Is this the way to Amarillo?

lwicklow seal 008

Sha lala  la la lala la la(boom, boom)  Sha lala etc..  Gerry Manners and his band did a great version of Neil Sedaka’s 1960’s classic, in the Windmill Restaurant on Saturday nights ‘back in the day’…You say ‘back in the day’..when your memory becomes confused. You could have a  prawn cocktail with real Dublin Bay prawns and a ‘Windmill special’ steak with a few pints, or even wine. If the spirit moved you there was a dance floor. I still judge a restaurant by whether or not the prawns have a Dublin accent. I eat and enjoy most of the immigrant prawns no matter how they speak, but your Dublin Bay lads are your only man. As for dancing, my ineptitude is still a cause of contention. I may attempt a comeback sometime but at present I am resting. I can still manage the prawns and the steak though, no bother.


Joe Plunkett and his brother, Terry, were the first fishermen to land prawns in Skerries, as recently as 1950. I know a few people who resist prawns, on the basis that they are merely the insects of the sea. Great. That leaves a few more for the rest of us. Prawns became synonymous with Skerries. We once had a prawn festival to encourage the eating of prawns. No encouragement is needed. All the others are impostors disguised in sauce. But I digress.

amarillo 002

In the great state of Texas there is a city called Yellow. Not a word you associate with Texas when used as a term of abuse. Gelb is yellow in German, according to the label on the paint tube but the word sounds like the discharge from a pustule. The French say jaune which suggests a jaundiced view of the colour. Amarillo is the proper name of the city, the capital of the Texas Panhandle and gateway to the great South West. It evokes sunshine and sandstone deserts; mesas and canyons; Coronado and his Conquistadors; mission bells, Arapahoes and Apaches; cowboys, dusty trail drives and all the romance and panoply of the West. Why did Johnny Cash or Jim Reeves, not have a Forty Shades of Amarillo to match the shades of green? There are many more than forty shades of yellow. We get quite a few of them in spring and early summer.

amarillo 003

Get the last of the daffodils!! Windsor yellow.

amarillo 005

Chrome yellow, poppies.

amarillo 006

Cadmium yellow

Admittedly Neil and company engaged in some extravagant displays of grief and longing: huggin’ my pillow (rhymes with…come on; weepin’ like a willow..rhymes with…that’s right. You’ve got it.) Sweet Marie might be a bit alarmed if he were to arrive in such a heightened emotional state. I like to think that she was Sweet Marie Rose, inventor of the ideal seafood sauce. I can appreciate Neil’s desire to  get back to her without delay…. prawn cocktail followed by a nice steak a few pints and a fond reunion.  There might even be a spot of dancing. Gerry had another favourite, The Snowbird. Snowbirds, I understand, are elderly people who fly south to avoid the winter. Amarillo has the occasional blizzard so they would be well advised to go further south. Food experts write that prawn cocktail is hopelessly out of fashion; so nineteen seventies, certainly not ‘cutting edge.’ Strangely though, it still tastes good. The Windmill restaurant has revived some of its old favourites. Well done to them. If you hang on to your old clothes for long enough they will come back into fashion. |You will be ‘cutting edge’, a trend-setter.  Maybe drunken-uncle-at-wedding dancing will be the next big thing.

lwicklow seal 010

Oilseed rape is the latest thing too. It can shine a light on the landscape on even the dullest day. Aureolin yellow, another  of the forty shades. It lights up your journey.

lwicklow seal 013

I went into a shop that specialised in kitchen equipment. It was a slow day for trade. The young woman at the cash desk was reading Fifty Shades of Grey. The title puts me in mind of Ikea soft furnishings.  She was engrossed. I wanted to get a gadget for crushing garlic cloves to make garlic butter for some prawns and mussels. It struck me as possibly a bad time to ask for it. I settled for half a dozen teaspoons and beat a hasty retreat.

Sha lala la la lala la la (Boom boom)