Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 16th -22nd August – Getting Reviews, Music, Food, Health, Books, and Humour


Welcome to the round up of posts on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.

I hope all is well with you, I am sure that many of you in the UK and Ireland have been experiencing the benefits of Storm Ellen who seems like a very bad tempered individual. The wind has dropped marginally compared to the last four days and one benefit of our unpredictable weather for the last three weeks is that I have not had to water the pots once..

There are worst things however than too much water and I hope that the current California bush fires are soon brought under control. It is devastating the area and over 770,000 acres have already been destroyed. With everything else happening on top of Covid 19, it is another blow to the health and safety of millions.

Book reviews and other marketing observations.

I continue to make some tweaks to both the main Cafe and Bookstore and the new Children’s Cafe and one of the prime objectives is to increase reviews for the books on the shelves.

I spend a lot of hours a week checking the main sites of Amazon US and UK and Goodreads to find recent reviews for books.. and this usually includes a visit to the author’s Twitter account to check if they have shared news of a new review. I have a few observations to share with you.

I will start with Twitter

A great many authors who are on Twitter are not taking advantage of their Pinned Tweet to promote their books along with an Amazon link to buy them. The pinned tweet allows you to expand your profile and market either your books or blog, and it offers anyone visiting your Twitter account to check you out, something to retweet.

For example, if you have just 10 visitors to your account per day and they have an average of 10,000 followers, your book or books when retweeted is reaching 100,000 people. Of course not everyone of those 100,000 is going to pay attention to the tweet but 100 might and be interested enough to follow you and to head over to Amazon to check your books out.

Also is someone shares your pinned tweet it is a good idea to reciprocate, and usually they are good people to follow.

Amazon Author Pages

Amazon will create an author account on alternate country sites but they don’t fill in all the details. New authors particularly need to make sure they are adding their bios and photos to the account. Also new books need to be captured and added to the author pages as that is not always automatic either.

Goodreads

Although owned by Amazon, Goodreads does offer a place where all your reviews globally can be added by readers irrespective of how they came by the book… bought, a gift, borrowed from a library. I notice that a number of author’s have their books listed but do not have an author page, or do not have all their books listed.

Writing reviews

One of the very interesting observations is that those who review other people’s books receive more reviews themselves. One of the reasons for that is the writing community we belong to across blogging and social media. It is not just tit for tat reviewing, but an appreciation that an author takes the time to support and promote other authors within the community and encourages people to explore their own books and reviews. A review is also an opportunity to showcase your writing skills, even if it is short and to the point.

In the new series for the Children’s Cafe that you will find below, I am asking you to send me the link for any children’s book you have reviewed on your blog or posted to Amazon or Goodreads.. I will promote both the author of the book and also you in the post. I hope this will encourage more reviews for these books that are so important in igniting the imagination of children.

Using a blog to share excerpts from past books.

Whilst there are some restrictions on sharing all of a book, there is no issue usually with sharing a decent size excerpt of books on your blog with one of the top reviews. This is particularly relevant for older books and the first books in a series. Not only does it give a reader an opportunity to see you in action but promotes the later books in the series too.

Even though I serialise all my older books I still find that readers buy the books if they don’t want to wait 16 weeks or so to read it all, and they also very kindly review on Goodreads which is not dependent on the book being bought.

It is important to share on your social media of course so that people can head over to read it.

Responding to comments.

I know I am banging that drum again, but there are some very good reasons why interacting with someone who has taken the time and trouble to comment on a book promotion does result in sales and in reviews.

  1. People buy people first…if they have made a connection with you they are more likely to head over to look at your other books.
  2. It has an accumulative effect and over a number of promotions I see the level of comments increasing. This does not just apply to the single author promotions but to the multiple author updates or special features. And it does help the other authors in the promotion when it is shared as it reaches a much wider audience.

I have created a Pdf of my Book Marketing series which covers all of the above and also a step by step guide to setting up your blog to make it easier for readers to buy your books and review them.. just email me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com if you would like a copy.

Back to the week in hand.Here are some posts from the contributors to the blog that you I can recommend you reading.

D.G Kaye shares the life, love and work of Mexican artist Frido Kahlo who was born before her time. A tumultuous life and marriage and an extraordinary talent..Love and Life of Mexican Artist Frido Kahlo

Carol Taylor looks at food labelling and also contaminants that have resulted in mass recalls in recent months. Food Labelling and Contaminants by Carol Taylor

Now time for posts on Smorgasbord this week.

William Price King – Josh Groban Part Five

A – Z of Food ‘P’ for Pancakes, Paella, Pomelo, Pate, Pease Pudding and A Poke Bowl.

Chapter Three – My First Read Friend

The Colour of Life – The Rosary 1955 by Geoff Cronin

August 1985 100 degrees, Key Lime Pie and Adverts

Herbal Medicine – Horse Chestnut (Aesculus) -Circulatory System

#Western #Romance – Silverhills by Sandra Cox

#1920s #Familysaga – Telling Sonny by Elizabeth Gauffreau

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Book Reviews – #FamilySaga Claire Fullerton, #Fantasy Teagan Riordain Geneviene.

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly Tanka Challenge #Photoprompt– #HaikuSequence – Tracks

Who's That in the Cat Pajamas? (The Dolcey Series Book 1) by [Sojourner McConnell, Ellie Barrett]

An opportunity to showcase Children’s book reviews that you have written for other authors

New Author on the Shelves -Age Group 8-10 – Saving Hascal’s Horrors by Laura Smith –

#Reviews -#Bears #Poetry Frank Prem, #Dogs #South Africa Patricia Furstenberg

#Epicfantasy HMS Lanternfish (The Lanternfish Series Book 2) by C.S. Boyack

#Westernhorror – Guns of Perdition – The Armageddon Showdown Book 1 by Jessica Bakkers

#Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Contemporary #Southern Claire Fullerton

#Fantasy #Thriller C.S. Boyack, #1920s Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, #Dystopian Teri Polen

#Humour Mae Clair, #Adventure Audrey Driscoll, #Historical Apple Gidley

My Favourite Cookbooks by Darlene Foster

Twelve Questions #Blogshare by D.G. Kaye

-Stream of Consciousness Saturday #SOCS – John W. Howell

Come Join Us at the All-New Rave Reviews Book Club—#RRBC Best Book Club on the Planet by Bette A. Stevens

Meet Margie and Tony by Pete Springer

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 18th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin If it seems to good to be true and last wish

August 20th 2020 – Archive Special – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin – An Old Rancher’s Advice and Wayward Parrots

Host Sally Cronin – Funeral wishes, 2 second dogs and Benny’s dilemma

Thank you very much for dropping in today and also for the great support you give. I hope you will join me again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Rosary 1955 by Geoff Cronin


My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

This week is the last story in the series and next week I will begin sharing one of Geoff’s other books which I hope you will enjoy.

The Rosary 1955

On February 16th 1949 I married Joan Flanagan in St. John’s Church, Waterford at eight o’clock in the morning. The priest who officiated was Rev. John Flynn, my wife’s first cousin, the best man was Jack Flanagan and the bridesmaid was Irene Murray, both first cousins of my wife.

