Sunday, April 10, 2011


And so it hit. Against my better judgement, I yielded to temptation in the form of two beautiful women, and I went to the pub on Friday. I was already half-pissed after one glass (my concession to sickness; no pints for me) of beer but trucked through four more, bounced home for dinner and was out for the count by ten o'clock. I think that was the last time I bounced this weekend. Yesterday the floodgates opened and I have been snotting, aching and sneezing ever since, napping and being fed and watered in bed by Vincent, who is also sick but is never hit as hard as I because exercise for him is more than jumping on the bed. Outwardly my sickness has looked like the above, but inside it has felt like this:

When I was little, being sick usually meant being wrapped up and taken to the library where, instead of just the usual books, I was allowed to get books-and-tapes - probably Berenstein Bears - to enjoy in bed. I have a distinct memory of vomiting off the side of the ramp leading to the library door in the rain during a tummy bug before being carted home. For years I thought vomit had to be orange because mine always was; now I realise it was because breakfast at our house always included grapefruit in one form or another. When I had colds, Mum would bring in black tea on a little tray and I loved it; the grown-upness and the sophistication of not having milk. (This kind of affectation stayed with me for years; ordering things I liked the idea of eating or drinking, when really I like my tea sweet and fairly milky, like an old man's.)

We had the perfect local library; we spent enough time there to feel very comfortable, and I have funny little memories of it, like when I was about four or five and they called to tell me I had won a colouring-in competition, and I went and got my little handbag and Dad drove just me (feeling as rich and important as Lady Penelope in the backseat) to collect my prize of a bookmark and a library bag (plastic with a bear on it) and probably a couple of other little things, but what they were didn't matter. I had won something at our library, and been called at home by a librarian. Madame Curie never knew such triumph.

I didn't make it to my friend's thirtieth last night, and I was really sorry to miss it. But being sick in bed when I have Vincent just across in the spare room sitting at his desk, occasionally coming across to check my drink is going down and always kissing me properly, even if I've just shown him what I just blew out of my nose... is really just a holiday, and exactly as I wish.

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