Moonshiners Is Back

The Discovery show Moonshiners is back. And Tim’s main helper, Tickle, is running fer President. Truly, I am not even sure if he knows what year it is:

Tickle for President, from Moonshiners

Although he may be an improvement over some politicians in office now.

3 thoughts on “Moonshiners Is Back

  1. Don’t tell my husband about this show. He has tried wine making and is now big into beer brewing. I just don’t think I can handle a still in the back yard.

  2. We have not had the pleasure of this program yet… Though it does tickle my fancy.

    Quick dit…

    When the Northern Ireland ‘troubles’ were in full swing the ‘bad guys’ (IRA-INLA-Red Hand Commandos, etc) raised illegal funds by taxing every source imaginable; every thing from drugs, salmon poaching, smuggling, prostitution etc.
    Included in the black market was the sale and taxing of quality ‘potcheen’ or moonshine.

    ‘FORKHILL’ (Security Force Base), South Armagh, N.I. (mid-winter)

    During one deployment I was tasked to take two sections of marines on a five-day patrol, operating in and around the woods of Slieve Gullion Mountain. The primary aim was to deter terrorist patrols at ground level as well as search for weapons caches/hides throughout the forest. The border with the South was only 3 miles away, from which the bad guys entered to conduct terrorist operations, naturally every one was on their tippy toes.

    The previous evening a terrorist presence had been reported in the area. Intel reported activity was always accurate.

    As it was mid winter, the thick pine forest offered great shelter towards dusk, especially as we climbed high seeking ‘bivvy’ positions; the chest height boulders interspersed around the trees also provided a natural defensive fortress.
    In addition to this the build up of pine needles on the forest floor acted as a great medieval mattress. Each evening nature offered a different lie up position with a ready-made bed at hand. On top of which, the clear mountain streams provided fresh water for utilities.
    Absolute bliss until the dreaded dawn ‘shake’ followed by the whisper of “stand-to”!
    (Even to this day the sound of a heavy brass zip being pulled slowly reminds me of the cocoon warmth of an arctic sleeping bag in winter).

    On the third morning after ‘stand-to’ I watched the sun slowly rise as the creeping mist rolled through the trees and off the mountain into the valley below.

    I then feasted like a King on a breakfast of porridge and dead fly biscuits just as a sweet scent wafted past me, I curiously looked across at the small petrol stove boiling my tin mug full of water; (I could smell pine wood burning-not me)? I looked around at the others; tactically the smell would eventually breeze through the woodland and give our position away, even though we were on high dominant ground it was not a good start to the day…

    One of my Marines had picked up on it and scurried around the position to ‘nail’ the culprit whose cooker was scorching wood. He came back to me almost immediately “not us”. Each and every Bootneck ceased breakfast & slowly stood-to, watching and waiting.

    I then caught another waft of carboniferous burn, not pine smoke, a scent from recent times, *(the smell of which still brings back strong memories to this day).

    ‘Eureka’! The scent here on Slieve Gullion was that of ‘peat’ smouldering slowly; a sweet homely odour that only peat produces when wood has ignited it correctly. The bad guys certainly would not burn peat as they used ‘hit and run’ tactics through the hours of darkness, and the mountain was to steep for inhabited stone huts or log cabins? It dawned on me that the initial wood smoke was someone igniting a peat fire, of which they were successful! It meant one thing? An illegal ‘still’, and judging by the very faint smell they were at least a half a mile away down to our front.

    *(We had only been back from the Falkland Island Conflict a few months since, from where the ‘Argies’ used small peat fires to heat and cook in their trenches. When we attacked and over run them; the smell of the unwashed (as well as the stench of ‘death’ afterwards) permeated with that of smouldering peat.
    An odour unique for the wrong reasons.

    I looked at my 2 i/c and dramatically [possibly comically] mouthed the words “peat burning”, he looked at me and nodded, he then scurried off and returned with one of our young Marines who looked puzzled. I looked at them both and give the international shrug & look that means, “What? I don’t understand? What the ‘flip’ is going on”? 2 1/c silently pointed at the young Marine and arched his eyebrows ‘tom-n-jerry’ style.

    Then I realised what he had done; I burst forth with a fit of (‘manly’) giggles, he had scurried off and brought back one of our young Marines; Pete Burnham! I called ‘stand-down’ and explained the cause of the smoke, as well as my dramatically mouthed words with teary eyes.

    Breakfast finished and a plan for action; If there’s a ‘still’ then there’s also a tool for gathering intelligence. I left one section with both GPMG’s’ on higher ground and led the other to seek the source. After observing the area for over an hour; movement was spotted when an elderly ‘gent’ was seen taking water from a stream; he then disappeared back into a small clearing.
    (A ‘still‘ requires a constant supply of cold water to cool down and replace the heat exchangers’ boiling water, our man would appear again, soon).

    After half an hour he appeared, this time I was stood close to the stream at the side of a boulder with the remainder of the section covering me; “hello mate” to which he replied “bejeezus” and promptly dropped his tin bucket.
    I asked him to walk back into the clearing with me, as I wanted to observe his operation. I also asked if he was by himself, to which he replied “no, no I am not, I have got my Father with me”. This surprised me as this ‘gent’ was in his late 70’s? True enough sat on a small log at the edge of the clearing was an elderly man who was in his 90’s! He just looked up with twinkling eyes, smiled, and waved us forward. Only in Ireland!

    My section ended up making them both a tin mug of tea, as we shared our ‘dead fly biscuits’ enjoying a wee bit of ‘craic’, all the while watching and listening to the ‘still’ as it made its rattling bubble & squeak noise. They were two good people who kept themselves to themselves without bearing any malice to the Security Forces operating in the area (even though the whole county was 100% catholic).

    I even had ‘Peat Burns’ running for water until the first ‘run’ of Potcheen had finished. To test the quality of the first run they threw a small sample onto the peat, which ignited like petrol. I declined a taster on the grounds that I was actually sane, and my kidneys had suffered sufficiently from past abuse.

    The amount they were producing was minimal and for their own consumption. Discretion was the word of the day, and though offered; I turned down a bottle of the good stuff (probably a silly thing to turn down as it was possibly the elixir of youth, judging by the way the two elderly ‘adolescents’ sauntered casually down the steep valley as they went on their way)!

    There’s more to tell, but I will save it for a rainy day.

    Yours Aye.

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