This wall to wall sunshine is all very well but it shows up every teeny speck of dust and every single grubby bit on the walls and floors...and just don't mention the windows. Those new windows we had installed that I vowed to keep pristinely clean and sparkling are decidely dusty...on the outside...and fly-spotted...on the inside.

We're not geared up to the summer months in the way countries with proper summers are. No air-conditioning of course...we just open all the windows and sigh a lot...and flap our hands about in the vain hope of making a draught. No fly-screens either 'cos it's often too cold for the pesky creatures and when it's hot enough for them to descend in droves we resort to sticky fly papers which look gross once half a dozen have died an unnatural death with their little legs pedalling away frantically while their wings are firmly caught on the paper.

They...the flies...die on the windowsills as well...leaving bloated carcases stuck behind the potted plants and are only revealed when said plants are moved to be watered...it won't be long before the wasps come out in spiteful gangs, hell bent on stinging anything that vaguely resembles a human...sometimes I catch one banging on the window and manage to squash it before a dog tries to eat it...but then it leaves a nasty gooey mess on the glass and I suppose it's only doing what wasps do but having been stung several times and having the sting immediately go gruesomely septic I regard wasps with dislike, not to say loathing.

There is the tinest little midge which lives on the surface of the bogs...they appear in vast swarms on summer evenings and can easily drive a strong man to drink with their incessant nipping at bare flesh. Sometimes the swarms are so bad that everyone who has been saving their turf or walking their dogs simply gives up and goes home...the dogs bring them indoors on their fur and then we spend the rest of the evening slapping at our arms and legs in a futile way and stratching our heads until our scalps are quite sore.

All one can hope for is a breeze...doesn't have to be a strong wind...just a slight breeze will blow the midges away and the turf savers and walkers can relax for a while.

Not all flying insects sting or bite of course...there are the little nypmhs which look like a small dowdy version of a dragon-fly...and the gorgeous dragon-flies themselves, who hover over the garden resplendent in their bright gaudy colours of emerald greens and deep sparkling blues. The fat bumble bees cause no harm either nor do the little brown solitary bees or mortar bees who live on their own in a burrow in walls...hence mortar...or in hedge banks.

One summer, when we were living in England, we were beseiged by hornets and had to 'phone the local police station to ask for the number of anyone local who could deal with them. That was actually rather scary...they were so intent...or so it seemed at the time...on getting indoors with us, that they were banging on the doors and windows. The chap who appeared in full protective gear of face mask and overalls and thick gloves managed to get the queen hornet...she'd rested in a tree...and once he'd caught her, all the other hornets followed her into the containers he'd brought. He released them in the nearby forest where they could do little harm.

My own personal enemy, which neither bites nor stings, is the slug. Feckin' creatures coming slipping and sliding out after dark and munch their way through anything and everything I've planted leaving long sticky mucus trails...I have no hesitation in slinging them into the river or onto the road where they get squashed by the next tractor which comes along...toads love slugs but we don't have toads in Ireland...just frogs and not enough frogs in the garden to make any impression on the vast quantities of slugs. Well-meaning friends suggest beer traps...they'd work in a small garden I expect, but not in one which is almost an acre in size.

Everyone suffers from the slugs...especially the great green spotted ones which can reach a good six inches in length but the worse story I've ever heard was when Cindy...she who bathes naked in ice cold Swedish lakes...woke up to find one slurping up her arm...she had a case of the hysterics as you would and her husband...our son Luke...simply flicked it onto the bedroom floor with his finger and went back to sleep...