Tuesday, November 29, 2011

River burst its banks

Well we had torrential rain again last night and my gutters were overflowing, I will have to check that the downpipe is clear. The drains we cleared were at full capacity this morning and the overflow from the lily pond was unable to keep up so the pond was really full. It will have had a good flush out with all this rain anyway. Gus and Jessy had a swim again in their own personal pool and I cut down a couple of small trees that will go to making another couple of benches. There was a power cut but everything was back on this morning. I was recording a film but will have to do it again and knowing the tv it wont be long till its replayed.

This is the "tunnel" created by clearing small saplings and scrub it leads down towards the ponds at the bottom of the garden, I would like to put a wee summer house on the flat area there.

Burst river banks on the Costello river.

Looking back to the house from the "tunnel"

Linda Carty

I have just watched a doco on chanel 4 about Linda Carty who is on death row in Texas, for those of you who didnt see the show here are some of the points brought up. 
Linda was condemned to death after a “catastrophically flawed” trial for the murder of her neighbour. She has always proclaimed her innocence and would certainly not be on death row today if she had been assigned adequate defence counsel at trial.
Her court-appointed lawyer, Jerry Guerinot, has sent more prisoners to death row than any other lawyer in the United States, yet his failings only became fully apparent after the American law firm Baker Botts, assisted by Reprieve, took on Linda’s case pro bono. It emerged that:
  • Guerinot had only spent 15 minutes with Linda before her capital trial.
  • He had falsely told the courts that Linda refused to meet with him until he bribed her with a chocolate bar. In fact, she is fatally allergic to chocolate.
  • He failed to spot obvious inconsistencies in the prosecution's case.
  • He failed to interview key witnesses.
  • He did not present evidence on her behalf or even investigate Linda’s case in any depth.
Neither, crucially, did he inform the British government of Linda’s case until it was too late. As a result the British government could not intervene on Linda’s behalf in a timely and effective manner.
Clive Stafford Smith said:“If the British government had been involved, at the very least Jerry Guerinot wouldn’t have tried the case and Linda would not be where she is today. That was the difference between life and death”.
The British government has made great efforts to save Linda Carty’s life. It has filed a “friend of the court” briefing to the US Supreme Court contending that she deserved a retrial because of the failings of her court-appointed lawyer. The Supreme Court has ignored these pleas and Linda’s conviction and sentence have been upheld.
The odds were always stacked against Linda. It is extremely difficult to get new evidence admitted in US capital appeals, even if that evidence demonstrates the defendant's innocence. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia notoriously stated in August 2009:

"This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is “actually” innocent. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable."

I am opposed to capital punishment anyway but this particular case wouldn't be a mistake made by a jury of "12 good men and true" but itself murder. Read more on the case or watch the documentary and join me in signing the petition at http://www.marchforlindacarty.org.uk/#/petition/4558002483

Leveson Inquiry

Welllllllllll after listening to Anne Diamond give evidence today at the inquiry I have changed my opinion and recon now its just Hugh Grant I dont like. Anne is really articulate and she had some horror stories about how she has been treated. I think she was so in teresting as she has been both sides of the fence so to speak.

It was dry this morning and I had Gus and Jessy in for a swim in the ponds at the bottom of the acreage, there were a couple of Mallard ducks annoyed at the intrusion and I also came across a track left by a badger, I know its a badger as the footprint has five toes and a heel mark and a dog / fox only has four and also the size of the flattened grass was a givaway, its nice to know they at least pay me a visit. I watched a show on the gardens at Heligan the other night and it was a real insight on how gardens should be managed. Heligan, seat of the Tremayne family for more than 400 years, is one of the most mysterious estates in England and has over 200 acres to explore, acting as a living window to the past, their award-winning restoration of the Victorian Productive Gardens stand as a working memorial to Heligan’s Lost Gardeners. My 6 acres stand as a working memorial to some wally with a chainsaw and a whippersnipper :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm no chippy

Well I had a night out with Mark last night was great and we got back here at about 0200, started off with a Chineese feed at An Cheathrú Rua with Angie ( it was supprisingly good) she then left us to get back to the couch, An Cheathru Rua is within the Irish-speaking region (Gaeltacht) of Connemara, and is famous for its traditional fishing boats known as Galway Hookers I had offers of Irish lessons when I was talking in what Scottish Gaelic I know ( very little) and had my pic taken with a 7 ft dishy blonde about half my age, no doubt it will be on her facebook page under the heading " I met Shrek" or summat.

