Confession time

I stole something from the internet. Well it was facebook actually. I am not frightened to tell you and I will not beg forgiveness either. You see I feel entitled to take what I did. I kinda own it in a roundabout way.

When you nurture, feed and watch something or someone grow, then it belongs to you for life. Right?

What did I steal? I hear you ask.

The answer is simple. It was a photo. A nice photo of someone I love.

My Elly tries to convince me that she works really hard. Head down from the minute she goes into the office until way after she comes home. I nearly believe her! ;)

One day a week or so ago, there were visitors to her place of work and my Elly being my Elly, was right there where it happened. The six Nations Rugby Cup, no doubt accompanied by some brawny players came to visit.


Elly with RBS 6 Nations Cup

Elly with RBS 6 Nations Cup

Elly with RBS 6 Nations Cup

As a young lady who played rugby while studying in France at University, she not only played on a ladies team, but on one occasion, played on an all male team against an all male team. So I suppose you cannot fault her for taking the opportunity to hold that cup in her sweet little hands.

It is a lovely photo of her and I have added it to my desktop, so when I open up the laptop in the morning she is smiling at me (just like she did as a little girl) and the last thing I see before shutting down for the night is Elly.

It brings her closer to me, but as I head south today I will see her for a real hug sometime in the next few days. I wonder if Buffy knows I will be around at some stage during the week.

Yesterday I arrived to a rapturous welcome from Buffy, my visit was short, I had places to go and people to see, with plenty of hugs, paw shakes and attempts to lick my face…

Thank you Elly & Brogen for calling in, Real hugs are way better than any photo!

Now for breakfast and a little planning to see what mischief we can get up to today.

Blogging & blog visiting might be light for a few days.


From Mrs Beeton’s Cookery and Household Management 1981 edition….

We are told on the flyleaf that it is ‘A totally revised, metricated and updated to bring it into line with the very latest developments in the cookery and Household management world’. How things have changed in the kitchen during the last thirty three years, never mind the one hundred and fifty three years since Isabella put her quill to parchment!

While searching for something else this morning I came across this entry in the household management section:


This means the cessation of the monthly periods, which normally happens any time between forty and fifty-five. Many women are frightened of the ‘change of life’, but there is no necessary reason why trouble should arise. If you are worried, go and talk to your doctor. You can be sure that the disturbances, which include hot flushes, insomnia, joint pains, increase in weight, and the general irritability, will pass: but in a number of cases the emotional upset is made worse by domestic strain or by loneliness. By the time of the menopause, children are likely to be leaving home and husbands are often absorbed to an increasing degree by the responsibilities of their occupation. In such circumstances it is sensible to try to find a new interest in life, or to resurrect an old one. Although hot flushes are unpleasant they go unnoticed by other people, and there is no reason to worry about how you look in company. As for sexual activity, the menopause need make no difference, except, obviously, that there is no longer the possibility of pregnancy.


There you go… ONE paragraph and it is all done and dusted! I actually wonder, how much of the above appeared when the good lady first published her Book of Household Management in 1861? I know it proved incorrect in relation to the ‘change of life’ in my case, but then I always claimed that I did not have a text book body.

The Book of Household Management (1861), comprising information for the Mistress, Housekeeper, Cook, Kitchen-Maid, Butler, Footman, Coachman, Valet, Upper and Under House-Maids, Lady’s-Maid, Maid-of-all-Work, Laundry-Maid, Nurse and Nurse-Maid, Monthly Wet and Sick Nurses, etc. etc.—also Sanitary, Medical, & Legal Memoranda: with a History of the Origin, Properties, and Uses of all Things Connected with Home Life and Comfort. – Wikipedia

I think we should leave dear Isabella to her rest these days and discover more practical and up to date information and advice from a new book about to be published in September.

Letters for my Little Sister – A Fellowship Book b– Cecilia Gunther

If the group name for zebras is a dazzle, let me see what I can do to dazzle you with the group names of the animals who are regularly roaming the 5***** farmy hotel at THEKITCHENSGARDEN.

The grist of our swarm, flock to peep over the five bar gate each day, braceing ourselves for the news of brooding hens, silent sheep, droving pigs (believe me, they go for a walk twice a day!), pouncing dogs, strutting peacocks and pea hens or visiting children clutching eggs laid by plump hens.

Drooling for a knob of fresh butter, cheese or yoghurt while waiting for the bread to rise to accompany the glories of the vegetable patch for supper each day all washed down by the home-made wine. We clutter and clowder for big servings of chowder, trying not to be a nuisance as we watch with Ton-ton and Boo, the dogs, as Daisy or Queenie provide milk for the tea, the churn and the animals.

Good Queen Celi rules over her clutch of chickens, kine of cows, kennel of dogs, muster of peacocks and peahens, flock of sheep, and pigs led by Shiela, always watchful for the odd snake in the grass.

