Monday, 28 January 2013


Fresh from the cooling rack

Showing the consistency 

I moved to my present location in 1991 and found that I had a lot to learn in regards to 
living here among the green, green fields of Ireland. 
One of those tasks was to learn about making Soda Bread and so I was given instruction by a local housewife however, my early attempts were utter failures each time. 
I read and re-read her instructions and realised that some vital information was missing, so knowing the days when she made bread I hid behind a hedge that over looked her kitchen table and studiously watched her every move and was able to discover a process that tested the worthiness of the mix before putting the mix into the oven.

Simple and easy it was and part of the kneading process and it is to lightly press the dough mound downwards and check for the springiness of the mix prior to the final stage of cutting the four armed cross on the top.

I returned home and immediately tried it out and never again did I ever have any failures.Through the years up until I gave up eating carbohydrates a couple of years ago, I used to make about three or four soda breads a week; sometimes I would add other ingredients such as sesame seed or sunflower seed, amongst my friends "sesame seed" was their favourite addition.

Yesterday I decided to make a Soda Bread just for a change and also to see if that old magic was still with me - am glad to say that it is !

The ingredients are roughly 1lb of self raising flour (bicarbonate of soda included) and
about 1 pint of organic buttermilk. I never add salt or sugar to any foods.
Bake in a pre-heated gas oven to Mk 4.5 for about an hour, the test is to tap it's base for a distinct hollow sound.

Final proof is when cool to cut three slices and apply a generous coating of the best butter in the world - Ireland's own KERRY GOLD, make a cup of tea pull up a chair by the fire - eat drink and enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


My friend Ita and I share the same birthday and often have a joint celebration, I should stress that there are several years of difference between us, however that day is the 9th of January.

The niner's at play

Started at 3pm when our friends arrived some of whom where musicians and we partied away for 12 and half hours before falling into bed. It was a brilliant time of song music and dance; the nominated photographer slipped into the joviality and the consequence is that very few pics were taken.

Musicians in session
Charles on the harmonica, Seamus on the accordion
and Colm Mac Con Iommaire on the fiddle

Sean-nós dance is an older style of traditional 
solo Irish dance and is a casual dance form. 

Took place on the 12th January at 3pm for those who were unable to make the one on the 9th, this one was minus musicians and it focused mainly around a Storyteller who arrived and sat in the kitchen entertaining guests by the telling his tales for most of the night, similar to the first party this one went on till gone 4 in the morning!
I have gloriously celebrated my 70th birthday and am looking forward now to my 150th !

If I had any doubts this card sure told me

The grand collection of cards

A special gift from Lucy
representing Earth, Air, Fire & Water
her web site

Ita and I wish to thank everyone who attended both parties, because we know that some of you travelled many miles from all over the isle of Ireland to be with us; our very special thanks and appreciation go to Mrs H whose organising ability astounded us ! 

A wonderful event took place in Birmingham City Children’s Hospital on January 9th 1943 at approximately 0520, the timing, place and date were unique for it marked the umpteenth rebirth of Me. Little did I realise at the time that a warm welcome heralded my arrival, for evidently several resounding blasts were heard in the locality.

These were caused by the Birmingham Blitz of heavy bombing by the then enemy (9 August 1940 - 23 April 1943). Overall, about 2,000 tons of bombs were dropped on Birmingham making it the fourth most heavily bombed city in the United Kingdom. Is it any wonder then that sound of a propeller driven plane flying at night has always awakened me?

Happier events though were around the corner when hostilities ceased and chocolate, biscuits and other goodies became available and better still, we departed from ‘Brum’ in 1946 to soft and sleepy Somerset.

Saturday, 5 January 2013



I spend time in contemplation studying various aspects of life. One aspect in particular has recently caught my attention and it is I think something that we all practice, in varying degrees. Although that phrase ‘varying degrees’  might not be the ideal, perhaps frequently would be better. How frequent is frequent? What about twice a day, once a day, every day, three times a week, twice a month? Perhaps once a month or once every two months - who is to decide?
I suppose that it actually comes down to need or desire. 
I told this to Mrs H and she asked if by desire did I mean pleasure?
Then she said that she didn’t actually believe that it was pleasurable each time. 
To which I retorted that it rarely seems anything but pleasurable to me.
Yes, I do think that the need to do so answers an inner desire in all most every case and in only a few rare cases do I feel that it comes from a negative source.
That to which I am referring can be practiced while alone, yet I mainly do it in the company of herself. Others that I know have absolutely no qualms about doing it in front of several people. I have to say though that I am not that brave.

If you would like to find out more about this particular aspect of my life you will need to visit
my other blog