Monthly Archives: August 2012

Food Monday ~ Nana’s Rhubarb Jam

At this time of the year the rhubarb is well swelled and a little coarser than a month or two ago. It is ideal for jam making. It can also be used in crumbles, tarts or spooned on top of ice cream.

Nana’s Rhubarb Jam

2 kg of Rhubarb
2 kg of granulated sugar.
2 Lemons – rind and juice.
75 g root ginger peeled & finely chopped (optional).

Trim, wash and wipe the rhubarb and cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) lengths. I find a kitchen scissors handy for this.
Put into a bowl, sprinkle with the sugar, cover and leave for 2-3 days to soak.
Pour into a large saucepan, add the lemon juice & ginger. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved.
Boil rapidly for about 30 minutes, until the jam sets when tested.
Take off the heat, remove the scum and leave to cool slightly.
Pot into warm sterilized jars and seal whilst still warm.

Lisburn Memorials

Lisburn War memorial

The total number of military and civilian casualties in World War I was over 37 million. About two-thirds of the military deaths were in battle, but disease, including the Spanish flu, still caused about one third of total military deaths for all combatants….. AND still we have not learned!

All over Northern Ireland you will find War memorials

This memorial was unveiled in 1923 to commemorate the people from Lisburn who died in the First World War. Names of people who died in World War 2 were added later.  The bronze statue of ‘Victory’ is by Henry C. Fehr.

Wallace Memorial (viewed from Castle Street)

In 1870 Sir Richard Wallace became the landlord of Lisburn. After his death in 1890, Lady Wallace’s heir, Sir John Murray Scott, gave Castle Gardens to the people of Lisburn on behalf of Sir Wallace.

Front of the memorial

Some detail of the monument including a working sundial.

On a side note for readers and visitors to the National Gallery of Ireland, in Dublin – the Daniel Maclise’s picture The Marriage of Strongbow & Aoife on the end wall in the great hall, was one of two paintings donated by Sir Richard Wallace.

Lisburn was founded in the early 17th Century and its name in Irish is Lios na gCearbhach or Lisnagarvey, which means the ‘fort of gamesters’. The earliest reference to the word Lisburn is found in a baptismal entry of 11 January 1662. It has been suggested that Lisnagarvey was changed to Lisburn because the town was burned in the rebellion of 1641. Today, many local sports clubs still carry the City’s original name.

Openings 48 ~ Lisburn Castle Gardens

This is the second visit to Lisburn Castle Gardens, Last Sunday I was sharing the fountains.

The Terraces leading to Lisburn Castle Gardens

Castle Gardens in Lisburn was once the site of Lisburn Castle, a 17th century fortified manor house.  It was built by the Conway family who were the landlords of Lisburn in the 1620’s. Fire destroyed the Castle in 1707 and was never rebuilt.

Fruit trees line the walls in the 17th century terraces .

Lisburn City Council has recently restored the upper 19th century gardens and the 17th century terraces, with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

I wonder if this was once the bowling green?

In The 17th century the terrace garden was used for recreation by residents and guests of the castle. It also had an orchard and a pond stocked with fish.

The 1677 red sandstone gateway.

The top part of the gardens dates from late Victorian times and contains several important scheduled historic monuments, including the 1677 red sandstone gateway, the Wallace drinking fountain and the memorial erected in 1891 to commemorate Lisburn’s landlord and great benefactor, Sir Richard Wallace (1818 – 1890). The Gardens also provide a splendid setting for the town’s memorial to the First and Second World Wars. I plan to cover these memorials tomorrow in my Sculpture slot.

Gateway from the upper gardens to the terraces.

Looking down from that open gate

The wall dividing the terraces from the upper garden.

There are openings and pathways all over the place.

Which way will I go?

Through the trees you can see the tower of Lisburn Linen Museum and the Spire of Lisburn Cathedral. Over the next few weeks, I will return to share more of the sculptures I discovered in the grounds.

Fire in my sky

I have looked at the view through my kitchen window above the sink for thirty five years.  Yet with every passing cloud, never mind season, the view changes. The view for the last few nights has been  kinda chilling as the rain battered the glass and the bushes danced a highland fling to the music of the wind. Even typing those words made me shiver. Not all summers were like this, I needed to find the proof.

Sunset lights my sky with fire.

This morning I realised I had 89 photos of the ‘my sky at night’ never mind anything else. How to pick just three…. I need a very long pin. (You can click on the photos to enlarge them.)

