Monthly Archives: July 2010

I went to….

I went to Church the other evening.  It was very different to my previous visits.  Yes there was an organ, stained glass windows. and ‘Our Leader’ said a few words…

My visit has taught me humility!

Remember I was boastful about adding the photos from my phone to my laptop?  Well for my sins, I lost half of them this time. 🙁  The window above was the only survivor!

Formerly St Mary’s Church of Ireland, it was built at the beginning of the 18th century and an early example of a galleried church with a Renatus Harris built organ.  St Mary’s closed for worship in 1964.  Finally this ‘List 1’ building was purchased by John Keating it was extensively and sympathetically restored over a seven year period.  The present owners renamed it The Church and it is a must visit for any trip to Dublin.

So who was there before us…….  ( I don’t mean last week!)

Arthur Guinness founder of Guinness brewery was married there in 1761

Sean O’Casey playwright and author of ‘The Plough & The Stars’, ‘Juno & The Paycock’ and Shadow of a Gunman’ was baptised there in 1880.

John Wesley founder of the Methodist Church delivered his first Irish sermon there in 1747.

Handel‘s Messiah was first performed in Dublin in April 1742 and he regularly used the Renatus Harris built organ to practice!

Have you ever noticed how the voices in the next room always seem to be having more fun?  Of course, if you are having fun where you are, the voices in the next room never register.

I heard of a room full of fun about to happen in The Church in Dublin and I was determined to join in this time.  That Jason is a grand lad, it was all his idea:

“…. we decided to run another Blogger-Twitter-Whatever (BTW) meetup”.

The plan was to meet in the The Church Bar (Dublin) at 7pm on Thursday 29th July.  The friendly guys over at Blacknight sponsored some drinks and the venue The Church offered to top up the tab and provide free finger food.  It was delicious and disappeared faster than lightening!  Now add to that a great mix of people and it became a banquet of fun friendships and laughter – some at my expence!:lol:

I added faces to many names and met new people.  I talked, listened, laughed and I learned how to play with an iPad!  People gave me contact details on business cards, One guy apologised while handing me a sheet of paper.  Right in the centre of the page was what looked like a puzzle.  Elly who was hovering on the periphery, as she always does when I chat up the Toyboys, began to laugh out loud and said “Mum show Jamie your ‘southern mobile phone’.  Ever the good mother, I produced the phone and the whole circle of people burst out laughing’.

Why were they laughing at me?  Since my normal mobile phone is from the UK and while in the South the calls are charged at an international rate, I keep this old phone with a pay-as-you-go SIM card for all local calls and text messaging.

Jamie’s piece of paper had what looked like a chopped up and randomly pieced together bar code.  Bar codes I am familiar with.

All barcodes that start with
690.691.692 until 695 are all MADE IN CHINA.
471 is Made in Taiwan
00 – 13: are Made in USA & Canada
50: is made in United Kingdom
539: is made in Ireland
890: is made in India

BUT, and there was a big But; Jamie’s puzzle was a QR Code. It was the first I had come across and since I did not have a smartphone, I was unable to read the matrix barcode!  You see I might be good for a laugh… but I learned something on Thursday.

Thank you Jason for organising the BTW and Hi to all the guys and gals that I met!  I am already looking forward to the next one!

Potatoes and point

Our Loose Blogging consortium includes:-  Anu, Ashok, ConradGaelikaaGinger,  Grannymar, HelenJudy, Magpie 11Maria, & Ramana.

Our topic today was chosen by Magpie 11

Potatoes and beans…..

This topic takes me full circle.  Let me explain.  A few years ago I left a spontaneous comment on a fellow Irishman’s blog.  It was: “Just give them three jumps at the cupboard door!”** – You don’t need to know all the details as the story might lose the flavour in the retelling.

