SO, it won’t be long now before we’re strolling down the Avenue de la Magnolia in our Raybans and diving head first into pools of Estrella Damm and Gin Fizz.

We’re gonna be everything that we’re not – we’re gonna feel thin, we’re gonna take off and we’re gonna pretend, that every night is the weekend.

We’ve been feeding off the vision of this holiday for a whole year. It has nourished us through the black months of November and January’s wet depression.

There was no snow this winter to break the gloom, just endless incoming fronts of whipping rain and howling gales.

Flooded recycling bins and wet socks. Two kids driven half insane in their Cum-brian prison.

But even the Mother Superior’s colleagues are ‘counting the sleeps’.

She has fasted like a Mormon – surviving on cardboard and rocket to squeeze into a bikini that last saw foreign sun in 2012.

It won’t be long before we’re hurrying anxiously through Manchester International, dragging 13 stone of cases, my wallet weighed down with gold doubloons.

But first, I’ll need to be suspected of terrorism. Shoeless, beltless, frisked and cavity-searched; bundled into a concrete room where I’ll be cruelly power-hosed by frustrated Anti Terror Officers who wear side-arms that they never get to shoot.

This is the only appropriate modern res-ponse when you’ve forgotten about the Zippo you left in your combat shorts and wilfully tried to smuggle a bottle of flat mineral water in your hand-luggage...

...The other Friday I was throwing our new lightweight electric lawnmower around the garden in long show-off arcs in the last of the evening sun.

We’re finally shot of that back-breaking petrol ‘tractor’ and it’s rekindled my love of mowing.

Sandra across the road came up the garden clutching The Gazette.

She wanted to point out that I had spelt pessimism incorrectly. Even Da Vinci needed someone to examine the Sistine Chapel and say: “Hey, you’ve missed a bit.”

Phil joined her – slumping into one of our green plastic chairs and unloading about his problems with BT and his newly-installed Infinity broadband.

The company, he alleges, has just taken several megabytes off his monthly allowance that he claims he hasn’t used (then charged him for it).

He tried complaining through their customer centre (in Mumbai) but apparently: “Computer Says Nahim.”

He wants me to float this problem with you to see if anyone else has suffered...

My other neighbour Matty; a sinewy joiner with a stare so mean it can kill a horse, is clearing out his works van.

All its contents are spread out on the drive like some hideous industrial jumble sale; all of it bleached by a thick layer of cement dust.

Theres’ a 1970s Man United scarf; coiled up like a sleeping California Mountain Kingsnake, a rotten old box for a circular saw, some vaguely criminal bolt culters, 10 ‘bouncy techno’ CDs and a rusty old lathe.

With his hands on his hips he mutters: “It’s like Mary Poppins’ handbag!”