Monthly Archives: August 2011

A MUG for a mug

First off it was mentioned by speccy closely followed by Tinman, but since he is a man ( my fingers slipped and the word mna* appeared 😯 serves him right anyways), he had to go one stage further and buy one!  I am not jealous.  Not really.  A nerve in my foot made it jump up and down.

Bone china mug

Well…. I went back and had another little peek at the catalogue and that was when the fun began….  As I went through the pages of designs, I found my self saying:

“That one would suit….!  This one would be perfect for…..!

Tell me which one would you pick?

* mná or bean is Irish for woman

Food Monday ~ Yellow man

Lammas Day is in fact the 1st August , but nowadays the last Monday and Tuesday in August are when Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, becomes home to the Ould Lammas Fair.   It claims to be Ireland’s oldest traditional market fair, dating back to the 17th century.  Its exact origin is uncertain but one theory is that it began as a Hiring Fair for the area around Ballycastle.

At the present day Fair, horse trading, street entertainment and market stalls attract thousands of people to Ballycastle.  Today it’s famous for dulse, edible seaweed collected from local shores and dried out, and yellow man, which is similar to sweet rock.

There has even been a ballad composed about the fair – The Oul’ Lammas Fair by John Henry MacAuley, a bog-oak carver and well-known fiddle player. He died in 1937, long before the song became popular.

I nearly forgot…. You want a recipe!

Yellow Man

300g White Sugar (caster or granulated)
200g Golden Syrup
100ml Water
1 tblespoon White Wine Vinegar
2 heaped teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda

Prepare your tin/dish by lining with lightly oiled baking parchment.
Heat the sugar, golden syrup, water and vinegar until it starts to turn amber and reaches 150C/the hard crack stage.  Add the bicarbonate and stir thoroughly, then pour into your lined tin. Leave to cool to room temperature.

If you want it to be cut into ordered shapes, cut with an oiled knife when it has cooled to room temperature. I like it to look a little rough and tumble so cut it when it’s cool.
Store in an air tight container. It is delicious covered in chocolate or roughly crushed into chocolate mousse or Ice cream.

Now, mind the fillings when you eat this 😉

A stern Stern

Port Gates at Larne

Passenger and freight traffic arriving from Scotland through the Port of Larne, encounter a roundabout/rotary immediately outside the confines of the Port gates.

View as cars & lorries leave the Port.
Who was the idiot who placed the light pole directly in front of the Art work?

The Gateway Sculpture by Paul Hogarth, represents the stern of a ship and is intended as an artistic interpretation of Larne’s maritime history.  The Steel Stern, which has also been dubbed the Harbour Harp stands 12 metres high, and flanked by low stone walls.

The Stern – Larne Harbour Gateway Sculpture

At one time all passenger and freight traffic passed through these waters, but with the introduction of large fast ferries new berths and points of departure were developed in Belfast on the mouth of Belfast Lough.

I am sure that the Artist did not have a washing line in mind when he designed the piece.

During the ‘Marching Season’ in Northern Ireland some elements would hang flags on your granny if she stood on the one spot for more than five minutes.  For a country so obsessed by flags, little respect is shown for them. New flags are placed/hung with great gusto at the end of June and left in place until they look like shredded rags not fit to be used as dusters!

My inner jury is still out on this one.  Size isn’t everything!  Perhaps the light pole and flags spoiled the idea for me.

Openings ~ 4

I took my camera for a dander around Antrim Town the other day.  At Market Square I found some interesting openings.

The building behind the gates is now home to a Firm of Solicitors.

The old Keep with a laneway beside it.  Perhaps these are actually part of the original walls that surrounded Antrim Castle and Clotworthy House at one time.

The lane through the Arch leads to the Six Mile Water, not far from where the river enters Lough Neagh.

At the end of the laneway I found the Boardwalk along the river. This view is looking back towards the town.  To walk to Lough Neagh, it is necessary to cross the river and walk along Lough Road past Massereene Golf Club, or return to the Market square and go through another entrance….

