Monthly Archives: September 2011

Food Monday ~ Leek and Potato Soup

Leek and Potato Soup

3ozs Butter
1 lb Leeks washed trimmed & peeled
2 sticks celery chopped
1 lb Potatoes peeled & chopped
2 pints Chicken stock
¼ tsp Curry powder (mild or medium)
¼ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp sugar
½ tsp Black Pepper
Salt
Melt butter and sauté leeks, celery and potato for 8-10 minutes (do not brown).  Pour in stock and bring to the boil.  Add curry powder, nutmeg, sugar and seasoning.  Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree or liquidise

@eolai #paintingtour

It was a very ambitious project to cycle round Ireland visiting all thirty two counties in just two months.  Add in to the picture (pun intended) the fact that it was a painting tour, with coverage on several Blogs, Facebook and with updates on Twitter many times throughout the day.  The whole effort was to be funded by 10 commissioned paintings, and through social media connections, hosting Liam Daly/@eolai for a nights bed and board.  In return @eolai would paint a picture for each host, of a place or view of their choice and give it to them before leaving.

Looking down at the fast flowing waterfall at Gleno

Sounds easy doesn’t it?

GRADIENTS & ORDNANCE:  You forget that Ireland is not as flat as a bowling green.  There are things called hills and mountains that slow the legs down. Travel uphill is difficult for the leg muscles, while free wheeling downhill is dangerous so the hands need to be in full control of the brakes.  Walking on water was the Province of the bible, cycling on water – across lakes or inlets is not possible.  The cyclist needs to peddle around the edges.  It  all  takes  time!  Five miles in the morning when the body is fresh, is a very different story at the end of a long hard day.

VIEWING: Constant pauses or stops to look at the scenery and absorb the essence of it, before deciding to commit it to camera or straight to canvas.  If it is a ‘canvas now’ job then it takes time to unload the canvas, brushes and paints.  Painting in ‘situ’ takes way longer than clicking a camera shutter.

TEA: The fuel for cars is petrol/gas, and they will not travel far without it.  Our Dear @eolai needs constant top-ups of his fuel – TEA – to keep his brain flowing with inspiration. You cannot drink tea while cycling.

PEOPLE: Passers-by, want to know what you are doing and why?  They ask silly questions like “Would it not be easier to drive?”  “Why did you come along this route?”  “Are the paintings for sale?”, “How much do you charge?” or “Where are you going next?”  Staying with hosts involves social networking and interactions.  A couple of hours at the dinner table and strong bonds of friendship are born.

WEATHER: Due to the tail end of Hurricane Katia, with 60 to 70 mph winds, made it impossible to stay in control of a bike or a body several inches off the ground, a couple of days were lost. Heavy rain, wiped out the scenery and made the roads a little more dangerous with water running off some fields bringing mud onto the road.  It became impossible to use the camera or apply paint to canvas.

HEALTH: Cramp is a disaster to a cyclist. The leg can ache for hours if not days.  A tummy bug can catch any one of us in a moment, literally wiping us out for days on end.

CARE & REPAIR: Punctures can happen when least expected.  One on the first day out was not a good omen.  By the time our Digital Nomad™ reached Mayo the puncture count reached four.

TIME & COMMITMENTS: Being flexible about dates can be a bonus giving an extra day in a particular spot, but it can also impinge on availability of a host further down the line.  Commitments at home tend to build up and an end date looms ever larger.

All too soon it was time for farewells as this amazing man headed off to the next host and to his 25th county of the thirty two.  I so look forward to hearing about a book or three in the weeks and months to come following this trip.

Safe home my friend.

Openings ~ 6

Since I am taking things easy, I will offer an opening without a background story.  Never fear, My camera came off better than I did in the fall so there will be more interesting ‘openings’ coming soon.

This sign made me smile.  I wonder if it applies 24/7?

Breath

Padmini, whose energy and talents leave me breathless, pulled this weeks topic from her pocket and asked us to breath deeply and write about:

Breath

Declaration: I need to thank Paul at Blackwatertown for helping to dredge up this memory a few weeks ago on his blog.

At one stage my eldest brother left for work each morning dressed in business suit and ‘special’ tie. He was a quiet man of routine, slow to speak, and every word uttered followed thoughtful deliberation. When he reached the office car park, he removed the ‘special’ tie and replaced it with a standard striped one. This procedure was reversed on leaving the office at the close of the working day.

One morning he arrived in the car park to be greeted by the anxious waving of a breathless colleague. An urgent situation had arisen and needed my brother’s immediate attention. They both rushed into the building as my brother was briefed on the problem in hand. It was almost lunchtime before they had time to draw breath and relax with a cup of coffee.

