EPISODE 447 IRISH STORIES: IRISH PANARAMAS

EPISODE 447   IRISH STORIES   IRISH PANARAMAS

alan skeoch
oct. 2021
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In  the summer of 1966 I returned to Ireland with my wife, Marjorie and my brother Eric.  We were all teachers by that time and I dearly waned to share Ireland wit those closest to me  We did not have much money
Most of what we had was put into a car rental and b and b hotels.  We saved on food.  Our stead diet was  1) Bulmer's cider…big bottles with stone screw caps.  2) fresh bread wherever it could be found  3) large chunks
of cheese.   Here in the pic above we are dining in a farm field…first class.
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Ireland has lots of mountains for climbers.  Easy to climb.  Lots of sheep.  I am not too sure the water is drinkable due to the sheep but
Marjorie tested it before Eric and I drank.
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In 1960 John Hogan and I did a little mountain climbing.  We had
an excuse as John was a geologist “looking for outcrop”
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This is the Mahon River…not very big until it rains.
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EPISODE 446 GUINNESS BREWERY … USING HORSES IN 1960

EPISODE 446    GUINNESS BREWERY … USING HORSES IN 1960

alan skeoch
oct. 2021
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HORSES STILL HAULED WAGON LOADS OF GUINNESS THROUGH ST. JAMES
GATE EVERY DUBLIN MORNING.  BARRELS AND BARRELS DESTINED FOR EVERY
PUB IN  THE CITY.
image.jpeg
One of The many things i learned in Ireland was how important dark
black pints of Guinness stout was to the subculture of Ireland.  It took a little time
but eventually a pint of Guinness became necessary in any deep discussion.
On my 13 day stay in Dublin at the beginning of the Irish job I visited
the Guiness brewery tour 3 times.  On one of these visits a Catholic priest
explained he was opposed to drink and gave me his sample pint. Nice guy who
must have been looking for something to do while in Dublin.  As I was.
NOTE:  I Think my picture of those horses is a treasure…cannot find any
others.
alan
Note:  these short episodes are part of my learning curve on gmail.  Excuse the errors.

Fwd: EPISODE 444 IRISH STORIES: IRISH COTTAGES

EPISODE 443 IRISH STORIES: IRISH COTTAGE

Note to John Wardle, if email is received please respond, thank you.
EPISODE 443   IRISH STORIES…IRISH COTTAGES (HOMES) 

alan skeoch
oct. 2021
I wish I had taken pictures of many of the homes where our work force lived.  As I remember they
used the term ‘cottage’ for their homes.  In Canada that has a different meaning.  Second homes. In Ireland in 1960 There was one
cottage that stood out from others because the owner, perhaps his name was Mr. Casey, spent
a lot of time pruning and painting to make the place look magnificent.

Sad to say a lot of these small rural cottages on one acre lots were abandoned.  Or maybe it was just that I looked for signs of
the past and tended to photograph empty, often roofless, places where people once lived.

This home in Bunmahon was just abandoned and allowed to collapse.   Barney told me a story  about the former owners.  A story
on the edge of my consciousness.   I think the family retained ownership and just moved on…let the house fall apart.   Ruins like this
must have been common in the late 1870’s when the mine closed and the people (population was around 2,000 then)….Miners are
nomadic.   The miners of Bunmahon moved west to the United States and Canada.

This ancient bee hive home has withstood the ravages of time.   AT one time a monk may have lived here contemplating….just contemplating.
What?   What would you think about  while sitting cross legged in a tiny stone house where you couldn’t stand?  Just sitting there alone.

I am so glad I took this picture because it was so ’normal’ to me in 1960.   Homes that were whitewashed…very neat in most
cases…with every inch of the acre of land being used.  Often with domestic animals.
And ancient graveyards were often present.

So many of the abandoned buildings looked like this…as if the rooves had been removed deliberately.  Seems to me I read somewhere that
landlords forcibly removed those rooves to force indigent tenants to move on…i.e.  people who were not paying rent.   That happened
in the Highland Clearances in Scotland when large landwoners wanted land for sheep and not for people.   The 1840’s were rough years
made worse by the sudden failure of the potato crop across western Europe.  








EPISODE 420 A “CASE” WITH A HAPPY ENDING…

EPISODE 420     A ‘CASE’ WITH A HAPPY ENDING


ala skeoch
sept. 2021



Now here is a short story about a little Case tractor.   Yes, it has a happy ending.   We need that in this
day and age where unhappy endings are so often the ‘case’.  (Play on words).   

