Thursday, 14 December 2017

Remembering The Shawlies In Cork City.

We went to Cork city yesterday and we noticed this statue called the "Onion Seller".  It's a sculpture by Seamus Murphy.  I wrote a blog last December about his statue : an speir -bean in Killarney.

 The statue commemorates the "shawlies" women market traders who use to sell their wares in the Coal Quay area of Cork City.  I think its great how the statue remembers working class people who lived there.

Update:  I Googled: The Shawlies and the Four Courts Press have published a book called The Shawlies, Cork women street traders and the merchant city 1901-50 by Susan Marie Martin.  It sounds fascinating!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Shop Windows With Train Themes For Christmas.

We went Christmas shopping yesterday in County Kerry.  One place we visited was Listowel.  This is the home of the writer John B Keane who wrote 'The Field' and many other stories.   I recently found two antique shops there (remember the Black and White Whisky dogs ornament?) and we decided to see if we could find any Christmas presents there.  Unfortunately both shops were closed on a Monday.   

How ever we still looked round the shops.   Here's some pictures for you:

Lartigue Monorail in Listowel is hosting the North Pole Express running up to Christmas.  So the shops have dressed their windows with a train theme.  I love it when shops make an effort and dress their windows, don't you?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Some Amazing Garden Photographs From Japan.

My wife's sister told her that she was going to Japan with a pal of hers for a couple of weeks. When I found out I said: "Tell them to take pictures of  the amazing Japanese gardens for me and for my blog".

Here goes folks:

Aren't they absolutely beautiful.  The nearest thing I have ever been to Japan is when we use to visit Peasholm Park in Scarborough on our holidays.  We would spend many an afternoon and night there.  

Would you believe the Sycamore is related to those beautiful Acer trees?  

My dad use to grow Chrysanthemums in his green house, I love Rhododendrons and I know the Nolans were very big in Japan.    I would love to go there, would you?

Do you remember this song?

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Barrowing And Spreading FYM For Next Years Potatoes..

We got two dumper loads of fym delivered the other week.  I have been spreading it on next years proposed new potatoes plot.  

Of course I dug it over first and piked and barrowed the muck.  I don't kill myself any more though and the most I pike and wheelbarrow in one session is ten barrows.  I don't spend all day knackering (is that a word?) my back when I can do it over a few days or weeks.  

 Dung spread and my empty plastic compost container called: "Compo".  I lost the plastic piece on the side so I stick a piece of wood instead.  Any vegetable waste goes in there now we have no livestock this winter.  I got tired of paying for feed and mucking out for no profit.  We will probably buy a couple of weanling heifers in March to keep the grass down and fatten.  

My wheelbarrow having a rest.  Hopefully the worms will take the fym down over the next few months.  I don't want all leafy growth and small potatoes.  

I think I will dig a trench when I plant the tubers and put some dung under them.  I am still not fully convinced about "No Dig".  Old Jack Frost and the winter rains and some rough digging all contribute to making a good crop of potatoes and lovely friable soil.  

Friday, 1 December 2017

Gothic Ruins And A Great Composer.

We have often  drove passed this sign going to Killarney.   The other day on our way to Lidl in Kenmare we stopped and took these photographs.  

 We had never heard of the poet and composer Ernest John Moeran.  Like myself he had and Irish father.  He served in the First World War and was badly injured and had to have a metal plate in his head.  He loved Norfolk, Herefordshire and Ireland.  He settled there and died in his fifties.  I have been listening to some of his work on You Tube this week.  I think his music is wonderful.  On his headstone it says:  He rests in the mountain country he loved so well.

Killowen church is a gothic ruin and even without a roof it looks amazing.

I found this wonderful video on You Tube about Ernest John Moeran.  Many thanks for making and posting the video on You Tube.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

How Much Is That Doggie Advent Calendar In The Window?

We got a leaflet in the post the other afternoon.  You don't get post in rural Ireland until the afternoon.  The leaflet was advertising coal and oil filled radiators and wild bird feed and Advent Calendars for DOGS!  Please!!

We all love our pets and apart from their dinners I wouldn't mind being a dog.  Is that why I always want to go a walk?  But surely to goodness its time to draw a line in the sand (or snow) and say enough is enough.  Our canine friends get the best seat next to the fire and half the Christmas dinner which we made enough for an army for.  But then again your dog deserves a treat.  Especially if they are loyal like our Fido the Jack Russell terrier.

Christmas Day is a Monday this year, I think?  It's going to be a very long weekend isn't it?  Why can't they just call it Christmas Sunday and celebrate on the nearest Sunday date to the twenty fifth?  It's too easy isn't it?  I have always wanted to go abroad for Christmas and see it from a different and much warmer perspective.  Have you even been abroad at Christmas?  Where is warm at Christmas?  