August 2008

September 2008

June 2008

I think I was into skies in 2008… Still it is much safer than playing with matches! 😉

The topic Fire was chosen for the Loose Bloggers Consortium* this week, by Will. Now why not flap your wings and fly on over to discover what lights the fire of our other active members: Maxi, Maria/Gaelikaa, Maria SilverFox, , Padmum, Paul, Ramana, Shackman speaks, The Old Fossil, & Will Knott. OCD writer (is the youngest of the group, and you know what they are like – leave the homework until the last second – I’d give him until Sunday! 😉 ) Delirious (May not have reached her new home base yet, in China) & Anu (seems to be on sabbatical),

* For any new readers, the Loose Bloggers Consortium is an eclectic group that stretches from India (5) via Europe (3) and on to the US of A (5) with an age range from twenty-something-year-olds to the younglings on the verge of 70. We each take a turn to suggest the topic for the week.  The aim is that we all write without consultation, and post on the same day.

Thursday Special ~ Golf

A Golfer accidentally overturned his cart.

Elizabeth, a real golfer who lived in a villa on the golf course heard the noise and yelled over to him.

“Hey, are you okay, what’s your name?”

“Willis,” he replied.

“Willis forget your troubles. Come to my villa, rest up and I’ll help you get the cart up later.”

“That’s mighty nice of you,” Willis answered, “but I don’t think my wife would like it.”

“Aw come on,” Elizabeth insisted. She was very pretty and persuasive.

“Well okay,” Willis finally agreed, and added, “but my wife won’t like it.”

After a hearty drink AND sexy driving and putting lessons, Willis thanked his host.

“I feel a lot better now, but I know my wife is going to be real upset.”

“Don’t be foolish!” Elizabeth said with a smile , she wont know any thing. By the way, where is she?”

“Under the cart!”




Thank you Ramana, for this weeks contribution.

Creative Fingers

While in Lisburn last week Davy and I happened on Linen Diaspora, an exhibition of contemporary work explaining how Lisburn became central in textile development and the linen industry. We found it taking place at R-Space Gallery in Lisburn, right through the month of August.

Mapping Memory ~ Liz Nilsson,Dublin

The work is a combination of screen Printing, laser cutting and textile manipulation, using recycled table linen, interlining and Perspex fittings.

August is Craft Month in Northern Ireland with close to 90 events (exhibitions, workshops, talks, seminars etc.) happening across the Province. This year Craft Month promotes contemporary craft and the material arts in Northern Ireland and from around the UK and Ireland. This year the focus is on the work, inspiration & stories of craft makers living and working in Northern Ireland.

D’Irlande à Griffintown Those who crossed the Ocean
Carole Frève, Montréal

Vessel shapes built of Linen and Glass to tell a story. The materials used to achieve the work were blown glass, electroplated copper, linen embroidered & sewn by hand, image transfer and screen printing.

Professor Karen Fleming (University of Ulster), who curated “Linen Diaspora”, established links between the Huguenots exiled from France and flax culture in both Western Canada and Ireland.

Les chemins de mémoire
Janine Parent. Quebec

A curtain consisting of stoneware, linen and cotton. It was achieved by Raku firing. There was also a cushion of which I don’t seen to have a picture.

This exhibition is of contemporary work which focuses on materials and processes related to flax production that are embedded in the culture of both countries. The show was first shown at 4th Biennale Internationale du Lin de Portneuf, Quebec Canada in 2011.

Womanagh – two pieces
Martha Cashman, Cork

On the wall (above) using paper porcelain textured with embroidered linen, fired several times to achieve the colourful lustre glazes and woven wire before driftwood handles were attached.

Set on the hearth (below) Raku fired ceramics and drift wood.

The Huguenots fled to Ireland from their native France in the 17th century to escape religious persecution. They brought with them their expert knowledge of weaving, which had a huge impact on the linen making industry. Thousands more made it across the Atlantic to North America and a similar surge in linen making took place in the province of Quebec.

Dark Rebus (above) & Lingua (below
Susan Warner Keene,Toronto

Flax, cotton, dyes, pigments, linen thread and acrylic were used for felting, stitching and handpaper making to produce these very effective pieces.


Professor Fleming said:

“In Ireland, Lisburn was a centre for that development. The Huguenots had far sighted strategies and it led to a huge exponential increase in weaving in Ireland. They also went to Quebec where they have a very similar linen culture,”

The links between the two areas strengthened in the 19th century when the famine boats began arriving in Quebec and other parts of Canada.

“The Famine is a huge phenomenon in Canada. It is now quite a badge of honour if your family adopted an orphaned child off the famine ships that came from Ireland,”

There were so many wonderful works on display, but I cut my selection down to six. The final work that I have chosen to share with you is untitled, my favourite of the exhibition, and it comes in three pieces.  Derek Wilson & Jill Phillips, Belfast are the creators. The work includes Porcelain, linen fabric, wood and mirrors.  The linen is embroidered and laser cut.

I love the cut work and embroidery of the fabrics.

The shapes on the table below the bowl drew me into this one.

My favourite piece of the show

a closer look

The Radio switches on again.

On May 14, 2008, I wrote a rather long post about The radio. This particular radio had a place of honour in our house when I was growing up. It came from an era before television. In fact it was a wedding present that my parents were given in 1941.

