While my estranged wife Karen visits her ailing father, I’m housesitting my marital home for the next few weeks. After over a year of not living here, this involves having to re-acquaint myself with kitchen cupboard contents and the cable remote navigation.

Sixteen months away from my home of twenty three years is a relatively long time; especially on Plant COVID, where it seems time proceeds in dog years.

Sensing I might struggle with the house layout after that length of time away, Karen kindly rang to remind me where the plates, pans and accoutrements (whatever the hell they are) were housed. I’m just about getting there, though, after my initial confusion. Particularly whilst unpacking, which led to me storing my undies in the fridge!

It seems really weird retreading the carpets and tiles of my once place of abode. Steps which, for over two decades, I’d trodden in a residence I loved, and which still holds a special place in my heart.

Of the many things I’ve missed during my hiatus from the Leeds 15 area, if pressed, I’d say the biggest thing I’ve missed is the powerful ensuite shower. A cleaning appliance producing such forceful water emission that, if it was easily transportable, could be used by law enforcement officers as a water cannon.

The jet spray at my mum’s home, where I ordinarily reside (the home not the shower), is sadly sloth-like. A situation meaning rinsing shampoo, conditioner and soap from my hair/body is like trying to sweep custard uphill.

Due to sorting all my clothes, devices and food to bring across here for my sabbatical, it’s now early Saturday evening. In the lounge an ambience procured from low lamp lighting, warmth emitted from an adjacent radiator, along with the flickering electric fire flames, remind me of why I love this home so much.

The cosiness of simple decorative touches contributing heavily towards this house becoming a home. A domicile this Englishman thinks of as his castle; with its chromatic, well maintained grounds his kaleidoscopic sanctuary.

Earlier I ventured into the integrated garage and it saddened me to witness the tools and appliances which’d provided such happy memories over twenty years. Pieces which’ve lain unloved and unused for over a year.

These aids to alfresco life including an outdoor pizza oven, gas patio heater, outdoor lights, a bucket barbecue and a sign bearing the moniker ‘Owls Bar’.

The latter, like UK’s Lib-Dem party member’s arses, ordinarily affixed to the garden fence This whimsical token playing on Karen’s nickname of Owls. A nome de plume originating during the 1990’s, a consequence of her wearing of enormous circular specs, a la Corrie’s Deirdrie Barlow.

As I write, news of Joe Biden prevailing in the US presidential election has just been announced. There’s little chance Trump will be magnanimous in defeat; class a trait sadly missing from his behavioural makeup……. Hopefully though he’ll leave behind the White Houses pictures, light fittings and curtain rails for the new president elect.

Anyhow, on that not I’m going to bring this narrative to a conclusion. Im off to look up what accoutrements mean. Followed by raising the drawbridge on my castle and hibernating for three weeks…… Yes, I said hibernating!!!