A modern roadway now separates the old walls from the Castle grounds.The blue and white hoarding that you can see through the arch stretches all the way around The castle grounds and means the public are not allowed access while refurbishment to Clotworthy House and the Castle Grounds takes place.  This work is due to be completed later in the year.

Pity, since it was one of the places I had on my list to suggest for Eolai! 🙁


Tick tock the time is fast moving on and we in the UK begin a holiday weekend – the last break before Christmas.  Smile or frown?  Since I don’t face the prospect of returning to work on Tuesday next, I’ll just keep smiling through as Vera Lynn used to sing.  The topic today, chosen by me is:


A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. No one is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it, and no one is so poor that he cannot give it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business, and is the cornerstone of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and is nature’s best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. When people are too tired to give you a smile, give them one of yours. No one needs a smile so much as he who has none to give. – Author unknown to me.

A girl wearing face paint at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple, in Watford, north of London, August 21, during an open day for pilgrims to celebrate ‘Janmashtami’ – the birth of Lord Krishna.      (FacundoArrizabalaga/AFP/Getty Images)

What a wonderful face, the smile began in the eyes.  I bet if you look at it for a few moments you will come away smiling.

Nat King Cole – Smile

Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just

It works.  I tried it.


Now it is time for you to visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Magpie 11, Noor, Padmini, Ramana, Rohit, The Silver Fox Whispers, The Student Diaries, Will ,Nema, Paul &Plain Joe and check out their smiles.

Thursday Special ~ Health Message

If walking/cycling is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
A whale swims all day, only eats fish, drinks water and is fat.
A rabbit runs and hops and only lives 15 years.
A tortoise doesn’t run, does nothing, yet lives for 450


I’m retired, go around me!
(Retirement is a full time job.)




Thank you Cynthia, I am with you about retirement.

A surprise

It was one of those mornings.  You waken far to early, and decide to snuggle down again for half an hour.  Then I propped myself up on the pillows waiting for the breakfast to arrive on a tray.  I could smell the bacon, mushrooms, the black & white pudding and the tomatoes.  I was ready for it….

Then there was an unmerciful thump!

Not my breakfast, there was none to begin with I was dreaming. 🙁

The thump was in the hall….

No bills, just surprises.

The green envelope contained a note from a friend and the padded envelope……

Chocolate and a Mulley comic!

I think that Elly will be jealous… I got dark chocolate and milk!

Thank you Damien, I will enjoy the dark chocolate and share the other bars with friends.

Nomadic Update

Some Nomad

Repairing punctures (4 to date)
Drinking tea
Seldom sleeping
He is coming to see me…… eventually!

Now eight weeks into A Twitter Painting Cycle Tour of Ireland You can hear & See Ireland’s first digital nomad™ all while being a Class Study for students of the future.

You can follow week by week as told by his brother The Thirsty Gargoyle and learn about Eolaí: Painting Ireland through Social Media

I loved the Tweet from @AllanCavanagh

@eolai sleeps on the bike as he cycles. He stays in people’s houses to stay up all night painting.

For the latest peddling and weather info from where the man is at right now check Twitter – @eolai with the hash tag  #paintingtour

Now in Clew Bay… I think he might be tempted to stay…

Painting in Mayo to the sound of the sea – Photo by @eolai

At this rate it might be October before I see him.

Update on my Update:

Along the way @eolai/Liam has met some amazing people.  Some hosted him, fed and watered him – gave him tea, gave him beer or the stronger stuff if they had it.   Let him have a bed, though not all were slept in; 20 minutes shuteye on a couch and the paintbrushes were rearing to begin all over again.  They allowed him access to WiFi, it was what Liam most desired in order to update his blogs, deal with the torrent of messages on twitter and plan the next stage of the journey.  I think he packed three days into every 24 hours.

There was the lady in West Cork, totally unknown to @eolai who saw him sitting painting and arrived by his side with a pot of tea, a man size plate of sandwiches and I think there was a sweet bun or two to finish off.  She never gave him her name, but he was thrilled by her generosity.

