I'd intended to write about the Irish peasants finally rebelling against the landlords but I'll need to swot up first because I'd rather make certain all the facts are correct rather than just write off the top of my head and find I've told you loads of fibs...for instance I was certain the Whiteboys formed in the 19th c and they didn't...it was the 1700's.

Personally I blame my lack of memory on the morphine...the other day when I'd biked down to the big bridge and I'd turned round to come home, I couldn't for the life of me remember which side of the road I ought to be on...so I sort of dithered about somewhere in the middle. It's just as well we don't have much traffic nowadays.

Whether it has anything or nothing to do with the vast amounts of meds I was fed with I have no idea, but I no longer....touch wood...have those terrible nightmares I'd suffered from for years...since childhood actually. Now I just have fairly innocent dreams and don't wake up in a cold sweat anymore.

Just been thinking about the Whiteboys...Paddy's house must be older than ours because they used to meet in the upstairs of the barn where he had his milking parlour. One of the oddities about the far West is the number of old houses and cottages which are simply left after the owner dies. Paddy's cottage has a section at the front which is known as Granny's and Grandpa's house. It is the original building I think, because like ours it's just three rooms in a straight row. But since the old couple passed away it has been left pretty much as it was...Kit, who was the mother of the neighbours next door that side, died years ago...but her house...unmodernised and quietly rotting away...has been left exactly as it was when she was alive.

Frank's homeplace is still standing...but empty...as is Kitty's mothers cottage. You see them everywhere...little cottages in varying states of neglect and disrepair which aren't touched after the last owner or occupant departs this mortal coil. I think it's a bit weird actually when the adult children cripple themselves with hefty mortages for a brand new house when their Grandparents place is left to quietly rot away.

Plenty of cottages are still sold on of course...the silly prices have dropped like stones since the recession and now they are back at the level they were when we came home...scrape about down the back of your settee and in pockets of jackets not worn for a while and you'll have enough cash to buy yourself a geniune Irish cottage with a bit of land. We're nice to foreigners unless they endlessly grumble about the shops not opening until 10 in the morning and not having a daily paper delivered. Then we can get quite cross. I met an American woman in the supermarket one day who trailed round after me bewailing her fate to have to live in such a backward country where she was unable to buy a packet of cake mix and I ended up tempted to give her a slap and tell her to get a grip. Instead I just made soothing noises and carried on putting stuff in my trolley...she drifted away in the end, I'm glad to say.

We did know a couple some years ago who drove all the way to Enniskillen in the North to buy toothpicks from Boots chemists. We didn't have a Boots then you see...and another couple, who've since returned to England, wouldn't have their car serviced here because they didn't trust the Irish mechanics...it wasn't a special sort of a car...not a vintage Bentley...just an ordinary saloon. That same couple also used to drive to Enniskillen, a distance of sixty miles...when Heinz baked beans were on special offer.

So if you're planning to come and live in tumbledown cottage down a boreen and have a goat and a few chickens don't you be complaining about not being able to buy cake mix. Learn how to make a cake from stratch like everybody else.And we have Boots stores now so you'll be alright for toothpicks.