If I ever need a daily dose of excitement or a sudden rush of adrenaline, I don't need to parachute from planes or dive naked from clifftops as other thrill seekers tend to do. All I have to do is go outside for a spot of gardening.
I spent an hour this morning sweeping up leaves and generally just pottering around but I've now returned to the safety of the house, sweaty, exhausted and battle-scarred.
I got off to a bad start by trying to move a large earthenware jug full of water to a shadier part of the garden, without realizing I was disturbing a frog's home. Admittedly, it wasn't the kind of reptile you'd see in picture books on the dangers of the Amazon, but as the frog leapt out and flew inches past my right ear, it was enough to make me jump up and hit my head on a tree branch.
Then I made the foolish decision to try and re-arrange a small, wooden bird-house. It was perfectly OK where it was but I'm one of those irritating people who move things for the sake of it. I don't know what crawled from out of the bird-house, but there was no evidence of wings. Or legs for that matter. Whatever it was just dropped to the ground and slithered silently away.
Although I got another fright, it was an altogether preferable encounter to the one I had with the same bird-house several months ago, when an enormous rat jumped out of the hole, ran up my arm and danced its way across my shoulder-blades. And I swear I'm not making any of this up. Just ask my wife. She was there when I ran screaming into the house.
And finally this morning, I climbed into the fish-pond to re-align some lotus plants and something has bitten me under the water. For a split second, I actually felt its teeth sink into my right calf. And I know it's not my solitary koi carp because I kept him in my eye-line at all times.
Truth be told, there isn't a single ounce of pleasure to be derived from owning and maintaining a garden in Thailand. You can admire it from an upstairs bedroom window or you can show it off briefly to visitors before you all scurry indoors for some air-conditioning - but the act of actually setting foot in a Thai garden is purely for masochists.
And it pains me to say this because I come from a long line of green-fingered family members. Both my mother and father, health permitting, have always taken great pride in their gardens and my grandfather regularly won awards and rather nice certificates from the Birmingham City Council for his pristine front lawn bordered by prize begonias.
The smart people
I know I'm not alone with these opinions. One only has to wander down some of the more affluent Bangkok sois and peek through imposing security gates and you'll never see actual family members enjoying quality time in the garden. No one is sitting under ornate gazebos sipping gin and tonics. You never hear the sound of toddlers splashing around in an inflatable paddling pool.
There might be the leisurely-paced activity of a couple of elderly gardeners as they trim shrubs, cut lawns and sweep driveways but the hi-so family are all inside watching movies on wide-screen TVs and playing with pet poodles. They aren't stupid enough as to venture outside where there is every possibility of being squeezed to death by a python.
Not forgetting mosquitos
On a recent trip to England, we had one evening when the weather was decent enough to sit outside in shirt-sleeves and enjoy some late autumnal sunshine. I know there are not many opportunities to do this in the UK but if you make hay while the sun shines, it's a most agreeable way to spend a couple of hours - all sat around a garden table with ice cold beers and enjoying the great outdoors.
You can never do this in Thailand. Not unless you want every mosquito for miles around to join the party.
I suppose this is a big advantage of living in a serviced condominium that has one of those communal gardens, usually with a well-tended flowerbed and perhaps a wooden bench or two.
Although sitting outside in the sunshine might seem like a good idea at the time (and let's face it, you're going to have the communal garden to yourself anyway) the moment you feel the first nip from a flying insect, you can return to the cool shade of your room - just like all the other sane residents. And you don't even have to worry about the upkeep. That's someone else's responsibility. Sounds like the perfect arrangement to me.