Son number two returned home yesterday after a week in the sun with Lucy-Loo, his BFF. As he walked through the front door, I had to do a double take, as the young man walking through my door was only slightly darker than me after four hours on a Portsmouth beach.
'Was the weather rubbish?' I asked, looking at the lack of demarcation lines between knee and toe.
'No, it was really hot', he replied. 'At least 30 degrees every day'. (Can you hear my teeth gnashing from there?)
'Why are you so pale then? Were you recovering from heavy nights every day?'
Well it was a different story altogether. It turned out the two of them had been sightseeing. Visiting museums and large cities whilst in Spain, rather than follow the trend of the other three siblings (basically drinking till the early hours, sleeping all day, drinking till the early hours, sleeping all day etc etc).
He wanted to update daughter number two and me on all the adventures before getting his case in, so we listened very patiently while he went through his holiday photos. (When I say 'patiently', this doesn't even touch how many we had to trawl through). He then disappeared into the hall, returning with various carrier bags emblazoned with Duty Free.
Ooh....presents, I thought.
'What have you got there then? Presents?'
'Sort of', he replied, delving into the first carrier bag. Out came a large bottle of Russian Vodka. Only 12 euros apparently because the daft bat on the till took it on board when son number two said that it should be cheaper as Britain has now left the EU (see, there are positives in this). 'This is for me', he said, putting it to one side.
He then went into another bag. Was this my present? Something for the woman who had cherished him all his life, the woman who washed and ironed his clothes, and who generally kept him alive and kicking on a daily basis?
No. It was a gaudy baseball hat for Dr D (Lucy Loo's cousin). 'Oh, he'll love that', I said, the sarcasm freely dripping from my tongue.
There was one more bag. 'What's in there, then? Chocolate?' (Although I don't eat chocolate anymore, I love the sight of a family bar of Milka in the fridge after one of them has been travelling).
He pulled out a half eaten Milky Way (twin pack) which had obviously been sat on sometime between Spain and the UK, an empty Sprite bottle, a bag of Minstrels and some empty crisp packets.
OK....so this wasn't for me either.
'Where's my present then?' I asked, sticking my bottom lip out as far as I could.
'Your present? Oh yes! It's in the suitcase - I'll go and get it from the car'.
Well this sounded marginally exciting. Obviously the gift was either valuable or fragile, and was wrapped up in towels to protect it from the kid-gloved baggage handlers at Luton.
Lugging the suitcase across the kitchen floor, he unzipped it.
'Here's your present', he said, gesturing at the week's worth of dirty clothing spilling out of the suitcase.
Why son number two, you spoil me.....