I'm no Chippy but have made a rustic bench seat for the garden, I aim to make them for all over the place and this was my first attempt, I have still to sand the seat and paint it brown and maybe take an inch off the legs length but am happy with the outcome, my next one will have a back to it.

Angie is off in Wales till Wednesday then I am going to drive across to Luing to see my parents and hopefully get an old Imac computer up and going for Dad as his PC is getting weary.

I just got a Terrabyte external hard drive to record the TV and had to go online to the set top box manufacturers website in order to get it configuired to work which took a wee while but it is up and running so thats good, they gave me a free solar powered light with a motion sensor which I shall install in my shed as it has no electricity down there and it is very dark inside. Mark helped me tidy it up inside yesterday as it was a bit wet for gardening, infact we had sheeting rain and heavy winds yesterday and last night which made the pub crawl a case of two pubs.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Atlantic Fiji

Sometimes Ireland reminds me of Fiji, the climate is different, there arent the palm trees and skin tone is a bit dilluted but the same, carefree? is that the word I'm looking for? "manana to be sure" attitude exists. I just missed the Post Office, not cos its past closing time, just the place was closed, ochh well it will probably be open tomorrow. It was dry this morning but the wind and rain are back again so I have reversed up to the log fire in a pose reminiscent of Garfield the cat while I ponder todays blog and life in general.

There are plans afoot to have a quick visit to Scotland and the departation date changes daily but it could be as early as next Wednesday. I have put my tree up early :) because I shall be away and also as I love the look Angie gives me when I do anything remotely Christmasy, I couldnt resist buying her a wee present the other day, its a hat, a bit like the one Father Christmas wears, but this one isnt red its black and instead of having Happy Christmas written on it, it has Bah Humbug.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Ta se te fuar agus fliuch

Its cold and wet outside this afternoon and yet watching the trees bend in the gale and the sheets of rain blanket the bog and mountains behind is bonny in its own way, especially if you are reversed up to a blazing log fire and admiring it through double glazing as I am lol. The dogs and I had a walk through Rosscahill woods today for the first time in months, I went across that way to book them into a kennel next month, it doesn't have a website and needs one badly and I think I have talked them into investing in one this next year.

I happened to watch Hugh Grant in his most recent performance at the Leveson Enquiry and really I'm not impressed, his net worth of 80 million quid is mostly wages from movies he has stared in and to get to that worth in that particular field of work in my opinion you cant expect the public and the newspapers not to be interested in every part of your life. I dont like or respect the Paparazzi but they exist because there is a demand for their gunk. Do we really care if he gets caught with a prostitute or fathers a bairn out of wedlock? Well I dont, but if paper sales are anything to go on a lot of folks do.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day Off

Well I had a gardening free day today, apart from stacking some firewood. John headed off back down to Waterford after his 6 day stint here.

Spaniards reeling from an economic crisis are voting in an election expected to throw out the ruling Socialists and elect another Mario *reference Super Mario from a previous post or two* this one is Mariano Rajoy. One in five Spanish workers are without a job. I have a plan, extended and interlinked siesta periods, let people have two hour siesta periods, taken, between 1000 and 1400 then employ the fifth currently unemployed person to fill in the siestas giving them four hours and a two hour siesta themselves. I should have been a polli so I should. 100% employment and elevated pillow sales.

Its meant to be wet tomorrow so I shall be sanding ceiling cracks and painting them and may start a landscape painting. High tide is around 1300 tomorrow so I shall plan my shopping expedition with a dog swim around that. The house needs a good clean too as I let it go this last week with all the outdoor work I was doing.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

garden shredder

I have a new toy, Flymo garden shredder, it will get some workout here to be sure. My strimmer and chainsaw dont know what has hit them. We cleared another pathway today, it leads into this walled garden about halfway down the garden and looks really mysterious from the patio. Tomorrow I shall cut down some small trees in there that have suffered from lack of light and open the place up a bit.
It was a better day today although we had a shower this afternoon that had us stop early.

The government is to increase the top level of VAT by 2 %, in the photo above maybe the Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore is looking for it up a nostril. We have a Taoiseach here (Irish Prime Minister) who btw gets paid more than the Americain President and a Tanaiste (The Taoiseach nominates a member of the government to the position of Tánaiste and is appointed by the President. The Tánaiste acts in the place of the Taoiseach during his or her temporary absence, and, until a successor has been appointed) Taoiseach is pronounced teeshack and Tanaiste is pronounced tonashea. They need to get rid of half the pollies here rather than up VAT I recon.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

busy couple of days gardening

Well John and I have been busy demolishing brambles, cutting firewood and cleaning the pond for the last two days. has made a huge dent in it, another four months work and well it may look presentable lol.

