Monday, 31 August 2015

Autumn Flowering Apple



It has been a strange year in the garden. Late frosts, a dearth of bees, an excess of rain and average temperatures in the fourth quartile. Whilst walking around my embryonic orchard today I noted that one of the apple trees had decided to redesignate late summer as springtime. It has stupidly decided that it is the correct time of year to burst into flower. Silly tree! It is tempting to let the sapling proceed with its flowering but logic tells me that this is a waste of arboreal effort. I will snip off the flowers and allow the tree to garner its resources in anticipation of the forthcoming autumn and winter. Maybe it will decide to do what all right thinking apple trees should do and produce flowers next spring so that I will be able to pick a few pounds of fruit in twelve months time. Here's hoping.


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Piccalilli Days.

A superfluity of cauliflowers and courgettes prompted the dusting down and sterilisation of four preserving jars. Two diced cauliflowers and three courgettes were joined by similarly prepared green peppers, French beans and shallots. A total of four pounds of vegetables from the garden ended up in a preparing bowl with a liberal quantity of salt and left for twenty four hours before being thoroughly rinsed with cold water. Thereafter a paste of cider vinegar, turmeric, mustard powder, powdered dried chilli, cumin, coriander and cornflower was prepared. About a pint of vinegar together with a cup full of granulated sugar and a little honey was then brought to the boil. The paste was then added to the vinegar and the resultant concoction boiled and stirred for some four minutes before being taken off the ring and the vegetables added and folded in. The sterilised and still slightly warm jars were then filled, sealed, labelled and confined to the cellar for winter consumption.


Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Tumbling Tom Tomatoes.

I decided to grow some trailing tomatoes this year in addition to the normal cordon varieties. The seeds were purchased mail order from Marshalls. The variety chosen was Tumbling Tom, (yellow).

I can't remember exactly how many seeds were in the packet but I do remember thinking that they were quite expensive. Six seeds germinated. After pricking out I grew them on in three inch pots for some four weeks before transplanting them into their permanent homes, a series of ten inch pots resting on the benching.

The fruit are of course small, not much larger than a marble but they are quite sweet. I do find it difficult to resist eating two or three every evening when I am performing my watering tasks. At that time of day they still retain the warmth of the sun and as I am eating them straight from the plant I cannot but take in that very distinct aroma of the fresh tomato.

This is undoubtedly a prolific cropper and I would think that I will get at least one and a half pounds of fruit per plant. What might put me off growing this variety again is that it does seem to be rather susceptible to botrytis.




Thursday, 20 August 2015

Greenhouse Resident

In the spring of this year I came upon a smallish frog among the indoor strawberry plants. It would seem that the micro climate of the greenhouse has been so appealing to my amphibian interloper that he, or she, has decided to maintain their residence. Clearly Fred or Freda has managed to find sufficent nurishment within its self imposed prison and provide me with an effective mode of biological control. I have certainly not seen any slugs. The small frog of springtime has grown into what a French gourmand might well now describe as a potential snack. Having tasted this alleged delicacy on one occasion I would not recommend it. The taste is fine but it is just so fiddley to get at the meat. I do prefer my protein fix to be, "off the bone," and in substantial form.


Monday, 17 August 2015

Deputy Lieutenants for the County of Londonderry 1830 - 1900

I recently came across details of the Deputy Lieutenants for the County of Londonderry going back to 1830. I believe that what I viewed was a copy of a ledger that was kept in what was known as the office of the Clerk of the Crown & Peace at Londonderry Court. The ledger was either held there or possibly at the Town Clerk's office. I don't suppose that many individuals will find this list of interest but I have to concede that I did. Sad I know.


Name. Address. Appointment. Decease

Marquis of Londonderry. Mount Stewart. 1830. March 1834

Lord Garvagh Garvagh. 1833. Lieut of Co 1833

Sir R A Ferguson Bart. The Farm. 1833.VL1837.Lieut1841. 1860

Sir James Bruce Bart. Downhill. 1833 VL 1835. 1836

Henry Barrie Beresfort. Learmount. 1833. 1837

Marcus McCausland. Fruit Hill. 1833. 1869

Henry Richardson. Somerset. 1833. 1849

Wm Lenox Conyngham. Spring Hill. 1833. 1858

Richard Hunter. Jackson Hall. 1833. 1857

Lt. Col. Andrew Knox. Prehen. 1833. 1840

Thomas Scott. Willsborough. 1833. Jan 1872

Geo Hill (afterwards Sir G Hill Bart). St. Columbs. 1833. Dec 15 1845

Lord Stafford. London. 1837. June 3rd 1860

Wm Hamilton Ash. Ashbrook. 1838. Nov 1866

Leslie Alexander. Foyle Park. 1838. 1852

Stewart Crawford Bruce. Coleraine. 1838. Feb 18th 1872

Conolly Gage. Bellarena. 1838. 1843

Alexander Ogilby. Pellipar. 1832. Dec 1837

John Acheson Smith. Ardmore. 1838. 1848

Hugh Lyle. Oaks Lodge. 1839 1845

James Ogilby. Pellipar. 1839. Aug 17th 1885

Nathaniel Alexander. Pt. G ? 1839. Jan 1852

Conolly Skipton. Beech Hill. 1839. March 1854

Robert Bateson. MP Belvoir Park. 1840. 1844

Edmund (Sir E McNaughten Bart). Roe Park. 1840. 187?

John Barrie Beresford. Learmount. 1841 (VL 1867)

Sir H Henry Bruce Bart. Downhill. 1841 ( Lt 1871). Dec 8th ?

Thos (afterwards Sir T Bateson Bart). Belvoir Park

George Knox. Prehen. 1848. 1848

Conolly Lecky. Pump St. Derry 1848. July 17th 185?

Acheson Lyle. The Oaks. DL 1848 Lt 1861. April 22nd 18?

Rowley Miller. Moneymore. 1848. 1866

Robert Paul Dawson. Mohola Park. DL 1849 Lt 1870. Sept 1877

John Stevenson. Fortwilliam. 1849. 1856

John Cromie. Cromore. 1852. Jan 187?

Lord Garvagh. Garvagh. 1853 1871

Sir F. W. Heygate Bart MP. Bellarena. 1854. Nov 14th 18.

John Boyd MP. Coleraine. 1855. 1862

Sir Robt Bateson Bart. Belvoir Park. 1856. 1863

Robert Leslie Ogilby. Ardnangle. 1857. 1872

Sir Robert Bateson Bart. Cas? 1858. April 1872

Wm Lenox Conyngham. Spring Hill. 1858. 1908

James Johnston Clarke. La? 1859. June 1871

Samuel Maxwell Alexander. Roe Park. 1861. June 1886

Thos Richardson. Somerset. 1861. April 1868

George Skipton. Beech Hill. 1864. 1877

Conolly Thos McCausland. Drenagh. 1864. June 1902

Major George Browne. Cumber House. 1867. 1887

Captain Mintgomery. Benvarden. 1867. Resigned 1877

James Acheson Lyle. The Oaks. 1867. 1907

Robert Holbeche Dolling. Manor House Kilrea. 1868. Sept 1878

Sir John Hill Bart. St. Columbs. 1870. July 1872

John Adams. Ballydevitt 1870. Oct 1877

Hon Robert O'Neill. Derrynoyd. 1871. August 1910

Col Geo Knox. Prehen. 1872. Nov 1910

Major William Scott. Willsborough. 1872. March 1913

Hon Albert Canning. Garvagh. 1872.

Robert J Alexander. Portglenone. 1875. Resigned

Major A. Spencer Chichester. Moyola Park. 1877. 1901

Rt. Hon Sir Samuel Martin. Myroe. 1877. 1883

Henry Kyle. Laurel Hill. 1877. April 1878

Lt. Col. Stewart Bruce. Ballyscullion. 1877. 1909

Robert Lyon Moore. Molenan. 1878. June 1902

Captain Butler M. Giveen (?). Cooldaragh. 1878. June 5th 1891

J. A. W. Torrens. Somerset. 1898 (V. Lt. 1909)

Col. St. J. L. Bruce. Downhill. 1883. May 8th 1919

Captain Robert Ogilby. Pellipar. 1885. 1902

William Tillie. Duncreggan House. 1886. March 1904

Hugh Lyle Knocklarna. Sept 1888

W. L. H Brown RM. Comber. 12 th March 1891. 1901

W. R. H. Beresford RWF. Ashbrook. 10th August 1891. 1901

Sir F. G. Heygate Bart. Bellarena. 12th December 1894

Col. J J Clark (Ld Lieut 1915). Larganbogher. December 12th 1894. 1926

Wm. W. F. Bigger. Riverview. November 1895. 1901

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Low Flying Aircraft.

I was driving along a minor country road this afternoon. The hedgerows were about five feet high. There was no other traffic. Cattle were in the fields and I passed a farmer baling haylage into those great round black plastic covered bales. A fairly tranquil rustic scene. Certainly no indication of any traffic hazards

I became aware of a buzzing noise which gradually became louder. Then no more than twenty yards in front of me a Cessna aircraft skimmed across the road and hedgerows. A close encounter. Thankfully it was not a full scale plane but rather a model aeroplane. The experience was nonetheless rather disconcerting. It transpired that my road of choice was on the edge of the airstrip for a model aeroplane club. Not the driving hazard that one expects!


Friday, 14 August 2015

Hot and Sweet - Peppers.

Somewhat surprisingly, in view of the unseasonal summer weather, my various pepper plants are growing apace and there is every prospect of a fiery crop from the chilli peppers. It would be interesting to know where they would rate on the Scoville scale. The fruits are still very green but hopefully the sun will deign to poke through the banks of cloud for a few days before the end of September and bring the peppers to their red maturity. Save for the sweet peppers which really need to be used shortly after picking I would expect to freeze most of the others for winter usuage. A few of last years crop are still rattling around in the freezer.



Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Connaught Rangers at King House.


During my recent lunchtime sojourn in Boyle, Co Roscommon I spent a short time in King House. Although built as a residence for the King family in the first half of the eighteenth century it subsequently saw service as a barracks for the Connaught Rangers and the Roscommon Militia. After having been rented to the War Office for some years it was sold to it in 1795 for £3,000. A military usuage was continued after the disbandment of the Connaught Rangers in 1922 and the laying up of the regiment's colours at Windsor Castle. Ultimately the building was to fall into decrepitude before being purchased and reinstated by Roscommon County Council. Among other uses the building now houses the museum of the Connaught Rangers Association.

I had hoped to have time to look around the entire museum before leaving for home but a stroll around what is described as the Remembrance Room was all that time permitted. This deals primarily with the regiment's role at Gallipoli. Among the many photographs of those who did not survive the bloodbath that was the Great War was a faded image of a private soldier who was to die some two years later in India. This individual, one James Daly, has the dubious honour of being the last British soldier to be shot for mutiny. Daly was the ringleader of the Jullundur mutiny. Another seventy seven soldiers were sentenced to imprisonment. Eighteen of the latter number were originally to receive the same fate as Daly but had their sentences commuted.


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Garden Produce.


'Twas not a day for working in the garden unless one wanted to be very wet. I had hoped to tidy up what I hopefully call the orchard. The weather conditions prevented me carrying out the horticultural tasks that I had anticipated. I did however venture into the evening wetness to pluck some veg from the kitchen garden. The cauliflowers have plumped up well in the last few weeks. I chose one of their number for presenting to my parents tomorrow. I also selected three gherkins for inclusion in their salads. The tomato plants are proving to be very disappointing. They are healthy but the weather is not assisting the ripening of the fruit. I suspect that it will be the third or fourth month of August before I will have red tomatoes on the vine.


Monday, 3 August 2015

A Contested Settlement

One Family - A Tale of Division, Devotion and Restitution - Henry Macrory - Curly Burn Books

I bought my father this book for his last birthday. Whilst it contains something of the generational history of the McCausland family of Drenagh its emphasis is on the inter family court case and the preamble to same that threatened to divide the family for most of the 1940's. The prize was not insubstantial, the Drenagh Estate with the Lanyon designed five bay mansion house at its centre.

The basic facts of the case were familiar to me. The estate was entailed and when it was resettled upon Connolly McCausland's twenty first birthday in 1927 his father, (Maurice), caused a forfeiture clause to be inserted which became operative should a successor become a Roman Catholic or indeed profess that religion. Such an eventuality would, as drafted, not only disinherit the successor but also his heirs even if they did not profess to be Roman Catholics. This clause was repeated in Connolly's marriage settlement in 1932. Maurice was to die in 1938. In 1940 Connolly converted to the Roman Catholic faith. By virtue of the terms of the forfeiture clause Drenagh passed to Connolly's elder sister Helen and her family. Initially Connolly seemed to accept the situation but eventuality prodded by his wife he instigated proceedings that aimed to cause the forfeiture clause to be declared null and void.

Macrory says in his introduction that he has been at pains not to take sides. That being the case Helen and in particular her husband Lucius Thompson - McCausland come across as very reasonable and honourable individuals. The author's portrayal of Connolly and his wife Peggy is not descriptive of individuals who are quite as personable as the Thompson-McCaulands.

Mention is made of mole hills on the lawns of Drenagh. A bit of a zoological faux pas that. Thankfully moles are absent from the fauna of Northern Ireland.