The only mackerel in the bay

We were off the point from Owen Island not catching mackerel. There was a hard wind coming off the shore and grey clouds gathering round the back of Rosskerrig. Another boat slowed down near us and a voice shouted out “Any luck?”

I shook my head and shouted back “Not a thing.”

“We were here two hours yesterday and got a mackerel and three pollock.”

“You were lucky then we just got the one mackerel.”

“Where have they all gone?” he shouted back.

Just then there was a tug on my line and I felt the rush of a fish on hook.

“Here!” I shouted. “The bloody fish are here.”

There was one mackerel on my line and as the boat pulled of he shouted “The only mackerel in the bay!”

The Cowpat Competition

Sheep's Head Food Company

It is the Ahakista Festival in a few days time. There are some that may enjoy the rereading of this story of a festival from a few years back.


It was the weekend before the festival and we were stood on the grass across the road from Arundel’s Pub. We stood in bright clear sunlight blue sky in front of and it was raining. Great drops being blown in from a cloud that hung over the hill behind.

‘Are you here for the festival?’ the man with the black beard asked me.

‘We are,’ I said ‘And I guess it is going to be busy this year?’

‘Oh it will be, it will be. There’s your famous neighbor doing the pub quiz on Friday night and there will be all sorts on Saturday and Sunday. But you know for the eighth year running they won’t be holding…

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Listening to Sister Ray

It could be that the best part of last nights drive across Ireland was during the long drag before getting to Fermoy. The rest of the family were slumped asleep in the car and the road stretched out unyielding in front of me. There were broken clouds in the sky that obscured a half moon. It was the kind of driving that could give over to sleep. All I had was the music that chopped and changed through the shuffle on my iPhone. It went quiet for a while and then I heard the thrum of New York guitar and the snide whine of Lou Reed’s voice and so I found myself listening to the ebb and flow of a 35 minute version of Sister Ray. It kept me going through the dark.

The sun has been shining today but there are few mackerel to be had.


A full house

We had a full house late Sunday afternoon so I cooked some roast chicken with potatoes and peppers.

I had thought there were two small chickens lurking in the bottom of the freezer but having turned it over I could only find the one. I also found a couple of packets of Gubbeen bacon that must have slipped down the side when I put them in last summer.

We had the one small chicken together with a second I picked up from the supermarket.

Before cooking them I put them through a marinade of olive oil, onion, Aleppo chilli powder, garlic and oregano.

They then went into a large pan with par boiled potatoes, quartered sweet peppers and into a hot oven for good hour.

We had them with bean salad and courgettes from the garden in lemon juice listening to Joni Mitchell.