You know what the best thing is about having time off from work? About having a holiday?
It's not that sweet, sweet moment when you first break-up from work and know that you have days and days stretching ahead of you when you don't even have to think about the office let alone go there. That moment when the holiday stretches before you like a perfumed cushion and nuzzles itself into your consciousness and yet you can't somehow quite grasp it hard enough to feel the realness of it - yes, you really are on holiday.
It's not that moment halfway through the holiday when you've released the hand-brake on your enjoyment of time and have finally allowed the days to run away with you; when you let them gather momentum and don't care because the carelessness and freedom to enjoy and waste time is part of what makes a holiday so great.
Neither is it that moment near the end of the holiday when you can count down the days on the fingers of one hand and their imminent loss finally makes you appreciate the preciousness of the sand that is slipping through your fingers minute by minute.
The best thing about a holiday is the very last day.
The very last day when it hits you that tomorrow you have to return to work. Tomorrow you have to pick up the reins again and hook them over your neck and shoulders and cinch them tight. When you have to take the bit back between your teeth, hop onto the hamster wheel and rejoin the futile, endless cycle of the rat race.
Because that's the moment when you see finally your life most clearly.
When you see the good stuff - the stuff that truly matters - thrown into sharp relief against the stuff that doesn't. When you can see how your life ought to be, how you want it to be and where it is all going wrong. Where in the scales rising above your head you see the people that are most important to you sailing past those who are plummeting down, down into the pit of your most contemptuous estimation.
Suddenly life is perfectly clear.
Complacency, routine, finding your feet, slipping back into the old ways, "it's just like I've never been away"... these are your enemies. These are the soporifics and the narcotics of existence that keep you where you probably don't want to be.
Shun them. Don't cosy back up to them. They are not your friends.
Best part of this holiday? Truly?
Not Legoland or The Space Centre or Enginuity as great as all these places were.
It was a free helium balloon from a restuarant that dashed itself about on its ribbon in the wind yesterday as we walked through Stratford-upon-Avon and had my youngest boy giggling like a maniac. I lost count of how many people that balloon smacked in the face - it was uncontrollable. But every one of them responded with a smile and a laugh and a wink.
That's what life should be like, right there.
Every day should be like that.
Every. Single. Day.