Some months, if not a year later a certain gentleman was searching for the origin of said phrase and landed up on my blog.  At times he may rue that day because he has never been allowed to leave.  Not alone has he stayed, but listened to my nagging, and started a blog of his own.  Today he is a very well respected member of the LBC and responsible for the choice of topic today.

Over the past couple of weeks I have had fun dipping back into some old cookery books that came from my childhood home.  One book in particular was a Thirty-Seventh Edition, printed in 1950.  The first was in 1927.  On several occasions there were revised and enlarged editions half way through a year.

On page 194 the heading for the chapter was Sauces, Dressings and Stuffings (Including Batters and some Miscellaneous Recipes).  Sauce recipes covered eight pages, I lost count of the actual number of individual recipes and intend returning to this at a later date.

The sauce ‘To serve with Butter Beans‘ nicely fulfils the criteria for our topic today and I will reprint it verbatim. 😀


1 saltspoonful of French mustard*
¼-½ teaspoonful salt
⅛ teaspoonful pepper
1 dessertspoonful creamed potato
4 tablespoons salad oil
1 tablespoon white vinegar
A few drops of Worcester sauce

Mix the mustard, salt, pepper and potato and gradually add the oil, mixing well with a fork or small wooden spoon.  If the oil is added too quickly and not absorbed, add a little extra potato.  Stir in the vinegar and Worcester sauce.  Add sufficient milk to thin to the required consistency.

I assume you pour the sauce over the cooked butter beans.  There is no mention of cooking, heating either the sauce or the beans.

* Does anybody use a saltspoon these days?

Now had our canny Magpie 11 chosen Brains instead of the vegetables, I found a recipe in there for Brain sauce! 🙄  Anyone want to bequeath their brain so we can try it?

** The phrase ‘Three jumps at the cupboard door’ was the reply given by my late mother-in-law then a very young Jack asked “What’s for dinner?”  In translation it means if you don’t get out from under my feet there will be no dinner, and you will have to jump up to the cupboard and see what you can find!

My mammy’s version of the above phrase was ‘Potatoes and point‘, it translated as ‘You will be lucky if you get boiled potatoes and you can point at what ever you fancy and imaging you are eating it’!

Thursday Special ~ The Pastor’s Ass

A Pastor entered his donkey in a race and it won.
The Pastor was so pleased with the donkey that he entered it in the race again, and it won again .
The local paper read:


The Bishop was so upset with this kind of publicity that he ordered the Pastor
not to enter the donkey in another race..
The next day, the local paper headline read:


This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the Pastor to get rid of the donkey..
The Pastor decided to give it to a Nun in a nearby Convent..
The local paper, hearing of the news, posted the following headline the next day:


The Bishop fainted!

He informed the Nun that she would have to get rid of the donkey,
so she sold it to a farmer for $10.
The next day the papers read:


This was too much for the Bishop, so he ordered the nun to buy back the
donkey and lead it to the plains where it could run wild.
The next day the headlines read:


The Bishop was buried the next day.

The moral of the story is ….
Being concerned about public opinion can bring you much grief and misery.. It can even shorten your life…..So be yourself and enjoy life to the fullest.

Stop worrying about everyone else’s ass and you’ll be a lot happier and live longer!

With thanks to Cynthia for this weeks fun!

Art with a Needle ~ Week 48

Decided to have a day off…. well almost.

Arrived at Elly & George’s about 4pm, caught up on the news before we enjoyed a tasty BBQ with a lovely bottle of Red Pinot Noir 2008 from Tasmania, then sat giggling at the table for over an hour, with the old recipe books.  It was fun.

No work prepared so instead I have a different craft to share.

Not my work, but the flowers were made by Elly.

“For each flower you need seven circles of crepe paper ‘this size’!” Those were Elly’s exact words! 😆

OK! Ok!  Elly was holding up her right hand with her thumb and index finger forming a circle.  That was the size of the circles.  The stamen of each flowere was made in the contrast colour.  A straight strip of crepe paper was painted with a glue paste and wrapped around the end of the stem.  Then a circle was glued to the stem and the following one was attached from the opposite side to imitate real flowers.  Continue if this manner until all seven circles are used.

