‘Are you ok?’ asks the room service girl, peering round the door into my room, which is in semi-darkness as I have lost the plastic key card that activates the lights.
‘Yes, I’m fine,’ I say. ‘It’s just a little difficult to open the door.’
This is a bit of an understatement, as five enormous suitcases and a big black nylon Mulberry tote bag are currently stacked up behind it. Clothes, shoes, books and magazines are strewn across every available surface.
Space is at premium but I manage to drag one of the suitcases - which is as big as a Normandy cupboard - clear so that I can least open the door enough to take the room service tray.
‘Are you sure you’re ok?’ she asks, looking at me with concern. ‘Why don’t I at least phone down to reception and get them to bring you another key for the lights?’
‘That’s very kind of you,’ I say. ‘But I’m sure I’ll find it soon.’
It’s the Friday evening of a bank holiday weekend and I am spending it alone - but for the five suitcases - in a hotel room in west London.
Actually, I couldn’t be happier. For I have come back to London (again) to finally pack up my belongings after my two month sojourn there, and return to France for the summer.
Earlier in the day, vacating the flat where I've been staying, I discovered that my possessions had grown exponentially during my two month sojourn and would no longer fit into the two bags with which I originally arrived.
So I jumped into a taxi to Marks & Spencer on Kensington High Street and bought three enormous black suitcases (£39 each - ‘buy two get one free.’ Bargain!)
Gone are the days when I trotted elegantly around the globe with a small, neat and very expensive black nylon wheelie bag by Prada. These days I shuffle backwards and forwards, under and over the channel with enormous suitcases in tow.
Unfortunately, I am flying Ryanair back to France, and such is their excess baggage policy I would have to take out a small mortgage to get this lot home.
Earlier in the day, Travis very kindly invited me to spend the night at his house and store my excess luggage in his loft. Fearing that we would injure ourselves in the process, I spared him the ordeal of having me and my five enormous suitcases to stay and checked into my usual hotel instead.
And after a happy evening of unpacking and repacking my possessions into some semblance of order, I ask Michael the concierge if I can leave the three biggest suitcases in storage.
‘I’ll be back in a few weeks,’ I say, vaguely, handing him a large tip ( and hoping that I won't be back for at least a month.)
‘No problem,’ he says.
And on Saturday afternoon I head off to Shabsted to return home to Luis, Biff and my geraniums.