I've just been away to Ibiza - amazingly, I had the opportunity to be there, in the sun, in a beautiful villa, by a pool and near a beach - for FIVE weeks. Initially this invitation sounded idyllic and I wondered how to make it work. However, since the inception of that idea, I have now returned home after just ten days and could not be happier to have my feet planted on this soggy, beautiful English terrain.
There's something about going away (bar the soaking up of pure Vitamin D), that fills me with so much adoration for England, it's as if I'm rushing straight home into the arms of a lover. The comfort of the blanket grey sky, the necessity of long sleeves, having to wear shoes on the grass or risk soggy socks - it all makes me rather pathetically happy and totally in love with this little island of tea drinkers.
I must add however, that Ibiza is an absolutely stunning island itself; it never sleeps and there is a constant feeling of excitement and anticipation. The beaches are beautiful, mostly small and cove-like, the best ones in my opinion are rugged and tiny with a feeling of secrecy about them (perhaps also with one shack serving only one home-made dish). There's an incredibly hippie vibe about Ibiza - echoes of drumming can be heard as the sun comes down, hammocks and dream catchers are standard décor, India is constantly brought to mind atmospherically, forget anything high heeled and uncomfortable to wear...
There is without doubt the well-known party side of Ibiza too - absolutely amazing to dip in and out of, if you can. On my flight home, the guy next to me had not managed the dipping out part very well and was sitting in his seat wide eyed, looking permanently scared. I asked him if he was OK and he responded that after five full days of partying (no sleeping or eating), he had ended up in hospital because his legs wouldn't stop shaking. He was now on his way home, having missed his earlier flight, with a bag that smelt mysteriously of pee and without his mobile phone. He asked me about trains to Southampton and I gave him possibly the best piece of advice he'd heard in the last five days - "Forget about trains, get yourself a taxi straight home." I added that he probably needed a bowl of soup as well... He nodded, even in this state, he knew that I was speaking sense.
Home, there's no bed quite like it, tap water we can drink, marmite at the local shop, teabags we love and not a waft of pretentious Nag Champa for miles. England happens to even be considerate enough to water your plants with bucket loads of rain whilst you are away. Home sweet home.