Elly’s flowers were originally used for a Halloween party, and stayed put ever since.  She mixed Orange and black to tone in with other decorations and they are very effective, simple and inexpensive,

Hopefully by next week I will have some real Needlework for you!


Struggling for a topic I began writing a list of chores I need to do today.  I was reminded of other lists.  Mammy’s lists.

They were usually written on the corner of the enamel topped kitchen table.  It might go like this:


The stamps were for the four letters she wanted to reply to before the weekend.  She was the letter writer in the family.  Unlike today where it is possible to weigh and then purchase the postage online, we needed to walk to the Post office and stand in line to get the stamps.

Buttons missing from coats, jackets or shirts were a regular occurrence with the gang of boys in the house.  The task of replacing them was passed to me.  It was one job I actually enjoyed.

Ironing seemed to be endless there were always shirts, dresses and the tablecloths & napkins that needed to be dipped in the cold water starch.  Do you remember the little boxes of Robin Starch powder.  The collars and cuffs of the shirts were dipped in the bowl of starch first and then squeezed out and then folded onto the front of the shirt and rolled, it was then set on a tray and soon the bundle became a mound as the others were added.  Dresses were next and they were added to the pile.  Finally the tablecloths and napkins were immersed and the starch allowed to soak into them.  Again they were squeezed out (all this squeezing was done by hand!) and placed on the tray.

There was an order to ironing and no way would it change.  SHIRTS WERE FIRST!   Daddies first, and then the boys.  The were all folded and you would think they had just come out of the packet.  It was not unusual to have 15 shirts to iron at a session, add to that blouses and dresses for mammy, my sister and myself and then five or six tablecloths a week.  To this day if something is spilled on a table cloth a chant will ring out “This is the fifth table cloth this week”!

Grass was one for the boys, it was one way to use up excess energy.  The garden at the back was large and long.  It was mainly grass with narrow borders.  In my very young days we had a trellis about a third of the way down and behind it were ten apple trees.

The top patch was where we played and if the ball hit the kitchen or French windows twice we were banished to the field over the wall at the end of the garden.

Windows. A bucket of cold water with a good dash of vinegar, the chamois and newspapers were the tools for this task.  We all had turns at cleaning windows.  Mammy would do the inside and send one of us outside to finish the job.  All panes were closely inspected and many times we were sent back outside in the cold of winter to re do a pane or two.

Bread this usually meant that the supplies were running short and another batch needs to be made before morning!  If time was short it might be a batch of white and brown scones!

Shoes at least eight pairs, one for each member of the family.  We older children had this task.  Daddy never polished a shoe in his life.  At least by the end of the task all frustrations were well worked off and the line of gleaming shoes was pleasing.

What was on your list?

Food Monday ~ Coconut Custard

Today I dip into the old recipe book that belonged to my sister.  The recipe that I have chosen is in her hand and near the back of the book so I think it might be quite recent.

Coconut Custard
Preheat the oven to 150°C

4 eggs
3 ozs light brown sugar
8 fluid ozs coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Fit the metal blade to a processor and add all the ingredients and process until smooth.  Transfer to individual Ramekin dishes and bake for 35-40 minutes.

*When mammy made baked custard she always stood it in a dish of water before setting it in the oven.

Donegore Motte

View from the top of the Donegore Motte in Dunadry, overlooking County Antrim.  That’s Lough Neagh in the distance.

On a clear day from the summit of Donegore Hill this historic pre-Anglo-Norman motte had views of the six Ulster counties. In earlier years burned human bones, Neolithic pottery, flint arrowheads and stone axes have been found in the mound which strongly suggest that the Motte was in origin a Passage Grave, a burial mound built about 5000 years ago.  The picturesque St. Johns Church is located close by and has recently been restored.

