Yesterday lunchtime, I crawled back through my own front door, never more relieved to see my sofa and slippers. I have decided that however exciting it may sound, at the ripe old age of 53 and a half, a student life is not for me. The one thing I realised having spent three days with son number two, is that there is no official time when you are a student. Watches are redundant and there is no such thing as 'opening hours', as the pubs are open for all of them; it's just some are happier than others.
What I mean by this is that it doesn't matter whether it's 9.00 in the morning or 11.00 at night, you can still have a glass of Malbec and no one bats an eyelid. Breakfast is eaten around lunchtime, swiftly followed by lunch about half an hour later, and then the evening meal (as we adults refer to it) is eaten sometime between 6.00pm and 4.00am.
Take Wednesday for example. Son number two and I had been out for a lovely meal the night before, and he dropped me back to my hotel around 9.00. By 9.30pm, I was snuggled up in my pyjamas with a good cup of tea and Two and a Half Men (the programme, not a travelling circus troupe I might have encountered in the hotel lift). We had agreed that he'd collect me from my hotel at 10.30 the next morning, giving me a chance to have a lay in and a leisurely breakfast.
At 10.30 on the dot, he appeared in the foyer, looking like he'd been run over. 'Are you okay?' I asked him. 'Very hungover', was his sheepish reply.
Well it turned out that having dropped his aged parent back at the Home for the Elderly and Bewildered, he had then met up with his mates and gone clubbing, ending the evening with a Burger King meal (bear in mind at this point that four hours earlier he had already eaten an expensive three course dinner, the middle course being a 12oz steak and a full rack of ribs).
Apparently, the same thing happened on Wednesday night too. I staggered into bed that night, the four glasses of Malbec almost making me forget the pain of my shopper's feet, but for him, this was just an hors d'oeuvre for the evening's entertainment, and yet again, it was rather a white faced son number two who joined me for a last breakfast yesterday morning.
After lots of hugs and 'I love you's' in the hotel foyer, we went our separate ways. He to his university to do a presentation and me down the M1. Three hours later I pulled into the drive and called him as promised, just to let him know that I'd got home safely (this is a complete role reversal I now realise).
He was in the pub, having a beer to celebrate getting a fantastic mark for his presentation. All I could manage was a strong cup of tea and a forty minute snooze on the sofa.
Which by the way, had been calling out my name since Kettering...