Monday, 28 October 2013

The Pogues song Thousands are sailing should be compulsory listening for all. Listen to the words - if you have no idea of the meaning read below. The island it is silent now (Ellis Island was where immigrants first arrived in America but it is no longer used for this purpose) but the ghosts still haunt the waves And the torch lights up a famished man (the torch hel by the Statue of Liberty that welcomes immigrants in New Yotk Harbour) Who fortune could not save. Did you work upon the railroad? (many Irish immigrants did when they left Ireland because of the famine) Did you rid the streets of crime? (many more joined the New York Police force) Did your dollars come from tje White House (Presidents of Irish decent are numerous - notably JFK's family but there are a lot more) Or from the five and dime (the man who started Woolworths which was the first famous five and dime store was of Irish extraction) Did the old songs haunt or cheer you and do they still make you cry? (immigrant communities, in particular the Irish, maintained their musical heritage) Did you count the months and years or did your tear drops quickly dry. Ah no, said he, twas not to be, in a coffin ship I came here (the ships that carried the Irish immigrants to America were referred to as coffin ships because the had a mortality rate of one in three - except when it was a bad crossing) And I never even got so far that they could change my name. (when immigrants arrived on Ellis Island they were given their papers - most of those who landed were illiterate and often could barely speak English so the semi literate customs officers spelt their name as they heard them resulting in families having effectively new surnames.) Sufficient unto a feast. The point to be made is simple - immigration made an amazing country out of the USA. It has done the same for the UK - yet losts of those who reap the benefits bitch about it - hey ho, it is a wonderful world.
Mostly, tonight, i was drinking whiskey. Friday night is whiskey night. For all you con-i-sewers i will agree that whiskey should be a single malt. You also may have noticed that i spell Whiskey with and e - i am not talking scotch here - but i will admit that the scots stole whiskey (and re-named it whisky because they cannot spell) and developed really good versions that they call single malts. if you drink real whiskey, as in Bushmills, have no fear it is a single malt and the original whiskey - that's Ulster for you - the people get things really right and really wrong but they know whiskey. Having completed my rant I will now admit that tonight's whiskey was really a whisky and worse than that a blended whisky. But i am a believer in enjoyment and I really enjoyed it. I am now a little inebriated and writing this blog. Mostly last night I was a pop star. We had a music night - and my band (as in I am part of it not the owner of it) played to a village hall almost full of village people and none of them wore Indian headdresses or hard hats. it was a proper sixties night. We sang songs of the sixties, the band are all in their sixties and there were sixty people in the hall. We rock. This weeks favoutite song - Sunny Afternoon. The tax man's taken all my dough. - Now i can't make any bread.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A song of life

Sometimes I sing.

Carrickferfus is such a beautiful song. The lyrics are amazing. I like the way I sing it - but others do not. Hey ho, so it goes. Carrickfergus

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Rabbit in Red Wine Sauce

Chop and fry three or four onions in three ozs butter. When soft and golden add two desert spoons of plain flour stir well then slowly stir in a large glass of red wine. Add seasoning, (salt, pepper, a little hot chile and whatever else you fancy) and a couple of stock cubes. Stir in some cream.
Fry the rabbit sections (4 back legs, 4 front legs and two backs) to seal them. Put in a slow cooker, cover with the sauce and leave to cook for a couple of hours.

Mostly, this week, I have been butchering road kill.

Muntjack deer are small - and very tasty. If you find one freshly killed on the roadside you are lucky. If a friend finds one and drops it off at your house because you are know to enjoy road kill you are even luckier.
The following is best done outside.
Cut off the head and last joint of the front legs (a saw is easier than a knife). Hang the deer by the back legs. Slit the belly open and remove the guts. Tear, cur and pull at the pelt from the slit up the hind legs to just below the rope. Pull down hard peeling the pelt down to the shoulders. Pull the front legs out one at a time and remove the pelt completely. Leave the carcass to hand for a few hours then take it down and cut off the last joints of the leg. Joint the carcass, bag and freeze.
Venison for the table. Recipe may follow.

