We went into town this afternoon and I didn't wear any layers...honestly. Just a thin sweater and my new floral trousers...which are thin as well and I didn't shiver...not once. And if you yawn and think I've totally lost the plot and that is a truly boring snippet of information, then you don't know what our winters been like so you don't...feckin' grim. Having to dress in vast quantities of clothes just to go to bed ain't funny...and there were days when I sat at my desk with great thick socks and furry slippers with a hot-water bottle to rest my poor frozen feets on...and I was wearing fingerless gloves to type...

The Blackthorn blossom is beginning to come out so it'll be a bit colder until it's all blown off in the wind. Blackthorn winter it's called. There are plenty of dandelions sprinkled over the grass verges and the hedge bank down near Tom's is smothered in primroses...

I bought it in the end...well...we did. That manky settee from the furniture shop in town...it isn't as bad as all that and I shall cover it with one of the bed patchwork quilts until such time I make a couple of throws for it....you see I was getting a bit desperate with my crooked brother coming and me having more days when I sort of collapse in a soggy heap and the armchairs are totally knackered...I had a couple of days in bed recently because I was so tired I couldn't keep my eyes open and once installed in bed I'm sort of all on my own and can't keep an eye on things. But I can lie on a settee and watch dreadful daytime T.V. and yell at Himself and demand endless cups of tea and bowls of tinned fruit...

It's the only time I ever drink tea and the only time I ever eat tinned fruit...when I'm not feeling up to scratch...bit weird really when you think.

IKEA will still be selling their posh settees for years to come and when we do get one we might not have so many animals which simply have to share the space with us...

We were startled awake in the middle of the night by the most awful caterwauling in the front garden...my black cats beating a strange cat up. The smaller of the black brothers has already been scalped...though his fur is growing back rapidly and he didn't suffer any long lasting effects. Then his big brother had his ear torn...but that's healing really well...they seem to be even more territorial now they are older than when they were teenage cats. They just about tolerate next doors mangy old thing with his stinky ears and his tendency to harbour lice...but if any other cat deigns to step foot in the garden they go in mob handed and knock seven bells out of them.

Years ago I lived in a tiny two up two down cottage in a row of others just the same, and right across from the front door was a little garden which the council had made from the site of a long gone church...they'd planted flowers and there were seats to sit on and while away half an hour or so. But at night it turned into the main meeting place for all the neighbourhood cats...dozens of them. Calico and black...ginger and white...cats of every age and every colour congregated there to swear and spit and mutter at each other. They draped over the backs of the wooden seats and lurked in the bordering bushes and sat on the surrounding walls...one would begin the yowling...then another and another until the little garden was filled with the sound of violent hisses and spits and glowing amber eyes...

On summer nights when it never became properly dark, I'd sometimes go over there and clap my hands to disperse them...there'd be a flurry of fur and a rapid scattering over the walls and the gates and into the depths of the bushes. And I have a confession to make...sometimes I'd pick a bunch of flowers from the beds...especially the shaggy headed Asters in late summer.

Apart from me stealing the flowers, there was never any vandalism and never once do I remember seeing litter scattered about either...but it was over forty years ago and I don't think people dropped their rubbish everywhere then.

It was in that little garden that I first came across night-scented stock...an unassuming tiny pink flower which opens out at night and smells totally divine...every garden I've had since those days has at least one patch of night-scented stock.

Time to feed the ancient and the toothless methinks before there is a riot and they all gang up on me and demand transfer to a proper home...

The settee is being delivered tomorrow...