Meself and herself went on a skite down to the Hook Head peninsula in Wexford recently.
he soundtrack to the entire area for the few fine days we were there was the undulating whine of mowers and self-propelled silage harvesters combing the countryside.
Nature produces a riot of growth and colour during these late June days of 18-hour daylight.
Crops that we’ve been willing to grow for months suddenly burst out of their skins and a sense of plenty abounds.
This cuts both ways for gardeners who do battle with weeds for the summer months.
Cleavers colonising every available space and thistles seemingly materialising overnight.
This brings out Mr Knapsack Sprayer. You know the guy I’m talking about.
He takes enormous pride in blitzing every kerb and verge with lashings of Round-Up at approximately 100 times the recommended strength.
June weekends are Mr Knapsack’s peak season, as he unleashes genocide on every blade of vegetation until he’s burned it all to a barren cinder.
Decades later, he sues Bayer for millions because he’s developed cancer and eventually farmers find that another crucial chemical is removed from their arsenal.
These poisonous thoughts were in my head as we started a walk from the truly massive Hook Head Lighthouse.
We were tracing the coastline towards the nearest village of Slade.
While there was clearly a well-established walkway, complete with public toilets at the Slade harbour end, and signage all along warning dog-owners to keep their pets on a leash, it was also clear that the landowners along the route weren’t happy with the set-up.
While most of the old walls had stiles built into them, there were enough of them modified to ensure there was no easy way over or around them.
You could hardly blame them. The only way on to the walkway was down along the headland of a lovely field of spring barley.
While there was a strip of soil at the outer edge, Joe Public had created a dual carriageway by tramping down the first couple of drills of the crop.
No wonder the OPW staff were reluctant to point out how to access the walkway.
It struck me as a classic lack of common sense by the State body. They could easily by-pass the farmer’s field and still facilitate access on to the walkway by a simple doorway in the boundary wall of the lighthouse compound.
Instead, they’ve done nothing and annoyed the neighbouring farmers who, in turn, have done their best to discourage walkers on what could be a national highlight for visitors from home and abroad.
My family owns a field that people also trespass through daily, despite locked gates and well maintained fences.
My blood really started to boil recently when I was actually working in the field with a tractor and sprayer. As I cruised down along the field, I watched a crew of local teenagers hop the fence and saunter up through the field, tramping on the crop itself like it was their God-given right.
As I steamed in the cab, I fantasised about various forms of retribution. Giving them a good dose of fungicide would probably have annoyed them, but it seemed too lenient a punishment.
Lashing razor wire around the top of the fence and letting them all gore themselves and their baggy jeans appealed more to my adrenaline-pumped brain.
But on the basis that I’d prefer not to end up being sued for my entire farm because some twerp slashes his wrist open on my fence, it’s more likely I’ll go for the less exciting option of boarding up the perimeter with eight-foot sheeting.
I’ve tried berating these types about how they’d feel if randomers started using their gardens as a shortcut, but you might as well whistle into the wind.
So to my counterpart in Wexford, I feel your pain. Boarding up my fence is probably far more doable than getting any action out of the OPW.