When most of us are ready to collapse at the thought of all that work, Celi finds time to bottle and freeze food for the winter, make candles and soap, before sitting to document her day with photographs from the previous twenty four hours, on her blog for the fellowship of the farmy.

A few months ago she threw us a line. An idea. A suggestion for a book.

Letters for my Little Sister began as a real letter, that Cecilia Gunther was writing to her little sister. Their mother died when they were young, so they grew up with no one to lead them through the hurdles of life or to give them any very personal advice.

Celi was trying to help her sister navigate the journey of aging and menopause. She felt there were others out there in the farmy fellowship who daily offered support or advice, and since they came from all ages & corners of the globe, they would have a wide perspective from dealing with mothers, aunts, sisters and daughters, never mind their own experiences of the dreaded word ‘menopause’.

So a book was born sixty eight brave men and true women stepped up to the plate to share their experiences. The book includes essays, letters and poems all written to share this common experience that effects no two women the same way.

Drum Role…..

Coming soon, from Sable Books, and Pre-orders are available.

Thursday Special ~ Marital Counselling


A husband and wife went to counselling after 15 years of marriage. When asked what the problem was, the wife went into a passionate, painful tirade listing every problem they had ever had in the 15 years they had been married.

She went on and on and on: neglect, lack of intimacy, emptiness, loneliness, feeling unloved and unlovable, an entire laundry list of un-met needs she had endured over the course of their marriage.

Finally, after allowing this to go on for a sufficient length of time, the therapist got up, walked around the desk and, after asking the wife to stand, embraced and kissed her passionately. The woman shut up and quietly sat down as though in a daze.

The therapist turned to the husband and said, “This is what your wife needs at least three times a week. Can you do this?”

The husband thought for a moment and replied….

“Well, I can drop her off here on Mondays and Wednesdays, but on Fridays, I fish.”




This week we have the old spade Frank to thank for our Thursday Special.


Growing up,I always thought that the colour puce was a yucky member of the green family shade card. Think mushy peas.

I would never wear a ‘mushy pea’ outfit no matter how carefully tailored or expensive, next my pale skin covered in freckles and topped with a crown of rich auburn tresses. Just thinking about it, is enough to bring on morning sickness…. Even at my age!

Then I discovered that Puce is a brownish purple or a dark reddish brown. I did have an outfit a few years ago that answered that description, I loved and wore it into the ground, as they say – who ever ‘they’ are. Nobody ever admired it, but they always told me how well I looked, when I was wearing it.

Years ago, I learned that if the first thing people notice are ‘your eyes’, then you are wearing the correct colour.

Then I learned that Puce is the French word for flea. It is said to be the colour of the bloodstains remaining on linen or bed sheets, even after being laundered, from a flea’s droppings or after a flea has been crushed. I don’t really want to think of that. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology, the first French use of puce as a colour name, meaning “flea-colour,” dates to the 17th century.

I would still go for clothes in brownish purple, but I think I would invent a new colour name first! ;)

Any suggestions?


A very short season, giving Cecilia a reason to share her wonderful philosophy on life, with a magical turn of phrase over at THEKITCHENSGARDEN!

Yesterday the air felt dense. Not hot and not cold, just full and thick. The clouds stayed low, heavy, old, bosomy. Like flat pillows. There was no wind and little sound…………

No matter how deep life throws her, she rises to the surface and swims above the storms on a cloud of positivity. Now, click on the link above, over you go and enjoy the experience!


Market Day


Haggling for a price

Haggling for a price

Market Day ~ Granite
Sculptor Barry Wrafter

A €40,000 sculpture depicts a market scene and sits in the centre of the market area in Ennis , County Clare. It involves two 7.5ft farmers haggling over the price of a 6ft granite cow.

Barry Wrafter spent 18 months sculpting the piece. ‘Market Day’ forms the latest piece of the Ennis Sculpture Initiative that has resulted in sculptures being dotted around the Clare town.

The End is Never the End ~ Part 12

Part 12

The trees dressed in glory, red, yellow and gold
The sun lying low in the sky.
Tree branches rustle as we walk by,
The breeze feels crisp as it blows in an eye.

Air filled with sound of chisel on stone
Wizards of weather foresee rain and gloom.
While indoors reviving renewing each room
Not an hour wasted as energy spent,
Preparing Hour House, for every event.

“I want to start by putting our guests’ satisfaction at the forefront of our business model. I believe in paying staff a decent wage and adopting a no-tipping policy.” Said Alice. “We will be employing these people to aid us in our adventure, they need to feel our respect and know they will be valued, a part of Hour House family.

We may not be ready for opening this week, but with the new extended area now standing, windowed and weatherproof, it will not take long before the internal work is completed. We really need to begin the process of picking our team. This time we cannot opt out and hand over the task to Mr Yates or Carolyn Ashby. Thanks to Sidney Slythe and Andrei Shuyski, we are in a position to hand pick our team, and do this properly. Valued members of staff are as important as comfortable beds!”

