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Who needs another holiday?
The L Word

Who needs another holiday?

by Sarita RAO 4 min. 28.08.2022
Travel broadens the mind, but coming home raises the stress levels, says columnist Sarita Rao, who returned to a dead garden, rotting food, and a sea of cat hair
If you forgot to eat or throw out fruit before you left on holiday, be prepared for a kitchen science experiment to be in full swing when you return
If you forgot to eat or throw out fruit before you left on holiday, be prepared for a kitchen science experiment to be in full swing when you return
Photo credit: Shutterstock

I love travelling. 

And that sense of adventure is what brought me to Luxembourg in the first place. A gateway to the rest of Europe, living in the Grand Duchy has unlocked the opportunity to travel overland to many destinations not served by airports.

After two years of restrictions and confinements, this summer we finally set off on a fabulous four-week family road trip through France to the mountains of Catalonia (well as much as  you can say fabulous when you’ve got two super-critical, mostly bored teenagers in the back of the car).

We’ve seen historical towns and monuments (not another castle mum, they are so boring, say the teens), art treasures and bustling cities (heavy sighing), and we’ve explored beautiful hiking routes (I hate walking, is the cry).

Before the key has turned...

Exhausted on our return, everything started to unravel when we put the key in the door.

Exactly how did this happen to my front door key?
Exactly how did this happen to my front door key?
Photo: Shutterstock

First of all, the key didn’t fit in the door. Uri Geller must have been in Catalonia using his metal-bending techniques, because when we got home, we discovered the front door key was completely bent out of shape. I have never been so pleased to see the garage remote.

Hair cat-astrophe

Then there was the shock at what the cats had done to our house.

The cat sitter had fulfilled her duties admirably - feeding, petting and playing with our cats. We couldn’t really expect her to whip out the hoover and give the place a dust. And it’s fair enough that our cats, who normally wander the fields and gardens of the neighbourhood but were confined indoors, should have run amok.

Don't believe those innocent faces, these two trashed the house
Don't believe those innocent faces, these two trashed the house
Photo: Sarita Rao

What we didn’t predict is that cat litter can travel to all corners of the house, into beds, inside wardrobes and even in the bath. We also didn’t realise that cats shed a lot of hair over a month. And by a lot, I mean I had to empty the vacuum cleaner four times and could probably have made a whole other cat from all the hair it had picked up. 

The cats had also liberally coughed up furballs from being forced to spend all day cleaning themselves. They’d knocked over towel stands and ornaments, and actually managed to break one of the stair bannisters. Forget cat burglars, our resident cats had pretty much wrecked the joint.

 Zombie garden

Then I wandered out into the garden, or should I say the dried up, dead foliage formerly known as my garden.

The dry grass, formerly known as my garden lawn, where only weeds have survived
The dry grass, formerly known as my garden lawn, where only weeds have survived
Photo: Shutterstock

There’s nothing like the sound of brown grass crunching under your feet to say global warming. And why is it that weeds have no trouble surviving and thriving when everything else just dies? Actually that’s not totally true, since the rampaging bamboo survived the drought, despite my secret desire it would wither away to nothing.

Next stop, the basement, where the washing machine sat sulking from a month of neglect. It sputtered to life uncooperatively, whilst water poured out of the waste pipe. How can something you haven't used be broken? Not hopeful it would manage the tonne of dirty clothes I’d emptied onto the floor, the first wash was composed entirely of underpants.

Kitchen science experiments

The fridge was also empty, so off I traipsed to the supermarket. It’s only when I got back that I discovered I'd forgotten to throw away the bread – now a veritable culture of penicillin, and that the terrible smell I was blaming on the cats, was actually a bag of potatoes that has mulched. As I lifted it up, a large amount of brown slime cascaded onto the floor. And the apples I'd left in the fruit bowl were more wrinkly than me. 

A full inbox

When the house was finally tidy, the washing machine whirring, and the teens had retired to their rooms with full stomachs, I switched on my laptop to discover several hundred emails. 

Marks & Spencer was once again trying to flog me underpants (do they know something about my washing machine? Did Uri Geller tell them?) TomTom had delivered several updates (where were you when I got lost on that dangerously narrow mountain road), and the Ville de Lux really needed me to know that Schueberfouer had started.

Several hours later and my inbox was about as clean as my house (that is, superficially). 

Ah well, at least I got to sleep in my own bed (full of cat hair), ablute in my own shower (also full of cat hair and cat litter) and wear my slippers (did the cats roll around on these?)

I need another holiday

Next summer I’ll send the cats on holiday and stay at home to  watch my garden desiccate and my potatoes decompose. But for now, maybe I need a mini-break after all the antics of arriving back from a month’s absence.


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