Out with the old


‘Oh God, oh Christ, but at least I’m not the Duchess of Cambridge’. That was one of my first thoughts of 2013 – an unusual place to start a year, one might think, until one pans out and sees that I was thinking that while on all fours, forehead resting on the blessedly BLESSEDLY cool lavatory seat, in a bathroom that was not my own.

Having trudged through Christmas with an untreatable sinus headache, I’d enjoyed some three days of health before attending a posh dinner party on new year’s eve in Lincolnshire, where I was staying with my cousin. I’d arrived feeling fine but suddenly, 10 minutes after the main course was served, I had to flee the blameless conversation of my table-neighbour and claim sanctuary in a darkened bedroom for six hours of shivering, emetic hi-jinkery and a dislocated sense of relief that however bad things might seem now, I wasn’t going to have to go through labour at the end of it. Thank God I’m not the Duchess of Cambridge.

Two things kept me from total mortification.

One: the host and hostess were part of last year’s Beefa crew, so they knew I was capable of more than just an impression of a stressed sea cucumber (apparently these strange turdy little blobs turn themselves inside out when they sense danger, which always struck me as a somewhat shortsighted strategy, no? Actually, National Geographic informs me that other branches of the sea cucumber family defend themselves by emitting sticky filaments from their anus. Besides observing that it’s not immediately apparent which end of a sea cucumber is which, I should like to state for the record that no sticky filaments or southern point of the compass were involved in my disgrace).

Two – when the upchuck was really bad I just didn’t care where I was, what I looked like or, let’s face it, whether the house fell down. Subsequent days, however, have afforded me ample time to feel absolutely terrible about it. The hosts were so kind! They were so patient! They didn’t draw attention to it!

Since then, recovery has been steady, though not without setbacks. I had to wriggle out of an invitation to dinner at an ‘Italian-style tapas bar’ last Friday. The online menu’s appalling boasts of belly pork, duck ragu, goat’s cheese and other liverish fixin’s sent me home early for steamed vegetables and a good book. Instead, the weekend was all about the low-key delights of sorting out my admin, filing my tax return… and finding that Her Majesty’s revenue commissioners owe me a big pot of shiny coins. Hurrah! Camomile tea and dry toast all round!


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