If I flirted with happiness in America, it’s certainly been given the boot today. And it took a severe kicking when I found myself violently thrust into life – or something like it – in Cruel Britannia.

I’m staying with my parents in Telford, Shropshire this weekend, my sisters in tow, and suddenly my post-vacation blues have been given a harmonica and a bottle of Southern Comfort. My family, though usually served on the rocks, have been pretty neat and, at least, have appeared interested in my travels.

There was a moment however, shopping with my sister and my mum, when I thought I might become irrational. We went to a fabric shop, a garden centre and a car accessory store, none of which stocked anything that I could use: I don’t have a car; I don’t have a garden; and I have little or no interest in buying fabric.

Worse still, immersed as I was in Telford’s Saturday shopper crowd, I thought what a generally unattractive people the British public are. Sure, there are the occasional gems – Kiera Knightly, Catherine Zeta Jones, Princess Diana – but it’s always the same old story: they move to America, or they marry a Douglas…or they die.

Still, I shouldn’t judge England by Telford’s standards. It’s not like its streets are flooded with talent scouts, looking for England’s next top model. The attractive people, they’ve realised, have fled to the cities, or at least, a little north, to Shropshire’s county town, Shrewsbury.

With this thought, and some (northern) comfort, I wandered the garden centre and resisted the temptation of irrationality. I did not smash the terracotta pots that I held for my sister, but instead subjected her and the rest of my family to a rather thorough (though not wholly comprehensive) slideshow of my travels.

Swigging on our memories, happiness and I flirted again, and I thought to myself, with all the rationality of a drunk, about taking another trip. This time however, I’ll be heading north and back home, to Shrewsbury. And though these boots were made for walking, and maybe one of these days that’s what they’ll do, tonight I’m looking forward to taking them off, putting my feet up and having a drink, perhaps a Corona, to the future.

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