the price of swedes


I’ve been wondering a lot about the price we put on things ever since I noticed that my local supermarket had swedes aka turnips on sale for 29c each.

Anyone who has ever grown anything in their garden knows that a swede is worth far more than 29c.

They’re in the ground for up to 6 months.
They’re spaced about 23cm apart so if I grew them in one of my veg beds (3m x 1.2m), spent 6 months weeding, watering, looking after them from seedling to plate I’d have about 48 turnips.

48 turnips x  €0.29 = € 13.92.

That’s €13.92 for
preparing the ground,
making sure that the soil is good and healthy,
paying for seeds,
thinning out seedlings,
pest control,
harvesting them and to make sure that at there is something for us to eat some day in February.

I’d have been trying to grow my swedes in a way that was proper and good, that made sure that the soil was being looked after, that nature wasn’t being harmed.

That is just for doing all that 4 metres from my back door.

If I was to do all that then get them to a market to sell and charged €1.45 (like one of the local organic farms do) what are people who have been buying turnips for 0.29c going to think?

They’re probably going to think my swedes are expensive and over priced.
Why would you pay €.29 when you can pop up to Aldi and buy 5 times as many?

From my experience of growing vegetables €1.45 is an entirely fair price for growing swedes in the right way.
My homegrown 48 swedes would probably be worth something between €13.92 and €70. But I don’t have to pay employees or transport costs to market. I’d say that I could probably grow 48 swedes over the next year for about 5 hours work. Maybe that is an underestimation/overestimation. I would need more than an 1.5hrs though which is what it works out for a €0.29 swede.

In another example of  stupid pricing people who wanted to watch men violently beat the lining out of each other on TV screens in the name of ‘entertainment’ will happily spend between $50 -55.
I have no idea if those figures are right.

But if Conor McGregor  doesgets paid between $5-7 for each pay per view for trying to smash somebody’s face in (or getting his face smashed in) in the name of Saturday night entertainment while farmers are being squeezed to accept low prices for FOOD what does that say about moneys ability to put a true value on things?

church business

Business speak when applied to churches does my head in a bit.
Phrases like ‘strategic’,’implementation’, ‘organization’. Other words as well.

Words like ‘training’ or ‘resources’.
I hate when Christian stuff is turned into a business.

So whenever I have to pay to listen to a sermon someone has given I don’t go near that sermon. What are you doing? Either don’t put the sermon up or else stop making money out of the Gospel.

Leave a donate button and explain that of course it is free but if you’d like to leave a donation to put towards the cost of web hosting etc grand.

Pastors who run online courses that will show you how to unleash power that will change communities etc for hundreds of £’s do my head in. What is that all about?

A Bible app (which I’ve now uninstalled) kept pushing for me to update to a special version that had extra material or something…I don’t even know what it was offering I was so busy uninstalling it.

Another thing I hate is stupid Christian conferences that tell people to book early as places are limited. Making it into a competition to get on something that is supposed to build people up as a Christian?
I understand that there is only a certain amount of people that a venue can accommodate but still. Can you run the same event again until everybody is accommodated?

Making Sense of the World

I’ve been making big maps the past week or two.

I think that it is an attempt to make sense of the world I live in, to nail something about it down so I can look at it and touch. Perhaps it makes me think I’ve some measure of control on it or something like that?

Today I was working on an A0 sized world map marked with musicians/bands from every country.


It is my favourite map so far…not because of anything I’ve done but simply because I’ve been listening to new music from every corner of the planet. Here are 5 tunes I’ve enjoyed listening too so far..

1 Pierre Akendengu (Gabon)

2 Hukwe Zawose (Tanzania)

3 Shoukichi Kina (Japan)

4 Huun-Huur-Tu (Tuva, part of Russian Federation)

5  Los Vikings (El Salvador)


Everybody Ought to Treat a Stranger Right

The wind is beating the trees behind the house and it’s raining.
Still I’m sitting in a nice warm living room in a house built from mortar and brick. My home hasn’t just been flattened by a digger thousands of miles away from the place that was truly home.

I was listening to Blind Willie Johnston singing this gospel song last week.
Blind Willie is preaching the gospel. Preach it Willie!

‘Well all of us down here are strangers,none of us have no home
Don’t ever hurt, oh, your brother and cause him to live all alone

Everybody ought to treat a stranger right, a long ways from home
Everybody ought to treat a strange right,a long way from home..’

big hands

wp-1452600683513.jpgI got a tablet for Christmas.
The last tablet, a Hudl 2  met an unfortunate end on Inis Oírr, bouncing on the laminate floor of Kieran’s house and cracking the screen.
It was a good tablet and I was waiting for Christmas to replace it. But Tesco stopped making them and a Lenovo Yoga 2 was bought instead.

It has an amazing battery but unusual shape.
But what I’ve noticed is that I’m writing less. The change of tapping buttons to screen means that I find it harder to get a flow of words going. In fact the fact that his blog is happening is because I happened to pick up the laptop for the first time in a month. If I was on the tablet I wouldn’t have bothered.

Tapping a screen is less intuitive for my Mars Bar fingers and means that I get frustrated more easily.
This makes me wonder if people with bigger hands have been writing less as technology and screens have become smaller and more a matter of typing?
Are big people less likely to blog or write emails or messages to friends as they are more likely to get tired of the whole process?
It is maybe less intuitive as you have to concentrate more on hitting the right buttons  as your hand gets bigger?

Also is quality of writing likely to suffer as you’re less likely to make the effort to change things?

On the other hand maybe it’s good that blog posts like this are less likely to appear when I’m on a tablet!

But When Shall I paint the Starry Heavens?

‘But when shall I paint the starry heavens?—that picture which is always in my mind? Ah, what the worthy Cyprian says in J. K. Huysmans’ “En’ Ménage,” is very true!—“The most beautiful pictures are those of which one dreams when one is smoking a pipe in bed but which one never paints.” And yet one must tackle such pictures, however incompetent one may feel in the presence of the inexpressible perfection and triumphant splendour of nature…’

Vincent van Gogh


World Cinema No.1, Algeria / The Battle of Algiers

(I am not really one for cinema or film. It has to be something I really want to watch before I commit to a couple of hours of sitting in the one spot.
Still, I’ve been thinking about setting myself the challenge of watching a film/documentary/Youtube clip from every country in the world during ’16. I’m not sure I’ve the will to pull it off but we’ll see how we get on..)



The Battle of Algiers is one of the toughest films I’ve sat through and watched. Filmed in black and white it is set in 1950’s Algeria and depicts the uprising against France.

It is relevant and I guess that is what makes it a tough watch.
Bombs going off in cafes while young people dance and have a good time, soldiers breaking down doors and torturing young men.
Death and violence spiralling out of control.

It reminded me uncomfortably about growing up in Northern Ireland and it reminded me of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

So while I found it challenging, engrossing and enjoyed the camera work the cruelty of men and women to each left me feeling a bit depressed.