I was employed by Irish National Insurance Company Ltd. As a clerk, and my pay was four pounds twelve shillings and seven pence weekly. My wife earned three pounds a week working as a book-keeper in Jack Flanagan’s Fish and Poultry business, and our rent on 30 St. Ursula’s Terrace was nine shillings and sixpence per week.

Pregnancy dictated that my wife quit her job in June of that year, and it soon became obvious that my income would not support us, so I went “moonlighting” as a free-lance pianist for local dance bands. The rates were one pound for an 8–12 dance, and one pound ten shillings – maybe two pounds – for a 9–3.

In time, we moved house to 46 Lr. Newtown, and by 1955 I had my own dance band, still moonlighting, the job was slightly better, and I had four children, but that’s another story.

Geoff & Joan Cronin Wedding Photo

At the outset of our marriage, my wife being a religious woman, it was decided that we should say the family Rosary every day. So, each evening after dinner, the family would kneel down, elbows on chairs, and recite the five decades of the Rosary plus “the trimmings”. The latter consisted of prayers for deceased family members, for the souls in Purgatory, for the canonisation of Blessed Martin etc. etc. and took half as long as the Rosary.

But, what with travelling all day and moonlighting until four or five in the morning, the Rosary had a hypnotic effect on me and I would “nod off” after the first decade. I just could not stay awake and only responded with “Holy Mary, Mother of God etc.” whenever my wife gave me an elbow in the ribs, which was frequently! She was a pragmatic woman, God rest her, and it was agreed that however short my night’s rest would be, I would not be disturbed before 8 a.m., and if any of the children woke during the night, she would get up and attend to them.

I came home one morning about 4.30 a.m. after playing at a dance, fell into bed exhausted, and fell fast asleep immediately. I was not to know that one of the children who was teething had got my wife out of bed five or six times, and she was exhausted too, and her temper not the best. When the child woke again and cried fit to wake the house, she prepared to get up yet again when she beheld me fast asleep and snoring gently.

It was the last straw! She decided that I should be the one to get up and see to the child now crying loudly. To that end, she gave me a smart elbow in the ribs and got the instant response “Holy Mary Mother of God” etc. Well, worn out as she was, that good lady just had to laugh as she resignedly got up and soothed the child, and she told this story many times against me over the years that followed.

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 9th – 15th August 2020 – Intuition, Nat King Cole, Apple Roses, Children’s Books, Reviews, Health and Funnies


Welcome to the round up with post you might have missed on Smorgasbord this week.

I hope everybody is doing well.. I am sure that like me you are watching the headlines and keeping up do date with not just your own country’s progress with the pandemic but also on a worldwide basis. At this point all we can do is remain safe and avoid covidiots that seem to think social distancing and masks do not apply to them.

On a positive note...I have made a few tweaks to new book releases from August 26th  that I hope will increase exposure for the authors concerned. If you are already in the Cafe and Bookstore you new book announcement will be added to the Cafe Updates on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. I hope that the fact that there are four authors in the post, it will generate more views for your new book. Over a period of a couple of weeks they usually generate an average of 150 views and multiple shares on Twitter and Facebook.

If you are a new author to the Cafe and Bookstore I will post the usual introductory promotion with bio etc.

This is the latest way to share your work and I now have some wonderful stories of defining moments in the lives of authors in the Cafe and Bookstore. It would be wonderful to share your stories too so perhaps you could read the post and read my story so you can see how it will look.  The series begins the last Sunday of August and I am now booking for the second week in October.. Look forward to hearing from you.

Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments

If you missed them here are some posts from my contributors this week that you might like to head over and read.

Q & A with D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies interviews Adele Marie Park about her childhood on the island of
Rousay part of the Orkney Isles where she encountered tales Finn Folk,
Selkies and mermaids.. Adele has just released her latest book, Sea Dragon – Wisp II and shares what is coming next. As always Debby’s questions are tailored to her guest and the interview makes for interesting reading.D.G Kaye interviews Adele Marie Park

Carol Taylor with her Saturday Snippets with posts ranging from Bees and their importance to our environment, Lemon Meringue Pie, National Afternoon Tea Week, Music from Jimi Hendrix, Rooftop farms, removing hooks from shark’s mouths and respect for those who died during the holocaust.. As you can see a varied and interesting post.. please head over. Saturday Snippets with Carol Taylor

Time to catch up with the posts from the week here on Smorgasbord.. thank you for all your support and also to Debby Gies and Silvia Todesco for their wonderful contributions this week. William Price King is back with a brand new Music Column on September 1st.

August 2020 – #Intuition – Do you trust your gut instincts?

Headliners Nat King Cole and Billy Joel

#Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco – #Dessert- Puff pastry and apples roses

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Two – My New Home by Sally Cronin

#Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – #Angling The Haul Of Bass 1955 by Geoff Cronin

Before and After of our home in Wexford and a Haiku

Baby, Mother, Infant, Child, Female, Happy, White, Joy

Butterfly #Cinquain – Embraced by Sally Cronin

#Prehistoric – Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) by Jacqui Murray

Past book reviews – #Mystery John W. Howell, #DystopianSciFi Terry Tyler,

New Author on the Shelves – #Environment – That’s Our Home by Jude Lennon

7 – 10 years – The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends by Donald Lloyd Jr.

#Vampire #Thriller The Dead at Heart: Book Three of The Dead Game Series by Susanne Leist

#Prehistoric – Against All Odds (Book 3 of the Crossroads Trilogy) by Jacqui Murray

#Contemporary Ritu Bhathal, #Crime Jane Risdon, #Poetry Leon Stevens

#Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Thriller Carol Balawyder, #Mystery James J. Cudney

Darlene Foster Interviews Author Mary Smith

#WritingHabits by D.G. Kaye

Top Ten Things Not to Do at the First Sale of #Coca-Cola in 1886 by John W. Howell

Happy Birthday Maine! by Bette A. Stevens

The Humor of Life by Pete Springer

Supplements – Absorbing the nutrients, avoiding the additives

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – Chamomile (Camomile)

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 11th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 13th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

August 14th 2020- Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

Thanks so much for dropping by today and I hope to see you again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – #Angling The Haul Of Bass 1955 by Geoff Cronin


My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

The Haul Of Bass 1955

One June afternoon in the ’50s I was travelling home from Clonmel – I was “on the road” for Irish National Insurance Company at the time – and my last call of the day was in Carrick-on-Suir. A I was coming back in the car after making the call, I stopped at Francie Mullins fishing tackle shop and saw a cheap fishing rod in the window.

“It’s made out of a tank aerial” he told me, “and I got a dozen of them from a fella dealin’ in surplus war materials. A handy little rod,” he said, “ideal for spinning. Here,” he said, “let me put a spinning reel on it and you’ll see how well it feels.”

He did so, and when I picked it up it just felt right in my hand.

“You could cast with that for the day and your wrist wouldn’t get tired“, he continued. “And here’s what I’ll do with you, a hundred yards of nylon line, a German bait, the rod and the reel, the lot for a five pound note. What do you say?”

“Done,” I said, handing over the last fiver I had in this world.

