I was away on a week's holiday last week. The missus got a bonus and rather than tuck it away for a rainy day she blew it on the rent of an Andalusian villa. With no telly. Or internet access. As often happens in such circumstances, you find that you can manage perfectly well without the news, or the latest in an lmost psychopathic addiction to dramas about murder, and as long as you know the words
'paella' 'cerveza' and 'gracias' you're pretty much laughing.
Spain, mind you, is a pretty solemn place these days. 25% unemployment. Not a euro to rub together, Were it not for tourists like my missus, they'd have gone under long ago.
Still, that's not going to stop Real Madrid stumping up twice the GDP of sub-Saharan Africa for Gareth Bale. Some say if you coated Ronaldo in Dulux white emulsion with a hint of pink, put a monkey mask across his chops and divided his hair at a jaunty angle, you'd have Gareth Bale. (You wouldn't).
I've yet to go into the complex relationship between Real Madrid and the Spanish government but it seems safe to say that Real operate on a different level when it comes to the mundanities of paying tax and keeping solvent. No matter how broke they seem to be, the galacticos keep coming.
I mean if this was your work-shy neighbours and the expensive furniture kept being trotted through their front yard, you'd suspect that there might at least be a cocaine factory in the cellar. There appear to be no such investigations at the Bernabeu.
You might argue that Real have flogged Higuain and Ozil to fund this, but as long as players can cost Umpty Zillion quid, people like me are going to start wondering why we bother to follow the Beautiful Game.
The transfer window has become a preposterous game of player-hawking and whoring. Managers seem unable to keep their counsel under the sheer bulk of hack's inquiries and the final day resembles nothing less than the last days of Sodom. For those of us that support a scruffy little outfit and watch our team through groans and grimaces, the sight of Europe's mightiest passing around their produce like a bunch of toffs on a wine-tasting binge makes us howl with fury.
Chelsea's purchase of Willian was the most galling intervention by the richest - a simply opportunistic act to deprive others of something, like a vegetarian buying the last pork chop because he didn't like the bloke behind him in the queue. Mourinho can now field an entire front eight of attacking midfielders (as he pretty much tried to at Man U in that tedious draw last week). Moses was the only what to look elsewhere. I'm surprised Mata didn't beg to join him.
David Moyes, unversed in wheeler-dealership on such a lucrative scale, could only manage to drag the long-handled paintbrush Fellaini up the M62. His former employers resorted to familiar tactics and just borrowed a couple of players, including everyone's favourite midfield plodder, Gareth Barry - another of those blokes at a big club who looks along the bench in the home dug-out and thinks "What the fuck am I - a football player or a scatter cushion?"
Indeed the main business during these imposed periods of transfer activity seems to involve the Citeh and Chelski (The Croesus Two) lending their bench-warmers out for a jog on someone else's park.
They'll argue of course that some of these lads need a bit of playing time and it will help their careers. Like Wilshire at Bolton a while back. Except that loanees like McEachran, Lukaku or Carroll at Spurs (who's off to join that Den of Financial Discretion at Loftus Road) will find they're still right at the back of the queue when they get back.
The loan system is simply the refuge of a club with a horribly bloated squad on horribly bloated salaries.
Not very long ago - possibly slightly longer than the blink of an eye - people, myself always very much included, were railing at Arsene Wenger to acquire some bleeding gumption and purchase someone. The return of Mattheu Flamini wasn't quite what we had in mind. The doom-laden approach of the North London derby only seemed to make this major purchase more necessary than ever.
Spurs showed with all their brand new bits of human bling on show, looking for all the world like a dolly on her first night out after radical plastic surgery. All the new parts look like they work well enough, but when you put them all together... well it just a looked a little weird.
And, do you know what, I was very thankful to discover that old Arsene, moths still safely thriving in the lining of his wallet, managed to squeal a win out of that game without recourse to any 'marquee signing'. The moths are looking for new accommodation now of course. And Arsene has rather gone the Chelsea route of buying someone to play in a position that he has covered. There again, Ozil is a cut above.
And as the window closes, there's just one more thing that gets defenestrated, and that's my love of the game. Now, more than ever, it has become a serve-serving quagmire of wealth of ego. The Premier League, UEFA, FIFA, they simply sit atop these festering compost heap yelling 'Austerity My Fucking Arse'.
Maybe, if I supported a team that rewarded my support with the occasional tin-pot or day out, I might just think that this sloshing about of tidal-waves of lucre was justified. But I fear the heart of the game has been ripped out by the grasping hands of the plutocratic gods of our age. I preferred football when Glasgow Celtic won the European Cup with a bunch of lads all born within ten miles of Celtic Park.
Nowadays such localism and community loyalty is almost a joke. Before the decade's out it's not impossible that Real Madrid will be the first club to pay €500 million for a footballer - and such is their reach the lad will probably have learned his trade on the playing fields of Mars.
Still at least in Spain they still pick Spaniards to play in their league. As we do in England. We'll have anyone, so long as they're not English. Greg Dyke described the England team as a 'tanker that needed turning round'. It's a tanker. all right. It tanks and it tanks and it tanks.
The arrival of more qualifying fixtures approaches like the tapping stick of Blind Pugh in Treasure Island. Those Englishmen that do manage to pull on a first team shirt also manage to pull a muscle or a sicky and we're left with the prospect of a really shonky eleven scrambling for points against what we'll no doubt be reminded is 'a well-organised and technically good' Moldovan side.
Like the rest of football at the moment, I can't watch. But somehow I will.