Today he was mentioning the punctured tyres (see above) an another twitterer @aquaasho, sent this message back:

@eolai will send u down a couple on us. What type bike you on? DM me your address for next 24/ 48 hours.

Modern Social Media not alone allows us to communicate, it can bring out the best in people!

Food Monday ~ Apple & Cucumber Salad

For a juicy starter for two or light lunch for one.

Apple & Cucumber Salad

1 sweet dessert apple
juice of 1 orange
4 inch piece of cucumber
2 pieces of preserved stem ginger

1 dessertspoon of ginger syrup
¼ teaspoon of ground ginger
2 tablespoons of French dressing

Slice apple and put into a bowl, sprinkle with orange juice and stir to preserve the colour.  Chop the cucumber in large dice and add it to the apple with 2 pieces of preserved stem ginger, grated or thinly sliced.

Mix ginger syrup (from the jar of preserved ginger) with ground ginger and French dressing and pour over the apples and cucumber. Toss well

Serve on a bed of watercress with bread sticks

Taking Off

My focus today is on Lilian Bland (1878 – 1971) Pioneer Aviator

Lilian Bland

A new sculpture in Glengormley Park commemorates the remarkable achievements of Lilian Bland, the first woman in the world to design, build and fly her own aeroplane.

When I heard about the sculpture I was determined to dust off the camera and go see for myself.   One little detail was missing.  I was a little early……

Finishing touches were still taking place.

When did that ever stop me?  I had a chat with the workmen and they allowed me inside the rails provided I kept my feet on the grass.   The circle of ground beneath the sculpture was still a work in progress.  Hot progress and colourful too.

Closer look at the ‘MayFly’ Sculpture

Lilian, who was born in Kent in May 1878, came with her widowed artist father to live in his native Carnmoney in East Antrim at the home of her aunt, Sarah Smythe in 1900.  Carnmoney Hill became her favourite place to wander and dream about taking off into the clouds.

Inspired by the daring exploits of the first airmen such as Louis Bleriot, Lilian designed and built a ‘flying machine’ Mayfly in the workshop and stables of her home. In February 1910, with the assistance of her aunt’s gardener, Joe Blain, Lilian first flew her aeroplane ‘The Mayfly’ as a glider on the slopes of Carnmoney Hill.  Her flying field was also home to a bull and as Lilian later wrote, “If it gets annoyed and charges I shall have every inducement to fly!”

Front view

Lilian Bland’s great niece Imogen Holmes, tells us:

The young Lilian Bland had been inspired by the Frenchman Bleriot flying the Channel in 1909 and so designed and built the Mayfly.

She was so keen to fly that she came over to England to pick up the engine and took it a back on the train with her.   Once home in Ireland, there was no petrol tank so she used an empty whisky bottle and her aunt’s ear trumpet.

When she flew it, it actually flew for 30 yards. It was barely longer than a cricket pitch but only a little short of the distance Orville Wright flew on his first flight in 1903.

Pilots seat

Requiring a larger field for powered flight she arranged for it to be towed to Lord O’Neill’s 800 acre park at Randalstown.   Her first flights from this location were made in August 1910 and reach the dizzy height of upwards of 30 feet.

Side view

She continued to fly and improve her design until the spring of 1911, when her father who didn’t approve of her flying activities, persuaded her to give it up if he bought her a car. She did so, and became Ford’s first agent in the North of Ireland.

Her family disapproved of what they saw as ‘unladylike’ jobs.  For the granddaughter of the Rev Robert Winstringham Bland, perpetual curate at St George’s Parish Church in Belfast, our Lilian was far from conventional despite her genteel background. She smoked, wore trousers, was a ju-jitsu expert and a good shot with a rifle and was even known to swear a little.

In 1911 she married her cousin Charles Loftus Bland and lived for years in Vancouver Island, Canada. They had a teenage daughter who died in an accident, Lilian came back to England and settled in the village of Sennen near Land’s End.   She died there at the grand age of 92.


The official unveiling and renaming of the Park will take place in the next week or so.  Maybe then I will discover the name of the Sculptor or Designer.