Smorgasbord Round Weekly Round Up – Sir Tom Jones, King Arthur, Brussel Sprouts and Author Media Training

Welcome to the weekly round up where I share my posts from the week and also those of my guests. Those guests are providing a much valued different perspective on topics that I might not cover normally and I thank them so much for their work and time that they spend creating their posts.

Also news of some new ways to promote your books and blog this week and tomorrow the start of the new Sunday Interview show… The Ultimate Bucket List and to show you how it will look… our foodie guest writer Carol Taylor volunteered to be the first victim guest……going out just after midnight.

Resident musical director – William Price King is back with a new music series… the every youthful and dynamic Sir Tom Jones, and this week in the early years, William shares some of his early influences and hits.

Paul Andruss tackles the legend of King Arthur this week which is not an easy thing to do. As you will read, Arthur has been a pawn in other Kings and Emperor’s claims to their position and there might have been a few pretenders along the way too.

Julie Lawford has been with us over the summer with some excellent posts on lifestyle and weight loss and I hope that in the future she will find time to donate some of her archived posts again. This week Julie shares some useful links to healthy living sites and some videos that are worth watching.

Carol Taylor has been adding her special blend of spices and love of fresh produce to the foods that I have showcased in the past as being particularly healthy.. Sally and Carol’s Cook from Scratch is going from strength to strength and we are grateful for you likes, shares and comments. This week the little powerhouse of nutrition… Brussel sprouts.



And in the new series of Posts from your Archives, Pete Johnson from Beetley Pete starts a four week series on posts from his stash. In this post you will also find out how you can participate by giving posts that you would like to share with a new audience a showcase. Look forward to hearing from you.

Milestones along the Way by Geoff Cronin

Last weekend we came to the end of my late father-in-law Geoff’s books with the love story of how Geoff and Joan, his wife of 50 years met.  All his stories are in the directory for you to revisit.

Odd Jobs and Characters – Public House Landlady my host Chris the Story Reading Ape.

This week some challenges in my role as landlady of a pub in Cowes on the Isle of Wight with rather over the top customers courtesy of the ‘booze cruises’ on Saturday nights – Read all about it:

New Series – Media Training for Authors.

I have been an Indie author for 20 years and without a massive budget behind me to get noticed, I had to push open a few doors myself. For most of it is very hard to self-promote, even for someone like myself, who have a background in public speaking at conferences and major events.

We have a tendency to think global with our marketing because we have access to the world via the Internet. But I have always sold more books, especially print books by creating a market in my local environment. When I first began marketing my books there was no Amazon, worldwide web or global readership to the same extent and we relied on local media picking up the story. This sometimes led to nationals then taking an interest. That is how it worked with my first book Size Matters and I enjoyed both local and national coverage. The same applied to my family health book – Just Food for Health that sold well at book fairs, health events and summer fetes.

Most authors that I speak to are seeking international recognition for their work and to become a bestseller. But, there is no harm in getting some much needed experience locally first, before stepping onto the worldwide stage. One reason being, that most national radio stations and media, will be looking to interview authors who have had some experience of being behind a microphone or in front of a camera.  I have adapted my media training course to focus on authors and book marketing.

Here are the first two posts with more tomorrow and next weekend.

Book Promotions

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update

Air Your Reviews – share your most recent rave review with everyone..

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

Blog Promotions – The Blogger Daily now on hold for next week (writing break)

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Pet Health


Personal Stuff

I underwent a procedure this week that was long overdue.. the process prompted a poem!

Thank you very much for dropping in this week and as always very grateful to see you and get your feedback. Enjoy the rest of the weekend… thanks Sally.


Milestones along the Way – How I met Her by Geoff Cronin

Sadly my lovely mother-in-law Joan died at only 74 years old in 1994 and was sadly missed. She was a woman who loved crosswords, Rubik’s Cube and a patch of sunshine. She and Geoff had six terrific children and I am sure that she would love to have seen her great-grandchildren, some of whom remind me of her and her smile.

In the last of the stories from Geoff based on his three books, I thought it was appropriate to end with the tale of how he met Joan.

How I Met Her by Geoff Cronin

In the summer of 1944 I joined the boat club in Waterford. The headquarters of this club was situated on the Kilkenny side of the river Suir, opposite the Adelphi hotel. It was a wooden building and it was painted white and green and it housed several outriggers. These boats would be approximately 60 to 70 feet long and could be carried easily by eight men.

The club could be reached from Waterford by walking along the quay, across the bridge and down on the Kilkenny side of the river – which would have taken a considerable length of walking time. But, for convenience sake, a member of the club could stand on the Waterford side of the bridge and whistle or signal to the boat club who would send a punt across the river to ferry the member over to the club.