They were in the Boardroom, and the bikkies in the Boardroom were always of a superior quality. Big brother was rather partial to the chocolate coated ones. That day he felt he had earned two. He was not alone, the full contingent of Board members were in attendance. Nothing like a threat of disaster to bring them all out of the woodwork, golf courses and wives’ coffee mornings were forgotten for the duration.

The CEO drained his coffee cup and began to speak. He was relieved that the debacle had been avoided and rather pleased that the situation had actually been successfully turned into a gain for the company. He gave credit to big brother for the major part he played in facilitating this outcome.

Realising that all eyes were now on him, my brother put his hand in his pocket for a handkerchief to wipe any stray crumbs from his mouth. He knew he would be expected to say a few words.

The cloth bundle in his pocket felt strange for an instant… Looking down he realised why. His fingers were not feeling the fine linen handkerchief, but his usual workplace tie! Blushing slightly, he rose to his feet.

“I wonder?” he began, “How much my tie helped in the deliberations!” A ripple of laughter floated round the room. Once the details of the difficult negotiations were discussed, he looked down and moved his hand to his tie once more, he exhaled slowly and his face relaxed into a broad smile.

The tie was handmade. A veritable rainbow of uneven random stripes and stitches, with threads sometimes showing at the joins. It was a gift that he had received for Christmas. Four long months of dedicated concentrated work went into the making of this unique gift.

Pure delight shone in the eyes of the lady as she handed over the little parcel all sparkles and sticky glitter. The gift tag was a one off and personalised.

The young lady was his youngest daughter and she was six years old!

Now run along to Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Magpie 11Padmini, Ramana, Rohit, The Silver Fox WhispersWill, Paul & Plain Joe and check out how they are breathing today.

Thursday Special ~ A Rolling Stone

A frog walks into his local bank and walks up to the counter.

“I would like a loan of $30,000 please,” he asks the clerk, whose name is Patrick Whack. “Thirty thousand dollars?

That’s a lot of money, you know.” says Paddy, “You’ll need collateral
for that amount of money.”

“That’s okay,” says the frog, “I have this.” And he pulls out of his pocket a tiny pink ceramic elephant.

“What’s this? I can’t accept this as collateral.” “Don’t worry,” says the frog,

“I know the manager, he’s a good friend of mine. Tell him his friend Kermit Jagger is here.”

Paddy gets up from his chair and goes to the manager’s office, taking the little pink elephant with him. He shows it to the manager and says “There’s a frog out there says he knows you, his name is Kermit Jagger. He want to borrow $30,000… he
gave this as collateral… what on earth is it?”

The manager takes the little elephant, studies it for a second
and says…

“It’s a nick-nack Paddy Whack, give the frog a loan, his old man’s a Rolling Stone.”

Ramana, thank you for the story today.

Progress report on my fall

First off let me thank everyone for their good wishes since I had the fall.

One week later I feel so much better, having Nurse Hitler home for a few days was both physically and emotionally  a great boost for me.  She knows when to ‘push’ and when to say ‘REST’!   I am black and blue all over and my face is not a pretty sight with the multitude of colours.

The news is good… I was told that I am cracked! But you all knew that for years! 😉

I have a teacup crack just under my right eye socket and nerve damage to my face(thus the numbness).  All I need now is patience to let things settle and heal.  I am forbidden to blow my nose for six weeks and told to eat soft food.  It could be so much worse, the Dr told us about a guy on a liquid diet, he bought a full McDonald’s meal including coke and put the lot through the liquidiser!  I was never a fan of fast food, but that has put me off burgers for life!

The nerve damage, I have been warned, will be slow to recover.  Worst case scenario is 18 months…..  Hell, I won’t let that happen to me, I want to be back to normal pronto or else the Toyboys will all desert me. 🙁

Seriously though, I am following orders and doing what I am told. 😉

It is good to be back.

Hiatus

I am taking a break right now.  A break!  Ha Ha!  This one is out of my control.

On Wednesday I told you about a fall I had and that after 3 hours in A&E I was told there were no bones broken and allowed to drive home alone.

By Thursday things were different.  Half the right side of my face was numb and there was blood in the mucous I coughed up.

I drove back to the same A&E Department at my Local Area Hospital. I saw the same team who looked after me on Tuesday.

Eight hours later (with no food) and several CAT Scans of my face and head, I was informed that there were two breaks in the bone immediately under my eye and a possible further break to a bone at the base of my skull.  Again (knowing I was alone) I was allowed to drive home, with an appointment for The Ulster Hospital, Dundonald, on the eastern edge of Belfast, on Monday afternoon.