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Kennel Building For A Small Dogeen.

My son made this kennel for my brother's (also a Jack Russell)dog the other day.  I think he made a good job of it.  It's a pity he had to make it on my lawn.  Hopefully the bald patch will grow back or I will have another grass seed repair to do.  

I cut some of the planks for him with an handsaw.  I couldn't get over how much moisture nay sap there was in the wood.  Years ago newly sawn wood was seasoned for about a year or more.  Today its cut down and planed and made into planks and sent straight away to a timber yard.  Is it any wonder nothing lasts anymore?  

Its been raining today and all last night.  Here's an appropriate song by the aptly named Carpenters.  Yet another track from my very eclectic music juke box.  I would love to have seen them live.  I believe they played Manchester Free Trade Hall.  

Have you thought about Christmas yet?  I will give you some suggestions for presents in my next post!

Friday, 17 November 2017

An Old Farm Ratter Comes In For A Warm.

That's a picture of our Fido the Jack Russell terrier.  She's fifteen years old and still plodding on.  Here she is being a star in front of our Stanley Mourne number 7 solid fuel range.  

Talking of stars or even starless.  Two versions of King Crimsons Starless for you.  I saw The Unthanks a couple of years a go at Killarney Folk Festival.  If you ever get the chance to see them sing and clog dance, don't miss it.    They are brilliant!

The other version is of The David Cross Band.  I saw them play this in Germany in Loreley at The Night Of The Prog Festival.  David Cross was in King Crimson and David Jackson was in Vandergraf Generator.  A band which was formed at Manchester University.  The David Cross Band were brilliant.  I love this version of Starless.

Friday, 10 November 2017

A Folk Song About A Lark In The Morning.

I was looking on good old You Tube the other day for An Irish folk duo I saw in Killarney in July.  They supported the Hothouse Flowers.  The duo are called: The Vagabonds.  

I have an eclectic music taste and I have always liked folk music especially when its live.  They sang a wonderful old English folk song called 'The Lark In The Morning'.  Its been sung by the Dubliners, Steely Dan and many others.  

The song was was first printed in 1778,  Any way I found the Vagabonds singing this song in a cave the other day.  I think the cave must make wonderful natural acoustics.  Enjoy.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Pictures From A Day Out In County Kerry.

We went over to Kerry the other day for some retail therapy and took these pictures.

This statue is brilliant.  It commemorates a Fisherman, Turf-Cutter, Rugby Player, Teacher and Writer.  I like how each of his occupation are featured on the plinth.  
A butchers van in Killarney and a litter bin.  You never see a litter bin in rural Ireland outside of the towns.  It looks like the cows are wondering if there is anything worth eating in the litter bin?

Puppets playing along to same Irish Trad music.  Notice the hole in the Leprechaun picture to put your head through.  I have never seen a real Leprechaun in Ireland, have you?  

The late author Pete McCarthy writes in his wonderfully funny book: McCarthy's Bar that he use to go looking for looking Leprechauns with butterfly nets on sticks at his grandmothers farm in Drimoleague, which is only a few miles up the road from where I live.  

I remember once asking my grandmother how do I catch a rabbit in the fields behind the farmhouse.  She told me to get some salt and sprinkle it on its tail.  A few hours later she wasn't very happy when there was no salt.  

Friday, 3 November 2017

Alice In Wonderland Gets A New Job.

One of my highlights of this year was flying from Kerry to Germany to spend a few days at the legendary Night Of The Prog festival at Loreley next to the river Rhine.  Its a beautiful place and I never really thought I would be going to a Rock festival when I was in my fifties.  

The big disappointment of the Summer was my favourite Rock band Kansas cancelling their European tour which included Poznan  (I had a ticket) in Poland and the Night Of The Prog.  So to make up for this my mate and myself decided to go on a once in a life time, strike it off the bucket list and get ourselves over to Germany and sup some mighty fine German beer and watch some great bands.  

One of the highlights (I will show you some more) of the festival was Franck Carducci's Band.  They are from France and play music to make you smile and wish you were around when all the psychedelic rock groups were strutting their experimental stuff way back in the early nineteen seventies.  

Any way the Franck Carducci Band have written and penned a song about Alice the girl who fell down that rabbit hole and met the Mad Hatter (not Mr Carducci, he wears a big hat) and she had an eerie dream.  

Many thanks for the people who film these concerts and put them on You Tube for everybody to enjoy.  I was there.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Making Plants And Planting Hedges For Not Very Much.

 One of our Hydrangea cuttings we made last month.  I decided to have a look if one of them had grown any roots.  Thanks to Mother Nature and hormone rooting powder, roots had appeared.
 The new shredder is making short work of the overgrown shrubs and I used them on this Hydrangea border.   I gave the border a couple of wheelbarrows of well rotted fym first before spreading the shredding.  Some people let the shreddings age first before applying it for a mulch.  

