Its nice to go away, but it's even better to get home. It is? I'm not so sure. Unless you've got a welcoming committee waiting for you, bearing huge floral garlands, or even better a lover with a single stem, who has also filled your fridge with milk, bread and champagne, then it's not such a joy, I can tell you.

It's more like: arrive at Heathrow at 6am looking like hell, to be met by an unwashed mini-cab driver. He will then take you through the most horrid parts of London in his "the-windows-don't-open-lady" smelly cab before dumping you chez toi pounds 30 later.

Then - do you remember where you put those house keys? No. Can you remember the burglar alarm code? Maybe. Don't you want to go back to where you've just come from? Yes. Once across the threshold - oh look, an impressive David Mach paper sculpture. But no, it's just your bills. Wade through this to the kitchen. Dare to peek in the fridge: a bottle of salad dressing and a jar of capers. No mould.

Next, go upstairs. The cats have enjoyed a few bouts of mud-wrestling on the snow-white sheets. Plan to go straight to bed is thwarted. Quick glance at the answerphone. Number of messages displayed is not quite as many as hoped. But then, everyone knew I was away, didn't they?

Look in the mirror and wish I had remembered to buy that Melatonin in Miami. Cannot face unpacking/laundry/mail, so go out to the car. It looks like it has been the sole target of a vicious paintballing competition. But no, this red, lumpy stuff is actually bird shit. This bird has obviously been down the Tandoori King every night for the last two weeks - even the handles are clogged up. I have to go back inside to get a spoon and a plastic bag to gouge out the handle recess just so I can get in the car. Go straight to the carwash. It doesn't come off - I have perma-poo all over my car.

Soon-to-be-ex appears. Nodding in the general direction of my body he says: "Put on some weight, haven't you?" You must never say this to a woman, and he knows it. I wait for him to say "just kidding". He doesn't. I pat his cheek - "so have you" I say, "or are you just storing those nuts for winter?"

There's no place like home.

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