We're fleeing the metropolis en famille later on this evening, heading for the west to the place which - even though I haven't lived there on an ongoing basis for getting on towards thirty years at this stage - I still mentally call home. The three little Dubs in the back travel best at night so we won't leave here till after eight, by which time the M50 should be clear enough and the road to the west similarly uncluttered.
One drawback of night driving - and, despite the still-long evenings, it will be dark by the time we get there - is that we won't get to see those two natural landmarks that, when they first appear, tell you that you're back on home soil. Just after passing the county border between Ballinlough and Ballyhaunis, the road rises and, when you reach the brow of the hill, the squat, imposing bulk of Nephin comes into view for the first time. Soon afterwards, away to the left, you can also see the cone-shaped Reek sticking its head out of the far horizon. Once I clock both of these lads, I know I'm not far from home but it'll be dark by the time we get that far tonight so I'll have to resort to the mental hard drive to conjure up the required images.
I'm looking forward to spending a few days in Mayo, giving me the chance to thumb through the sports pages in the Western (I know, I can always see what they're saying online but it's a different tactile experience to read the print version) and, over a few beers, to chat about how Johnno might reconstruct the team for 2008, starting at full-back. And to think about what I do with this blog over the coming six months, now that - a bit like the Russians turning off the gas - my raw material has completely dried up on me. The championship rumbles on, I know, but it's just not the same, is it?