I HAVE been Home Alone this week and not had nearly as much fun as Macaulay Culkin.
My wife Maria has been in Donegal staying with our elder daughter Siobhan and her husband Ronan and helping to look after our new grandchild Ruairi and our first grandson, Lorcan.
A week on my own? It would be quite a change, I thought.
I had to finish decorating and fit new wall lights but there would be plenty of time for sprawling around, reading a good book, watching sport and going to the pub.
How wrong I was.
The decorating still isn’t finished, the wall lights are defiant and I don’t seem to have had a minute to myself. I haven’t picked up a book, been too tired to watch television and visited the pub only on rare occasions.
Mainly I have been walking round the house talking to myself. Or the dog.
A cat is useless if you want someone to talk to; it is so totally supercilious that all you get is a pitying look before it walks away. A dog, on the other hand, hangs on your every word and pants appreciatively at your witty comments in the hope that they might be a prelude to going for a walk.
I even forgot to buy food. The other night I dined on potatoes and cauliflower.
"That’s nothing," Kev said over a consoling pint on one of those few occasions down at the pub. "When I first left home I hadn’t a clue how to shop. I ended up with a cupboard full of peas. One night I had peas on toast."
Now there’s a culinary first.
Maria returns on Sunday, which just happens to be our 40th wedding anniversary.
We married in 1967, the year of the Summer of Love, when the Beatles released Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Stones and Pink Floyd stormed the US charts, The Beach Boys brought us that wonderful Californian surf sound and Jimi Hendrix and The Doors took giant steps into psychedelia.
Forty years. That’s a long time. As Maria likes to tell people, you get less for murder.
The anniversary should be marked, research tells me, with a traditional ruby gift, but after all the money I’ve spent on our recent household improvements, I haven’t got a lot left.
An advice site on the internet suggested a romantic break in Russia and a box of ruby red wine would be a perfect substitute.
Going East sounds good.
And a bottle of ruby red Dandelion and Murdoch to go with the fish and chips.