We went to the garden centre this afternoon which was busy with people buying bedding plants and window boxes and such-like. I managed to hobble about among the Buy Two,Get One Free displays...funny how not feeling up to par doesn't stop me from spending money on brightly coloured flowers...!

I especially love the plain scarlet geraniums...had to buy more because all the cuttings I took in the autumn were killed by a sharp frost one night...good enough reason to get some more to go on the cottage windowsills.

But I hadn't been going to write about garden flowers actually...we saw several houses on the way to the garden centre whose owners had sprayed the sides of the road with weedkiller...and that simply makes me cross. We wait for feckin' months for the sight of some greenery and the minute it appears out come the lethal weapons...either chemical or mechanical. The roadsides are awash with Queens Annes lace...or Cow Parsley as it's also called...it looks so pretty and attracts all manner of good flying insects and is the first plant to be sprayed to death...Himself chops it all down in the garden wild areas where it doesn't bother anyone at all...he'd use spray if he thought he'd get away with it, but knows I'd throw all kinds of a fit if he did.

And the huge trouble some house owners go to to prevent the swallows from nesting...they hang up mirrors and glittery things and strips of plastic and the swallows carry on regardless and squeeze their way past the man made obstacles to build their nests anyway...which the said house owners then climb long ladders to knock down. Now that doesn't make me so much cross as furious...swallows do make a temporary mess...their droppings land on pathways and on walls...but it is only short-term and can easily be washed off once they've gone away to sunnier parts in the autumn. Luther has a big old house which is positively alive with swallows and house martins nests...they are stacked together in some places rather like tower blocks where a pair of birds has made a nest right underneath an existing one and so on until there are a dozen or so all full of baby birds...and next to them there'll be another dozen and so on right around the house.

I suppose Ireland is no different to many other countries in that some people have tightly manicured gardens with not a single blade of grass out of place and plant their bedding out in serried rows according to a proper colour scheme...they have grass sprinklers and ride-on mowers and those things for making air holes in lawns and no bee or butterfly would dream of stopping to have a closer look.

Then there are the haphazard gardens where there isn't much need for a lawn 'cos garden chairs can be moved about under trees and close to the back door if it looks a bit like rain and plants appear that you've forgotten all about and pansies self seed in every crevice and there are scuttling and squeaks from small mammals. These are the gardens which are the haunt of butterflies and bees and huge white moths at dusk...

And then the last gardens are the acres of plain grass. Build your new house and faced with an acre of lumpy land you hire a man with a digger who levels it all off and sows grass seed. All you have to do is mow it.

Part Two

That was supposed to be underlined but the underline didn't work so you'll have to imagine it.

It was a blessed relief to know that some of you have had experiences with morphine which were odd to say the least...there were times when I was talking such a load of old codswallop that I honestly thought I'd end up in the ward for the lost and bewildered...the nurses kept telling me it was just the effects of the morphine but as I couldn't remember having had it or being given it I thought they were making it up...

I can't quite grasp why anyone would choose to take the stuff for pleasure to be honest...and plenty do. Imagine feeling off your head most of the time...talking garbage and seeing things that just aren't there...and spending good money to do so.

They must be mad.