In those years, my brother Dick, who was an expert musician, ran a small dance band, consisting of himself on the accordion, Ken McKinnon on tenor sax and Peerie White (The Gunner) on drums. They played for small club dances around the town. Well, my brother secured a booking to play at Sunday night ‘Hops’ in the boat club and, being a member, I always supported those dances for the joint reason that my brother was in charge of the band, and I was a member of the club.

About this time, I had returned from working in a timber gang, where I developed a considerable amount of muscle, I was also in the boxing club where I did not meet with great success, being too short in stature for my weight. Nevertheless, I stripped out at eleven stone and felt somewhat invincible.

In those days, anyone who had a respectable job went to work in a collar and tie, long-sleeve shirt which usually boasted some kind of cuff-links, and I was no exception. So, on attending the boat-club dance one particular Sunday night, I took off my coat and rolled up my sleeves until the fold was well above the biceps. This allowed me to show off my muscles and at the same time display my doubtful dancing prowess. I was at that age when, as they say, ‘a young man’s fancy turns to love’ and I had my eye on Joan Flanagan.

Now this girl was probably the best looking girl in the in the city and I liked the way she walked with a very straight back, and when she looked at you her gaze was steady, and I was quite smitten.

However Joan was three years older than I was and I felt that she was beyond my reach. Imagine my surprise therefore when at this particular Sunday night dance she walked into the ballroom accompanied by a fellow who had been my junior at school and I felt a surge of anger the like of which I have not had felt since or before.

She was still taking her coat off when I walked up to her and asked her would she like to dance. This was very rude of me, really, but she agreed and we had a nice couple of rounds of the floor. During that time I was racking my brains to think how I might “anchor” the conversation.

Joan Flanagan, 1944

Again, on impulse, I said to her “by the way, do you do the Tango”? Now, to be honest, I hadn’t a clue how to do the Tango but I knew that she was interested in dancing because her cousin ran a dance studio and had a very large clientele.

Anyway, she said, “No I don’t do the Tango” but I wouldn’t mind learning.

Well, I said, “I’ve been taking lessons,” which was a downright lie, “and if you would like to come to the Atlantic, in Tramore, with me on, let’s say, on Thursday night of this week, and I can show you what I know and we could practice together.

So, she smiled deliberately at me and she said, “Well, yes, that would be nice.”

“OK,” I said. “I’ll see you on Thursday.”

Now, that was okay and to some extent it was a bit of a victory for me. But from that moment on her escort guarded her as if she was Fort Knox, and I realised that I hadn’t made any firm arrangement where to meet her, or how to get to Tramore, or whatever, and I was at pains to get back to speak to her again and I couldn’t because he kept hovering over her and blocking my entrance. Anyway, the dance came to a close and I was in a corner there, getting ready to put on my coat and I turned down the sleeves of my shirt and my cuff-links were dangling off the end of the shirt. And as I saw her getting ready to leave I went the length of the ballroom and I confronted her and I said to her, “Joan, listen, could you help me with something?”

“Yes,” she said. “What is it?”

And I said, “Joan, would you ever fix my cuff-links, I can’t get them right?”

So she smiled at me and began to fix my cuff-links.

And then I looked her straight in the face, and she looked back at me, and I felt myself sinking into those grey eyes with the feeling that I never had before. And I’m sure the angels felt a bang when I hit the ground, because I fell for her hook, line and sinker.

So, I arranged to meet her at the train station – there was a train to Tramore on a regular basis at that time – and we went to the Atlantic ballroom in Tramore together on the train, and back again and we had a most enjoyable evening. I arranged a further date with her and that continued on for four years and at the end of four years we were married.

In all we spent 50 years together, the happiest time of my life and in all that time we never had a cross word. So, there you are, that is the story of How I Met Her.

©GeoffCronin 2008

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – February 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chapters of Milestones in this directory:


Milestones along the Way – The Saga of Selby and Snippets by Geoff Cronin

This weekend sees the last of the stories from my late father-in-law Geoff Cronin with the final chapter tomorrow. I am so pleased that you have enjoyed reading his tales about his life and also the history of Waterford for the last century.. If you have missed any episodes you can find them in the link at the end of this post.

I thought that you might like to read about the saga of the family home in Waterford where my husband grew up.

The Saga of Selby by Geoff Cronin

In the ’50s Joan and I were still living in Ursula’s Terrace. We had three children and even though I had built a kitchen on to the house, we were hard pressed for space. We badly needed a bigger house and our prospects of achieving that were extremely remote. The company which was parent of my employer would have given me a mortgage but it was limited to two and a half times my salary which worked out at £700. At that time the going price for a ‘starter’ house was £1,200–£1,500, so obviously the odds were stacked against us.

