24 February 2009

Coming home

Arrived back from holiday yesterday. Unfortunately caught a cold while in Madeira, after being a very healthy puppy all through the winter in England! But at least it only spoilt the last day of the holiday. And the flight back - only 3 hours of purgatory with sinuses popping and ears drumming.

During the small hours of this morning, sitting in front of the fire with a Lemsip drink, I was musing on how little I miss "all of this" when I'm away from home. The things that take up all of my time normally - my work, house, books, computer, internet, family, garden etc. True, I was a little bored at times and turned to books, and when in the throes of the virus on Sunday I really, really wanted to be in my own bed. But in general I don't miss all the "stuff" of everyday life when I'm on holiday. At 4am my mind was crackling with ideas and plans.

I was determined to get said ideas and plans onto the computer before getting back into my normal life, but normal life has a way of butting in. First, I had to phone in sick to work and send a couple of emails. This meant that I had to open up my work email, which led me to read several messages and reply to 2 urgent ones. Later I would have to logon again to check for a reply to my reply... Then I had to email 3kool about a package that was delivered to us by mistake. This meant opening up my home email account. 65 messages! At least half of them spam or just stuff I didn't want to read, but you have to check them anyway. And then there are the interesting or funny ones. When you've dealt with the rubbish you feel you deserve to read the good ones. Which leads to other good things, and so on.

Between this and the unpacking and washing, it's now nearly 5pm and I only just got here! And the feeling has gone. I'm no longer fresh and free, but bogged down once again in the detail of everyday life.

The news is another thing I haven't missed. This is controversial I know, but I think we get numbed by hearing news so frequently - every time we turn on the TV or radio, every hour of every day, the headlines repeated over and over. On holiday we turned the TV on to BBC World some evenings, and that was enough. I probably know as much about what's been happening in the world as I would have if I'd been at home. Not in as much detail perhaps, and not as much about the UK news, but you soon catch up after a week away. I wonder if it would be better not to listen to "The News" at all, but to get a good newspaper (eg the Guardian) a couple of times a week. I would say every day, but doubt if I'd have time to read it as thoroughly as I would like.

In Madeira we were told that although everything costs about as much as in the rest of Europe, average wages are much lower. 650 euros a month (after tax) was mentioned as an average. No way of corroborating this of course, but no real reason to doubt it either, since so many people are employed in the tourist trade as cleaners, bar staff etc and that doesn't pay well anywhere. I wondered, if I lived in a place with such a pleasant climate and beautiful landscape, could I be satisfied with much less "stuff" and therefore be content with much less money? I'd like to think so, but human nature being what it is, well, what do you think?

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