Monday, 23 March 2015

A Sunday Market

Several times a year, on warm, sunny Sundays, we visit the Clara Sunday Market & Car Boot Sale.
It’s a family run market which was set up in 1993 to sell new and second hand goods and takes place every week. Situated on the Moate Rd outside Clara, Co. Offaly, the market sits on on a 6 acre site and is only 
15 minutes drive from Tullamore.

We go there when we have something specific to buy but also enjoy a thorough browse amongst the stalls. 
This time we went to buy a garden hoe and I was lucky, for lying in amongst dozens of others was an old forged hoe with a brand new handle. To me this was ideal and far better than a modern pressed steel one which bends as soon as you give them any work. I always feel recycling tools, rather than buying new, is a good idea and better still I purchased it for small money.

You never know who you are going to meet at the market or what you are going to find there, depending on which travelling trader attends. In the past I have met traders from all over Europe selling their wares and friends who were also looking for a bargain. There is always the chance to chat and have a bit of craic, especially over a cup of tea from the small café.
We visit Clara Market with the goods we wish to buy in mind and have usually found what we are looking for, with a few extra bits and pieces we have discovered along the way thrown in. 
My finds so far have included a brand new heavy leather waistcoat, a 1950’s teapot, socks, boots, 
cushion covers, curtains, pottery bowls and other miscellaneous items - it really is a treasure trove.

Traders from all over the place come here.

White vans predominate the scene.

Tool for every job and use. 

I wonder what she is thinking ?

Making a sale involves a lot of chat

One lonely rooster!

Fresh fruit anyone ?

Local produce on old oil drums

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Seen Within 200 yards

I walked no more than two hundred yards to take these photos of our locality and as you can see the greening of spring has yet to arrive. For it is only in the among garden plants: daffodils,croci and buds on the roses bushes where spring has pushed through.

A Lone Tree around which the faeries dance ?

Acres upon acres of grassland where winters bleached stalks stand pale.  

Faintly on the horizon a transmitter known locally as the Iron Man stands as a sentinel of modern communication. On the left in mid picture smoke pours  from the chimney of an isolated cabin, I was tempted to drop in for tea.

Beyond the electrified wire young Friesians graze and hopefully grow fat.

A patchwork of fields on a distant hill in another county.

Housing density is not a problem in this area. I looked up just after taking this photo to see a Crow flying overhead with a twig in its beak,to make a nest to home this years clutch of eggs; so yes spring has arrived!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Winter's Last Refrain

Where the snow still sits was once the home of glaciers 8,000 years ago.

The landscape that we see today, hills, valleys and rivers, were shaped by the melting of the glaciers. As large chunks of ice broke off and slid downwards, sweeping away the alluvials before, them they carved new shapes in the land. All of that is so easy to see and appreciate just before the last snow of winter melts away.

We travel this narrow road several times a week and only when a photo is taken do we actually see the beauty of its' form with all its' twists and turns.

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Old Boy's Coffee !

I have often been looked upon as being slightly mad or a bit odd on occasions
but I don’t care for it is my eccentric mind which looks at problems and tries to 
find a solution.

We drink coffee, it is our favourite beverage, two or three times a day and use Lavazza at home in a cafetiere, or to you folks across the pond a 'french press'.
To my mind coffee has to be reasonably strong so at least three heaped dessert spoons go into the cafetiere.

New use for an old hat

I noticed that heat was being lost whilst the coffee stood so we used an old fleece hat to act as a cozy. 
Then by cutting a small hole at the top of the hat, the metal knob stands clear prior to pressing.
When the plunger is depressed fully the coffee is kept hot and it is quite a simple task to lift the cozy clear when pouring the coffee into a cup.

Steeping the coffee

The water, at about 90 deg C (never boiling), is poured on top and left to stand for about five minutes allowing the water to absorb the coffee grounds and give a good fulsome flavour.

Immediately prior to pouring

I am rather pernickety about the style and shape of cup which has to be tapered and I loathe drinking coffee from a mug, in much the same way as I dislike instant coffee. 
A tapered cup wide at the top allows both the aroma and flavour to combine and perfect my favourite drink. 

By special request
My Cup 

Two handles safer for early mornings