Being without a car meant that our weekend recreation was limited to a walk round the suburbs or to the local park and it was on one of these Sunday walks that we noticed the house. It was a four-bedroomed terrace house and the name on the gate was ‘Selby’. It was vacant and up for auction in a couple of weeks’ time. On enquiry, it turned out to have been vacant for three years and it looked a bit shabby. Sheer curiosity led me to enquire further and I discovered that the previous occupier had emigrated and the property was mortgaged to the Royal Liver Insurance Company, who had foreclosed and were therefore the owners. I rang the auctioneers who told me the reserve was £1,200. Now the house in my opinion was easily worth that money, but why was it unsold? What was the catch? On impulse I asked if I could have the keys for the purpose of viewing the property and having obtained them, I went to have a look.

I was in the act of opening the front door when a man who said he lived nearby approached me and putting his hand over my arm he said, “If you’re thinking of buying that house I would advise you not to because the man who lived there previously never paid the rates or the ground rent for years. And, as well as that he owed a lot of money elsewhere and whoever buys that house will be saddled with all that debt. I told several people about this and I thought I should warn you.” He departed and I was left standing with the keys in my hand.

Now I was never one to rely on hearsay or gossip, so I let myself in and saw that the place had been sadly neglected. Off the hallway there was a drawing room with a bay window which was connected by double doors to a small dining room and at the end of the hall was a kitchen. This was floored in old tiles most of which were broken, there was a tap dripping into a sink of sorts on the floor, one small window overlooking a narrow yard and a small pot-bellied stove – solid fuel – at the end wall. The ceiling was cracked and dirty and the remaining wall had been completely covered with wallboard which had come adrift from the wall and now lay halfway across the floor. There was a boiler house adjoining and it had no roof. There was a coal-house next to that.

Upstairs there were four good sized bedrooms and the master had a dressing room also. A bathroom was on that floor too and then on the third floor, which consisted of one large room with a dormer window and a small fireplace. The ‘piece de resistance’ was the heap of ashes piled up in a corner of the room.

Outside was a large garden which was completely overgrown and it had an apple tree in the middle. So this was Selby, a wreck for sure but the building was dry and basically sound and I saw the potential, given that a huge amount of work was required to make it habitable.

That evening I brought my wife to see it and when she saw the kitchen she literally wept and she said, “I wouldn’t want to live in this hovel and anyway you’ll never buy it for £700”.

At this point I began to believe that by some chance, I might possibly be able to buy the place and I knew I could handle the renovations. Next I found that the Royal Liver could be held liable for the outstanding rates and ground rent and there appeared to be very little interest in the forthcoming auction. So I went to my solicitor and instructed him to attend the auction and bid to buy on the very strict understanding that the price would have to include auctioneers fees and his own fees, and the total could not exceed £700 because that was all I had.

At first he refused quoting the fact that the reserve was £1,200 and while he was considering the matter, I told him to remember I wanted clear title as well. Finally he agreed saying the offer was ridiculous and that he didn’t know what the auctioneer would think of him on making such an offer. Well I arranged the mortgage at £700 and held my breath until the day of the auction.

So came the day and the solicitor rang me that afternoon. “You must be the luckiest man I ever met,” he laughed. “You’ve got the house.”

“And the price?” I asked.
“£700 plus the auctioneer’s fees,” he said. “Withdraw the bid,” I said, “the offer has to include the fees as I told you, I haven’t any more money.” There was a moment of silence and then he said.

“For God’s sake man, how am I supposed to do that?” “I don’t know,” I replied, “but I gave you my instructions and you better see the auctioneer immediately.” He hung up the phone!

About midday the next day he rang me at work. “I don’t know who you have been praying to,” he said, “but he’s delivered the goods, the house is yours clear and free and the price agreed is £700 including auctioneers fees. Incidentally, only one guy came to the auction and he left before I made my bid.” I could hardly believe my ears and left the office and went to tell my wife the news. “Don’t you worry,” I told her, “when I have finished with that house it will be fit for a Queen.”

“I’ll believe that when I see it,” she replied.

A day or two later I was on my way down town when the manager of the Provincial Bank accosted me. “Mr. Cronin,” he said, “I want to congratulate you on your purchase of Selby and could you stop by my office for a minute.” I did so and he then said, “You will be aware that my bank holds a second mortgage on that property and you now owe me £180.” I replied that I would be in touch with him and left. I went straight to my solicitors and asked him to confirm that I had clear title to Selby.

“Indeed you have.” he said.

“Well now, tell me if I’m right in thinking that when there are two mortgages on a property which is then sold for a price less than the first mortgage, then the second one is null and void?”

“Correct.” he said.

“Well,” I said, “would you ever ring the manager of the Provincial Bank and tell him what to do with his bill for £180 which he asked me to pay on foot of a second mortgage.”