 I cleared the area of old grass and nettles this morning with my Azada hoe and piked them into a compost pile.  Then I planted it with some of our Gristelina cuttings/plants that we made last Winter.  They then had a good application of fym spread around them.  I also buried some old cardboard around them.  The shrubs behind the new hedge are mainly Formosa (Pheasant Berries) shrubs and they look a bit sparse at this time of year.  So I thought I would plant this hedge which cost nothing apart from our labour.

 Homemade compost area made from pallets.  The shreddings are piked there along side fym and anything else that will compost.  If we feed the soil we will have have healthy plants and it needn't cost much money money at all..

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Digging For Victory With Pictures And Sound.

A friend of mine recently emailed me to tell me of a new British band called: Public Service Broadcasting.  They are touring Europe this Autumn and Winter.  They have an original way of combining their music with old  black and white film footage.  Four  videos of theirs that I really like are: Digging For Victory, If War Should Come, They Gave Me A Lamp and Spitfire.  Here's Digging For Victory.   They remind me of a modern day Pink Floyd using the medium of film and music.  Have you heard of them?  What do you think?  I think they are playing Dublin in January:  "Hmm...?"

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Gaelic Coffee To Help You Relax.

Do you like Gaelic or Irish coffees?  I actually prefer Scottish whisky to Irish whiskey (notice the different spellings).  So we made Gaelic or Scottish coffees the other day.

Gaelic coffees in Irish coffee glasses.  


Brew some strong ground black coffee (we buy ours from Aldi) and place a teaspoon of brown sugar in a handle glass (so you don't burn your fingers), add a measure of whisky to the glass.  We used Teachers because we had it in.  Add the coffee to the glass and stir.  Then add some whipped cream.  We used a aerosol of spray cream.  Enjoy.  There are supposed to be thirteen gales hitting Ireland over the coming weeks.  

Oh yeah. 

Did you watch the BBC 4: A Year In A English Garden last night?  It's on BBC Player if you missed it.  Not that we can get it in Ireland.  I loved the walled kitchen garden and there is always something to do. Even when its raining, just for a change.  I have a North facing (Northsider) garden and understand the joys and failures of gardening next to the sea and sometimes you get all the seasons in a day.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Watching Some Blues And Cow Punk In Killarney.

We went to Killarney INEC last Saturday to watch two bands:  Crow Black Chicken and The Super Suckers.  Crow Black Chicken are a Blues band from Ireland and The Super Suckers are a Cow Punk (I had never heard of this music genre either) band from the United States.  Crow Black Chicken are the band in the top picture and The Super Suckers are the band in the pictures below

I never get to see much live music these days living in the countryside and the last time I saw some rock music was when I went to the Night Of The Prog Festival in Loreley in Germany in July of this year.  

Crow Black Chicken are playing England in November.  They are well worth checking out.  One song I really liked that they played was entitled:  Jones Town.  Its about the danger of Religious cults and Jimmy Jones in particuliar in America.  Do you remember it?

The Super Suckers play some really fast heavy music (cow punk) and the lead singer was very entertaining when he talked between the songs.  He said that he liked Ireland and could speak the language:  "Muchas gratias.  They were fun and its a shame a lot more people didn't go to see these bands.  They even did a cover of Thin Lizzy's 'Cowboy Song'

Friday, 20 October 2017

Another Day Out To More Places In Ireland.

I noticed this place when we went to Limerick to visit St John's Castle.  So last Saturday we decided to check out Askeaton.  It's a small town in county Limerick.  Here's some shots for you.
An old Saddlers' shop.  On a further inspection by  looking in the shop window, it was empty, sadly! 
 An impressive looking forged gate to and impressive Georgian style house.  Probably a mill owners house me thinks?

 A weir next to the ruined Friary.

Mass  Dial.
The grave yard overlooking the Friary.

 Old  derelict Corn store at Abbey Mills.  It never ceases to amaze me the amount of derelict buildings there are in Ireland.  Surely ("don't call me Shirley" Airplane  film joke) the building could me made into apartments?
 This looks like the monks and nuns productive kitchen garden.  No doubt they would have grown food, made beer and Mead and grew medicinal herbs and flowers to cure the sick.  It was a Franciscan Friary so they would have been very kind and offered rest and comfort for the weary traveler and sanctuary to heal the body and the soul.  Even today the Franciscans have soup kitchens in big cities like Dublin.  I believe the ruin is part of an old church.
 They were obviously incredibly skilled stonemasons in the 13th century.  


Swans on the river Deel overlooking Desmond castle.  

Its free to visit the Friary and good way to explore the many fascinating old places in Ireland.   It reminded me of our visit many moons a go to Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire.