Points west


At last the holiday arrives! The last week has been spent doing just about everything but prepare, which has led to some breathless list-making: ‘Do my washing, print off ticket, ring the parents…’ as I jog-trotted through the West End. Yesterday not a good time to be trying to be jog-trotting anywhere. What with the Pope’s visit and fashion week there have been some large and contrasting cohorts of Odd-Looking People wandering about. Bond Street was particularly bad, Fashion Week central, with harassed fashion assistants and toffee-coloured ladies of a certain age and uncertain features duking it out for pavement space.

How dreadful it must be to have cosmetic surgery and realise that it’s gone a bit wrong. You have to walk around with a face that says not only, ‘I’m so stupid I paid a man to stick a knife into my head,’ but furthermore, ‘Oh, and I did it on the cheap.’ But then, the brain’s a funny old thing. Perhaps it quickly reprogrammes its expectations so when you look in the mirror at your paralysed and unevenly plumped physog, you no longer think it looks weird. Maybe your brain just accepts that that’s what you look like now and redeploys into checking for mascara blobs and unwiped sniffles. Hope so, otherwise that Frenchwoman who got her face bitten off must have a heart attack every time she brushes her teeth. And blokes who shave off their beards – sheesh.

Anyway, I don’t have to worry about such trivial matters, because this morning I am squeezing through the railings and fleeing the city. Cornwall it is! My bedroom floor is currently invisible under lopsided heaps assembled late last night. God knows what’s in there. Damn, that reminds me. Tubigrip. Though I’m hoping that this week will be more about cream teas than marching to Penzance. Thing is, I’m coming down with something. Sore throat for days, achy, bit of a tight chest. Balls balls balls.

The last time I was in Cornwall a cold turned into a chest infection. For four days I would get up, take a wobbly walk into Falmouth then shuffle back to conk out for the afternoon, chest like a filing cabinet full of hot ash. The time before that, I was recovering from a terrible tummy bug picked up in the Middle East, so I had to swig electrolyte-replacement salts and anti-nausea pills four times a day. A delightful cocktail but if I missed a dose I’d have to sit down heavily on a park bench and give myself an Andy Murray pep talk to get me back to the hotel. Mind you, that was in sodding boring Truro, so it was nice to have something to do.

I still love Cornwall, but I have to admit, one more bout of illness there, and I might just call it a day and try the peak district.


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