A message to those who consider butchering and killing road kill or shot game to be disgusting.

If your philosophical position on meat eating means that your diet is totally vegan or sensibly vegetarian then you have my admiration - though you will probably not want it. If you are a meat eater and consider that instructions on how to prepare road kill for the pot are disgusting then you do not have a philosophical position at all.
I am a meat eater but do not really approve of the way most meat is farmed. Raising beef cattle or chickens is a very inefficient way of producing food - itn helps to ensure that starvation continues in third world countries.for the grains etc that are used to feed the cattle and chickens are sourced world wide.   Poor countries are forced to sell their food to rich countries in order to be able to pay for the goods that the well off in those countries can afford. The rich countries feed good food to animals so that their people can eat more meat than is good for them - all praise to McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken for they make our children obese. The quality of life for our farmed animals also leaves a lot to be desired and avoidable cruelty to living things should not be tolerated.
However, a deer that has lived a free and happy life that then wanders into the road in front of a car should not be wasted. The rabbits that eat the crops grown to feed people have to be kept in sustainable numbers or we will starve. They live a happy life, are shot, snared or neetted and their bodies should not be wasted.
And happy wild meat tastes so much better.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Today, mostly I have been a cyclist.
36.5 miles covered, time enjoyably spent with daughter and granddaughters. Went to the park with granddaughter number 1 while mummy took granddaughter number 2 swimming. Got my shopping done on the way home including mushrooms so a pigeon pie seems to be in the offing. Recipe will follow if it happens. I do like pigeon pie. Failed to stop and pick up roadkill on the way home, I am becoming lazy.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

 Some poems come back to haunt me - how come they are the ones you find when you least want them?

I just spent an evening of maudlin self pity
with a bottle of vodka and litre of coke
 and the evening I wasted has taught me
a lot about me, about life, about love - it's a joke.

 I started the evening with a sense of achievement
I'd cleaned the whole house and lit a nice fire
I'd cooked me a dinner, a very nice dinner
and ate it alone by my very nice fire.

Then I poured me a small one and sipped it quite slowly
I felt quite relaxed as I sat by my fire,
 then I poured me another, why not have another?
There was only me there, just me and my fire.

 Then I searched my computer for an image I wanted
 and discovered an image I hoped I'd forgotten
the person I loved who made me complete
 but alas she is gone and I'm sitting alone
with my vodka and coke and my life is a joke.

My love doesn't love me and I am alone
and I'm maudlin and drunk and for all my desire
there only is me and my drink and the fire.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Yesterday, mostly I was a roofer and a reader.
We finished putting the roof on Rod's dog house this morning.
In the evening I found a book 48 Hours by J Jackson Bentley, a real page turner, so it was after two when I went to bed. If you like well written crime novels you will like this48 Hours.
I had just started reading it in my shed when my daughter phoned, she has decided we should go on a cycle ride next weekend and wants me to plan a 60-70 mile route that has two pubs in it and ends at a third. Rod arrived while I was on the phone and dropped four dead pigeons on the shed floor. He waved and left without speaking.
Pigeon breast pie.
First get someone to shoot some pigeons and give them to you.
1. Insert a sharp knife into the skin at the breast and slit. Tear back the skin to completely expose the breasts.
2. Cut off the breasts.
3. Slice the breasts and fry quickly with a chopped onion and a handful of mushrooms (I have large hands.
4. Add seasoning to suit your mood.
5. Make pastry - 6ozs flower and 3ozs butter and pinch of salt, rub together until breadcrumb consistency, add a splash water and mix.
6. Roll out and use half to line a pie dish.
7. Fill with the pigeon and mushroom mix.
8. Close the pie with the rest of the rolled pastry, paint lightly with milk, stab the top a half a dozen times.
9. Bake at 180 for thirty minutes.
10. Enjoy.