Hubby and I are away for the weekend. Off to Oxford - a city I love for its beautiful spires, its unashamed love of academia and its connection with Morse. I went to a book signing in Cardiff for the last Morse novel "The Remorseful Day". Colin Dexter was amazingly charming and erudite. During one hitch in the proceedings due to some admin cock-up somewhere, he passed the time by regaling the audience with poetry, all from memory. They were spellbound.
Now packing for one night away should be easy. Hubby, who travels extensively, has it down to a fine art. One shirt, one pair of pants, spare contact lenses, toothbrush and paste, deodorant. That's it. I cannot go anywhere without resembling a walking advert for the pharmaceutical industry. I remember an episode of Sex & The City where Carrie says she will spend the day "working on her look". This is patently what I need to do, having been apparently welded into my leggings but instead I am flicking through Web MD to see what I might need in case of an outbreak of Beri Beri in the Cotswolds or Malaria in Dorset.
The Bridge of Sighs, Oxford
My overnight bag, which should contain a frothy nightie, miniscule thong, pair of heels and the red lippie du jour (which I shouldn't really wear because most of them now bleed into my lip lines and make me look washed out and vampiric), weighs a ton and contains a cornucopia of paracetemol, ibuprofen, gaviscon, earplugs, travel sickness pills and I even have some broad spectrum antibiotics. This is not, if you'll pardon the pun, healthy.
Actually I hate packing. You never know what the weather is going to do and I cannot leave the house without a cardigan. I've never managed the Sex & The City look where everything is paired down to one of Patricia Field's barmy yet endearing visions completed by a tiny clutch bag. I should probably try it but then I'd have to add plasters and antiseptic cream to the bag.
Such is my phobia of packing that I always leave it to the last minute and will be throwing phone chargers, computerized chess games and anything else I don't need into the bag at the last minute whilst hubby is checking the windows.
And you can bet that when I start to unpack on arrival, I'll have forgotten something important. Like toothpaste. It's easier for men though, isn't it?