Infectious charm


Three colds in a month. Three. Can this be normal? Or is it Lemsip-sweating Nemesis stirred into action by my stupidly imagining that I’d finally built up the immunity-impunity to survive the Choob?

Ha! I remember thinking in giddy self-congratulation in early December, I don’t seem to get ill any more – it must be all that exercise and vegetables (ie my own careful health husbandry). No, it was just plain luck and now I’m the droopy, self-pitying sulk-face with a neck like a bag of peas and hot conkers.

This evening I’m going for a swim. It’ll make me feel better, and if it doesn’t, by God I’m taking half the punters with me. The weather’s been too mild to chase away the New Year’s Resolutioners, but hopefully the sight of me, all grumpy glares and glandular buboes, will shrivel some good intentions.

When I were a lass, the Common Cold Centre was still in operation. Masochists, morons and people on their uppers would volunteer to feel ill for a few quid. Students, safely occupying the central spot of that particular Venn diagram, would sign up because it was a) better than working and b) residential and therefore would keep them fed and out of the pub while they revised for exams. There was also a rumour that honeymooning couples sometimes went there, to spend a week being infected with some hideous strain of summat and being asked by doctors if they could be a bit more specific about the degree of shiteyness they were suffering. NB, the whole point of the research meant that they couldn’t take any remedies. Can you imagine?

Even as a nipper, ignorant as I was of the transformative delights of organising a wedding, this seemed like a crap idea for a honeymoon. Mind you, they were tougher in them days. In them days, the alternative was a week caravanning near Gosport. Tough people; tough choices.


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