WHAT a laugh. What a great roaring, bruising, manic few moments of fun that was.
So fast did those four days go past that I still haven't pieced them fully together now that I have returned to my lair in Vancouver. But here's what I do remember.
It was a slice of pure heaven to get a taste of some of the home comforts which had become a distant memory since flying the coop in May. My personal arse groove had almost gone out of the couch in the living room but while taking in the seasonal movies, I left an imprint on it that should be good for another few months.
While the food-gorging and arse-grooving were wonderful though, the best part of being home was seeing the familiar faces. Thankfully I haven't become too Canadian looking in the last few months so my family had no problem recognising me when I walked in the door. I squeeze-hugged them to the point of causing injury and smothered them with kisses.
On Christmas morning, we exchanged presents. My home in Limerick is now fully stocked with Winter Olympics 2010 slippers and Vancouver Canucks socks. And then we ate and o lord how I ate. Mammy had it all laid out just like I'd imagined in my drooling dreams over the last few weeks.
What I didn't eat I brought back across the Atlantic with me. It was a good thing that wannabe terrorist didn't try to blow up the Detroit-bound plane over Christmas using turkey or ham. Otherwise I'd still be getting interrogated by air marshals now. That evening was spent in our cousins house eating the leftovers from their Christmas dinner and playing scrabble. Heaven.
Of course I was also delighted to see a few non-familial faces, the first of which were McGoo and Coynie who brought me out to the races in Patrickswell on Stephen's Day. I had four winners, an unclear number of hot whiskeys and a hell of a time getting reacquainted with my old partners in crime.
That night I renewed acquaintances with many more of my old crime partners, including Scenery - who I berated for having entered into blogging retirement, Larry the Lynx - who had been prowling the plains of South America when I left, Jay Mckay - who is still getting taller despite being well into his 20s, Calamity Kennedy - who was kind enough to throw the party at which I met all the old heads, and many more. Too many to properly catch up with properly in one night but all of whom I was absolutely overjoyed to see.
The 27th was beautiful if only for its laziness. I returned home in the afternoon, having spent the night at the site of the party, and spent the day lounging. A few of my oldest friends called round in the evening to do a final spot of reminiscing and once they left, the time had come to pack my bags once again.
We had time for two stops on the way to the airport the next morning. The first to say a quick hello and goodbye to a beloved grandaunt and the second to buy a Munster Jersey for my new Canuck lady friend. Never any harm to add another member to the Red Army.
Then it was off to Shannon, on to Heathrow and back to Vancouver where the aforementioned friend greeted my weary frame with a warm, welcoming hug. It was wonderful to have been home but also great to be back on the Canadian adventure.