North by North West

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Traffic Jam in Mayo

I haven’t been very well for the passed three weeks, a bit of a dose I often get in Spring, people say it is the change of season, I blame the “put the clock forward for a bit of light” malarkey; this messes me up big time! I mean, seriously? Who had the brain wave? A former French President claimed it was to save energy, I think there is something much more sinister behind it, a hidden agenda… I told you I was feeling feverish. Anyhoo, instead of taking a good rest, I went gallivanting in Killybegs with a healthy stock of paper handkerchiefs, and the week after my colleague “Murph” and I had planned to visit a few customers out west, and a cheese and wine tasting in Letterkenny. It was on the card for a couple of months, and the sensible thing would have been to stay at home; I really wanted to go, helping my colleague of course, but I also wanted to see what was happening out there. Sniffling and coughing I went, stubborn like a pig headed Breton, delusional like a teenager who keeps believing that “it’ll be alright”! Thinking about it, I must have been a charming traveling companion, trumpeting like John Coltrane one minute, sounding like a husky hoarse Barry White an other. Our first stop was in Oughterard, a lovely shop in the heart of the town, O’Sullivan’s…

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Bipolar

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Yellow Strand Sligo

I have been putting it off for a while, or rather meant to do it for some times and somewhat forgot; Well over twenty years now in fact. But the other day, the idea of going on a wild goose chase, travelling to the north west of the island to witness the wonderful ballet of Barnacle Geese, had been resuscitated by my friend Jonathan Shackleton. I must have mentioned it in one of our conversations, and as he was soon to be heading back to Antarctica for another few weeks’ round as a guide and lecturer, time was ticking, and by the time he’d come back, they would probably be gone back to Greenland. He rang me a couple of days before to confirm, and Sunday last, we finally went.

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The Pizzaiolo (Recipe)

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Chestnut Flour Pizza, with mushrooms and leek, St Tola goat’s cheese and raw cream

First, I would like to dedicate this post to my fellow blogger Julia from “Julia chews the fat”; she inspired me to speak about an important part of my life, the day I became a “Pizzaiolo”, or for you and me, a pizza chef. The story started in autumn 1995, after spending five months in Galway, “Blue eyed girl” and I were coming back to Sligo. “Arnold The Hero” gave us a lift back, the skies were very low like today and my mood wasn’t much higher. Maybe it was the fact that I was leaving the “City of Tribes” for another little bit, maybe it was the fact that he played a cassette of Mano Solo ( son of “Cabu”, one of the cartoonist killed in the Charlie Hebdo murders). Don’t get me wrong, his material is great, just freaking depressing when you are hangover and rain is battering the Western land… Or maybe it was the fact that I had to find a job, no pressure so… A few days later, I saw an ad in one of the Italian restaurants of the town; bold as brass, I jumped in thinking I would have nothing to lose, I had no experience in the food business, or very little. I remembered what one of my peers once said to me: “ If you are in a night club, and you fancy a girl on the dance floor, if you stay on your chair, your chances are virtually none; if you get up your ass, and ask that girl if she would like to dance with you, your chances suddenly jump from 0 to 50%”. That is more or less what I did that day… And I got the dance…

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“I am your Indian”

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Super Moon… I Phone + my telescope x 32

I am your Indian, the black moon rambler in a field of rye, your witness cherishing your words. I am your Indian, the Armorican who sees your pain, the sarrazin child who will drink with you the silver chalice of life until the lees will touch our lips. I am your Indian, your scout who listens and feels free by being given a gift; a bond, your ear, your heart. I am your Indian, together and with each other, we will find the unreachable peace.

Franck aka Fanch Ar Moenner

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Mullaghmore, Sligo, yesterday…

Be Well and Keep Happy

Franck

“Tell me a story”

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Behind Benbulben, my hiding place…

Tell me a story…

I want to drown in Morpheus arms with you telling me a story. When St Exupery’s “Little Prince” asked from the Moon for someone to draw him a sheep.

I just want a story, and while you narrate me the wonderful and crazy, when we’ll enter our secret cave, the one where I often hide and seek refuge- in the darkest of nights- perched and snug in and above a horseshoe, protected from the Westerlies… Only then, I will put my hand on your forehead and gently caresse your cheek…

Because no one else more than me… Loves a story told by thee.

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Conchiglioni Al Forno

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Conchiglioni Shells

Sometimes, dinner ideas come in the weirdest kind of ways. For me, it happens at night, when my mind rambles between two dreams, remembering an anecdote or feeling a story germinating; I must admit, I have found myself waking up and typing a few ideas on my phone, fearing dawn would wipe them all out of my mind. “is it serious Doctor?”. But not this time. Last week, I was an absolute horror to be around, grumpy,grouchy, frustrated and ready to set off like a trapped animal. That is the consequence – at least for me – of tempering with the clock. “Putting the clock forward”, “summer time”, saving day light… What a lot of rubbish! And for 40 years, we have been, like sheep, putting our clock forward of one hour, for the next 6 months. The result? 4 days of pain, at the border of depression. On the third day, I decided that staying around wouldn’t do any good so I took my car, my camera and I headed west toward Sligo…

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Pork Curry with Yogurt Bread

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Pork Curry á la Hungry Breton

I have to be honest here; before I moved to Ireland, Curry was completely alien to me. In every French cupboard, there was of course a sticky and out of date jar of “Curcuma” or, for you and me, ground Turmeric. We didn’t know what to do with it, and I can tell you that no matter how broke you are, fluorescent pasta is not attractive!

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