I see Super Mario Monti has unvieled a new cabinet in Italy, presumably all Silvios glamour girls are back to work in Tescos and now Mario has elected Bowser J, Lakitu (flying), Toad, Toadette, Toadsworth, Princess Peach, Mario, Luigi, Princess Daisy, Yoshi, Wario, Waluigi. Bottom row: Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Baby Mario, Baby Luigi, Goomba, Bullet Bill (flying), Koopa Troopa, Koopa Paratroopa, Dry Bones, Boo (flying), Hammer Bro, Birdo, Piranha Plant, Shy Guy, Petey Piranha and Wiggler to help out.

The weather looks to be turning wet over the next couple of days so we are breaking out the wet weather gear in preperation.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Well I got 6 brown crabs for 5 Euro yesterday from a French seafood processor that has a plant down near the old coastguard station that I have swum the dogs at a few times, I popped in last week and asked if they would sell me some but 5 Euro is really reasonable as they were good heavy big crabs. I made crab and sweetcorn soup and crab spaggatini, crab meat, spagetti, garlic, chilli, lemon zest and juice, parmazan and parsley. My Granny used to process boxes full of crabs, after doing six I have the utmost respect for the effort required.

High tide is around 8 am so I should go swim the dogs and maybe give John a shake when I get back, the car computer showed 2 km left in the petrol tank lol in the old days I could free wheel the landrover down to the crossroads but now the cars steering and brakes are assisted by the engine running so it would be awkward to say the least to try it now.

Run through a bog

Well I took Gus and Jessy up to a lochan for a swim and Jessy took off after some sheep she didnt bite any but was rounding them up and wouldnt come back to me I got more and more mad ( and muddy) and she got a severe beating when I eventually caught her, she spent the afternoon in the laundry (sent to Coventery) so from now on she will have to be on the lead. I'm going to invest in a wireless dog fence as I cant have her outside the garden as she will be shot.

On a lighter note John is coming up for a few days to help me garden so it will be nice to have company, if its raining we can do some crack repairs indoors. I was doing a wee painting for my friend Lynne of her wee dog Bella and cat Lilly and that has me in the mood for doing some more paintings, the light here is great and maybe they would make Christmas presents. John makes Christmas decorations so he might get some materials in the garden here.

I should try some Conemmara ponies in a painting.

Monday, November 14, 2011

jeeze I'm almost 50

Blinkin heck I'm 50 in January, I dont feel 50 mind you how does a 50 yr old feel?

Two elderly women were eating breakfast in a restaurant one morning.
Ethel noticed something funny about Mable's ear and said,
"Mable, did you know you've got a suppository in your left ear?"

Mable answered, "I have? A suppository?"
She pulled it out and stared at it.

Then she said, "Ethel, I'm glad you saw this thing.
Now I think I know where my hearing aid is."

I was at sea on my 40th birthday on Bass Strait bobbing up and down on a tugboat for 5 weeks at a time on a Gas pipeline job, it was a dry ship so Christmas New Year and my birthday passed in a sober fashion, infact the weather was so bad I rarely saw anyone on the boat as everyone turned in as soon as they got off watch. One deckhand was so seasick he had to be airlifted off. My parents came down to visit and we had a wee party. This year I'd like to have a party but Ireland is expensive to get to and its just after Christmas so I shall be happy as long as I get a beer.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Will Super Mario rule Italy

I so hope Super Mario gets the Italian top job, now old Berlo is retiring, Why? well Mario is the man when it comes to ducking, diving, running and dodging and thats exactly what Italy needs in the current European Crisis ehh a ducker.

I cleared a wee bit around the wind vane which is now visible from the house it has a salmon on the end that catches the wind which is nice considering this was a fishing lodge origionally.

I also ripped out some ornamental grass that had gone crazy at the bottom of the steps down from the patio, its roots were holding water there and keeping the ground really wet, its a nice grass but I will keep it away from that area and maybe either put a few pavers or returf that spot. It was a lovely day today and this afternoon there is a Mackerel sky it is an indicator of moisture (the cloud) and instability (the cirrus-cumulus form) at intermediate levels (2400–6100 m, 8000-20,000 ft). If the lower atmosphere is stable and no moist air moves in, the weather will most likely remain dry. Mackerel skies are spoken of in the popular bywords, "Mackerel in the sky, three days dry," "Mackerel sky, mackerel sky. Never long wet and never long dry," and the nautical weather rhyme, "Mare's tails and mackerel scales / Make tall ships carry low sails." The phrase 'mackerel sky' came from the fact that it looks similar to the markings of an adult king mackerel.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Its 11/11/11 today which is the anniversary of the day the First World War ended. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae's poem, began selling poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Its a shame, we as a species seem to love going to war, anyway

The inauguration of Michael D Higgins as ninth President of Ireland will take place at Dublin Castle today, he is the geriatric hare that I mentioned in a previous article and he beat my prop forward to the line, good on him I hope he makes a grand president.