As I drove home, I felt a whole new phase of my life opening up. Having been brought up by the sea, I knew all about fishing, but since getting married, I had been unable to afford the tackle etc. and at this stage, I dearly wanted to teach my sons all I knew about fishing. When I got home and told my wife about my purchase, she saw the possibilities in terms of food for the table and it was decided to try out the new rod that very evening.

So, after dinner, leaving our eldest daughter to baby-sit, my wife and I set off for Saleen, near Tramore, where a deep sea inlet, called the Rinnashark, came in by a long beach. It was known to be a good spot for Bass fishing and at that time, perhaps in July or August, shoals of Bass would come inshore on occasion and provide good sport for anyone who happened to be fishing at the time.

Tramore Bay & Saleen

However, I was not trying to catch anything that evening as the tide was low and it was a bit early in the season. I just wanted to try casting with the new rod and to get used to the feel of it.

Anyway, on arrival at Saleen I set up the rod and as it was a fine June evening, we decided to walk out along the beach to a place called Bass Point, almost a quarter of a mile distant. When we got to the spot, I made my first cast, which fell short of the channel and as I retrieved the bait, it stopped suddenly.

“Damn it” I said, “I’m caught in the weeds.”

The next second, the rod nearly jumped out of my hand and the reel sang, I was into a heavy fish and he was heading for deep water.

I put on the brake and began to play him. I didn’t think the line would hold, but taking him gently, I had him on the beach in ten minutes.

It was a beautiful Bass, easily seven pounds weight. I was elated and couldn’t wait to make another cast. Again, it fell short of the deep water, and as I wound in the bait, I knew this time I was stuck in the weeds. I gave a hard pull and the water exploded as another huge Bass broke the surface and headed out at speed for the deep channel. I checked him just before he got there, and I eased him down the beach into the slack water, where I beached him. It was a Bass a little smaller than the first one, and though I fished on for another half hour, I caught nothing else.

Geoff Cronin with another “Haul of Bass”

Meanwhile my wife, Joan, had picked up a stout piece of driftwood and some nylon cord from the beach, and we tied the fish through the gills to the stick and holding an end each, we set out to carry our catch back to the car. It should be noted here that Bass normally caught in these waters would be two or three pounds weight.

As we started back, we met two men out for a walk and they stopped us to admire our catch. They asked what weight the fish might be, and I said the big one was about seven pounds and the other one about six. There was not another sinner to be seen on the beach in any direction and we met no one else by the time we reached the car. Anyway, we weighed the fish when we got home and the bigger fish turned out to be seven and a half pounds, and the other one weighed six and a quarter. We congratulated ourselves on the catch, and after having a cup of tea and a chat, we retired for the night.

Next morning I had to go to the bank and while there a friend took me aside and said in a low voice “The Bass are in at Saleen – two guys were fishing there yesterday, and one guy got seven fish and the other guy got six.” He pressed his finger to his lips. When I got back to my office, another man rang me and said he heard that a party fishing at Saleen last night caught seventy-six Bass between them.

By lunch time I could be told that two boats had fished Saleen the previous evening, and one boat took seven boxes of Bass and the other one took six. I told my wife all this when I went home to lunch, and she could hardly believe the speed and the ramifications of the angler’s grapevine. It was likely that the pair we encountered on the beach had ended up in the local pub, and from there the story had grown not only legs, but wings as well.

By tea time, the rumours were flying to the point where we decided to drive out to Saleen after tea to see what the effect had been. We drove out the high road, which overlooked the beach and there they were, almost thirty or maybe forty anglers standing practically elbow to elbow along the beach, thrashing the water with their lines. We went to the local pub for a drink to quell our laughter, and we heard even more fabulous stories about the biggest shoal of Bass ever seen in Saleen. On our way home we stopped at the car park where weary anglers were packing up, and enquiring if they had any luck heard “No, but there was any amount of Bass here last night!” The miracle of the five loaves and two fishes came to mind, and we laughed all the way home.

***

Descriptions of a mean man:
“You wouldn’t see his heart on a clean plate!”
“If he was a ghost he wouldn’t give you a fright.”
“He was so mean he’d frame a ha’penny.”

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 2nd – 8th August 2020 – Music, Octopus and Oysters, Dog Stories, Waterford, Book Reviews, Children’s books and funnies.


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

It is finally a lovely sunny day and I intend to take full advantage and be out in the garden most of the day.

I have finally given myself a very good talking to and put into action a long overdue plan this week. It involves books and reviews and my unsuccessful efforts to whittle my TBR list down effectively. I was only reading at night and it was five pages and then lights out so to speak. Something needed to be done.

I now have a mandatory reading hour in the afternoon either in the garden or in our sitting room if the weather is not warm enough. I have finished two books this week instead of the usual one, and I feel far less guilty about the books sitting their so patiently waiting for my attention.

I am delighted that the new Children’s Cafe and Bookstore is going well with 5 new authors joining and you will meet them in promotions over the next week. One of the problems for children’s authors, especially with picture books for younger children, is getting reviews.  In part because many children’s books are given as gifts and parents may feel that there is no where for them to share a review if they have not bought from Amazon or other book sellers online.

This is why it is important to have a Goodreads author page as a Children’s author so that reviews can be posted worldwide and without having been bought.

Having said that, if the parents or grandparents don’t know that they can put a review on Goodreads, it is not as useful as it might be.

If you are an author of children’s books could I suggest that at the back of your books you put a short note asking for reviews and providing the link to https://www.goodreads.com/ and explaining that it is also a wonderful resource for other children’s books, often at special prices.

In the coming weeks I am going to be putting together some specific children’s book promotions to encourage reviews and it would be great if you help spread the word.  This includes a children’s review watering hole…where even if the books are not in the Children’s Cafe and Bookstore, reviews can be shared and I will add the blurb and the links to the books. The promotion post for this new series is scheduled for Tuesday at 18.00 UK time.

I cannot imagine my life without books and my love of reading began at age four. It is such an important skill to have in life and children’s authors deserve all the support we can give them.

And on the subject of reviews...I was delighted this afternoon to receive a wonderful 5* review from Marjorie Mallon for Life’s Rich Tapestry..If you have time I would be so pleased if you would head over and read in full..thanks Sally.

Marjorie Mallon Review Life’s Rich Tapestry

Here are the posts from the week and as always a huge thank you to the guest writers for their amazing contributions.. this week William Price King and Carol Taylor. And to you for dropping in, liking, commenting and sharing the posts, the support is very much appreciated.

William Price King – Josh Groban Part Four

– A – Z of Food – ‘O’ for Oats, Offal, Octopus, Oranges and Oysters.

Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter One – In the Beginning

#Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Dance Scene 1950

Some photos and a haiku from Lanzarote

Letters from America 1985-1987 – August 1985 – Hawaiian Luau and Trash Can Punch

Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears (The Beechworth Bakery Bears 1) by Frank Prem

Past book reviews Book Reviews – #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Historical Tony Riches

#HaikuSequence – Rain by Sally Cronin

images

Herbal Medicine – Stinging Nettle and Scorpion Stings

Drystan the Dragon and Friends: Delbert Finds Himself by Janice Spina

Author Reviews – #YAAdventure Darlene Foster, #Children’s #Kindness Dawn Doig – #Horses Deanie Humphrys-Dunne

#ShortStories – #Ireland – We All Die in the End: Scenes from a Small Town by Elizabeth Merry

#Fiction #Community Phyllis Staton Campbell

#Shortstories – A String of Stories: From the Heart to the Future by Ann Chiappetta

#Anthology M.J. Mallon, #Fantasy D. Wallace Peach, #Memoir #Teaching Pete Springer

#Crime Jacquie Biggar, #FlashFiction Sarah Brentyn, #Contemporary #Humour Lizzie Chantree

#Finance – Should You Take an Early-Out Package? by Sharon Marchisello

#Personal – Twelve Questions From A Guy Called Bloke by Stevie Turner…

#Birth – On the Eve of Beltane by Sue Vincent

National Bunion Day by Mary Smith

Guns of Perdition: Interview and Review by D. Wallace Peach

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 4th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines –August 6th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – August 7th 2020 – Funnies and Bad Dad Jokes Host Sally Cronin

Thank you very much for dropping in today and all the support during the week.. it is much appreciated.. Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Dance Scene 1950 by Geoff Cronin


My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

This week Geoff talks about the most popular entertainment anywhere in Ireland.. the dances and he with various of his band members played for the best part of 18 years from 1948 to 1962.. including in the packed dance hall where we now live in Courtown, Wexford.

The Dance Scene – 1950

In the 1940s, in Waterford, dancing was popular with young and middle-aged alike and was where boy met girl.

There were several dance halls, the principal one being the Olympia Ballroom, which had originally been a roller skating rink. Situated in Parnell Street it had a maple floor and could hold about twelve hundred dancers.

Next was the Large Room at the Town Hall, on The Mall. This was upstairs in the Municipal building which also held the Theatre Royal, one of the oldest purpose-built theatres in Ireland, dating back to the mid eighteenth century. The “Large Room,” as it was popularly known, had a pine floor which was regarded as the best in Waterford for dancing. It was said that you could dance all night on that floor and not feel tired – and having danced many a night there I would have to agree. Last but not least was the Red Cross Ballroom, over Burtons, in Michael Street.

These three places were the venues for the main social occasions such as the Hunt Ball, The Beagle Ball, The Military Ball, The Red Cross Ball, etc. Incidentally, functions like the Hunt Ball were known as Dress Dances, which meant white tie & tails (or dinner jacket) for the men and Ball Gowns for the ladies, and ran from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. with supper included.

Admission would be ten shillings to twenty one shillings for the most prestigious and there would be a bar.

There were also four lesser venues: the LSF Hall (local Security Force), in William Street – now Keighrey’s Furniture Store – which emerged during the war; The Regal, in Thomas Street; The “Tubs of Blood” at the junction of the Glen and Thomas street, and the NUR Hall (National Union of Railwaymen) over Hill’s Salt Store in O’Connell’s Street. Incidentally, The “Tubs” was where the soldiers went and fights were not infrequent there, hence the name!

My first venture into the band business was in 1943, when I formed a four piece outfit – two accordions, drums and myself on piano – and I rented the “Regal” from the then owner, a man called Mullins, who had a dance licence for the hall. The rent for the hall was thirty shillings for the month and I charged one shilling and sixpence per head for admission. I also had to hire a piano, plus a cashier for the door. My career in that location was short and sweet. The opening night was packed, the second night was half full and things got progressively worse and eventually it faded out and I had to close down.

My enthusiasm had overtaken my judgement. Had I done my sums properly I’d have realised that dances, though popular, would only succeed if (a) Sponsored by a club and (b) if held on either Friday or Saturday. No dance hall could hope to run seven nights a week – and with the same band. Anyway, it was a relatively cheap lesson and I put it down to experience.

For the record the two accordionists were “Togo” Quigley and Jimmy (Fitzy) Fitzgerald and the drummer was Pierre (The Gunner) White.

***
At this time the people who “fronted” dance bands in Waterford were;

Mick O’Shea, Busty Griffin, Billy Tuohy, Hugh Dunphy, Frank King, “Pop” Walsh, Big Tom O’Brien, Billy Fahy, Geoff Cronin, Dick Cronin, Paddy Rafferty and Sadie Byrne.

The Musicians working in those years were:

Saxaphone:  Big Tom, Paddy Rafferty, Ken McKinnon, Johnny Bourke, Eddie Carroll, Jimmy Power, Tommy McGrath, Dick Cooper, Billy Fahy (Clarinet), Harry Martin.

Trumpet: Johnny O’Connell, Monty Clooney, Johnny Whelan, Charlie McGrath, Frankie King.

Drums: Davy O’Brien, Pierre White, Billy Hayes, Eamon Phelan, Michael Cahill, Sean Mulcahy, Algy Fitzgerald, Eric Bremner.

Guitar: Des Manahan, Val Doonican, Bruce Clarke

Double Bass: Dick Dunphy, Paddy Kavanagh, Ernie Mosyer, Geoff Cronin.

Accordion: Drohan Brothers, Sadie Byrne, Mick O’Shea, Geoff Cronin, Dick Cronin, Billy Twohy, Busty Griffin, Jackie Chester, Jimmy Fitzgerald.

Piano: Gerry Dunne, Bruce Clarke, Geoff Cronin, Joe Manahan, Ned Roche, Martin Sullivan, Claus Cantwell, Paschal Kennedy, Maudie Tuohy.

Trombone: Derek Hyder

Vocals: Ena Galvin, Johnny Hodgers,

Apart from the above there may have been others which have escaped my memory. Also, I have not included the members of the Royal Showband who were just emerging as I was exiting the scene in 1962. By that time I had been in and out of the music business for the previous eighteen years or so and my experiences over the period would fill a book – a large one! I can, however, give you a “brief” outline of what went on.

***

Summer season in the New Ballroom in Courtown Harbour. Left to Right – Jimmy Power (Alto Sax) Mikey Denn (Drums), Jimmy Fitzgerald (accordion), G. Cronin (Piano).

To begin with I played piano with “The Hep Cats”, a six-piece formed by my brother Dick. When he went into partnership with Paddy Rafferty and the band became Paddy Rafferty’s, I continued on Piano and eventually got fired because I could only read guitar symbols.

A short time afterwards I went back to that outfit on Double Bass and did a year with them.

Meantime, Dick and I, plus drummer, did a lot of gigs in hotels as a three-piece, with me on piano.

Then Dick went to Dublin and played with Phil Murtagh the resident band in the Metropole Ballroom. He later went on to become a chemist and emigrated to Canada. At almost the same time I went to work in Dublin and did a year’s apprenticeship in Confectionary at the Swiss Chalet in Merion Row – without pay! On my return to Waterford I picked up a job with a “scrap” four-piece outfit and played for the summer season in the Tara Ballroom – May to September – in Courtown Harbour, Co. Wexford.

While living in Dublin I also pursued an interest in Ballroom Dancing which had begun when I took lessons from Irene Murray in Waterford – she had a school of dancing at the top end of Colbeck Street. In Dublin I went to the Graham School of Dancing where I took my Bronze Medal and Silver Medal. It was there also that I took my first course of study to become a teacher of Ballroom Dancing.

