saying "how you doing?" to your fellow human beings. Do you?

Tuesday 16 January 2024

Smallholding Supermarket Vegetable Soup.

 Jack Frost and the wife had been out last night painting everywhere white.  I decided to have another go at soup making this morning for our din dins.

I had a look around the veg plot and dug up 3 leeks and topped and tailed them with my old bread knife and I also picked some branches of kale.  

I decided to make my very own smallholding supermarket or compromise soup even?

The homegrown veg got a rinse under the cold water tap in the kitchen and I found some  Lidl bought onions, potatoes and carrots and peeled and chopped them and mixed them up with our vegetables and put them in a pan and filled it water then I added two vegetable stock cubes and placed it on top of the gas stove to simmer for an hour or so until the vegetables felt tender.

That's my homemade smallholding vegetable soup 🍲 at the top of the page.

Yes it could be liquidfied or even chopped more but I was happy with my soup making efforts and I have just had two bowls of the stuff.

It was minus 6 in parts of Cork last night and soup 🍲 is just what you need on a cold and frosty January day.  

It's fine until weekend and then the rain gods return maybe even a storm.

I've lit the stove now to take the chill off the room.  Wouldn't it be good if we could hibernate or fly south like the birds?

Have you got any soup recipes?  I must have a go at making Mulligatawny soup some time?

Monday 15 January 2024

Getting The Potato Growing Bags Ready.

 I have made good use of the dry weather and all the growing areas in the polytunnel have been mulched with a two inch layer of fym.

On Friday I put six inches of fym in the six potato growing bags I bought from a carboot sale in Kerry for five Euros a couple of years ago:

Already to be planted up.  I am just waiting for my German garden centre and beer providers and supermarket to get some seed potatoes 🥔 in then we can get them chitting.

Growing potatoes in bags is a great way of getting new potatoes even if you don't have a garden or veg plot.  You could even grow them in a greenhouse.

I once grew potatoes 🥔 in a big plant pot in the upstairs window of our council flat.  I have even grown potatoes outside in a old spinning drum from a washing machine.

If you have never grown potatoes before.  Potato growing  bags are a good way to start.

Sunday 14 January 2024

"Who You Looking At?"

"Got any grub please?"
One of the bonhams is very inquisitive and always on the look out for more food.

The Berkshire sow was bought already in pig and she farrowed five fat piglets.

Two of the sows and the boar Elvis Pigsley. He doesn't allow Hoovers or hair dryers in his humble abode.  Can't say I blame him.  


Barley with her four piglets.  We have and electric red lamp to keep them warm.  

They will all be back in the field when the weather improves and the grass starts growing again.

Anyone else keep pigs or thinking of getting some?

Friday 12 January 2024

How Far Jerusalem? Another Sad Day For Prog Rock Fans.

 Another one of my Rock heroes passed on the other day.  

Guitarist, song writer and co founder of Midlands Prog Rock band Magnum Tony Clarkin died aged 77.

I have been a fan of theirs for at least forty years and I was privileged to have seen them play live a couple of times.

The most memorable gig I attended of theirs was "Garden Party" at Milton Keynes Bowl in 1986.  

Tickets were just 12 Pounds to see Mamas Boys, Magnum, Gary Moore and his band, Jethro Tull and Marillion.  It was a gorgeous summers day and a good time was had by all.  Nineteen  of us travelled down to Milton Keynes in the back of a hired Luton van.  Happy days,

Now 37 years later and the 23 year old punter (me) is now  60 and I'm playing lots of old Magnum tracks today.

Why they never became a Whitesnake or Deff Leppard I don't  know?  Their record sleeves were works of art covered in dragons and mythical creatures and faraway paradises.  That was back in the day when albums had concepts and themes.

Here's one of my favourite tracks: "How Far Jerusalem?" 

Apparently it's meaning is about social lepers in society .  I use to think of  a weary soldier on his horse riding to the Crusades and shouting: "How Far Jerusalem?"

Thanks for the great lyrics and songs Tony!  

Thursday 11 January 2024

Smallholding Tomato Omelette.


We made tomato omelette for our dinner today. The tomato 🍅 was bought in Lidl.

The ducks stopped laying but the hens haven't stopped.  

The price of  a bag of poultry feed every week doesn't make keeping hens really financially worthwhile.  We are getting roughly five eggs per day at the moment.  So nearly three dozen a week.  

I know eggs aren't dear in Lidl but like vegetables you can't  buy the freshness of your own homegrown or home laid.

Apparently omelette is a fourteenth century French word but the first omelette are said to have originated in Persia.  They probably came along the Silk Road along with our vegetables and spices?

Any road our omelette was very nice.  Any one got a favourite omelette recipe?

Wednesday 10 January 2024

Bratkartoffeln (German Fried Bacon And Potatoes).

we tried this German dish when we visited A German cafe/bar in Tenerife in December.
It's what us ordinary folk would call fried bacon and potatoes 🥔. 
Sliced potatoes like the bacon hotpot my dear old mother use to make us.
Diced ham in a packet from Lidl.

So we decided today to have a go at making our own taste of Berlin grub.
Our homemade version which looked and tasted like the meal we had in Tenerife.

Tuesday 9 January 2024

Four Hundred London Folk Clubs.

 I have been watching some documentaries on You Tube about the great and late Sandy Denny.  

Apparently when Sandy was singing on the folk club circuit in the late 1960s.  There where over 400 folk clubs in London alone.  

