The warm weather has been fabulous but I’m already at risk of burning out. I wish I could say the same for the insects and weeds invading my garden – they’re all absolutely thriving in the balmy conditions
• LADS! The Heat (capital letters are intended to indicate the intensity of … the heat)! It has been unreal hasn’t it? Although what I’d really like to know is how long such glorious conditions are likely to continue? We could probably have accurately forecast last week’s warm spell as it’s nearly always good for Schull’s Fastnet Film Festival, and ditto for the upcoming Leaving Cert, but what about after that? The danger is, you see, that we’ll burn out (literally) before we’re even properly into June. Mainland Europeans can set a nice handy pace for themselves as they know they’re pretty much guaranteed warm weather all summer. But in Ireland we live in fear of the switch flicking back to temperate, mild or worse again, muggy conditions, at any stage. That’s why we adopt the approach of ‘going hard or going home’ at the slightest sign of the mercury rising. Round here it’s been BBQs for breakfast, dinner and tea (full disclosure: proper dinners are off the menu…. What? It’s too hot!), I’ve had to abandon work as I’m too busy applying sun cream, marinading something or ‘tidying up’ a 99 for small people (It’s one of the few advantages of being an adult). It is full-on trying to fit in the pier jumping, beach trips, whale watching, picnics, outdoor meat eating, not to mention all the conversations needed about it all. But as Munster’s John Hodnett would say ‘f*** it!’ It’s brilliant. Unless, that is, you’re my dog who is in her twilight years and under savage pressure from it all. I feel like I should train in CPR or have a defibrillator on standby, the panting has reached such levels.
• Anyway, the only drawback is that the warm conditions have encouraged a level of biodiversity around my house that I’m not entirely comfortable with. I suppose on some level I should be pleased that all creatures great and small seem to like hanging around my pesticide-free gaff, but it’s freaking me out. We’ve ants everywhere (except in our pants …. Not yet), blood suckers, tiny red spiders, big black spiders, little mites, big mites and a whole range of unidentified creepy crawlies all vying for sunbathing space on the patio. So far we’ve maintained our line of defence and they’re only outside, but I’m bracing myself for an invasion. The flies are the only ones to have breached defences – they seem to be arriving earlier every year. Regular readers will know my aversion and I’ve gone through two swats already. Of course our overly insulated house doesn’t help. I know I go on (and on) about this but it’s not just me. Honestly. There’s loads of us out there in new-builds who start to sweat at this time of the year. I think we need to form a supporters club, or start a movement to try and get subsidies for fans, or awnings. Who’s with me?
• I’m already in fear of a hosepipe ban being introduced, even if all that’s mainly thriving in the garden are the weeds. I swear to God, I devoted a good chunk of time last year to eradicating, or so I thought, this horrible vine-like weed that was choking our hedges (it’s official name is bindweed or bellbind). I still have the scrawl marks on my arms to prove it. Anyway the bugger is only flipping back with a vengeance. I am fuming! Some quick googling revealed it’s able to regenerate from the smallest root sections left in the ground. Fabulous. On a more positive note, apparently bindweed flowers do provide pollen for bees and the leaves are a source of food for the larvae of convolvulus hawk moths. Great. They are probably moving in and unpacking as I type. The white hawthorn and the foxgloves in the ditches are only lovely though, aren’t they?
• Right, so how are we all doing with bed times for younger family members these days? If you’re still on schedule skip onto the next paragraph. For everyone else: it’s pure torture isn’t it? The wheels have come off in my house off in a big way. Even a killjoy like me is struggling with the usual curfews these glorious evenings and sure we’re all clung (literally) to the mattress the next morning vowing that ‘tonight will be different.’ How long to the school holidays again? Also any tiny bit of enthusiasm I had towards the school lunches (and there wasn’t much) has left the building. After 10 months I’m finally prepared to admit that my child will only eat bread and butter sandwiches, and that all other efforts are just a gigantic waste of time. I wish it hadn’t taken me this long to accept that.
• Finally, with taking time out here and there to enjoy the great weather I devoured Liz Nugent’s Strange Sally Diamond and absolutely loved it. If you haven’t already had the pleasure, get yourself to a local bookshop now and pick up a copy. Also, I’m not sure if it was in a moment of weakness or wisdom but I ordered What’s Wrong with Me?: 101 Things Midlife Women Need to Know, by former UK magazine editor Lorraine Candy. It’s getting good reviews, so I’ll keep you all posted. Hopefully there’s a section on insects … and getting rid of bindweed.