Not long ago this tractor was a wreck..reached the end of its useful days.  Too small, way too small for
farming.  Could barely pull a set of spring tooth harrows.  Set aside in a field or old drive shed. Then
along came a mechanic.  Do not know who.  But he restored the Case perfectly…even new tires 
… and a perfect paint job with decals applied as a finishing touch.  For some strange
reason the little Case was put up for auction and i was able to buy it…then Son Andrew paid for it.
The story does not end there.



A movie art producer needed the little Case and sent “Al” from Transport to pick up the little Case and haul it to the city
for a star role.  Big time production…perhaps award winning production.

“Andrew, can you come up to the farm and load her.”  (“Her?”)
“Sure, “

And that is the happy ending.  I can’t say the name of the movie or much about the plot.  That is all secret
stuff until the production is finished and on the screen.  At that time, you will be informed.

Fwd: EPISODE 419 TWO AMUSING LETTERS RE: LAUREL AND HARDY EPISODE 418 FROM GELN GREY AND BILL PROCIW



Begin forwarded message:


From: ALAN SKEOCH <alan.skeoch@rogers.com>
Subject: EPISODE 419 TWO AMUSING LETTERS RE: LAUREL AND HARDY EPISODE 418 FROM GELN GREY AND BILL PROCIW
Date: August 29, 2021 at 7:28:38 PM EDT
To: Bill Prociw <bill.prociw@gmail.com>, Glen Gray <glen.gray7@sympatico.ca>


Glen and Bill….Can I send out your letters…they are  terrific.?

EPISODE 419        TWO AMUSING LETTERS RE: LAUREL AND HARDY EPISODE 418 FROM GLEN GREY AND BILL PROCIW


Stan and Oliver in the short Big Business (1929).
REMEMBER THE EPISODE ABOUOT THE LITTLE SKEOCH MOTOR CAR COMPANY?   THIS CAR LOOKS SIMILAR.



alan skeoch
august 30,  2021

I hesitated to write the episode about Laurel snd Hardy.  “Who would care?”
“Many readers may never have heard of them.”  “Hardly big issues of our times.”
“Boring…interior decorating””Slapstick humour is dated”

Well  I was dead wrong.  Yesterday I received two fascinating letters from Glen Grey, stalwart member
of our High Park Curling Team  and Bill Prociw who was a fellow teacher for decades at Parkdale Collegiate.

The stories they tell are far better than what I wrote:

BILL PROCIW

Thanks Marjorie, for giving the BOYS a home.  I’m still a fan of their earlier movies.  The last one, Atoll K or Utopia is a stinker.

My earliest memory of going to the movies was when I was pre-kindergarten age.   My mother took me to an evening movie at the Pix theatre on
 Ossington and Dundas, a short walk from our house on Crawford Street.  The movie was Swiss Miss,  a Laurel and Hardy flick.  What I remember was
 one of the late scenes in which the two had to transport a piano across a rope bridge over a deep canyon in the Alps.  There was a confrontation 
with a gorilla on the other side of the piano and of course the rope bridge was bound to break over the canyon.
 It scared the bejesus out of me but I can’t remember if anything else came out of me.  I’m sure I thought about this scene many times before falling
 asleep in my bed- but not recently, though.
Thanks for the memory,
Bill

GLEN GREY

Alan,
Several years ago we were in the Lake District of England and stumbled upon something that was so amazing, so unexpected and gave me great joy, no matter how the other three felt.I found a one pound note. No, no, no, we came upon a museum solely dedicated to no other than Laurel and Hardy. What in heavens name was it doing there? There was every conceivable memorabilia of the duo including a theatre that would play for us, since no one else was there, any of their movies. The middle aged man was keeping the museum going that his dad had started and had filled it with scads of Laurel and Hardy stuff. Posters, puppets, chewing gum wrappers, glasses, anything and everything that had their name in it. We sat and watched one movie short before moving on to our booked b&b. There was precious little to buy which was a shame. I was hoping for s big replica poster but no all I got was an 8 1/2X11 black and white picture that sums them up to a tee. I have it hanging in my living room where it is slightly hidden by a shelving unit but I can always see it from where I normally sit . They had dug a tunnel to escape from prison and in their usual manner had misjudged and wound up in the wardens office. The expressions on their faces, priceless ….. you couldn’t help but laugh at how stupid they were. It didn’t matter that they came up through floor boards and a carpet that might have clued in normal people.

One movie short that tickled my fancy as a kid that I always remember when their names come up, was one where they had adjoining stores. One got mad at the other for something silly and marched into the others store while the other watched and ruined something. The other then marched back into the others store and ruined even more again while being watched. This went on for some till both stores were a total wreak without so much as either raising a hand in protest. Tit for tat was retribution enough no matter how much damage was sustained by either one. A quizzical look by the one being put upon without raising a finger I found so amusing as a kid. Thanks for the memories ( Laurel and Hardy not Bob Hope).gg




EPISODE 420 BLACK WALNUT TREE…ANS A LIRTLE MYSTERY

EPISODE 420      BLACK WALNUT TREE AND A LITTLE MYSTERY


alan skeoch
August 2021

This glorious Black Walnut tree stands where once the Freeman back house stood.
Rich soil in other words.  My grandmother, Louisa Freeman, told me when I was
a little squirt that I had planted the tree.  Maybe I stayed too long in the
back house admiring alll the clippings pinned to the barnboard walls.  Many featured
attractive girls promoting 1930’s cars.   It was the Cars the interested me….honestly.
Well, maybe not so honest.  The girls were not difficult to  look at.  Did I drop walnuts
down the back house hole?   Maybe.


Pioneers coming from the United States…principally Mennonites…used walnut trees as the best guide to good
land. ‘ The Trail of the Black Walnut”  is a book that says so.

Black Walnut trees are quite vicious.  They exude a poison from their roots that kills any other tree that dares trespass
on their land.   As you can see.   

A few years ago I planted both a black walnut tree and an ‘axe handle tree’ (forgot the proper name) too close together. 
They grew in harmony for a couple of decades until this year when the black walnut decided to kill its neighbour . And did so.

Makes me feel a little guilty since I have been hurling black walnuts along the fencerows on t he fifth line. My idea of planting somewhat
like Johny Appleseed…been doing so for
years   That makes me feel responsible  for a few walnut groves on the Line.

MYSTERY

Why are our black walnut trees…  We have many….why are they not festooned with parasitic larvae like so
many Fifth Line Walnuts trees are?  Maybe the reason is simple…i.e. Appreciation.


ONE LARGE SAD FACT

While Marjorie and I agree on most things, we differ on black walnut trees.  She fins the wheelbarrow loads
of walnuts a pain in the butt.  They ‘thwack’ her lawn mower brutally.  And they attract the goddamn red
squirrels who spend a lot of time trying to figure way to chew their way into the farm house where they can
pile up a winter supply of walnuts as they do in the barn.  Then they chew them into tiny bits that are strewn everywhere
and when the black outer casings get wet the stains are permanent.   Not nice. Walnuts even have a paint named after them.
Walnut stain. I made a pail of it a while ago…stained everything the goop touched including my hands.

EPISODE 418 REMEMBER LAUREL AND HARDY? THEY LIVE AT THE FARM.

EPISODE 419     A VISIT WITH LAUREL AND HARDY at the Skeoch farm house   August 29,2021

alan skeoch
august  29 , 2021


NOTE:  BY pure good fortune and being at the right place at
the right time, Marjorie received Laurel and Hardy the other day.
They now have a new home.  Who are Laurel and Hardy?
see postscript.


REMEMBER LAUREL AND HARDY?  THEY NOW LIVE AT OUR FARM.


“Olie, what are we doing way up here?”
“Looking for s safe place; Stan…like you said.”
‘What did I say””
“You said this is s madhouse and we had to find a safe place.”



“You think this is safe, Stan…what if we fall?”
“Don’t think about that…just look around…this is our best place…out of harm’s way.”
“What is there to harm us?”
“Oliver….just take a look behind your back.”
“Do you mean the big bird.”
“That bird has a stiletto beak designed to kill little things like us.”





“And look beside us.”
“That’s a porcupine crawling over…quills like needles.”
“Stan the porcupine can climb….”
“Yes, but he is too fat to get by the ceiling lights.

“Ollie…see that tiger down there?
“Makes me shake”
“He would finish us off in one gulp.”




“Couldn’t we jump down on that horse and get the hell out of here?”
“Don’t be so stupid Oliver…that is a merry go round horse…it just runs in circles.”




“The fox is no help…it looks as sacred as we do.”