Elly is on her way and should be here shortly.

I am in no form for reading of any kind, Posts for Thursday and yesterday were pre scheduled, and there are a few more in the pipeline.  Please forgive me for not replying to comments or visiting other blogs at the moment.  My body needs rest and I am listening to it.

Elly will post an update after the hospital visit.

Don’t worry, I will soon be back teasing and playing with you all.

I hope @eolai won’t want to paint my multicoloured face when he arrives on Tuesday.

I’m telling you….

Anu & Gaelikaa  seem to have picked the same subject, so both can claim credit this week as we write about:

Things I don’t tell about myself

If I told you… then I would be unable to use the phrase: Things I don’t tell about myself!

Some things are best left within the heart.

Now off you toddle over to Anu, Ashok, Conrad, Delirious, gaelikaa, Magpie 11, Padmini, Ramana, Rohit, The Silver Fox Whispers, Will, Paul & Plain Joe to see what they will reveal about themselves.

Thursday Special ~ Road Trip

While on a road trip, an elderly couple stopped at a roadside restaurant for lunch. After finishing their meal, they left the Restaurant, and resumed their trip.

When leaving, the elderly woman unknowingly left her glasses on the table, and she didn’t miss them until they had been driving for about forty minutes.

By then, to add to the aggravation, they had to travel quite a distance before they could find a place to turn around, in order to return to the restaurant to retrieve her glasses.

All the way back, the elderly husband became the classic grouchy old man. he fussed and complained, and scolded his wife relentlessly during the entire return drive. The more he chided her, the more agitated he became. He just wouldn’t let up for a single minute.

To her relief, they finally arrived at the restaurant. As the woman got out of the  car, and hurried inside to retrieve her glasses, the old geezer yelled to her,

“While you’re in there, you might as well get my hat and the credit card”.

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Some old Cad sent this to me and I am sure he said his name was John!

Good People

I know that from time to time I talk about the narrow blinkered people that I have come across in my years living in Northern Ireland.  Today I wish to redress the balance.

Yesterday morning I headed out with my camera and a long grocery shopping list.  I had three places in mind to take photographs, before having a coffee and finally doing the trolly dash at a large supermarket.

At my first point of call, I was disappointed in that the sculptures I had read about and expected to find, had been gone for many a long year.  A young lady at Reception, made a call and let me speak to another young lady at the newly refurbished Old Courthouse.  I posted a picture of it last Sunday in Openings 5.

I decided to move my car closer to where I was going and my final stop, so parked at the supermarket.

The young lady I was to meet at the Old Courthouse was Bernie and she was more than helpful.  One of my planned visits was to Pogue’s Entry, but I discovered it only opens from Thursday to Saturdays.  Bernie suggested that she take me there, and show me round.  I also spoke to a couple of gentlemen about Sculpture in the area and was brought on a tour of the Old Courthouse building.  What a difference the refurbishment has made instead of being left to decay and become derelict.

Bernie has a bubbly personality and it is obvious she enjoys her work.  We chattered easily as we walked the length of the street to Pogue’s Entry – more to come in a future post.  All I will say now is, I enjoyed my personal tour of the tiny cottage and once I sort through my photos, I will share them with you.

A big thank you to Bernie and her colleagues for their time and patience.

I walked back part of the way along the street with Bernie and teased her about going straight back to work and not to get lost – we could see the Old Courthouse so there was no way she would get lost.

I was focused on another photo opportunity and as I crossed the street I fell.  Fell full length and my face and glasses kissed the ground.  My right side took the brunt of the fall and I was worried I might have damaged my replaced hip.  My face was very sore and my teeth had caught the inside of my lip.  I didn’t move for a few moments since I needed to be sure that nothing was broken.  I know that jumping up is the worst thing you can do in these situations, sometimes even adding to the damage!

I heard a young lady ask if I was al-right.  She offered to lift me but I said to wait a moment or two and I would roll over.  I did and she helped me to a sitting position.  The young lady called Pauline, insisted on calling an ambulance since there was no member of family locally to come to my aid.  The ambulance came and they looked me over and decided that I should go to the hospital with them.  I did.

The medical staff were wonderful and caring.  They checked me over and had Xrays taken of my hips and face, thankfully there were no breaks.  My hand was dressed and a tetanus injection administered by a doppelgänger of Will Knott.

I know I will not win any beauty competitions right now, but the bruises will fade and and the soreness disappear.  Next time I go out of doors, I will watch where I put my feet! 😆

Normal service will resume tomorrow.