When you've been away from your family for four days, it's always nice to come home to a handwritten love letter...
I've no idea who Phil Garnr is, but from what Amelie tells me, he's one hell of a guy. She's even drawn a picture of him...
But much like Mr Garnr, I arrived home to a family who were pleased to see me. Mainly because I had presents. As it happens though, I almost missed my train home from Birmingham due to an entirely different gift. One of our friends turned 45 on Thursday, which is the kind of hideous age that no self-respecting person would want to reach, so as a token of our sympathy, Lisa asked me to pick up a present for her before I left Brum.
During my aimless wanderings around the city centre on Wednesday evening, I'd happened across the biggest branch of TK Maxx known to man (well, known to this man), so despite being just around the corner from Poundland, I decided to go the extra mile and live life to the Maxx by stopping off at TK's on the way to the station. Lisa identified a very nice Jane Shilton purse on the TK Maxx website, so I wrote down the details, packed up my belongings, and at 10am on Thursday I checked out of the Moor Street Travelodge and wheeled my suitcase towards the Birmingham Bullring.
Unfortunately, I think they call it the Bullring because you keep going around in circles and end up with a major beef. Despite having seen TK Maxx on Wednesday evening, the whole place looked very different in daylight, and having walked with supreme confidence in entirely the wrong direction, I changed course about six times, and ended up where I'd started. After twenty minutes I was convinced that the Birmingham branch of TK Maxx was a bit like Brigadoon.
But having clocked up about five miles on my suitcase wheels, I eventually stumbled (in a very literal sense) on the shop I'd been looking for, about two minutes walk from the Travelodge. And it only took me half an hour. Although that half hour seemed like nothing compared to the frantic twenty minutes I spent trying to find that damn purse in the world's largest branch of TK Maxx.
Anyhoo, the good news is that I bought the purse, sprinted down New Street, and made it to the station in time for my train. I even made it home in time to pick Amelie up from school. And to be given the cold shoulder by Toby. He refused to accept his giraffe, immediately turned his back on me, and punished me for leaving him by ignoring me all evening. He's like every cat I've ever known.