West Coast Cooler, now 7% alcohol!

Vodka added to  bump up alcohol content to 7%
Vodka added to bump up alcohol content to 7%

Watch it – Pernod Ricard have added vodka to this variety  of West Coast Cooler to double the alcohol content to 7%



L’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la sante – a consommer avec moderation

Nice airport
Nice airport


This warning is carried on all alcohol advertisements in France, good to see at last

Look forward to seeing it rolled out across the rest of Europe


The sun shines

Good weather makes a big difference. Warm and dry, long bright days

The horses are full of exuberance, bucking and leaping when they’re turned out

They’re without heavy winter rugs and can smell the growing grass

They have to be kept apart from the new-born lambs, might hurt them accidentally

Birds are shouting at each other, robins have to make way for those returning from their winter retreats

Competition for food intensifies, stuff is growing but it’s still early days

Meanwhile the supermarkets take advantage of the ritual Easter feasting

By selling the “Perfect match” for roast lamb, or the “Perfect partner” for turkey

We’re talking bottles of wine, Easter is a big time for wine

But remember wine is usually around 12 – 14% pure alcohol. And  can be very damaging to your health

Especially if you drink too much. So…

A glass of wine is good, the whole bottle very bad

Have a good Easter. Paste ferecit as they say in Romania

The Cobblestone

Dublin, Smithfield,
Dublin, Smithfield,

The Tumbleweed Love Sessions, a great gig last night

First up the awesome Mongoose, brilliant harmonies and lyrics from a dramatic quartet

Then Hidden Highways lush sound fuses Americana’s country and folk like mist off a swamp

Finally The Prairie Dawgs, the big band sound of Louisiana bluegrass blasts the cobwebs off the Cobblestone

Great music.  Tumbleweed Love Sessions are not to be missed!

Alexander the Great

Alexander inherited the whole of Greece from his father King Philip, who was assassinated when he was barely twenty years old. Alexander was a brave and ambitious warrior, exceptionally handsome with long curly hair. Alexander knew just about everything there was to know at the time – his tutor was Aristotle.

Alexander loved sport and riding more than anything. No one rode better than he. His father once bought a beautiful stallion that no one could tame.  His name was Bucephalus. Whenever anyone tried to ride him they were thrown off. But Alexander worked out why he did it: the horse was afraid of his own shadow. So Alexander turned the horse’s head towards the sun so he couldn’t see his shadow on the ground. Stroking him gently, he swung himself on to his back  and rode him around to widespread applause. From then on Bucephalus was his favorite horse.

Alexander set off on a campaign of conquest and soon he was king of Persia, Greece, Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine, Babylonia, Assyria and Asia Minor.

This would probably be enough for most people but not Alexander.  In 327 bc he led his army on the most perilous adventures over unknown and unexplored mountain passes and down along the valley of the Indus into India. He was met with fierce opposition and his defeat of King Porus was one of his greatest feats. Instead of taking India he gave it back to the king. They then set off back home only by a different route. He died when he was 32 years old, an age when most people’s lives had only just begun.  He left behind libraries, Alexandria for one held around seven hundred thousand scrolls. Those seven hundred thousand scrolls were the Greek soldiers who set off to conquer the world. And that empire is still standing today. Alexander was indeed Great.  He had the help of a great horse- Bucephalus.

With thanks to E.H.Gombrich, A Little History of the World.

Hunting with the Brays

Bray hunt

Horses, hounds, hyper, hot ports, no foxes

Masters, Whips, Huntsmen, riders, nervous, ready to go

Wide green fields, let them go

Ditches, fences, cross poles, stone walls, some falls

Yelling, bleating, blowing, cantering

Gates opening, closing, lush farmland, careful, hoof marks

“Oh my god, we going down there”?

Swearing, sweating, splashing

“That wasn’t too bad, thank god we’re back”

Hosing down. Winding down – in the Powerscourt Arms

The Super Spud

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ireland is the spiritual home of the potato. We grow them better here than anywhere else

News  that consumption of potatoes is falling is hard to believe

The potato is super charged with energy.  At 75 kcal per 100 gms, its right at the top of the vegetable tree.

Potatoes are healthy, full of vitamin C, high in potassium and great value for money

Get your day off to a flyer with Irish Potato Cakes for breakfast. See  http://www.thedailyspud.com – spud full of recipes, info and fun. Well worth a visit

Potatoes are versatile. Think how many different ways there are to cook them.


The Long-Field

“We have all grown up with the Long-Field. City folk see it as green ditches with no footpaths as soon as they have escaped the urban. Cattle and sheep view it as manna from heaven when they escape out on to it from their closures and rural folk, well rural folk are always delighted to inform their fellow farmers that it is their stock that has escaped onto the Long – Field and not their own”

Evan Doyle of “Strawberry Tree” fame talks about his passion for Wild Food, a feature of his restaurant.

Evan goes on to describe the Long – Field;

“The Long – Field is the 327,258 km of 543px-PerfectStrawberryIrish grass verges and hedge rows. Our lush damp climate produces a stunning array of wild foods, from fresh spring herbs to summer berries to autumn mushrooms and nuts”

His chefs can be seen out foraging for nettles for the” Wild Nettle Tea”and Dillisk for oatcakes. Or wading for seaweed for “Wild Carrigeen and Wild Prawn Bisque”.   They pick wild garlic for the “Wild garlic, leek and potato bake” and mushrooms for the “Wild St. Georges mushroom, spinach and gorgonzola risotto”. They are gathering Wild Sea Beet, Wild Rock Samphire, Wild Sorrell and others, all to put into delicious dishes. The book is full of recipes.

“Wild Food” is an eye opener to the harvest nature provides. “Wild Food” by Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle is published by O’Brien Press. The Strawberry Tree, Macreddin Village, Aughrim, Co. Wicklow.


Guinness Sapeurs


“In life you cannot always choose what you do

But you can always choose who you are

We are the Sapeurs, the Elegant Persons of the Congo

You see my friends

I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul”

This classy commercial is the latest in the Guinness, Made of More,  portfolio

Guinness choose the Sapeurs, a brightly dressed group of Congolese to persuade the young European audience to do like they do and become masters of fate and captains of  soul.

Some would question the use of this device – those who lost relatives fighting for the UN in the Congo for one. Parents who don’t want their kids going down a road in war-torn Africa for another.

This is a carefully crafted commercial that deliberately excludes any mention of the core ingredient in Guinness – alcohol, no health warnings and no advice as to safe limits of consumption.