“Oliver…there is a penguin down there…big one.”
“No help, Stan.”
“Why?”
“Penguins can only waddle…never get away with him…or is it her.”



“That big rooster Stan…he could help.”
“Roosters have only one thing on their minds, Ollie?
“What’s that , Stan?”
“Their hens…as many as they can get.”


“Stan, our only hope is Marjorie…she may want to dust us.”
“And give us our freedom?”


“True… but she will just put us back ump here…where we are safe.”


“Marjorie…must we stay up on that besm?”
“Afraid so…safest place in the house for you boys.”
“But we are famous”
“Fame fades withe the summer sun….very few people
even remember how funny you boys were in the 1920’s 
and 1930’s.”
“Wrong, Marjorie…everyone remembers us.”
“Bet $5 I am right and you are wrong.”

“Well, Ollie, back up on the beam …”
“Reckon you are right.”


WHO WERE LAUREL AND HARDY?

Laurel and Hardy were a comedy duo act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema, consisting of Englishman Stan Laurel (1890–1965) and American Oliver Hardy (1892–1957). From the late 1920s to the mid-1940s, they were internationally famous for their slapstick comedy, with Laurel playing the clumsy, childlike friend to Hardy’s pompous bully.[1][2] Their signature theme song, known as “The Cuckoo Song”, “Ku-Ku”, or “The Dance of the Cuckoos” (by Hollywood composer T. Marvin Hatley) was heard over their films’ opening credits, and became as emblematic of them as their bowler hats.
Prior to emerging as a team, both had well-established film careers. Laurel had acted in over 50 films, and worked as a writer and director, while Hardy was in more than 250 productions. Both had also appeared in The Lucky Dog (1921), but were not teamed at the time. They first appeared together in a short film in 1926, when they signed separate contracts with the Hal Roach film studio.[3] They officially became a team in 1927 when they appeared in the silent short Putting Pants on Philip. They remained with Roach until 1940, and then appeared in eight B movie comedies for 20th Century Foxand Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from 1941 to 1945.[4] After finishing their film commitments at the end of 1944, they concentrated on performing stage shows, and embarked on a music hall tour of England, Ireland and Scotland.[4] They made their last film in 1950, a French-Italian co-production called Atoll K.
They appeared as a team in 107 films, starring in 32 short silent films, 40 short sound films, and 23 full-length feature films. They also made 12 guest or cameo appearances, including in the Galaxy of Stars promotional film of 1936.[5] On December 1, 1954, they made their sole American television appearance, when they were surprised and interviewed by Ralph Edwards on his live NBC-TV program This Is Your Life. Since the 1930s, their works have been released in numerous theatrical reissues, television revivals, 8-mm and 16-mm home movies, feature-film compilations, and home videos. In 2005, they were voted the seventh-greatest comedy act of all time by a UK poll of professional comedians.[6] The official Laurel and Hardy appreciation society is The Sons of the Desert, after a fictitious fraternal society in the film of the same name.

EPISODE 419 TED FREEMAN AND THE SHOTGUN CREAM CAN IN 1955

EPISODE 419    TED FREEMAN AND THE SHOTGUN CREAM CAN IN 1955


alan skeoch
august 2021

CREM CANS ARE THE TALL THIN CANS…’SHOTGUN’ CANS…

I never really knew just how tough it was to operate the Freeman farm until I was
much older…like let’s say 82.   I did know that Uncle Frank snd Aunt Lucinda worked
very hard seven days a week.  We were city boys who came to the Freeman farms
as regular as clockwork and we were always…always…always…welcomed with
open arms and jolly laughter from Aunt Lucinda.

Last week…august 2021…I asked my cousin Ted Freeman, their son…their pride and joy.  I asked Ted this question. question.

“Ted, do you remember how much your mom and dad got paid selling
cream in those shotgun cream cans?”
“When?”
“Let’s say 1955.”
“First, Alan, you used the plural. You said cream cans.  Mom and dad only managed
to sell one cream can per week and often that can was not full.”
“What do you remember ?”

TED FREEMAN

“I remember that the cream money payment for last week’s shipment came in a
brown envelope that was delivered by ‘Norm Robertson’ who worked for the
Acton Creamery. He delivered an empty can to us and picked up the can filled
during the previous 7 days. It was always cash; – 7 to $9.00 depending on
the amount that was shipped. In 1955 a full can went for about $10.00. The
‘cream money’ was used to purchase groceries. Meat, eggs and vegetables were
grown on the farm. Some preserved for winter use.”

