Day record


My first ever Aubergine flower.

Very tired so I am just going to record what I did today and then crash.

Woke up, let the chickens out.  They are working out well.  3 eggs a day from 6 hens.  Keep it up girls.

Breakfast was our own eggs poached on toast.  Espresso coffee.

Dropped Esha to the train station with her friend Clodagh, on their way to see “Angela’s Ashes:  The musical”.

Recycled bottles and jars in Thurles.

Jerry drove myself and Gavin to Clonmel, Jerry to practice driving.  Gavin to buy school books for 5th and 6th year.  Last big shell out on school books!  Also hit the oriental shop to buy black beans, butter beans, pine nuts, turmeric, won-ton skins, pickled vine leaves and chick peas.

Dealz for hardback a4 copy books.

Had to go to the health food store for the sunflower seeds and tofu.

Over to Tesco in Clonmel for printer ink, lotto, wine, peanuts, baguette, pens.

Home for lunch.  Blue cheese, baguette, apple, tea.

Jerry cut lawns on ride on, Gavin cut small lawn with hand lawnmower. Picked, shelled, blanched and froze peas.  Cleaned out chicken coop.  Planted out aubergines.  Gavin fed tomato plants.  I weeded a lot.

Planted out some pot parsley plants.

Trimmed some branches of the horse chestnut tree.

Cut grass on the driveway.

Watched a bit of the tour de france time trial.

Fed the dog, walked the dog, watered the dog, cuddled the dog, gave out to the dog when it bit my toes.

Louise made pizza and focaccia.  Time to crash in front of the TV.

Life is what happens when you are making other plans..……John Lennon





Missing Link


Nov 24th is a very significant day in the history of mankind for two reasons.  Firstly it was on this day in the year 1859 that Charles Darwin published his groundbreaking work, On the Origin of Species.

Darwin’s work was mostly concerned with his findings on Finches, Tortoises and other species he studied on the Voyage of the Beagle.  Darwin was rushed into publication because a fellow naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace published “On the Introduction of Species” in 1855 and came very close to many elements of Darwin’s theories.

Darwin avoided the explosive conclusions in relation to mankind, except for a hint of the possibility in the final chapter.  But it was this hint that drove the book to become one of the most famous scientific works ever published.  Darwin gave us the language of evolution, with terms such as survival of the fittest and the eponymous evolutionary theory we now call “Darwinism”.

Then, on this day in 1974 two anthropologists discovered the bones of an Australopithecus Afarensis.  Donald Johanson and Tom Gray had a party that night to celebrate the find of the Century, a 40% complete hominid skeleton.  They played the Beatles all night long and eventually named their missing link “Lucy” after Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

Lucy demonstrated that bipedalism came before increased brain size.

In a field of study which advanced by decades on the finding of a jawbone or a couple of teeth the impact of such a large portion of a skeleton was phenomenal.  Lucy became one of the best selling books in the world, another crossover from the world of science to the popular zeitgeist.

There are now many theories that focus on the move from small to large brain size.  Radiator theory (bipeds can cool their brains by being taller so standing up allows the brain to grow).  There is the theory that freeing the hands for manipulation rather than locomotion stimulates the brain to new heights and hence sizes.  There are theories that the changed head position supported the development of the voice box, verbal communication, cooperation and society.  There are many many theories.  But Lucy permitted these theories by showing that walking came before a big brain.



Picture yourself in a boat on a river
With tangerine trees and marmalade skies
Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly
A girl with kaleidoscope eyes

Cellophane flowers of yellow and green
Towering over your head
Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes
And she’s gone

Lucy in the sky with diamonds

Herostratic Fame


On this day in 365 BCE the Temple of Artemis, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was destroyed.  It was burned down by an arsonist named Herostratus.

He committed this heinous act in a bid to become immortally famous.

The temple was located in Ephesus (now Efes) in Ionian Greece (now part of Modern Turkey) .  The Ephesians sentenced Herostratus to death, but also passed a greater sentence on him.  They forbade anyone to use is name, on pain of death.  Their intention was to prevent him achieving the very thing that he sought.

Unfortunately the story was recorded by historians and Herostratus won out in the end.  Herostratic fame is “Fame acquired by destructive means”.

In modern society we see many examples.  School shooters are a prime example.  People like Mark David Chapman, who murdered John Lennon and said “The result would be that I would be famous; the result would be that my life would change and I would receive a tremendous amount of attention”.

Terrorism organisations have learned that they can gain notoriety through herostratic acts such that a small terror cell can dominate global media.  ISIS, Al Qaida, Hammas, Hezbollah etc all leverage this dynamic in the Middle East.

Since the destruction of the Temple of Artemis the greatest Herostratic act was the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York City on 9/11.

Ground Zero

Negative Waves


50!  Where did that come from? I had all these plans to mark my birthday and then they were brought to ruin by events beyond my control. As John Lennon wrote; Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.  Happy Birthday John, we love you still.

I am writing this knowing I can’t post it (OK I can post it now, yipee). I have a job offer, but not a contract. I want to hand in my notice, but can’t yet. I certainly can’t post this on a blog. Not yet in any case.

I find the situation very frustrating, because I have to be so careful who I talk to about it. I want to celebrate the new job, which is a dream job as far as the work is concerned. I am a bit relieved to be escaping from the heavy atmosphere of the old job. All those negative vibes are unhealthy to the human psyche. As Oddball said (Kelly’s Heroes) “Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”

So, I am leaving the tobacco industry, having worked here for a year and a half. What have I learned in this time? Well, marketing is very difficult when you have a display ban, an advertising ban and almost a complete communications ban. In fact marketing comes down to distribution, availability and price. I have learned a lot about distribution and availability, which is really useful. It allows me to unpick elements of campaign analysis in other industries.

I have also learned that tobacco companies in Ireland are behaving in a highly ethical manner. They are more concerned about being squeaky clean than the regulators are. They are an important bastion for the defence of civil liberties. You may not like smoking, but that gives you no right to impose your world view on adult smokers. In Ireland in particular we need to kill the nanny state mentality that has flowered under recent governments. If we allow the government to run roughshod over tobacco companies then other scalps will follow. The nanny brigade has already drawn up the short list. Alcohol, sugar, carbonated drinks, children’s cereals, children’s TV, girls’ clothes that are too hookerish, dogs that look like they might be pitbull crosses. But it won’t stop there. They want to ban Christmas before Hallowe’en, Easter in Lent, white shoes in winter, traveller weddings, sun beds, spray tan, and on and on until they rule every aspect of our lives. 1984 how are you?

What is it about Ireland? Are there too many quangos for too few issues? The biggest ad campaign running right now, in a crippling recession, when nobody has any money to spare, is telling us to put our gum in a bin. Come on guys! Is this of national importance? Will we be wading through chewing gum swamps within days if the chewers don’t comply? We seriously need to get our priorities straight.

So I am going to finish this bottle of whiskey, pick up my shotgun, dress in my big fat gypsy boob tube, and go down to the church hall with my pit-bull and feed him Coco Pops and Coke. Now, anyone not behind me is in my way!

In case the irony is lost on you, now that I am 50 I have the right to be a grumpy old git.

Poem In October; by Dylan Thomas

It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
Priested shore
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
That second
In the still sleeping town and set forth.

My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.

A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.

Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
My birthday
Away but the weather turned around.

It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
With apples
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels

And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Sang alive
Still in the water and singingbirds.

And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.