I went on to recall the part the radio played in our young lives and mentioned programmes from those far off days. The post was positively received with many comments about my memories and other programmes were recalled as well. The conversation went on for four days and then slowed up but every few months the radio came to life once more with further comments.

Yesterday morning a comment came through with no URL, when I checked the IP address, I got an Error 404 so deleted it. Last night I received an email from a gentleman called called Joe Keane, he was actually replying to the comment I had deleted in the morning. It came to me with a copy of the deleted comment attached.

I have decided to copy the message from John, the writer of the deleted comment, and the reply from Joe Keane. You might like to refresh your minds about the programmes that they refer to in the original post and if you click on the link (high-lighted) above it will take you to the post.  For those unfamiliar with blogs, to get back to this post just click on the Grannymar at the top of the page.

I am doing a piece on radio. Spot The Talent (1960’s) had three adjudicators. The men were: Eamon O’Gallchóir and Michael McNamara. Does anyone know the name of the female adjudicator?

In The Foley family the main parts were played by George Greene & Peg Monaghan. I think Deirdre O’Meara played the part of the daughter Eileen but does any listener know who played the part of Brendan, the son? We hardly ever missed any of the episodes. We also enjoyed the mini series detailing the exploits of a detective called Michael O’Sullivan.


To Author John,
Yes like you I have fond memories of ‘The Foley Family’. I came from the country and this typical working class family seemed so far away from their rural cousins. I am almost certain that Brendan’s role was filled by the late Brendan Caldwell.
I can’t help you with Spot the Talent query. However as a child I loved Michael Sullivan detective. It had all the ingredients essential for good radio drama. I remember the ‘goose pimples’ that those episodes evoked in me as a child. Wonder where the main actor went from there?
keep up the nostalgic contributions.

If you have any information about the programme ‘Spot the Talent’, please add it in the comments. It is not one that easily comes to my mind.

Food Monday ~ Gooseberry Jam

Gooseberry Jam

1 kg Gooseberries washed and stemmed.
1 kg Granulated Sugar
150ml Water

Wash, top and tail the gooseberries, discarding any that are damaged.
Put the fruit and water in a large saucepan.  Bring to the boil.  Cover and reduce the heat.  Simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the fruit is softened.
Add sugar and stir until dissolved.  Bring to the boil.  Boil for 10-15 minutes.
Draw off the heat and test whether the jam has set.
I use a cooled saucer and drop a small spoonful of jam on to it. Allow it to cool for a minute then push your finger through the jam – if it wrinkles it’s ready; if not, boil for a few more minutes.
Once the jam is ready, turn off the heat, skim off any scum and leave to stand for 15-20 minutes.
Spoon the jam into clean sterilised jars and seal tightly with screw top lids while the jam is hot.

I prepare my jars before I start to clean the fruit.
Wash the jars in soapy water and rinse in clean warm water. Allow them to drip-dry, upside down, on a rack in the oven set to 140C. Leave them there for at least half an hour while you make the jam.
Put the screw top lids in a bowl of boiling water.


When we were young and asked my mother where we came from, the answer was “From under a Gooseberry bush!”  What do you mean, you don’t believe me???

My siblings looking for babies!

The sun shone

During the week I spent a wonderful day in Lisburn, County Antrim. Weather-wise it was a pet day showing the city off to best advantage. I concentrated on Castle GardensLagan Valley Island and coffee with a Toyboy! I came home refreshed and sun soaked, with photographs of items of interest to keep me going until the year end.

Is this a Toyboy I see approaching?

Castle Gardens in Lisburn was once the site of Lisburn Castle, a 17th century fortified manor house.  It was built by the Conway family who were the landlords of Lisburn in the 1620’s . The house and its contents were destroyed by the great fire of Lisburn in 1707 and not rebuilt. The estate continued in the hands of descendants of the Conway family, including Sir Richard Wallace.

Sir Richard Wallace Fountain

In 1872 he donated 50 drinking fountains, known as Wallace fountains,  to the City of Paris and two can still be seen today in Lisburn. They were designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg in the form of small cast-iron sculptures.

Detail of the base

After his death and that of Lady Wallace, the gardens were gifted in 1903 to Lisburn for use as a public park.

Four caryatids representing kindness, simplicity, charity and sobriety grace the fountain. Each one is different from her sisters, by the way she bends her knees and by where her tunic is tucked into her blouse.

I spy another fountain.

Egret Fountain

This decorative metal sculpture depicts 3 egrets. An egret is a small heron.

Catching up with Davy was wonderful, seeing his city through his eyes made it extra special. Thank you Davy, for the coffee and the new Avatar. 😀

Lisburn City Council has recently restored the upper 19th century gardens and the 17th century terraces, with grant aid from the Heritage Lottery Fund. I will focus on the gardens next Saturday.