Over the last year I’ve been plagued by my nemesis Anne Taylor. She pops up everywhere but has now met her match in the shape of that well known medical professional “Unauthorised”, who has dropped me a note to tell me it’s all looking good. This is one sorry chapter I’m glad to see the back of, along with Anne Taylor, impenetrable letters and being spoken to as your actual bonified half-wit.

There may be those who take issue on that final point and consider the a bona fide half-wit approach to be entirely reasonable. Needless to say, it’s a sentiment I don’t share.

To celebrate the closing of this saga, in favour of all round joy in life, The Dynamo and I took a road trip. She has fantasised about riding across France on a motorbike. The obvious flaw in this plan being that there would be nowhere to put the inevitable piles of junk, we would not be able to help ourselves from purchasing, in every local flea market we passed. The obvious upside of this plan being there would be nowhere to put the junk we might otherwise have come home with because we are incapable of resisting other people’s left overs.

I have fantasised about being driven down the Italian coastline, stopping at every undiscovered local cantina, for delicious locally caught fresh fish while the sound of the waves repeated in the background, and as the sun went down, strolling through the exquisite local medieval streets.

The opportunity for a road trip materialised in the form of a jaunt up the motorway to Manchester and a night in a hotel with no effective means of working the air conditioner, that I didn’t know was there, or opening the welded shut window, kept closed less I should hurl myself out of it and onto the parked cars below.

After a fine chicken supper and a restless night of overheating I was up with the lark and off to the RHS flower show Tatton Park. I’m not suggesting that the risk of shopping was reduced compared to the possibilities of France or Italy, because Manchester has it’s own delights, imported from market gardeners all over the country. Being buoyed up by a cup of cold tea and bacon roll was enough to get me to the long border sensory garden in which I had more than a passing interest as the sponsors representative, but not enough of an interest to propel me to the plant tent to shop.

The early bird, or so I was promised, catches the worm. The journalists in question were all safely tucked up in bed while I languished in the drizzle just long enough to work up a spot of grump. Then lots of journalists appeared at once and all the discomforts of an early start evaporated and the garden won a gold medal for it’s first time entrants. Then a photographer got me walk round the garden as if I was presenting Gardeners World. It’s a cringeworthy snippet. Then the Dynamo appeared, bags of plants in hand.

If you think we were finished, we were far from finished and in a bold move, we drove to Macclesfield, to a fabric warehouse, where we spent the rest of the afternoon cooing over discounted curtain fabric. The Dynamo came home with six meters of fabric she probably won’t ever use. I bought a cushion I don’t need, then we set off for home, stopping for an impromptu food stop at a motorway services, and ate food we didn’t fancy.

It didn’t matter that we drove to Manchester and back and not the Italian riviera. What was important was all the talking and laughing and pleasure of friendship, because nothing trumps love and friendship.