As I say every week, you are more than welcome to come and stay with us any time.
But maybe we need a few ground rules this time. Rules help us all have fun at the same time, I seem to remember you saying.
Go ahead and treat my house like a hotel. Empty the fridge, drop towels on the floor, leave books by the swimming pool and don’t worry if you spill tea on the rug. Over the past 35 years I am sure I’ve done far worse and you’ve never made me feel anything less than loved, welcome and indulged.
It’s the other things we need to talk about before you get here.
Take brunch, for example. We’ve discussed this on every one of your last 12 visits. I’ll try and address your concerns now so we’re clear when you arrive. Yes you are allowed to go back and fill your plate as many times as you want, no I don’t know what they do with all the leftovers at the end, I am sure the chef wouldn’t mind if you have a bit of curry and some roast beef on the same plate at the same time, we absolutely won’t be able to get it for free because I work for Time Out, yes we would have been too hot if we got the table on the terrace and I accept your opinion that eating wagyu steak until 4pm has got nothing to do with a breakfast/lunch combo and is more of an afternoon tea/dinner meal.
I don’t know why they call it brunch, they just do.
This should also be the first time we don’t have to go to the Blue Souk in Sharjah to meet Shanka. I know he called Mum ‘my friend’ the first time we went and nobody was happier than me when he said he would give us a “special price”, but I’m starting to think they say that to everybody. I’m not even sure he even remembers selling us a pashmina back in 2000. Even if he does the cost of the taxi there and back makes the Dhs20 he is charging for a scarf cost at least five times as much.
On the subject of driving around, would you mind if I don’t point out every single new skyscraper that has come up since you first visited? There are too many now. We can visit any attraction you want to, but please remember that you are on holiday – not me. Going out every night is exhausting and I can’t sleep it off in the morning like you can.
That is all. My house, my rules.
By the way – do you mind if me and the family come to stay with you for a few weeks next summer? I’ll bring you more pashminas.