Bella, the cat has designated my den as her new favourite place and the basket chair by the radiator her port of call. It is good to have her silent watchful company and nice to be here in this quiet house with the comforting drone of the central heating coming on. I thought the library would work for me but horror of horrors libraries are not what they used to be, at least not in Galway. The place teems with toddlers who all appear out of control, crying, falling, pulling books off of the shelves, running around down to the ''Adult'' section. The employees seem to think of their job as a kind of social gathering, constantly making tea, rattling the teaspoons on their saucers and having long and very loud conversations with the patrons who all look retired and well, bored. This morning was the topper when several mobile phones rang...........I gave up. I left feeling cheated. So much for finding a serene place to write. I must be content with what I have here and so will have to ignore the distraction of the laundry basket that rarely empties and the grocery and things to do list that grows steadily on the blackboard in the kitchen. God but it's nice here, the garden beyond, the tiny green shoots already appearing out of the black soil. The wind whooshing like an ocean rising and falling through the trees, and around this little house. The cat making those strange baby like sounds as if she's dreaming. The lesson I learnt some time ago, you know the one to appreciate what you have, not to look a gift horse in the mouth, that one. Well, I remember being in San Sebastian in the Basque Country one August and it was dinner time. My husband and I decided we were going to find the most fantastic restaurant, renowned as the city is for its outstanding food. The first place we came to I said I wasn't too sure about it and I was confident we would find something better, something memorable, the perfect restaurant. We must have walked around the maze of eateries for two hours. We both got cross with one another, the boys looked like they were going to fall down, we were all very hungry.........and then when we finally decided to give up we realised we were standing once again outside the first restaurant that I deemed unsuitable. We had gone full circle. We went in. The host was wonderful, warm and welcoming, the place informal, the food fabulous. It was a lesson I forgot until today that is. Mary P.