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by Joanna Cunningham

There’ll be days like this T

here are days when, in the throes of my parenting role, I am like a well oiled machine...there are a remarkably

greater number of days, though, when the most complimentary metaphor I can think of for myself is something along the lines of, say, a dodgy Lada (do Ladas still exist?). I’m not an expert but as far as I understand, in their heyday, while they could survive a nuclear winter, a Lada would come out the loser in a contest with, for example, a sleek Porsche or a well looked after Volkswagen. When I am operating to my Porsche

capacity I fl oat seamlessly from task to task in the course of my day. No crisis is too

great to overcome, no pile of laundry is too huge to wash, dry, iron and fold (I tell a lie, I never iron – upon close inspection most of my family’s clothes will appear just a little bit crinkly). Anyway, on with the metaphor, my kitchen surfaces gleam, my fl oors are entirely crumb free, the school lunches are made with hours to spare, the cornfl akes are on the table before I go to bed, work related deadlines are met with shocking punctuality - you get the picture. Sadly this state of being accounts for about fi ve to seven per cent of my time, at a rough guess. More often – when I am in broken

down Lada mode – the picture is rather more murky. I dial a number and forget who it is that I am ringing, I race upstairs to retrieve something from a bedroom and spend a minute and a half when I arrive wracking my brain about why I am there. I push my trolley around the supermarket in dazed baffl ement about what I need to buy (no list of course) and on a particularly bad day I have been known to happily stand by and observe myself pumping petrol into my diesel car with an almost gratuitous lack of awareness. I don’t think I am alone though. I recently drove past a thirty something

May - jobs to do in the garden GARDENING


ay can be a hectic month in the garden, you will probably not need a list of

what to do because it will be staring you in the face every time you walk through your garden. May is a good month for lifting spring

bedding plants and preparing to plant summer bedding plants. Put in supports for your tall herbaceous plants and you can also plant up your hanging baskets. Roses can be sprayed for black spot, mildew, aphids etc. Trim conifers and evergreen hedges

in May but remember to check for nesting birds before clipping. Keep hoeing the 32

weeds in your garden and beds, but perennial weeds like dandelion and dock will need their roots removing to prevent re-growth. Bindweed can be a nightmare to stop, and a small piece of root left in the ground will grow. It is much easier and more effective to use a spray of glyphosate based weed killer, which will go to the roots and kill the plant. Don’t forget that slugs and snails are about, if you fi nd an entire row of seedlings have vanished overnight you can bet it was one of them that was responsible. Protect emerging shoots by placing slug pellets around the garden, beer in a container or saucer will also do the trick if you prefer a more organic or humane approach. The middle of May can be one of the

driest times of the year and most gardens will begin to dry out. Use a water butt to collect rain water, this water is ideal for watering plants in the garden. You can set up a water butt on the downpipe of your house or garden shed. As your lawn loves the warmer temperatures that May brings, it’s now time to get into the lawn mowing regime for summer. Mow your lawn when

woman hurriedly walking her children (presumably to school) with a dog in tow being led with an old bra in place of a lead. I looked on sympathetically and could only guess that some level of chaos was afoot. I console myself, on days like these, by

remembering that this behaviour must be symptomatic of trying, as a friend recently described it, to keep multiple glass balls in the air. ‘Occasionally,’ my friend went on to say, ‘one of these balls will slip from my grasp and I will discover to my relief that it bounces!’ This is the kind of positive thinking that will get us through the twenty seven consecutive nights of broken sleep and inhumanely early starts. Keeping our eyes fi xed on the bigger picture will surely help to bring out our inner Porsche....well, here’s hoping!

Joanna Cunningham is the creator of The

SMARTS programme - an early intervention, arts based, behavioural support programme for Junior and Senior Infants. Please visit for more information

by Martin Doyle

necessary which is usually every week, gradually bring down the height of the cut by lowering the blade on your lawnmower. With the evenings getting longer every

week now is an ideal time to get out in your garden and do all those jobs you were putting off. For any of those jobs that are too big to manage or that you don’t have the equipment to do, make sure to contact your local landscaping contractor who will be happy to help or advise you.

Tel: Martin

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