Too Much of A Good Thing

The worst part of going home is always the journey there.  Our own journey today is a fairly modest one, but add together the several hours spent kicking our heels between hotel check-out and taxi pick-up, forty five minutes en-taxi, three hours at the airport IF the flight is on time (note that is a big ‘if’) four and a half hours in an airborne Pringles tube, an hour standing around the wrong carousel waiting for a suitcase that is already on its way to Addis Ababa, followed by an hour’s drive once we have managed to find the car (which, as if by magic, never appears to be where we left it) and it all adds up to a proper old pain in the butt.  Add in the stress factor – Will the airport be hot and packed, will the flight be delayed, will the taxi driver attempt to kill us all? – and the return journey really has very little to recommend it.

The ultimate destination is, of course, home and getting there means mounds of laundry, shopping and the dreaded return to work.  I love my work, but none-the-less, working with the knowledge that ‘Yesterday at this time I was drinking an ice cold beer in a beachfront tavern’ is not always productive.  There is no place like home, but there is quite often, somewhere else you would rather be.  Whilst it is perfectly possible to get too much of a good thing, it is a whole lot easier to get too much of a bad one.  One short snatch of ‘Lady in Red’* is enough to ruin anybody’s day.  A short snatch of ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ can ruin a whole Christmas.  I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever had too much of being on holiday, but I have very often had a hatful of getting back home again.

So, I’m writing this in the bar, cradling my one small pre-journey beer of the day, popping salted peanuts and wondering how long I would have to stay here until it really did feel like too much of a good thing?  Before the call of home became too loud?  Perhaps I have an in-built need to decorate that I am not currently aware of.  Maybe I have a suppressed need to grapple with the day-to-day logistics of matching net income with gross outgoings.  Maybe I have a natural disposition towards self-harm (or D.I.Y and Gardening as most people call it).  Maybe a week is just enough.   Although, if I’m honest, I would very much like to reserve my decision until I’ve had a second one.

Anyway, there you have it.  I will (unlike most of my country it seems) be back to normal next week.  I cannot promise that my posts will be any more considered, any more logical or, indeed any more amusing, but – and here’s the big thing – there will only be three of them.  I do hope that’s a good thing.

*Chris de bloody Burgh

…And I will, of course, also be able to settle down to read some of your own blogs – I can never have too much of that…


Two of my deepest held holiday loves, gin & tonic on the twilight balcony and The Times Cryptic Crossword combine to ensure that I spend many hours staring at a half empty grid and a page of clues that make far less sense than they’re meant to.  I don’t (yet) resort to the method of an old friend who, when in difficulty, would make up answers – and sometimes words – and if the mood took him, new clues to indicate that his answers were, after all, correct.  He took great delight in leaving the newspaper, open at the finished crossword, for all to see.  It gave him great delight to think that some poor, beaten soul might turn to his completed grid to help them complete their own, only to discover that the answer to 13 Down was ‘SKRIBLIB’ the clue to which, unlike his/her own copy was ‘Sound made by tongueless frog’.

I love a day on the sunbed, be-booked and all music’d up, and I love the sea, but I do not like a combination of the two.  A day on the beach is, for me, as bad as it gets on holiday.  (I lie: I once spent a sunbed day next to somebody who played Chris de Burgh all day on a tiny, tinny speaker that actually made my teeth itch.  I think I may have tried to drown myself that day.)  However, I am one of two, and the other one of two loves a day on the beach, so off to the beach we schlepped.  Our beach of the day was a tiny cove, semi-submerged for part of the day (there is a certain frisson to lying on a sunbed as the waves lap ever higher up the legs) and accessed by a five minute scramble across and down a rocky hillside.  It was so inaccessible that I was amazed to be charged €8 for the hire of the beds and to be offered a food and drink menu shortly after we decamped.  How did they get the drinks down without the ice melting?  How did the cream in the doughnut (‘Extra special fresh’) not turn to cheese?  How, in God’s name, had a man of my own age got the bloody sunbeds down there in the first place?  Had they parachuted them in under the parasols?  They didn’t have a toilet though which, at least in part, may well explain the warmness of the sea.

I don’t like sand in ‘stuff’: personal ‘below stairs’ equipment, shoes, teeth and most particularly sun cream.  What can be worse than a liberal application of factor 30 over an enormous portion of beach?  Skin does not burn, it is sanded off.  My wife says that it makes her skin ‘feel alive’.  I try to explain that it is only because she has almost entirely removed her dermis, exposing raw, tingling nerves underneath, but to little avail.

She is currently enjoying the last few rays of the dying sun beside the pool whilst I am enjoying the last few watery gin dregs before the ice completely melts and discovering that, today, 13 Down might well just be ‘SQURROX’*.

*Word stolen from the inestimable Mr Milligan.