“Consider it done,” he said.

Late that day I was passing the bank when the manager saw me and stepped out to meet me. “I’m glad I met you,” he said, “I’ve been on to my head office and I’m happy to tell you that they have agreed to waive the mortgage charge of £180.”

“I know,” I said, “I was listening to that conversation and by the way, I have a small current account with you – close it! Good day”.

There is a further chapter to this saga… A week later I was in the house when there was a knock on the door. I opened it and there stood a man I had never seen before. “Are you Mr. Cronin, the new owner of this house?” he asked. I answered in the affirmative.

“Well, “he said, “I’m in a difficult situation. I’m a solicitor and I was instructed to bid “£1,200 at auction for this property but when I went to the auction I saw nobody there but your solicitor and I panicked and left without bidding. I have now to offer you the £1,200 if you’ll sell me the house.”

“No,” I said, “I don’t want the money, I want the house.”

He repeated the offer and I again refused and he left expressing deep disappointment.
Well, subsequently, I managed to squeeze another £100 from the company to “redecorate the home”. I got £126 for the back kitchen at No. 30 St Ursula’s Terrace from the incoming tenant and with that money I was able to do all that was required to turn the wreck into a lovely home where we lived happily until 1964 when another chapter began involving a home in Wexford. But that is another story.

One abiding memory of the renovations at Selby remains. I couldn’t get any charlady to tackle the cleaning of that top room with its pile of ashes and had to do it myself – it took a hundred and fifty three buckets of water to complete the job.

Selby today.


Did you know that a song thrush has a favourite meal, which is a common snail, but in order to get it out of the shell the thrush will seek out a stone or even a kerb of just the right height. He will then bring the snail to the stone and picking it up by the soft part, he will swing it up and bring it down on the stone in hammer fashion until the shell is no more and he can then enjoy his meal.

If you watch out you may see a stone with a number of snail shells littered about it and this is ‘The Thrushes Anvil’ – not many people know that!


After a certain funeral, the following conversation took place:-
“So, how did the funeral go?”
“Oh, there was a big crowd there, but still it wasn’t great.”
“How’s that?”
“Well, at the graveside Jimmy Walsh tripped on a kerb and fell and broke his leg and spoiled the day for everyone.”

©Geoff Cronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – February 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chapters of Milestones in this directory:

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Party Guest Playlist, Honey, and Tony Bennett

Welcome to the weekly round up which you may be surprised to discover is shorter and sweeter this week.. My sister is over for the weekend so we are gallivanting about the place. Yesterday was a beautiful day but it did not last long… still one out of three ain’t bad.

Thank you to everyone who popped in, liked, shared and most of all commented.. do love having a chat.

My thanks too for the contributions to the blog and I am so lucky to have such talented people sharing their work here.. Look out for a couple more in the next few weeks.

On with the show which included day three of the End of Summer Party and then several posts featuring the music requests of the guest.

And to bring the party to a close… Paul Andruss was tipped out the door with some final words…

William Price King meets the Legends.. – Happy 90th Birthday Tony Bennett.

William will be back in two weeks after his summer break with a new series.. the wonderful and hip swivelling Sir Tom Jones.

Milestones along the Way by Geoff Cronin

Two more stories from my later father-in-law from Waterford through the decades. The first is the whirlwind romance of his American great uncle of 80 and his new wife of 29.  The second is all about bringing home the bacon.

Writer in Residence – The Dancing Floor of Glastonbury by Paul Andruss

Thomas the Rhymer Paul Andruss

In June this year thousands descended on Glastonbury in Somerset for a music festival.. As always, images in the media show that there is a certain amount of licence to partake in various shenanigans during the days and nights of the festival.. but there is nothing new in history.. And who knows what ancients stand on Glastonbury Tor looking down on the festival site, laughing at the amateurs emulating a much more fascinating and sometimes deadly time in history.

I also featured a reblog of Paul’s post on Fantastic Creatures.. this week The Thylacene (Tasmanian Tiger)

Guest writer – One foot in front of the other by Julie Lawford

Time for another of Julie Lawford’s inspiring posts on lifestyle and weightloss and this week a look at walking. Something most of us do automatically from about the age of 18 months to two years and continue to do so until we die. There are times when we push ourselves physically to lose weight and that is incredibly hard to sustain day after day.. But walking briskly every day is less of a punishment and more a pleasure… as you will discover from Julie today.

Smorgasbord health – Sally and Carol’s Cook From Scratch – Honey with Carol Taylor

This week we shared the many health benefits of honey with some delicious recipes from Carol to encourage us all to include in our diet.

This week I also explored the health benefits of coconut water and oil.

Pet Health are you breaking the law by not keeping your pet restrained in the car.

Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – New on the Shelves

Cafe and bookstore Author Update

Smorgasbord Air Your Reviews

Laughter Academy and Afternoon video

Weekly Image and Haiku

Smorgasbord Reblogs

John Howell hosted the next episode of my true encounters in Odd Jobs and Characters that later was fictionalised into my novel Just an Odd Job Girl.

Colleen Chesebro kindly hosted my post on my encounters with my guardian angel.. according to a Gypsy… a magnificent African Warrior in full regalia.

That is it for this week.. thank you again for all your support and I hope that you will join me again this coming week.

Stay tuned for the new series of The Sunday Show where bloggers and authors can showcase their work…as always a new theme…..

Enjoy the rest of the weekend…



Milestones along the Way – Bacon by Geoff Cronin

When I was a boy early in the 1920s the industry of the city of Waterford was dominated by the firm of Henry Denny & Sons Ltd., one of the largest bacon factories in the British Isles at the time, with branches in Cork Limerick and Waterford. The Pig trade was always a mainstay of industry in the city and this firm had been had been established round about 1800. In my geography book at school Denny’s was labelled as ‘one of the most important bacon factories in Europe.’ The export trade in Waterford was very lively indeed around that time, and hundreds of animals were exported live to Britain on a weekly basis while the factory at home employed about five hundred people.

One of the main elements in that contribution was the constant production of offal which supplied many of the shops and was a welcome supply of cheap meat to the natives. The offal consisted of pigs heads, which were sold whole or in halves, backbones kidneys and a variety of items which could be used for stewing and produced a handsome soup. And in addition to that the employees of the factory were able to purchase, for a nominal amount, any amount of the offal produced in the factory.

Much of this offal found its way into small shops known as hucksters, which were scattered throughout the city, and these hucksters specialised in selling cooked, hot, “crubeens” which had to be boiled for several hours to make them perfectly edible. These little shops stayed open very late at night, especially when the pubs closed, and a gentleman who had imbibed throughout the evening would be perhaps ravenous with hunger, and could purchase, for a few pence, a couple of crubeens ready cooked to take home and have for supper. This procedure was quite common and the city was noted for it.

The many different bones which could be stewed with dumplings formed a large part of the diet of the poorest people in the city.

These bones, incidentally, had specific names like chucks or puzzlers, etc., – the backbones were also known as ‘chicken on horseback’ or ‘pigs mud-guard’ – and were for sale in most of the bacon shops around the city.

Traditional demand in Ireland was for bacon rashers and boiling bacon and the old-fashioned renowned bacon- and-cabbage was a very popular dish at the time, and probably still is. The fact that crubeens had to be cooked slowly for several hours meant that a person who wished to produce cooked crubeens needed a fair amount of fuel. When the war came – or the emergency as it was called in Ireland – fuel became scarce, but that did not prevent the natives from cooking this delicacy. They cooked by means of what was called a sawdust cooker.

Here I have to give you some detail about what the sawdust cooker was, and how it was made. First of all you had to have a steel, or metal barrel. A two-inch hole had to be made at one end of the barrel and the other end had to be cut off. Then a broomstick would be stood in the hole at the bottom and held upright while the barrel was filled with damp sawdust and packed fairly tight. The filled barrel would then be stood on a base of three bricks on edge, leaving a space underneath into which a large piece of crumpled newspaper would be inserted. The newspaper would be lit and as the flame travelled up the space left when the broomstick was withdrawn, it would ignite the sides of the hole as it travelled up and thereby start the process of smouldering. If the open top end of the barrel was covered by a sheet of iron, or a grill, a pot could be boiled on it, in time.

Sawdust could be had for nothing, at any of the sawmills in the town, so the cooking could go on, and did in fact go on unabated for many years after the war. In fact, there are still small shops that sell hot crubeens at night, and on your way home from the cinema or theatre you could get the delicious smell of these bacon delicacies.

Lid/Grill Barrel

©Geoff Cronin 2008.

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

Milestones along the way – The American Connection by Geoff Cronin


Welcome to this week’s story from my late father-in-law’s memoir of his life as a boy growing up in Waterford Ireland.

The American Connection by Geoff Cronin

My great uncle Richard Condon who was my grandfather’s brother in law lived in Chicago for most of his life and was reported to be worth at least three million dollars. In 1930, my father was his sole heir and was to inherit the fortune. However, my father received a telegram about that time to say that his uncle, Richard Condon, had just got married. The man was near eighty years old at that time and my father said “he’s got married now with one leg in the grave and the other on a bar of soap!”

Apparently, he had been involved a car accident and was seriously injured. A long period of recovery ensued and he was nursed back to reasonably good health by a lady nurse called Jessie Barr? And this was his new bride. She was a Scots Presbyterian, twenty nine years old and weighed about twenty stone. Quite a handful! Anyway the happy couple set out on a sort of world tour in the process of which they came to Ireland and visited my family for about three weeks, during which time they enjoyed lavish hospitality at my father’s expense, including hiring a car for the duration of the stay.