The most memorable aspect of any stay must be the service. Not just the door opening, bag carrying, valet parking kind of service, but the genuine willingness to make people feel at home and the awareness that it’s all about the guests, not about us. We are a relatively small property and we, the owners must be the face of the business.

Great service, for me at least, requires the ability to put yourself in your guests’ shoes and offer them the service that you yourself would appreciate. And that’s the tough bit, because each of us has a different view on what we would class as great service.

We need the guests to feel: “I would stay here again without a moment’s hesitation!”

Morgan stood up and began slowly pacing the floor. “I have interviewed many people over the years for my own staff and for some clients, but have no idea about what is required in or from a chef and his staff. I suppose he would need to be in place as the kitchen is fitted out, to ensure an efficient workstation. We need to contact an agency this week, to set the ball in motion.”

“Once we have the chef on board, he can concentrate on opening The Oratory” said Alice. It will take time to build up a regular clientele of coffee sippers, but at least put us on the map”.

“Good idea. Said Morgan. “We will need road direction signs. One at the cross roads and another at the entrance to the driveway. Mr Yates can tell us who in the local council to contact about the type, style & permission required. A small brass plaque in the entrance is more than enough, it should not take from the wonderful frontage of the building.”

“By the way, I have decided to have my morning shower in the main house for the next couple of weeks. All the en-suites are complete and dry and it will be the best way to test them while the plumbers are working in the extension. We want them all working properly when guests start arriving.”

“I’ll warn Carolyn not to arrive too early for the next few weeks, you would not want to frighten her off, now would you?” giggled Alice.

“I would be more worried about frightening you off, my dear. I would hate to be shown the door and lose my job!” he said with a wink.

“I doubt you would lose your job, as the song says: I have grown accustomed to your face, and to be truthful, without you by my side offering advice and encouragement, I doubt I would have begun any of this.” Smiled Alice. You are here for the duration so long as you do not start singing!”

“SINGING. My singing is that bad I wouldn’t inflict it on a flock of crows!” With that Morgan turned and skipped out of the room, singing:

Alice was left laughing into her notes on the desk. “That Morgan, is better than any tonic. I suppose when the beds come, he will want to sleep in a different one each night to make sure they are comfortable enough for the guests!”

A head came round the door frame. “I heard that, what a good idea.” chuckled Morgan. “Now put away that note book and come and have lunch, Lovell has been busy making a surprise for both of us, she says it is ready now, don’t keep the girl waiting!”

Lunch was a wonderful surprise. Morgan had been secretly teaching Lovell how to make a frittata, and today she wanted to make it ‘all by herself’. She had a colourful salad and sliced wheaten bread to go with it. They all enjoyed it and not a crumb was left for Crumbs.

Lovell left them to go watch a romantic soap on television, they sat over coffee chatting comfortably about the ways of the world outside Hour House.

A deep sigh told them the programme was over, they had not felt the hour go by. Lovell came into the room with a very long face, she lived every moment of the action and a broken romance between her favourite characters, was a major event.

“Lovell, real love is not based on romance, candle light dinner and walks along the beach. It is based on Respect Compromise, Care and Trust.” It was Morgan who had spoken. “The perfect guy is not the one who has the most money or the most handsome one you’ll meet . He is the one who knows how to make you smile and will take care of you each and everyday until the end of time.

“Is that the way you feel about Alice?” asked Lovell.

Alice and Morgan both looked at Lovell, open mouthed, then looked at each other.

Thoughts were running madly through Alice’s mind. ‘White Knights don’t usually have names, but suddenly Alice realised her White Knight certainly did.

When you two get married, can I be bridesmaid? Asked Lovell.

“If Alice says yes, to marrying me, than it would be an honour to have you as chief bridesmaid.”

How about it Partner? What say you to being the first Bride when Hour House officially opens!

Thursday Special ~ At the Border

Juan comes up to the Mexican border on his bicycle. He’s got two large bags over his shoulders.

The guard stops him and asks, “What’s in the bags?”

“Sand,” answers Juan.

The guard says, “We’ll just see about that – get off the bike.”

The guard then takes the bags, rips them open, empties them out and finds nothing in them but sand. He detains Juan overnight and has the sand analysed only to discover that there is nothing but pure sand in the bags.

The guard releases Juan, puts the sand into new bags, hefts them onto the man’s shoulders, and lets him cross the border.

A week later, the same thing happens. The guard asks, “What have you got?”

“Sand,” says Juan. The guard does his thorough examination and discovers that the bags contain nothing but sand. He gives the sand back to Juan, who crosses the border on his bicycle.

This sequence of events is repeated every week for three years. Finally, Juan stops showing up each week.

Years later the guard meets Juan in a cantina in Mexico.

“Hey, Buddy,” says the guard, “I know you must’ve been smuggling something all those years ago and it’s driving me crazy not knowing what. It’s all I think about. I can’t sleep. So just between you and me, what were you smuggling?”

Juan sips his beer and says, “Bicycles.”



I know it is a long way to Mexico, but, I think this one came from Nancy L.