For various reasons I became disenchanted with the Graham tuition and I moved on to the Evelyn Burchill School where I finished my studies and passed the exam for Associateship of the National Association of Teachers of Dancing, which I got with a commendation – ANATD Comm – and also got the associateship of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing – AISTD. These qualifications enabled me to teach, which I had in fact been doing while a student in both the schools.

All this was hard going and meant that in addition to my day job (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) I was dancing every night of the week as well. It took all my spare time.

On my return to Waterford, however, all sorts of other things happened to interrupt my music “career”. First I tackled the bakery business, which my father had, and set about converting a bread trade into a confectionary business. This involved stripping down the existing bakehouse, selling off all the machinery, building a new bakehouse on a site behind the shop, building a new double-deck oven and getting new equipment installed. But just as I was preparing to launch the new venture the bank foreclosed and my father was forced to sell No. 12 John Street – it went for just £3,000!

Having received my share of the proceeds, around £400, I went into partnership with my younger brother David and we set up a mobile cinema outfit – which is the subject of a separate story.

When I returned to the Band game, a year and a half later, it was to form a three-piece – Piano, Alto Sax and Drums – and I played the first dance at The Haven Hotel, Dunmore East. This outfit grew to a four-piece and at a later stage became the resident band at the Haven when Dinner Dances became the rage and spread to the Grand Hotel Tramore, and the Majestic Hotel Tramore.

In tandem with this I ran a seven-piece band and got regular bookings at the Olympia Waterford and also the Collins Hall Clonmel, The Mayfair Kilkenny, The Town Hall Dungarvan and all points in between. On occasion I strengthened the outfit to nine pieces – Vocalist, Piano, Bass, Drums, two Alto Saxes, one Tenor Sax, and two Trumpets.

The dance scene in Ireland at this time was really swinging, to the point that it was rumoured that Bands from England would soon be coming to cash-in on the Irish market. This idea, when I thought about it, seemed quite possible and took root in my head. While I was still thinking about it I had a visit from the then Chairman of the Irish Federation of Musicians, Paddy Malone, and the General Secretary, Paddy Donaghue, who confirmed that certain promoters in Dublin had already booked the top English Bands to tour Ireland.

The Geoffrey Cronin Trio is the up-to-date combination which plays strict tempo dance music at such well-known hotels as the Grand, Tramore, and the Haven, Dunmore. (Times Pictorial, Week ending July 8th, 1950.)

On the spot we formed the Waterford branch of the Irish Federation of Musicians, and I enrolled all the members of my bands – I being the Secretary of the new branch of the “Fed”, as this powerful Trade Union was known. The Fed was going to insist that a Fed band would have to be engaged as support to any imported band appearing in Ireland.

Well, nothing happened for some months and although I tried to get other bands interested I did not succeed because people thought it wouldn’t happen, and if it did the Union would be unable to enforce the arrangement.

Meanwhile, a Sax player, whom I knew, had come back from England and settled in Waterford. He was Big Tommy O’Brien and he promptly formed his own band and got some bookings. I didn’t mind much until he began poaching some of my musicians and this I did mind because I had the best of them.

We were “daggers drawn” for a time and a regular vendetta ensued. This got neither of us anywhere and when I realised this I went to see him and we came to an “arrangement”. He would “join” my band and I would “join” his! – only it would be the same band! The difference would be that if he got the booking he would stand up and lead the “Big Tom Band” and I would sit down and If I got the booking I would lead the “Geoff Cronin Band” and he would sit down.

In this way, I gained a top class Alto player and he had the best pianist on the local scene.

The public never spotted this move and both of us did well, as we split the leader’s fee.
When the big English bands finally arrived we got ALL the support work, as the “Fed” had won their battle and we were the only “Fed” band in the area. We played support to such famous names as Jack Parnell, Harry Roy, Sid Phillips and many others.

Self on accordion at the Haven Hotel late 1950. NB. The piano needed tuning

On one memorable occasion we had a great laugh when Geraldo came to town with his 26-piece orchestra. He appeared at the Olympic Ballroom and the admission was five shillings. The attendance was about 1,200 people and during the dance my “fans” put up posters all around the hall advertising the Dunmore East Sailing Club Dress Dance, Music by the Geoff Cronin Trio – Admission 21 shillings!

To add insult to injury, at the end of the dance when Geraldo stood majestically on the band-stand, cigar in hand, preparing to sign autographs and I was at the other end of the stand merely collecting my gear, a crowd of my fans gathered in front of me screaming for my autograph and waving programmes in my face! It was a total send-up and Geraldo looked shocked and amazed. What a laugh we had.

As time went on I progressed in my day job and pressure of work, among other factors, led me to wind up the seven-piece. I continued, however, with the four-piece, doing just the Haven and the other hotels plus small club dances at the weekend. I also formed a different quartet to perform at the local Jazz Club concerts in the Municipal Theatre. In my “Spare time” I also set up a Barbershop Quartet just for fun. I called it “The Time Travellers” and it was quite successful. The members of the quartet were Eamon Phelan, Donal Gough, Des Manahan and myself.

The last performance of my band was in 1962 and though it had all been tough going I enjoyed every minute of it.

Early 1950s Trio at Haven Hotel. Left to right – Eddie Carroll (alto sax), Pierre White, “The Gunner” (drums) , Self (on piano).

Saturday Night at the Haven Hotel, Dunmore East – Summer 1959

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 26th July – August 1st 2020 – Positive news, #Author Spotlight, Music, Short stories, Guest Bloggers, Health, Humour and Book Reviews


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Another week has flown by, and like many of you, I have avoided reading the headlines and news stories on a daily basis. I am usually an upbeat positive person when it comes to life in general, but even I have to ration my exposure to the constant stream of negativity.

Thankfully our community of writers do share the positive aspects of life, and here are three posts I would like to draw your attention to if you missed.

Each month D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies participates in the #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest spreading positive news about people and events. This month an inspiring woman in the UK has been collecting an item usually scrunched up and thrown away. Her project is Keeping the Homeless a Little Warmer: D.G. Kaye WATWB – We are the World Blogfest – Keeping the Homeless a Little Warmer

Carol Taylor shares amazing recycling projects including this week The bad and the good in the story of plastic.. and on Tuesdays she has been sharing some of the positive outcomes of our recent isolation. In this post you can enjoy the wisdom of a wonderful man called Sadhguru, and a video of abandoned places being reclaimed by nature. Sobering thought and Nature’s resilience

Retired teacher and author, Pete Springer shares the inspiring story of a former pupil of his, Samy Awwad, who at the age of only 16 has already created an incredible reputation as a champion for millions of children around the world whose lives can be saved by vaccinations. A wonderful post that I recommend you head over to read: An Impressive Young Man

Before I share the posts from the week… here is the promotion for the new Author Spotlight beginning in September.. along with my story of a life changing moment in my life that set me on a different path after just one date!  I have already received some amazing stories and I am looking forward to sharing this new series.

A new series for authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I share my Life Changing Moment.

In this new series I am inviting authors in the Cafe to share what they consider to be a defining moment in their lives that resulted in a major positive change.