ALAN SKEOCH

Take a moment to think about that.   Seven to nine dollars a week in 1955.   
Grocery money…getting by money.   What groceries?   Coffee? Doubtful.
Chocolates?  Very doubtful.   Soft drinks like ginger sale?  A luxury.
Freshie…definiitely.  What the hell is Freshie?  It was a sugary powder that
could be mixed with water to make a couple of quarts of a nice drink when
stuking sheaves of grain or pitching hay.  Cheap.  

My cousin Ted and I shared a lot of small adventures when we were kids.
Hunting, fishing, pitching hay, swimming in leech infested ponds…usual things.  
 But we never shared the fact that
much of his family income came from one single shotgun cream can sold
to Norm Robertson at the Acton Creamery.  Often the can was not even full.

YOUR JOB

Just for fun keep a list of your discretionary spending this week.  What do
you buy?  What could you do without if you depended on $10 per week.
(No doubt there was other farm income but not much…picking cucumbers
for Matthews Wells Pickle Factory in Guelph for Rose Brand pickles)

I guess you need to know what $10 earned in 1955 is worth today.
Hard to believe but inflation over the past 75 years has made that
ten dollars worth $100.  So there you have it…can you  live on $100
week for all your expenses?   Keep a record.   I bet you spend big time.

alan

In the early 1950’s the Toronto Daily Star was sold for 3 cents a copy…18 cents a week
for home delivery.  The paperboys…Eric and I got half a cent a paper…3 cents
a week per customer.   With that I was able to buy a Humber Sports racing
bike with Sturmey Archer 3 speed gears.  Must ask Eric what he did with
his profits from our paper route. I never thought for a moment about
the costs of food on our table or the cost of bus fare from Toronto to
the farm near Acton on Sundays  Mom did all that.  I do not know how she managed
but she did.   Everyone did.  I do not remember Ted Freeman ever getting
 new bicycle.

NOTE  
  • $1 in 1955 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $10.04 today, an increase of $9.04 over 66 years.
  •  The dollar had an average inflation rate of 3.56% per year between 1955 and today, producing a cumulative price increase of 904.46%. 




EPISODE 417 DROUGHT…2021…ADD DROUGHT TO THE LIST OF CATASTROPHES THIS YEAR

EPISODE 417     DROUGHT…2021…ADD DROUGHT TO  THE LIST OF CATASTROPHES THIS YEAR


alan skeoch
august 2021



DROUGHT…THE BIG POND HAS NEARLY DRIED UP.

When mom inherited our farm in 1958 or 1959 there was a large pond in the centre….loaded with
all kinds of life forms from snakes to frogs to leeches…to sticklebacks to water spiders to bitterns
to all manner of ducks including a secretive cluster of wood ducks who still hang around unseen.

In subsequent years we increased the wetlands … Ron Saunders dug a deep pond extension where
Grandad got his best hay and then Ron used his back hoe to make a nice pond near where the barn
once stood then, even later,  Jim Sanderson brought in his giant excavator to deepen one
of our most hidden swamps now a glorious shaded pool.

Glad we did that.  Those new ponds are the only real  deep wetlands this year.  The drought of 2021 has
dried up the big pond.   Now it has become  a hideous hodge podge of dead tag alders and shrivelled 
water lillies.

Lucky the new ponds…..i.e. ponds created in the last 50 years…are deep.  The turtles have a place
to live… the big snapper we rescued a year ago…and the painted turtle that seemed to believe
cars and trucks would avoid him or her sitting in the centre of the fifth line and heading slowly for one of our
deep ponds.  We hope our resident turtles greeted the new arrivals.

A bit depressing to look at the big pond today.  But my depression was lifted when a wild momma
turkey appeared with her near grown cluster of progeny.  They scattered and gobbled when they saw me.

EPISODE 416 WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?

EPISODE 416     WHAT IS HAPPENING HERE?


alan skeoch
august 2021

This caught my eye at the Fish Derby.   Was the man deadly ilL, perhaps dead??  Why was he half submerged
in a Mississauga City dumpster?



HE IS COLLECTING BOTTLES AND CANS.  HOW MUCH WILL HE GET FROM
THIS DUMPSTER…YOU DO THE COUNTING.

ONE BOTTLE BROKE SO HE PICKED UP ALL THE SHARDS OF GLASS
LEST SOMEONE GET HURT.