At the recent family reunion I stayed with my aunt and uncle in Caversham. We sat round the kitchen table for several meals. I first sat at that table in the mid-1970s. They were different, simpler times. My uncle had been to Hong Kong on business and brought back chopsticks. The challenge was to use these to eat jelly and ice cream. My uncle always liked a game, a challenge and a good time.
Around 15 years later, we were all sat at the same table and the conversation turned to my ambitions after graduation. I had none. I’d recently seen a film that introduced an important character as ‘My House Guest’. This seemed like a fine occupation. House guest, I duly announced, was my chosen role.
My aunt rolled her eyes and groaned. Oh no you won’t, you won’t be lounging around here.
Forty years after my first visit, I was back. I lounged all the way there, stayed as a guest for several days, drank their wine, enjoyed their hospitality, and lounged all the way back.
I realise I have achieved one of my youthful ambitions, albeit fleetingly: to do as little as possible, in as much comfort as possible, and get paid to be me.
Normal service will resume next week, when I’ll be slapped in the face with a large dose of reality.