Time came for them to depart and my brothers and sister and I were given a present each – a five shilling sweep ticket! We were not ecstatic at such munificence needless to say.

Richard Condon, Chicago 1909.

Their programme was to go to Glasgow to meet her family, which they did and then do a tour of the Scottish Highlands. It was during that tour that the old man collapsed and died and we learned that he was to be buried in Waterford in the Cronin grave.

So the funeral took place and the widow accompanied by her brother and his wife stayed at our house in Woodstown and were royally entertained. She stayed on for ten days or so and the others remained on for three weeks. During the ten days she gave me his gold penknife and all his ties, about fifty or so and my brothers received his watch and his cufflinks as their inheritance. I don’t remember my sister getting anything but his new will was produced, leaving everything to his widow, and it had been recently prepared by her brother in law who was a lawyer.

Jessie Barr Condon, Mary Jo Cronin, Richard Condon

So that was that so to speak. But as a sort of goodwill gesture, my elder brother and I were taken back to Glasgow for a ten day holiday and the Empire Exhibition was on at that time. We stayed with her people there and had a good time, though I was reprimanded for whistling on the Sunday – those people were strict Presbyterian and I retaliated by putting an Irish shilling in the collection plate at mass on the same Sunday knowing that it was not legal tender in Scotland.

During that visit we saw the “Queen Elizabeth” still under construction in 1938 and re-visited John Brown’s Iron Foundry which was interesting.

But back to our home in Woodstown before my great uncle died:

At that time the ‘local’ post office, which was run by a Mr. Delaney and his wife, was two miles away, in Rosduff, and during my great uncle’s short illness there were telegrams arriving daily with the news.

These telegrams, of a strictly confidential nature were delivered by the postmaster, Mr. Delaney on a bicycle. The fee for delivery was sixpence, paid on delivery and being a courteous man, Delaney when handing over the sealed envelope would always remove his cap and announce, “I think he’s failing ma’am” or “’tis not looking good”. On delivery of the final telegram, he announced, “I’m sorry for your trouble ma’am, the poor man is gone”.

My mother remarked, “I suppose it saves me opening the envelope”!

The inheritance of fifty American ties on my part caused a stir in another area altogether because at school I had a very dapper English teacher who used to wear a new tie every day and when I noticed this I too began wearing a new tie each day, only mine were multicoloured and garish. My teacher nearly had a heart attack as I upstaged him with these outlandish offerings and the class spotted what was going on. When eventually the teacher came in wearing the same tie I knew he was “out of ammunition” and next day I did likewise and so retired undefeated. Oddly, not one single word was said about this matter.

Extract from Richard Condon’s Will, dated 9th March 1937

©Geoff Cronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – February 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – End of Summer Parties, Great guests and Music

Good morning from Ireland and you might wonder what the round up is doing here at just after midnight on a Monday morning. After the first two party days of the rave on the blog I thought it might be better sent out after the revellers had gone home. However, there appear to be some who are in not just a time zone of their own but a world of their own.

It has been an amazing weekend and wonderful to see so many bloggers from the last four years dropping in with their links and music requests. So many requests in fact that I will be scheduling a couple of music posts later in the week for the tracks that I could not feature over the three days. Including of course everyone’s links and books etc.. Still time for you to put yours into the final party post later today.


If you head over to the posts you will see that my book Just an Odd Job Girl is FREE for the weekend.. You will need to email me for a copy and let me know if you would like a mobi for Kindle or epub for all other devices.

Also this week I will be introducing the new series of the author interviews. As always I have changed the theme and I will be interviewing myself to give you an idea of the format. I hope that you will be tempted to participate even if you have been interviewed before.

My thanks to my guests this week. William Price King and Paul Andruss for their regular weekly valued contributions and also to Carol Taylor and Julie Lawford who have become very popular guest in the last few weeks.

I need to get some sleep before the party post goes out at 10.00am.  so without further ado… here are the posts that you might have missed during the week.

Just a reminder of my recommended author services, design, formatting, publishing, illustration, translation and promotion.

Summer Jazz with William Price King – the 1990’s with Tony Bennett

Writer in Residence Paul Andruss get’s the party started.

Thomas the Rhymer

The party posts so far.

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin – Tales of Waterford and the culture of the 1930s and 1940s – my father-in-law’s final book written at 88.

Smorgasbord Guest Post – Size Matters by Julie Lawford – How big is your plate and how much are you putting on it?

The Odd Jobs and Characters Series- Guest Posts – this week The Cosmetic Department hosted by D.Wallace Peach

Each week I share the story of one of my quirky job that introduced me to the characters that now fill my stories.

