There is nothing I love more than to curl up with the newspapers and a pot of tea on a Sunday afternoon. When I lived abroad it was the one thing I really missed. The various columnists with their take on the week's news and the behind-the-scenes reports from journalists in the world's hotspots and fleshpots have always held a fascination for me.
My real weakness, though, is the glossy lifestyle magazines. I drool over houses with divine gardens and conservatories and kitchens fitted out like operating theatres. That little bijou apartment in Bayswater with a view of the park. Small but luxurious. London on your doorstep. Sigh, sigh. Or - if you prefer the country - the ivy-covered cottage by the sea down in Co. Mayo with the cute little love-seat in the garden. Might need a little makeover but a bargain at the price.
When I've picked the house of my dreams - usually with reservations such as "not too keen on the second guest bedroom, needs refurbishing" - I turn my attention to the cookery section. This is just as much of an adventure, especially for someone like me who has three main dishes at her fingertips: pasta with tomato and basil sauce served with a side salad; chicken breast in lemon and herbs with roast potatoes and a veg. if you're lucky; and beef curry with rice and a side salad, the curry sauce comes out of a glass jar and has only seen Madras at the factory. Looking over the exotic dishes in the lifestyle magazine I realize how lacking in imagination my cooking really is - yes, I know you've spotted that yourselves. I tear out the recipes even though I know I am never going to use them. The crostini with salsa verde just isn't going to taste right no matter what care I take to prepare it. I won't go into my attempts at that steak recipe using Tequila. And if I do manage to bake one of those oh-so-easy-to-make cakes, it might taste okay but it always looks as if the mice were at it. So all I have is a drawer-full of glossy recipes, most of which I'm too scared to try out. Beans on toast, anyone?
And then there are the wines. I adore those descriptions, they get my taste buds working overtime: silky, nutty, fruity with an edge of blackcurrant. How's that again - "an edge of blackcurrant"? I could probably get the same effect at half the price using a dash of Ribena mixed with Australian shiraz. But it does all sound too, too romantic, doesn't it? Makes me want to pop down the off licence and look as if I know what I'm doing when I pick out a wine.
When I've extracted the last bit of pleasure from the glossies, I feel geared up for the week again. Who knows what gems - houses, recipes or wines - are awaiting me in next Sunday's offerings?