Here are a few examples, and I am sure you will have plenty to add:

  • Meeting a stranger with surprising consequences
  • Accepting an invitation that took you out of your comfort zone
  • Being fired from a job or resigning without another job lined up that turned out to be an opportunity.
  • Taking a wrong turn on a journey and discovering something about yourself.
  • Being in the wrong place at the right time when an opportunity presented itself.
  • Overcoming a challenging situation such as a failed relationship and finding happiness.
  • Taking part in a charity challenge such as a parachute jump and how it conquered a fear.
  • Accidentally walking through the wrong door and finding an uplifting experience
  • Moving to a new country and feeling immediately at home.

You can choose to stick to the facts or can write a fiction story that has ‘A Life Changing Moment’ as its theme.

If you follow the link beneath the image you can read my story and the post is an example of how your own will look.

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Author Spotlight – Life Changing Moments

As always my thanks to guests and contributors who make blogging such a pleasure and to you for dropping in, commenting and sharing…here are the posts from the week.

Summer Music Festival with hosts William Price King and Sally Cronin – Headliners Madonna, Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

A tribute I wrote for my mother Mollie (October 5th 1917 – July 28th 2012) and her gardens

#Spain – Tales from The Garden – Mollie (The Duchess) Coleman

#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – Whiskey And Its Disciples – 1949 by Geoff Cronin

Some images of my feathered friends at the lake where bass were a popular attraction for local fishermen.

#Spain – Fish hide in branches

Double #Etheree The Wisdom of Trees by Sally Cronin

Two more book reviews from the past.

Book Reviews – #Memoir D.G. Kaye, #Children’s Robbie and Michael Cheadle

July 1985 – Hanna Barbara Land, BBQ and Lilo races

A round up of all the posts and pages in the series.

Project 101 – Resilience – An opportunity to get fighting fit – Round Up

The Medicine Woman’s Treasure Chest – Herbal Medicine – Lavender

#Finance – Investing in the Age of Coronavirus by Sharon Marchisello

– #School Closures – Lost? by Stevie Turner in Having a Rant

#Fear – The predator within by Sue Vincent

Fighting photo phobia by Mary Smith

#Writing – Why to avoid “ing” words in fiction by D. Wallace Peach

A new Cafe and Bookstore for children’s books up to the age of 12 years old.. already 21 authors but plenty of room for more..

Smorgasbord Children’s Cafe and Bookstore – FREE Book Marketing

Fantasy Adele Marie Park, #Fantasy Freya Pickard, #Paranormal Cecilia Kennedy

#Dark Humour Carol La Hines, #History Joyce Hampton, #Fantasy Paul Andruss

The Gilded Beaver by Margaret

#Reviews – #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor, #Contemporary M.C.V. Egan, #ScienceFiction A.C. Flory

#Paranormal Roberta Eaton Cheadle, #HistoricalRomance Christine Campbell, #Prose/Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

#Thriller John L. DeBoer, #Scifi Richard Dee, #History Paul Edmondson

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 28th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 30th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

July 31st 2020- Another Open Mic Night with author Daniel Kemp

Thank you for your support during the week and look forward to seeing you again soon. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – Whiskey And Its Disciples – 1949 by Geoff Cronin


My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Whiskey And Its Disciples – 1949

In the thirties you could get several kinds of whiskey in the pubs of Ireland but the brands which dominated the market were Powers, Jameson and Paddy. These were manufactured by three separate and distinct firms, Paddy being made in Cork and the other two in non-Cork locations, – far off places like Dublin.

Competition between the firms was lively and each had its own Travellers – nowadays called “Reps” – who covered the country booking orders, collecting accounts and most importantly, maintaining customer relations.

Brand loyalty was most marked in Cork and any self respecting Corkman would not be seen drinking anything but Paddy. Nevertheless, all three brands were widely sold because each one had a distinctive taste and a definite tradition. For example, Jameson was considered to be a sort of Protestant whiskey, Powers would be a good middle of the road Irish Catholic whiskey and Paddy was a CORK whiskey.

Of course, there were plenty, more than enough some would say, of Corkmen in Dublin and a Dubliner heard ordering a Paddy, maybe because he liked the flavour, knew in his heart that he ran a serious risk of being mistaken for a Cork man. Such was the frame which surrounded the following story told to me by a good Corkman at a late night drinking party in Dublin.

***

Three commercial travellers representing respectively Powers, Jameson and Paddy were in the habit of meeting in a Cork hostelry whenever their paths crossed on their regular journeys to that city. The spirit of the meeting was one of friendly rivalry and much useful information was exchanged – who was a good payer or a bad one, who was going where next week, what was happening within the industry etc. It was usually a short meeting, since each had his calls to do, and only one round of drinks would be bought, each taking it in his turn to buy. Needless to say, they all drank whiskey and, of course, each would be expected to drink his own product and support his own firm.

On this particular day, it fell to the Powers rep to stand the round of drinks and he stood up to the bar and ordered three half ones, a Power, a Jameson and a Paddy. But, as he finished, the Paddy rep said, “hold on a minute there, I’ll have a Jameson this time!”

Deeply questioning eyes impaled the Cork man as the drinks came to the table. Water was carefully added and the first sip was taken with a subdued, “Good Luck.” Glasses were put down and cigarettes lit in silence, all eyes still searching the Corkman.

A second sip was interrupted by the Powers man. “Be God, you’re a right man to be travellin’ for Paddy and you not even drinkin’ yer own product. What the hell are ye at at-all?”

The Paddy man downed the last of his Jameson and flicked his cigarette ash in the general direction of the ash tray before answering.

“Well now, I’ll tell ’oo. I have an appointment in ten minutes to meet a very important customer and I wouldn’t want to have the smell of drink offa me, goin’ in there!”

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – 19th -26th July -Josh Groban, Naan Bread, Fairy Tales, Waterford, Poetry, Reviews and Funnies


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on the blog.

Like most of you focus on being creative has been a little hit and miss during the last few months, and I am thankful for the blog to keep me busy and in contact with you all. I have been working on my next book in my head and finally have got my thoughts together and have picked up where I left off in March. Hopefully you will see something coherent in the autumn! It is another collection of syllabic poetry and a collection of 24 + short stories based on two central themes… I plan to really get the writing finished in August (unless summer decides to return and I spend too much time in the garden!)

It is our 40th anniversary in November and we cancelled our planned trip with my two sisters in September to Malta.. old stomping grounds for both of them who were 16 and 17 when we lived there and it was going to be a step back in time for us all. November is the start of the usual flu season and I have an inkling that the 14 day quarantines for visitors is likely to be in place again. So are planned trip to the UK to see my sisters is also at risk. It will make it two years since we have had a family get together but it is better to be safe than sorry.

This now has presented us with an opportunity to get creative with our own celebrations as the occasion deserves to be marked in style…as long as the two of us are there…it will be special.

Just a reminder of the opportunities to promote your books…

  1. If you have a new book due out in August then please let me know when available for pre-order or released so I can do a new book on the shelves promotion.
  2. If you are not already in the Cafe and Bookstore you can find out how to join the other 150 authors: Free book marketing in the Cafe and Bookstore.
  3. The new series of Posts from Your Archives open to all bloggers where I pop in to your blog and select two posts to share along with your books and links: #NewSeries August 2020- Pot Luck and Do You Trust Me??
  4. If you are a children’s author you will find a new feature from Monday where your books will not only be on the shelves of the main Cafe and Bookstore but any books for ages up to 12 years old, will also be in the new Children’s Cafe and Bookstore.. A post is going out on Monday that gives the details to existing authors in the Cafe and to new ones.
  5. The new author spotlight series for September has a theme that I hope you will find interesting – Life Changing Moments.. and the promotional post is on July 30th.

