Missed me? Well Lord Horatio is back and in fine fettle!

I imagine there are those of you who have been wondering where on earth Lord Horatio has been these last few months? Had he expired, been kidnapped, or simply given up the ghost?

Well the simple answer is on Mars. Well not the big red planet itself, but as near as dammit. During a prolonged discussion with an old friend of mine about the future of mankind and space travel, greatly assisted, I need hardly add, by his own particular brand of rocket fuel, a gauntlet was well and truly thrown down.

He wagered me my all terrain hoverboard, a recent gift from my nephew Simon, that I could not endure the privations of such a long trip through the limitless void as would be required to reach Mars, without going stark, staring bonkers. With my stamina, if not the family name, being called into question I felt obliged to take up the challenge.

Saying a tearful farewell to Whimsy my faithful hound and Lady Horatio I repaired to the wine cellar of Dawdle Hall and turned the key. With only a selection of hams, smoked venison, preserved meat of various kinds, cheeses, jars of fruit, pickles, over 500 bottles of fine wine, a wifi link and my leather bound i-pad for company I was ready to do battle with my inner demons for the duration.

Settling into the old armchair that takes centre stage in the butler’s pantry I surveyed my surroundings and wondered whether the loo, shower, well stocked fridge, microwave and washing machine would be enough to sustain a gastronaut during such a long journey into the unknown. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. As the hours stretched into days and the days into months I found the experience quite liberating.

Freed from the shackles of everyday life I was able to catch up on my emails, watch all the movies and back to back TV episodes I had missed, finish countless crosswords and look up all those answers that had been niggling me for years, such as what on earth is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath? I have to say rather than standing still the time just flew by. Exploring the length and breadth of the caverns under Dawdle Hall also kept me pretty fit.

When my friend eventually came knocking I was quite sad to leave my bolt hole, but not as sad as the unfortunate cleaner who had been tasked with decontaminating “mission control” after my triumphal exit. So, not only am I still able to keep up with Whimsy on my hoverboard I feel my self imposed exile will provide important data when NASA come knocking ahead of the real operation Red Planet.

Over and out for now.