Many years ago, someone suggested that life is like ketchup - you shake the bottle for ages and nothing happens, and then it comes out in dollops.
Well, I came home from Laos to dollops of it.
You know what it's like - Mrs Next Door phones to ask you to look after Little Jenny while she goes into hospital to have another baby, of course you will, when? Now? Now? Well, of course.
Get down, Little Jenny, you say, kindly, when she climbs on the freezer that is in the middle of the kitchen floor because it doesn't fit in the space the old one came out of even though you measured it twice. Be careful, you will fall. Woops. It's all right, have some ice cream; oh, no freezer, no ice cream, nor frozen peas to put on your arm that looks a funny shape. Oh heck, how to tell Mrs Next Door Little Jenny has broken her arm.
So the phone rings. Old Aunt Gladys as put her head in the gas oven - she's fine, but in hospital and wonders if you can go and check she turned the gas off. Of course, when? Now? Now ... of course. Even though she lives 200 miles away and has neighbours but they don't have a key because, well, you never know with neighbours do you (her words, not yours). Maybe you can take Little Jenny to A&E in the hospital where Aunt Gladys is. But Little Jenny will only get into the car if you give her ice cream, because you promised ...
We all have times like this. Even so, nothing quite prepares you. There are moments of clarity, when you understand exactly what needs doing and can do it. And other moments when common sense disappears over the horizon with its arse on fire.
Slowly - so slowly it feels as if it will never happen - everything settles. You peer above the parapet to find that the sun still rises, the magnolia is blooming and you are amazingly, here to tell the tale.
That's the bit I've reached. There are still loose ends to tie up, but the world is reshaped am I'm fine. Well, in need of a little R and R. So I bought a flight to Venice - at the end of next week. It's what I do to reward myself after times like this.
What do you do, at those dust-settling times, to look after yourself? Your reward for keeping the show on the road as best you can?