As always I am very grateful to the contributors who share their expertise and creativity each week and also to you for all the support that you offer…you have no idea how that has helped me stay positive during the last few months. 💐 😍

Here are this week’s posts…..

The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban Part Three

‘N’ is for Nicoise, Nori, Nuts, Noodles, Nettles and Naan Bread.

#Spain – Tales from The Garden -Chapter Eleven – The Last Summer Ball and the Winter Fairy – Part Two

The Colour of Life -Cattle Dealing and The Ferguson Tractor 1948 by Geoff Cronin

#Courtown, Wexford – Sea Birds Seek Shelter and Photos

July 4th 1985 Celebrations, Mechanical Bulls and Tennis

Welcome to a new series where I will be sharing book reviews I have posted in the last few years. I would like to take the opportunity to showcase books that I have enjoyed and their authors and if you have not read the books, I hope it will encourage you to check them out.

#Afghanistan Mary Smith, #Historical Andrew Joyce

Chesebro’s weekly Tanka Challenge -#Butterfly Cinquain – Washed Up

The importance of a healthy gut (part three) #Candida by Sally Cronin

Herbal Medicine – Peppermint – fresh breath, digestion and anti-bacterial

#History – The Story of the Huguenots: A Unique Legacy by Joyce Hampton

The Places We Haunt: Short Story Collection by Cecilia Kennedy

#Mystery – Walking Into Trouble by Geoff Le Pard

#Pre-Order -Children’s – A Beechworth Bakery Bears e-Book (The Beechworth Bakery Bears 1) by Frank Prem

#Mystery Noelle Granger, ##DystopianSciFi Terry Tyler, #Mystery Anne R. Allen

#Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #Fantasy, #Paranormal C.S. Boyack

#Childrens Victoria Zigler, #Fantasy D.Wallace Peach, #Fantasy Fiona Tarr, #Contemporary M.C.V. Egan

#Prehistoric Jacqui Murray, #Children’s Toni Pike, #Humour J. E. Pinto

#Memoir Joy Lennick, #WWII Paulette Mahurin, #Mystery J.A. Newman

#Thriller Richard W. Wise, #Fantasy Sue Vincent and Stuart France, #Lemons Valentina Cirasola

#Writing Jane Sturgeon, #Poetry Leon Stevens, #Coming of age Bette A. Stevens

Hugh W. Roberts

#Shortstories Hugh W. Roberts, #Thriller Gwen M. Plano, #FamilyDrama Margaret Lindsay Holton

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 21st 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – July 23rd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Possible Book Titles and some Grammar funnies Host Sally Cronin

Thank you again for dropping in today and for all your support.. it is much appreciated..

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life -Cattle Dealing and The Ferguson Tractor 1948 by Geoff Cronin


My father-in-law, Geoff Cronin was a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Cattle Dealing and The Ferguson Tractor 1948

ACT I

It was the first Monday of the month, “a Fair Day” in Waterford, and the Hill of Ballybricken was a hive of activity. “The Hill” was an open space with the Bull Post standing roughly in the centre of a 250 yard triangle. The perimeter was lined with small shops, and houses interspersed. Most of the shops faced north, and most of the better houses faced south. Two of the largest pubs faced south also, and consequently enjoyed whatever sun there might be.

Corcoran knew from long tightly held experience how important it was to stand your cattle on the sunny side, and when he woke his son Willie at three o’clock that morning he was already planning his strategy. They had to walk the bunch of white faced cattle eight miles to Waterford, and he knew only too well the folly of driving the animals too hard and having them arrive exhausted and looking limp and God forsaken in the cold dawn light. No, he told himself, start early, bring them along nice and handy, rest them and let them get a drink at the stream in Callaghan and get them to the sunny corner in Ballybricken near the first pub at the rise of ground.

Oh, Corcoran knew his business alright – two days before the fair he had moved those cattle into the old four acre field behind the house. The grass was long there and the ditches thick for shelter, and the beasts ate well in the heavy grass, which also cleaned their legs and hooves.

The cattle looked well now as the sun topped the hill and Corcoran knew it, and the best of luck attended him with the arrival right opposite of that “Mane little ferret”, O’Toole, with his four dirty old worn out cows, and two of them with only one horn apiece. The contrast was perfect and he stood there quietly and patiently with Willie; his son, and his seven white faced bullocks … and they waited.

Willie was leaning over the back of a bullock, watching the road to the main shopping area when he spotted his man. Corcoran had his back to the lamp post at the corner, looking the other way.

“Watch out, Father” said Willie, “Cooper the butcher is comin’ straight for ye.”

Corcoran never moved as he replied “Tighten up them beasts now boy, and get their heads up.” Willie deftly obliged.

Cooper advanced up the hill to the fair, his eye scanning, sorting and marking automatically as he surveyed the scene. He had his own reasons for heading in Corcoran’s direction – it was a sunny corner where you could stay and talk harmless blather to whoever was there, while you checked and spotted what was on offer, and anyway, the thought of a nice hot whiskey by the fire in the corner pub had filled his mind as he drew near the lamp post.

Corcoran’s heavy voice cut through his vision –

“Willie, go over and tell Mr. Molloy I haven’t all day to wait.”

Willie, well schooled, headed off through the crowd towards Molloy’s Butcher shop where he would buy a pound of beef sausages, wait in the shop, and “rush” back with the news.

“He’s gone to the railway, Father! but will be with you soon” Just as Cooper was engaging Corcoran senior in what might be regarded as civil discourse.

Cooper opened – “A hardy morning there.”

“’Tis nearly dinner time,” parried Corcoran “and I can tell you there’s no bargains left this time of day.” Willie glowed with admiration as his father casually stepped on to the footpath while speaking, making himself a foot taller than his adversary.

Cooper mentally slaughtered, quartered and weighed the seven beasts with a glance as he replied, stepping up easily beside Corcoran “Ye know, there’s nothin’ here today only small, miserable little beasts… no good at all for a butcher.”

Corcoran bristled “Yer not by any chance callin’ them cattle miserable, are ye?”

“Ah not at all me dear man, sure I was sayin’ only the other day that a mejum size bullock could have his place in a butcher’s shop – although they have a lot of bone, ye know like.” Cooper said easily.

Willie had gone back to leaning on the nearest bullock – he sensed the line tightening between the two, but as yet he couldn’t make out who had hooked who, so he concentrated on watching the rivulets of urine and dung which flowed along the gutter between his boots.
“Keep your head down boy” he told himself “and don’t distract the oul’ fella while he’s puttin’ manners on the butcher.” He was not, however, prepared for what came next as Corcoran displayed his mental agility.

“Ye know,” he said looking straight into Cooper’s eyes, which were watering slightly with the cold, “I owe you an apology.”

“For what?” said Cooper, completely mystified.