Author and Book promotion – Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore Update

New book on the shelves

Blogger Promotion – Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Smorgasbord Book Promotion – Air your Reviews

I was so delighted to receive two reviews in the same post from Judith Barrow for What’s in a Name volumes one and two.

Cook From Scratch with Sally and Carol – Carrots from Afghanistan. – The health benefits and wonderful recipes from Carol Taylor

I was also invited to submit my recipe for brown rice pilaf – Vitamin Supplement on a plate to the Recipe Hunter…And Marjorie Mallon tried it out and sent a photograph..much better than mine and perhaps she might let me use in future.

Smorgasbord Health – Preparing for an Operation.

Smorgasbord Health 2017

Smorgasbord Pet Health – Herbal Remedies for Pets.

Smorgasbord Laughter Academy and Afternoon Videos

Thank you again for taking the time to visit the blog and you are definitly the reason I keep motivated to show up every day..



Milestones along the way – The Sailor’s Mass #Waterford by Geoff Cronin

The Sailor’s Mass

In my Grandfather’s time the village of Passage East, Co. Waterford, was famous for its sailors, and most of the local men went to sea at an early age, signing on for trips to foreign parts on the many sailing ships out of Waterford Port. Many of these men were what was called Longshore Men, and could be at sea for months at a time depending on the length of the voyage.

The reputation of Passage men was legendary among Shipowners and merchants trading in and out of the port. My Grandfather, who owned several ships, always signed Passage men to crew his ships and there was also a tradition of Pilots living in the village, in fact, when I was a boy, living in nearby Woodstown, I knew several of the then pilots who were Passage men and I would see them from time to time at Crooke Chapel where we went to Mass.

Waterford, in the old days, was known as Waterford of the Ships, such was the volume of traffic through the port, and most of the ships were Brigantines or Barquentines of about two hundred tons, and they sailed as far afield as America, New Zealand, Australia and South America. Record has it that up to eighty ships per week went to Iceland, where people found seasonal employment in the fish factories and allied industries there.

But back to Passage again where the local population were justly proud of their sailors. So much so that a cohort of pious ladies of the village used to collect a shilling a week from the various families whose men were at sea, and when they had collected a total of thirty shillings they would give the money to the curate at Crooke Chapel to say a Mass for ‘the prosperous voyage and safe return of the following who are at sea…’ a list of the names would be furnished and the men’s names would be read off the altar at Sunday Mass. The list varied very little and I still remember some of the names:- Edward Gunnip, James Heffernan, Richard Donnelly, Patrick Walsh, etc. etc. The Christian names are a bit hazy with me after seventy odd years, but you know the general idea.

Luggers at Passage East, 1961.

The practice was indeed laudable but there was a slight problem. When times were hard, people would miss out on the collection and it could take several weeks to get the required thirty shillings, with the result that by the time that the names were read out at Mass, many of those listed would be back in the bosom of their families and would, in fact, be sitting in the congregation. This was quite amusing, especially when those guys would turn a hugely smiling face to neighbouring pews, acknowledging the honourable mention of their names. Even so, it was a tribute not only to the sailors, but to the whole village, and it continued all the years I lived in the area – it might still be going on – I hope so!

©Geoff Cronin


N.B.. At the same time as Geoff is talking about my great-great-grandfather William Walsh was a pilot working out of Kinsale in Cork. His son my great-grandfather was also a pilot but then joined the Royal Navy in 1868.

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

Milestones along the way – The Money Ball Shop and Snippets #Waterford by Geoff Cronin


The Moneyball Shop

In the city of Waterford in the 1930s there was a shop which drew kids to its windows like a very powerful magnet. It was run by the O’Neill family and was situated on the corner at the top of New Street hill. It was known as the Moneyball Shop because in the centre of the window there was a tray filled high with bright red coloured rock sweets and you could see money sticking out of them. Half crowns, Sixpenny pieces, Shillings, pennys and threepenny bits would be peeping out of these red lumps of lusciousness which were also rolled in sugar.

On entering the shop you saw three trays of Monneyballs marked one penny, twopence and threepence and you bought according to your purse. Then the appropriate tray would be put before you and you could take your pick in high hopes of getting one with a prize inside.

Outside the shop the corner, the shop doorpost and even the iron downpipe at the end of the shop bore witness to the activities of kids who banged their purchases there to see what luck had brought them. On breaking them open the lucky ones would contain for the most part a halfpenny or a penny, and on rare occasions a sixpenny piece and kids would boast about the time they got a shilling. Nobody was ever known to get a half crown but now and again there would be a peanut inside and it would be wrapped in a piece of paper which could be retrieved carefully and it would say “Goldfish”. This was indeed a prize to boast about and would be given in a jamjar to be carried off in triumphant fashion.