I was at the solicitor yesterday to catch up with how the house sale is progressing, it looks like it may be another good six months before it goes through, the land registry in this country is renown for being very slow to say the least, anyway it means 6 months of rent free accomodation :) and when the contracts are exchanged they cant remove the house from the market so basically both parties are locked into a sale and its up to them to get all the paperwork correct before I have to pay the final due amount. I shall defer doing any renovations until then, the house is fine, although cool until the insulation gets installed.

Its blowing a gale here this morning and the tv picture, through the satelite is dropping out so it looks liek a couple of the trees are in line with the signal and may have to be topped or I shall have no tv when its windy lol typical ehh when its windy and dreich thats when you want to be watching the googlebox.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Pond cleaning

Well I cleaned out my pond today, actually about 15 square foot of it and the pond is about 65ft by 90 ft so its a work in progress. There was a grass growing on the surface its roots went the 3 ft down to the pond floor where they were loving an ozzy decayed mush of leaves and mud, my 15 sqft contained about a ton of roots and gunk. Thankfully only about a third of the pond has this grass most of the rest is lillies. Geoffrey next door was telling me come May the ponds are filled with frog spawn and you would imagine a lot of frog eating birds will drop by during the summer. His pond has eels in it so probably mine will too. The wee boat they left (12 ft aluminium runnabout) is handy for this job and I shall give it a paint and it will do as a yacht tender this coming year, the oars are jiggered but I shall get some before then. It will be nice if more of the pond surface is open water as the light / moon will reflect off it at night and it also looks better with reflections etc.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Tea with a neighbour

Well I had tea with Geofrey next door, he has a nice wee cottage his parents renovated and he has been working on since, very small rooms but ultra cosy with 3 ft thick walls and a stomper of a stove that gets it to 26C on next to no fuel. He put me right on the best places to fish, which is his passion and the reason he chooses to live here, which builders not to use and the like. He also told me about a wind farm that had been proposed on the mountainside opposite the houses here that he had thwarted thankfully. It would spoil the magic views. We had a wander round and he showed me the boundry against his garden which actually gives me even more land than I thought lol unfortunately its under brambles.

Thankfully there wont be windmills in this view.

Angie took the Ford in for a service today and I have yet to hear how much that will have cost, I think the tyres were getting close to bald so it could be scary, I gave it a good clean out yesterday as it gets used as a dog kennel / taxi most days, poor car.  

I see on the news that traffic wardens have been getting rewards for overperforming, for years, Wardens in Westminster have been sent a newsletter by parking contractor NSL offering them points to use in Argos and Homebase in exchange for suggesting new areas to snare drivers. Enforcement officers are also being given the reward for performance "above [the] beat average". Fine them for looking for a legal spot to park, emmmmm fine them for waiting for a spot, emmm fine them for cycling to work, how about a fine if your efforts to get a fine dissmissed are unsucsesful or sucsesful for that matter.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

7 billion people

Well there are 7 billion people alive on Earth as we speak, or thereabouts, hmmm, they are all on Earth just the number was thereabouts, hmmm apart from 3 who are on the International Space Station. Anyway I found this calculator that works out what number you were when you were born I was the 3,126,341,966th person alive at that time. Its a worry that the population has more than doubled in my lifetime even though I didnt contribute to it. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15391515  I cant see a single person or house as I look out of my office window here and that suits me fine, I used to be a hermit now I'm just crabby.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Another lovely day

Well it has been another sunny mild day, spent today clearing round my garden shed and doing more burning off. We rented a couple of movies and have just watched the first one it was called "Lies and Illusions" and starred Christian Slater, it wont be nominated for any Oscar infact if there was an award for absolute rubbish it would do well, maybe call the award the Racso Award thats Oscar backwards or it could mean "Really Awful Calimeriferous Sewage Outfall" I suppose. I'm hopeing the second one "The Adjustment Bureau" will be better it stars Matt Damion and is toasted as "Bourne meets Inception" and it contains a discreet sex scene? not sure what one of those is.

