Alexander Brown: I am no patriot but I miss Britain terribly when I go away

It was the last day of holiday and my friends piled into the taxi glum about going home.

One hoped for a flight cancellation, keeping us in sunny continental Europe for a few more days, while others simply complained about leaving paradise.

Having spent the last few days swimming, reading and basking in heat that was probably just like Britain’s but with an accent, I had loved and needed this holiday.

I felt restored, nourished, and despite being a pasty prince I might even have managed to garner some sunburn, if not a tan.

Holidays abroad can make you homesick. Picture: Getty Images

My hotel room faced the beach, I got the morning light on my balcony and each day was a race to see how many swims I could fit in between meals.

One evening after canoeing and swimming I had a hunger so intense I ate three mains in a row from the all-inclusive buffet.

By any measurement, I lived a holiday of excess, yet felt nothing but joy about the prospect of going home.

Returning meant leaving luxury, surrendering myself to the horrors of a 9-5 and having to listen to politicians again.

It’s waking up and reading a book in my own bed, the small joys that have more value when you don’t have them

Being excited to return is objectively mad, and much like me when I got back, something I need to unpack.

Seeing the English Channel on the return home I felt pathetically excited, like some sort of flag shagger or Brexiteer.

It’s not that I love the UK in a patriotic way, I know that much, with a pride in your country something I’ve never understood.

I was born in the UK, love living here, and am a huge advocate of so much of our culture.

Obviously I think William Shakespeare was fairly good at writing, probably talented enough to do it professionally.

Similarly I am really glad Winston Churchill helped Britain stop the Nazis, I think that’s totally great and incredibly impressive when you remember he’s just a dog.

But again, despite the time I’ve spent shooting baddies on the beaches in videogames, I actually had nothing to do with it.

My life is fundamentally easier for being here, I am a white middle class man with no oppression or injustice to flee and live in a democracy.

What’s more I can go anywhere in the world and generally not need to learn the language, with being born here enabling my laziness while making travel even easier.

I think my love is of all the small things, the blink and you’ll miss it mundane joys that I romanticise when abroad.

There’s ordering an Earl Grey and it not being like putting a jigsaw together with someone who can’t see or understand you.

It is the big shop, seeing a Pret and not going in, or making so much food you get prememptively excited for leftovers.

The bliss of getting a seat on the train without anyone else next to you, or making a connection quicker than your phone thinks you're capable of.

It’s waking up and reading a book in my own bed, the small joys that have more value when you don’t have them.

My whole life I have never understood the concept of patriotism, but I’m always so happy to come home.