It must of been amazing to see live music every night if you wanted.

I have seen Fairport Convention twice but I was far too young to see Sandy live.  She was only 31 when she died.

Someone in the video said she sang with sadness in her voice.  I think they are right and her voice gives my goose bumps sometimes. It's a profound sadness and so many artists and writers have died so young and the demons that forced them on to fame also helped bring about their demise.  I think of some of the great footballers, musicians and singers that I have seen live: Phil Lynott, Whitney Houston and Keith Emerson immediately come to mind.  So many geniuses are flawed.

It's a shame there's never been a film made about Sandy.

Here's a song she wrote when she was just 19 years of age:

Monday 8 January 2024

Potato And Leek Soup Making.

 Remember the Clangers and the Soup Dragon?

Leeks growing outside in our veg plot this very morning.

Jack Frost and the wife gave them a good painting last night.  So I dug two of them up and topped and tailed them with my old bread knife.

Then I chopped them up with two spudatoes peeled and chopped and added a chopped onion and some garlic.  

A blurred photo of the soup simmering away on the stove.

Any other Soup Dragons out there?

Northsider soup.  I ate/drank two bowls of the stuff this morning.  Just the ticket on a frosty cold January morning.

Why don't you show us your homemade soup recipe?

Saturday 6 January 2024

Operation Fym For The Polytunnel.

 It's finally stopped raining down here on the Irish Riviera.   I wrote that yesterday.  We had rain later and frost last night and the rain always follows that.

Rain has  definitely stopped play in the gardens but that is not so with "Algarve" my polytunnel pal.

I ran some old decking planks to the dung heap and I piked and wheelbarrowed twelve loads of poultry, pig and pony plop to the raised beds in the polytunnel.  The planks resembled duck boards in WW1 trenches. 

I even took my anorak off, drank some Lucozade and read some blogs in between wheel barrowing. 

I'm pleased with the results and I will start looking/browsing seed catalogues and asking the wife to see if my German garden centre and supermarket and beer providers have any seed 🥔 in yet?

Here's a couple of photos for your perusal dear readers:

My trusty wheelbarrow resting.
There's Daffodils bulbs in the two tractor tyres. 

To paraphrase the great Jon Bon Jovi's " Livin On A Prayer".

"Livin On A Smallholding".

"It doesn't make a difference if we make it or not.

We've got our very own muck🐴🐷 heap and it's hot!"

Thursday 4 January 2024


That's a northern English swear word for a silly person like me.

I thought I would delete some of the blogs on my blog list that are no longer active.  I deleted one and seem to have deleted all of them in the process.

If you are on my list please don't think I have deleted your blog.

I can't even remember how I made a blog list in the first place.  I have spent a few hours trying to recover my blog list but it's all to no avail.  Perhaps I should just carry on without a blog list?

Answers on a postcard or better still in the comments box PLEASE!

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Homemade Currywurst.

 Thanks to Herta Heuwer a Berlin housewife who in 1949  traded spirits with British soldiers for curry powder, tomato ketchup and Worcestershire sauce and came up with the German much loved recipe for Currywurst.  

Readers here will remember my recent blog post featuring German food we ate and tried in Tenerife and the Currywurst in particular.

So I got wifey to go to our local German garden centre and supermarket and beer providers and purchase some Bratwurst sausages.   The ones in the fridges not the jars!

Then I looked up Currywurst on the Tinternet and Tweb and we (she) made our very homemade Currywurst:

It tasted like the Currywurst we ate in Tenerife at the German cafe bar.  It was very filling and I cut up a sausage for the 🐕.   I scraped the sauce off them so we are not left dog curry in the morning 🙂.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Found It.

 That's the Platinum April Wine record I told you about the other day.

It's their classic "Nature Of The Beast' album. Presented to Trident Studios (London) for sales of 100000 records by the Canadian Records Association.

How did you come by it Dave?  Several years ago I was talking to a sales rep in our house and we both started naming off the rock bands we had seen or wanted to see.  

I mentioned that I liked April Wine and the man's face lit up and he said he had a platinum record of theirs in his garage and I could have it for free if I wanted because he didn't know anyone who liked them.  Sure enough he called back two weeks later with the record.

I have seen similar framed records for sale on the Tweb and Tinternet for 300 Dollars and more.

Here's my favourite track off this album.  It's a Rock classic.  Get out your air 🎸.   

Monday 1 January 2024

Rock Goes To College With April Wine.

 I played a lot of old April Wine songs on good old YouTube today.

I stumbled with my music  surfing on April Wine on Rock Goes To College.  It was an excellent BBC music series when up and coming Rock bands would play universities,  polytechnic and colleges.  The AC-DC concert in particular is excellent.

Here's the great Canadian band April Wine in action from around 1980.  Oh I wish I had seen them play live:

Rock And Roll The Vicious Game.

 For many a year I have dreamed of flying to Canada and seeing April Wine and visiting Toronto where Rush were founded.

April Wine are one of those enigmatic bands like Saga (Canadian) and Styx (American) bands that I have always wanted to see play live but probably never will.

Somewhere in the loft I have a framed platinum album of April Wine for their record number of hits in Canada that was recorded at a London recording studio. 

Anyway or any road I read that Myles Goodwyn had retired from the band last March.  

This morning I received a email from my friend and fellow Rock band follower informing me that Myles had recently passed away age 75.

This makes me sad and I am going to be playing a lot of April Wine music today.  Here's one of my favourites with such poignant lyrics:

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...