Corcoran hung his head ever so slightly and tapped the toe of his boot with his stick and said in a quiet voice “I was at your wife’s first cousin’s funeral three weeks ago, and I couldn’t get near ye with all them big shot cattle dealers that was there, and I was sayin’ to the wife goin’ home “God dammit ye know, I’m friends with John Cooper these years and many a good beast I sold him and he was always a decent man to deal with and here I am now goin’ home and never even bought the man a drink, will you have a hot whiskey with me now to make amends and never mind the cattle?”

Cooper hadn’t a hope, and he knew it. They disappeared into the pub, and the deal was done. He gave Corcoran twenty pounds less than the cattle were worth, and Corcoran gave him back a fiver for luck, as he knew full well he had got twenty pounds more than he really expected.

He turned his benevolent eye on the steaming glass as Cooper faded to the doorway —

“Good look” he murmured as the door closed.

ACT II

Corcoran leaned back and belched profoundly. Nobody in the crowded pub noticed. Half an hour had passed since Cooper had left with Willie to take the cattle down to the yard behind the butcher’s shop.

A third hot whiskey had warmed him down to his toes. He had sent a kid across to the far side of the fairground to bring back three hot crubeens from the huckster’s shop which specialized in that delicacy. Two of these glutinous morsels he ate ravenously, and having carefully thrown the bones in the fireplace, he wiped his fingers and face in the newspaper wrapping, and delicately rolled up the remaining one in the rest of the newspaper to keep it warm for Willie. Then he opened the top button of his flap, paid for a large bottle of stout and sighed contentedly as he fondled the roll of notes in the inside pocket of his waistcoat under folded arms.

Willie’s mind was soaring with speculation as to what he might do with the half note Cooper had given him for helping with the cattle as he strolled back to the pub. He was feeling hungry now, thirsty too as the sweet smell of stout reached him. Just then there was a hand on his arm…

“Hello there Willie, I heard ye sold the cattle and I’m hopin’ to see yer father.” It was Jim Kirwan the tractor salesman.

“He’s inside in the pub here,” said Willie, “come on, I’ll find him for ye.”

They turned in to the pub and Kirwan took his arm again, “Here, Willie” he smiled, “you’re a go ahead man – you wouldn’t mind having a nice new Ferguson Tractor now, would ye?” But before Willie could answer his father’s voice cut through the smoky air and Willie detected an almost jovial note in it.

“Over here Willie, boy, pull a large stout there for me son will ye, sit down, sit down, here’s a crubeen for ye boy, ye must be hungry.” And looking at Kirwan he continued “Ah God save us all look what the cat brought in.”

“Could I see ye Mr. Corcoran?” Kirwan ventured.

“Of course ye can boy,” replied Corcoran, “as long as yer not trying to sell me one of them cursed Fergusons – what are ye havin’ anyway?”

“A Lemonade thanks,” said Kirwan. Corcoran looked at him pityingly and said loudly “If ye want to talk to a man, ye better be a man – give him a small stout there Miss.”

The stout arrived and the three sat down. Willie tackled the crubeen with enthusiasm and Kirwan tried vainly to control the foam rising rapidly in his glass as he poured the stout with an unpractised hand. He cursed his plight as he saw Corcoran wink hugely at Willie. “I heard ye got a right good price for the cattle Mr. Corcoran, and more o’that to ye,” said Kirwan raising his froth filled glass – “Good luck – good luck” they chorused and drank.

After a pause Kirwan said “The new Ferguson is only £375 for cash.”

“Well now that’s very interesting” said Corcoran “for anyone that would be buying one, but of course I always used horses and me sons the same. We have a right good breed of a horse out our way ye know. He’d be a sort of an Irish draught with a dash of the Clydesdale in him and he’d pull anything.” Another pause as Corcoran rested on his oars and waited.

“‘Tis getting right expensive to keep horses shod nowadays,” said Kirwan studying his glass.

Willie was lifting his chin to nod his agreement when the boot hit him on the ankle bone. He froze and looked at the fire.

“Not when we does it ourselves” lied Corcoran defiantly.

“I heard right enough, that a blacksmith can hardly make a living anymore.” said Kirwan as he watched the colour rising in Corcoran’s face. “But” he added quickly, raising his voice to be heard by others, “I suppose it’s because really the ould horse is finished in the farms. Sure ’twould take ye all day to bring a churn of milk to the creamery and your day would be gone for nothing. And sure with the tractor you could be in and back in an hour and not only bring in yer own churn, but carry in the churn for a neighbour, maybe, who wouldn’t be so lucky or maybe wouldn’t have the price of a Ferguson.”

“Faith then” said Corcoran, raising his already big voice, “I heard on good authority that them tractors are no good on hilly land and ye could get kilt off of ’em.”

“Only in the hands of an amachure,” said Kirwan, his voice rising.

“An’ there’s another thing,” rapped Corcoran, “tractors cost money from once you bring ’em into the yard ’till ye get rid of ’em – with oil and repairs and God knows what else – when with the horse ye have his diet for nothin’ and his manure for the land in return and he’ll work away for ye and even if he drops dead, ye have his carcase to sell to the knacker man for a pound or two.”

Ears were cocked all around the pub now as the combatants circled mentally, seeking an opening. There was a hush while glasses were raised and stout was sipped carefully. Kirwan drained his drink, put down the glass and stood up wiping his mouth.

“That’s all history Mr. Corcoran” he said “an’ I’ll tell ye what, I’ll bring out a Ferguson to your farm on Friday at ten o’clock and give ye a free trial and demonstration and you’ll see for yerself that any damn thing your horse can do, my tractor will do it better.” He held out his hand across the table to Corcoran and they shook hands. “Thanks for the drink and Good luck, I’ll see ye Friday. So long Willie.”

“Ay, good luck Jim” said Willie.

Kirwan picked his way towards the door unhurriedly with all eyes on him. “That shook the oul’ bastard” he told himself as he buttoned his gabardine. He was one step short of the door when Corcoran’s voice called out.

“Hey Kirwan, I didn’t ever hear of a Ferguson having a foal.” The door slammed and bawdy laughter followed the salesman down the street.

The Fair, Ballybricken – before the tractor! From a photo by A. H. Poole, Waterford

***

Postscript

Within ten years the horse was gone from the farm, but here and there you would see an odd one. I think that Corcoran’s was one such place.

©Geoff Cronin 2005

About Geoff Cronin

I was born at tea time at number 12 John Street, Waterford on September 23rd 1923. My father was Richard Cronin and my mother was Claire Spencer of John Street Waterford. They were married in St John’s Church in 1919.

Things are moving so fast in this day and age – and people are so absorbed, and necessarily so, with here and now – that things of the past tend to get buried deeper and deeper. Also, people’s memories seem to be shorter now and they cannot remember the little things – day to day pictures which make up the larger canvas of life.

It seems to me that soon there may be little or no detailed knowledge of what life was really like in the 1930s in a town – sorry, I should have said City, in accordance with its ancient charter – like Waterford. So I shall attempt to provide some of these little cameos as much for the fun of telling as for the benefit of posterity.

Thank you for visiting today and I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of Waterford in the 1930s and 1940s courtesy of Geoff Cronin. As always your feedback is very welcome. thanks Sally.