Generation after generation of school kids gambled their pennies in the Moneyball Shop and to put the prizes in context you should know that in those days a cinema ticket was four pennies. Also there was one consolation when the Moneyball contained nothing – at least you could eat the fragments, which on the whole were very tasty.

The shop had another claim to fame – it was the only shop which would sell you a halfpenny fag and a match, no questions asked, so if you felt like living dangerously the opportunity was there!


Q. What would you find in a quiver?
A. Jelly.



Three professors were walking out the driveway of their university on their way home when one of the noticed a gathering of ladies of ‘easy virtue’ standing by the gates.

“Now gentlemen”, said one of them, “what collective term do you think we should use to describe such a gathering”?

“How about a Cadenza of Strumpets”, suggested the professor of music?

“No.” Said the professor of humanities. “I prefer A Jam of Tarts”.

“Not precise enough”, said the professor of English, “but I think I have it… An anthology of English Pros!”
©Geoff Cronin 2010

About Geoff Cronin – 1923 – 2017

There were few jobs that Geoff could not turn his hands to, and over the years he mastered an impressive number of professional undertakings. Master baker and confectioner, mobile cinema operator, salesman, band leader, senior executive and master wood turner, storyteller and writer.

Geoff Cronin published his first book in 2005 at age 82. The Colour of Life is a collection of stories of life in Waterford during his childhood and early adulthood in the 1920s, 30s and 40s. This was followed by two further books that related tales of further adventures in Waterford and Dublin.

Thank you for dropping in today and you can read The Colour of Life, The Black Bitch and the previous chaptes of Milestones in this directory:

Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – The Good Life #Waterford History and amazing guest writers

Welcome to the round up and some posts that you might have missed. Especially if you have taken my advice and have not signed up for notifications. You would be so stressed!  I know that I blog a great deal but by now you are used to that by now.. Popping in on a Sunday is probably your best bet so that you can select the posts that you are interested in.

Next weekend there is going to a change to the programme as it will be a three day party on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Unfortunately I may have tipped our summer into its own pity party when I announced this last week, as it has been blowing a hooligan and pouring with rain ever since!  However, we will not let a little moisture get in our way.

My intention is to mention as many of those people who have been with me since the beginning of my blogging adventure in September 2013 with some specially prepared snippets. I also plan to do some introductory pieces on my regular guests as well with interludes for music, humour and of course food and drink. There will be a post each day and in the tradition of all good parties, mingling and exchanging details in the comments is to be expected.

Paul Andruss has prepared two posts which will go out in the week about some of the music he feels will get you in the mood and he will also round off the party with a post on Sunday Afternoon.

I hope that whatever your actual plans are for next weekend you will be able to pop in to one of the posts over the three days and leave your details in the visitors book.

My thanks as always to my guests this week and food was definitely on the agenda with the wonderful recipe for Babotie which is a traditional South African dish that I enjoyed as a child. My thanks to Tandy Sinclair for sharing.  As you will have seen, Carol Taylor and I have teamed up for a new series on healthy foods alongside delicious recipes. This week the versatile banana received the Carol treatment.

And to encourage you not to let all this wonderful food cause a disruption to your waistline, Julie Lawford shares 50 benefits that demonstrate the positive effects of healthy weight loss.

And of course thanks to William Price King for his wonderful series on Tony Bennett first aired in 2015 and now taking us through the Summer (a term used loosely around here).

Now on with the show…..thanks for dropping in and please sign the guest book at the end. 

Summer Jazz with William Price King and Tony Bennett

Milestones along the way by Geoff Cronin

Guest Post – Julie Lawford – Lifestyle – Weightloss

Guest post – Carol Taylor – Health benefits of Bananas and recipes.

Guest post – Tandy Sinclair – Traditional South African Food – Babotie.

The Odd Jobs and Characters series here on Smorgasbord. Posted on D.G. Kaye’s blog.

Smorgasbord Reblogs

Paul Andruss takes us back to the Roman Empire and the origins of the expression ‘Crossing the Rubicon’

Thomas the Rhymer

Book and author promotion – Cafe and Bookstore Update

New book on the shelves

Air Your Reviews

Smorgasbord Blogger Daily

Smorgasbord Entertainment Movie Review – I give The Mummy 4/10… find out why.

Smorgasbord Health – If your teeth are suffering from acid erosion it may be your bottled mineral water!


Words of wisdom from the head of the household – Dear Kittie with Morgan Freeman

Doggie Day Camp and the School bus.

Meet George the Service Dog on his special day out.

Smorgasbord Pet Health

Weekly Image and Haiku

I hope that you have enjoyed this week’s posts and thank you so much for your visits and sharing across your own sites.. It is much appreciated.