Is it good to be home?

One aspect of going away for a time is that one has a new perspective on return. So it is with me now. Or maybe the feelings are just another manifestation of ageing.

I found a pile of post waiting for me and all manner of little things in the house or the garden that seem like priorities. While these chores could keep me busy all day for several days I decided to find the time to buy and read some newspapers, not such a good idea maybe. It seems like my country has changed a great deal while I have been away. The people in Bradford have elected for Parliament a man who has befriended and defended dictators like Saddam, Gaddafi and Assad. (Incidentally, for me Galloway is always either associated with cough medicine or, alternatively, is only mentioned in tandem with Dumfries.) People in London seem as though they could elect a man (Livingstone) who has worked (as a stand in for Galloway!) for the Iranian government broadcasting company Press TV. Both seem to have espoused racism and religious differences as a means of getting votes. I might be naive, but this just seems to me to be very reprehensible and just plain wrong.

On a more trivial level the country appears to have gone barmy over the price of pasties and panic buying of fuel. I do not buy pasties, so I am quite sanguine about that subject. But my local service station was out of fuel on Friday and Saturday – sad face.

Even more trivially, why have washing powders become liquid? This is not my domestic department so I do not know why we have changed. I have effortlessly mastered putting the liquid in the little cup container and balancing it on top of the washing before starting the machine.

However, today, while in the middle of hanging the washing on the washing line, I discovered that the cup had weedled its way into the inside of a king size duvet cover during washing. There ensued an unseemly wrestle lasting some minutes and a great deal of loss of face in front of the neighbours, before the cup was retrieved and drying could commence, with no grass stains or mud on the cover.

One of the items of post waiting for me was one from Bowel Screening Wales. This excellent free service has been going for some time and this is my second go (probably not the best word to use in this context!).

I think it is a great idea in principle but in practice it is tricky and messy. As the instructions say “you have collect two samples from your bowel movement” and do this three times in a 10 day period. You are also asked to take “the test kit, a pen and the instruction booklet into the toilet with you”. So there is a lot to do. After you have taken the six samples you send them away for analysis. In the interests of decency I will not divulge my own particular strategy in taking the samples. If you are ever lucky enough to have these tests I do not want to spoil the fun for you.

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