Access to the motte is through The landscape garden centre Donegore which has a welcoming spacious coffee shop
It was there I met Rhyleysgranny, a long overdue meet-up, but like good wine, well worth the wait.

We had coffee… chatted, wandered through the plants…

chatted, wandered up to the motte…chatted some more and had some photos taken.

It was a wonderful day and the sun smiled on us all the way.

I know from her blog that Rhyleysgranny is a great cook.  Today I’ll upgrade to Wonderful Cook.  You see I came home laden down with goodies.

This cake featured on her blog was specially adapted to suit my dietary needs and is scrumptious, The jam home made Raspberry, my favourite, and she made a loaf of bread to put the jam on!  Now that is what I call a friend!

Thank you RG!

Crime or Criminal

Our Loose Blogging consortium includes:-  Anu, Ashok, ConradGaelikaaGinger,  Grannymar, HelenJudy, Magpie 11Maria, & Ramana. Our topic today was chosen by Ashok.

Crime or Criminal

The mouth was all distorted making it impossible to speak.  It was looking like a crime had been committed.  All questions to the suspect remained unanswered.  The godfather was engaged in deep discussion unaware of what had happened.  Everywhere he went there were people anxious to talk and he was generous with his time.

The incident did not happen on the public streets, we were inside a business premises and temptation was all around.  This situation needed careful handling.  It looked like a first time offence.  If the matter was ignored; would it lead to the culprit feeling that it was a sign to try again?  What to do….?

I decided to see if I could deal with the matter quietly and asked:

“What have you in your mouth”?  The only reply was in the form of a negative shake of the head.  Trying again I asked:  “What are you eating”?  This time the jaw moved a fraction but still no sound came.  It was interesting to watch.  The more the culprit tried to hold the mouth immobile the more it needed to chew and swallow saliva.  Moving closer I could smell the chocolate with more than a hint of caramel!  The evidence was enormous and must have filled the central cavity of the culprit’s mouth.

The game was up!  So I asked outright: “Did you steal a sweet?”  There was a hint of a nod as the eyes dropped and the chin sunk down to chest level.

We were in Woolworths.  The store had three entrances that opened onto different streets.  We often walked through the shop as a short cut to one of the other streets.  Entering from Anne Street you are immediately in the confectionery department and it is some wild temptation for an adult never mind a child to see those island pick & mix counters stacked high with numerous sections of brightly coloured wrappers and sweets.  Today this young lady had succumbed.

Taking a different angle, I asked if she had paid for the sweet or just helped herself to it.  She knew full well the routine of scooping the sweets of choice into those special paper bags before carrying the selection to the till for weighing and paying.  I asked to see her pocket money and she produced a bundle of coins from her pocket.

“I am sure that BIG sweet must cost 2p” I said.  “Now put the rest of your money back in your pocket, and you can go and pay for it.”  Letting that message sink in I had another idea. 💡

“Do you see that man talking to your daddy, he is the manager in this shop, so I think you should pay him the two pence!”

Walking over to the two men I caught Jack’s eye and winked, the other gentleman caught the wink too.  They stopped speaking and turned towards us.  “I hear you are the manager in this shop now” I say winking again,before adding “This young lady has some to give you!”

The hot little hand proffered the two pence piece, to her little eyes it must have looked enormous, it is in fact the size of a two Euro coin.  Standing behind her I was mouthing to the man to ‘Take it.  Please take it!  Eventually he took the coin and asked why she wanted him to have it.  Once over the fear of facing the ‘Manager’ a contrite Elly confessed all to him.  He thanked her for telling him and adding that he was sure she would never do such a thing again.

As we parted company the gentleman shook my hand and I left the store with a two pence piece in my palm.  Later in the week it found its way back into Elly’s purse.

A hard lesson some might say, but Elly held tightly to her dad’s hand from that point on until we returned to the car.  She never asked once that day if she could buy sweets, but we did take her to buy a new book!