Monday, 3 January 2011

Sore throat – I think I'm going down with something

Dream maker: a sachet of this stuff
before bed makes for a surreal experience.

For the past 12 months I've been stuffing my face – with oranges. Sometimes, I've eaten as many as five big ones while sitting in front of the television or reading a book. As 2010 progressed, I stepped it up a little: I started eating apples and pears and I'd always been partial to the odd banana or two. Actually, where bananas are concerned, I could eat them all day if I'm honest, I love them.

With so much goodness going into the system, you'd think I'd be pretty bomb-proof when it came to run-of-the-mill diseases and, to be fair, I have been; I haven't had a cold – or anything – since the winter of 2008. But now, as I sit here writing this blog, I have a sore throat. It came on last night and its only saving grace is that I feel fine – no headache, I'm not feeling weak, I'm not feeling ill – if that makes sense, although I don't sound good and I'll probably be clearing my throat a lot over the next few days. You know the deal, you bring up a mouthful of phlegm in company and have to rush to the bathroom to get rid of it. Incidentally, what a lovely word, phlegm. I think there should be a punk rock band called the Phlegmingos, perhaps there is one. Hold on a second while I open another window on the computer and check out, there isn't, although I now wonder whether or not I have a 'phlegmatic personality'. I'd like to think that I'm low-key, easy going and relaxed, but you know what? I don't think I am so I'll stick to the mucus, as indeed would everybody because it's so sticky.

Sitting here with a sore throat, of course, could have been avoided as the best thing to do is keep out of the way of anybody who has flu or a cold or, indeed, a sore throat and that is where I went wrong. While in the New Forest between Christmas and New Year, we stood out like sore thumbs because we didn't have any ailments. The problem, of course, was that everybody else did have something wrong with themselves, be it a sore throat, a cough, a cold or a mixture of all three and while I did say that we'd be lucky to escape without 'going down with something,' I thought we'd escaped it yesterday even if I did say, whenever smugness arose, that we'd have to leave it two days before discovering if we'd escaped. Clearly, two days later, that's not the case!

The worst thing, of course, is the weather. As I sit here in the conservatory looking out on the garden, I notice lovely blue skies with scattered, light grey clouds and a general stillness, which means it's ideal for cycling. To be honest, I feel okay and now, as I write this, I'm thinking, 'perhaps I should go out', but I know that having a sore throat is one good reason not to go out; it is, if you like, my 'get out of jail free' card, not that I view cycling as some kind of penal activity. Indeed, given the choice between having a sore throat and not having one, I'd take the latter option. I guess that going cycling could make things worse, but because there's no medical expert at hand to contradict that view, I'll remain in front of the computer in the warmth.

The problem with this sort of ailment, of course, is that it lingers. It hangs around like a delinquent teenager on a street corner and leads to utterances like, "I can't seem to shake it off." That sort of remark often results in a trip to the doctor and a course of anti-biotics. For me, however, the worst thing about having a cold or a sore throat is losing one's sense of taste. It hasn't happened yet, and I hope it won't, but there's nothing as bad as eating a hearty meal and not being able to taste it. Of course, such a condition does have its advantages: it means you can eat stuff you don't like – tinned sardines and cottage cheese – but what's the point?

Late last night I scored some Lemsip from the local gas station and, on arriving home, I emptied a sachet into a mug and poured hot water on to the yellow powder, transforming it into a warming lemon drink crammed with various drugs guaranteed to allievate the symptoms. I didn't fancy waking up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth, gagging for a glass of water and it worked. I had a good night's sleep, waking at past eight o'clock and coming downstairs to write this blog post. Now, as I gaze again outside, the sky is even bluer than it was a few moments ago, this really is great cycling weather, but again, I'll have to give it a miss.

The Lemsip was excellent, by the way, as it enabled me to have a weird dream that involved, for some reason, throwing cushions at Nick Clegg, who was sitting on one of my sofas, and being present at a showing of the BBC's Question Time on which both Cameron and Clegg were blatantly pretending to hate each other in an effort to prove they were not joined at the hip. There was much more to the dream, but as I write this, I can't recall anymore of it, although I have a strange feeling it involves the sea as most of my dreams tend to.

Right, time to go and spend the last day of the holidays (it's a Bank Holiday today) 'being ill'. This means not going to see my parents – for fear of giving them my sore throat (although I've just discovered my mum already has one – or my mate Alan, whose wife has just given birth to a baby daughter.

Mind you, there are some positive aspects of having a sore throaty sort of ailment: one, I can perfect a gravelly voice; and two, I can develop one of those insincere, television presenter wheezy laughs that will enable me to laugh at jokes that simply aren't funny. There's an upside to everything.

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