When the sun shines in Ireland everyone agrees it is the best place in the world. All worries are shelved as lawn mowers are started up and people wander around in summer clothes in case they don’t get a chance to wear them again.

This time last year I would be have been driving to some part of the country, trying to reach 4 or 5 appointments in the day to do presentations to engineers for a web service. This could mean that I got up at 4 or 5am to drive from Galway to Donegal or Cork perhaps. I would then spend the night there and do more presentations the next day before heading home late evening. The other three days would be spent desperately trying to catch up on the computer, setting up meetings for the following week and trying to keep children quiet when the phone rang.

I covered the whole country so I would pick a county each week, the upside being I did get to see a wealth of scenery on the way. It was a good job, with a car and a phone etc. and I was based from home, connected by a portal straight into the office in County Armagh, 123 miles away. I should have done a survey on hotels. There were a huge number of beautiful hotels built in the last few years, in fabulous locations, fitted out to the highest quality, most with leisure centres and spas. So that is one good thing that the Celtic tiger left us. And now the competition is so tight you can easily find the cheapest deals in Europe

When the sun shone, as it only does for a few random weeks a year I was almost certainly in the car or stuck to the computer. I am so grateful not to be working for the last week. It has been glorious, sunny, hot, calm, Spring weather.

Oh the perfect pleasure of mowing grass.

I bought a bargain lot of wild roses and planted a hedge, cleared the branches out of the little walled garden next to the house and mowed it for the first time in years, weeded the flower beds, planted strawberries and dreamt up a vision for paths and seats and water features and cottage garden planting…..

Yes, in the poor man’s garden grow
Far more than herbs and flowers-
Kind thoughts, contentment, peace of mind,
And joy for weary hours.
Mary Howitt

There are three large hares on the farm this year, they lollop around like small ponies and there is a pheasant that shouts a lot. He managed to avoid the open season and took refuge in the bushes near the cows’ feeder over the winter, cleaning up the oats when they had finished. The small birds are out in force, rioting in the morning and tearing around looking for nests. One pair of thrushes has taken up residence in the vent to the extractor from the cooker, so we won’t be extracting for a while! The colony of crows are deep into the construction phase of their big nests on the tall ash trees, squabbling deafeningly over the best sticks and pieces of moss and sheep’s wool to line them. The daffodils have peeked too early apparently and will be over by Easter.

The trees are budding and you can feel the grass growing.

Spring arrives to IrelandIlaria Leschiutta