Greetings from smogland. How good it is to be out of the bracing ozone-rich toff-tastic Dorset coast and back inhaling the proper man's air of Teesside. Still it weren't too bad camping n that: the rustle of the sleeping bag, the Heinz tomato soup, the glorious hot/cold/hot/cold of the shower.
Of course there are comforts that can't be replaced. I embraced Match of the Day 2 like a long-lost brother last night. That does mean trying to get your arms around Colin Murray, who is starting to resemble an over-enthusiastic blinking Ulster mole.
Getting ex-managers to pull pieces of paper out of brown envelopes? I mean you'd want George Graham on there wouldn't you? Nationwide everyone sings the Match of the Day theme? This isn't a Radio 1 bloody roadshow, this is a footy programme! I'm almost missing the straight-fringed potato-faced Baggie. Almost.
Of course Capello has named a new England squad. No place for Lennon or Huddlestone, but serial wastes of space SWP are there. Presumably so the other 21 players can have their confidence boosted. 'Sure I'm not playing well but at least I'm not that shit.' We'll see.
As a Boro fan, I'm just relieved that none of the players in the England squad is Scottish.
It takes a lot for a footy weekend to be overshadowed by any other sport in this country, so cue the Pakistan cricket team to get their sport back on to the front pages.
Frankly I'm pleased. This year's visit had been all a little tame. Not one seam picked, not one player stroppily despatched back home, not one utter refusal to carry on playing. And a lot of batting that would look pretty rum if it were in French cricket.
But wait! Here comes the News of the World to the rescue. Yes those dastardly dusky types have been at it again, bowling no balls to order. The evidence looks pretty damning and unless Perry Mason can be hired by the PCB then a lot of shit's about to hit a darned big fan.
Of course 'no balls' is a pretty good description of the PCB. Rameez Raja was on the radio describing earlier controversies where reputations of Pakistani legends were saved by a hurried covering up of the facts. It appears to happen so frequently that the PCB have single-handedly kept the trade in Persian carpets and brooms in business.
So is this a particularly Pakistani phenomenon? Ermm... no. The saintly Christian Hansie Cronje was elbow deep in manure. Warney's placed a bet or two on occasion. I seem to remember that tophole Cambridge chap Michael Atherton rubbing dirt on to a cricket ball.
But there is a suspicion in this country that a touring Pakistan team will be up to no good at some point. When Waqar and Wasim were skittling out England teams in the early 90s it was clear that the subcontinental devils were applying some strange blend of spices to the cricket ball.
Of course when we learnt to do it in 2005 it became officially known as reverse swing.
Whether Asif and Aamer - both of them, sadly, utterly brilliant with the ball in hand - will get the proper censure from the PCB is unsure. What is certain is when gambling businesses are allowing bets on the most inconsequential bits of a cricket match then sport has truly lost its way.
Spot betting is ridiculous. It's all right if you're betting your mate on raindrops going down a pane of glass or snails crossing a paving stone. But TV misses nothing these days and soon you'll be putting your five pounds/rupees/ringgits on the next fielder to break wind. (Not KP who looks like he couldn't give a fart.)
There appear to be many fixers hard at work behind the scenes of international cricket and temptations for a cricketer to earn a quick five-figure sum for, I dunno, bowling it second slip once in a while must be enormous. (You wouldn't offer money to Stephen Harmison to do this, mind - chances are he knock out middle.)
If they did cheat, it's not like Aamer or Asif manifestly altered the result of the match at Lord's, and if they trousered a wad of cash in the process then I find it, well, understandable. Although if you are going to overstep the crease than try not to do it by the length of the average swimming pool.
It doesn't make it right though. Aggers and co have been using words like 'tragedy' and 'disaster' to describe the situation. Well it's not is it? They're not floating about on a muddy torrent on a couple of roof-tiles with a babe-in-arms and a cholera epidemic round the corner.
What is tragic is that these two young lads MAY have been caught with their hands in the till at exactly the moment when thousands of their countrymen could do with a quick cash injection to save their bloody lives.
'OK America, which one them is Barack Obama?'
They tell me cricket is a religion in Pakistan. (I wish someone would tell the Taleban that.) If it is, then there's a lot of mighty edifices crumbling to the ground. The Pakistan Cricket Board simply have to ban these two lads, talented though they are, for life, and not have the shilly-shallying they've gone through with tizzy-fit masters like Shoaib and Yousuf.
If these were English lads, and let's not kid ourselves that our players aren't easily nobblable too, you'd expect nothing less.