Its a clear night again and the stars are amazing here, no backlights from houses or street lamps, the Southern sky has more stars but here in the North we have a star that sits above the Pole and has a cracking pointer that is easy to see in the night sky, when its clear. Jupiter is the brightest planet visible just now and Capella, Aldeberan, Altair and Vega are easy picked out.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Things you can do with a 25 gallon drum

Cut the top of it and a few holes make it a good brazier, I have been burning twigs and small branches as I clear them and have a whole load for tomorrow again. Fireworks are illegal in Ireland and Bonfire night isnt done here. There are however some other celebrations Following the revels of Hallowe’en, the ancient Irish celebrated the festival of the dead - Samhain, which is pronounced sow-en, and is usually translated as “summer’s end.”

In Celtic lore, the year is divided into two halves associated with the dark and the light. The dark half begins at sunset on November 1st with Samhain and the cycle ends when the light half begins at sunset on May 1st, which is the festival of Bealtaine. Both festivals are closely linked, but in general, Samhain is considered to be the most important.

In the old days, extensive preparations were made for the sharing of a communal feast that included the dearly departed as guests of honor. To enable them to come and go freely, all doors and windows were left unlatched; a special cake was made exclusively for their consumption, and a certain amount of other food was set aside just for them. This had to be left untouched by any mortal hand for the duration of the ritual period. Eating the food of the dead was considered to be a major sacrilege and it condemned the perpetrator to becoming a hungry spirit after death, forever banned from sharing in the Samhain feast.

The weather has been great this last two days which will hopefully let the waterlogged grass get a chance to dry out a bit. I got a trailer load of peat for 40 euro which will hopefully do me a few months and have covered it up with a tarp. I have a peat shed across the road but it is full of junk so I shall just work out of the trailer until the shed is cleared. I'd like to store my bikes in it too down the track.

Just had a keek outside and its bright with a three quarter moon and stars I shall have to get my telescope out

Thursday, November 3, 2011

New DR

Well I went and registered / met a dr local for me here and he seems a nice bloke, he knew the house as he looked after Lord Harrington when he was here. I got bitten by an insect about a week ago, my arm swelled up and the bite didnt heal and same again yesterday so he gave me an antihistamine and also something for a chest infection that has been hanging around so I have an extra  4 tablets to take every day lol. Today is dreich so I'm having a garden free day and am just about to fill some cracks on a ceiling here.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday look nice on the forecast so I am hoping to have some help and get some more anti brambling anti fuchsiaing done "fuchsiaing" sounds really Chineese ehh but It is named after German botanist Leonhard Fuchs! The flowers were named by Charles Plumier when he found them on the Caribbean island Hispaniola in 1696. He named them after his idol Fuchs, who was one of the founding fathers of botany. They have gone wild in my garden and are 7 foot tall and cover about a 60 meter square area in one part, I am chopping them down apart for 3 bunches of about 3 ft which I shall leave as bushes. I have found that the hedge trimmer attachment on my strimmer works better for clearing brambles than the strimmer attachment but my elbow gets a bit sore if I use it for extended periods.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Draining and a swamp monster

Well I didnt get any guisers this year :( but the good thing is there are loads of sweeties left lol, I suppose people dont know we are here yet as the house is well screened from the road, actually it would be blinkin scary walking down to the house through the tree lined drive with boughs creaking, owls hooting, things scurrying surreptiously away and the axe man waiting silently in the shadows.

We cleaned out most of the drains at the top end of the garden today, took a good few hours and was muddy, wet and smelly work which Gus just loved, he went from being a black and white collie dog to a brown stinking swamp monster who had to be put under the hose and then swum in the ocean to get him clean at the end of the day.

Tomorrow I have a visit with a new GP and it looks like it is going to be windy and wet again, today was lovely and sunny and about 13C. The Low Pressure that gave New York its snow late last week has crossed the Atlantic with the promise of Gales and rain, hopefully we may have better days on Thursday and Friday and my drains will get a good clean out. I'm tempted to make French drains out of some of them and cover them over.

The Department of Finance has confirmed that Ireland's debt is €3.6bn lower than previously thought due to an accounting error. I regularilly mislay cash then find it down the track in washed jean pockets or raincoats that havent been worn for a few weeks but the bn stands for Billions thats a lot to go missing ehh lol.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thinning photos

I have been busy clearing branches and cutting out dead wood, I'm concentrating on getting it so I can walk through the woods first then will select the branches that are spoiling the look of the trees and take them out, clearing branches after I cut them is harder work than actually cutting them down.

It started off driech today but it loks like it is clearing up for tomorrow. I have a young bloke coming tomorrow to help me in the garden clear leaves out of the wee burns/ drains that run through the garden.