I’ve got a cold (again). Ick.
I guess it’s something that many parents are familiar with, but I must have caught more colds in the 11 months since Isaac was born than in the previous 11 years combined – the boy is a germ-spreading machine. In fact, feeling bunged up and snotty now appears to be my normal operating mode; I’ve almost forgotten what it feels like to go through an entire week without being slightly under the weather. (What an odd phrase that is: where does it come from?)
The worst thing about having a cold is that it’s not like you’re properly ill. If it was flu or some other virus, I would be quite justified in tucking myself up in bed all day and generally feeling sorry for myself. But with a cold, you feel compelled to go into work because ‘it’s only a cold’, then you feel bad when you slope away early, and then you can’t mention it at home without being told to shut up and stop being such a wuss. And then it’s several days until the blasted thing finally goes away, persisting as stubbornly as a Big Brother contestant who has outstayed their welcome on the Z-list celebrity pages.
Still, having a cold does give me an excuse to stock up on Lemsip and Lockets, one of those guilty I-know-I-shouldn’t-like-these-but-I-really-do addictions which Heather thinks is me exaggerating things in a man-flu sort of way, but actually is just part of a Pavlovian routine, a comfort blanket which allows me to feel OK about feeling lousy.
Maybe it’s a habit which stems from my childhood, as many of our ingrained behaviours do. I have vivid memories of being tucked up in bed with hot honey and lemon drinks, or sitting with a towel over my head inhaling steam from a boiled kettle. Or Lucozade – Lemsip, Lockets, Lucozade, is the alliteration somehow important? – which, if you’re of a certain age, you will remember came in big glass bottles wrapped in crinkly orange plastic.
Whatever the reason, it’s a lovely autumn morning, but I feel no more desire to be outside than I did during the near-biblical rain we had yesterday (at one stage I half expected to see an ark containing pairs of animals floating by). And that’s a real shame. Much though I despise the early nights and the knowledge that summer is long gone, I do normally very much like days like today which are crisp and dry. Right now, however, all I can think about is Lucozade.