Turning the corner

Thursday November 3, 2005

To Boston, as promised, with my poor old body a battleground for the continuing war between the antibiotics and residual cold germs. I was not on my best form and, to be honest, all that really interested me was the prospect of food. Graham had other business in mind so I got left on benches here and there as we made our way around the town.

“I’m hungry,” I said. “Can we have lunch now?”

“If you insist. What kind of lunch?”

“Well, there’s always chips and gravy.”

“Don’t fancy that.”

“Pub lunch?”

“Don’t fancy that.”

“Well, you suggest something, then.”

“How about MacDonald’s?”

“If you insist.”

To my great relief he took one look at the in-town MacDonald’s, all heaving with students and the great unwashed, and recoiled in horror. “We can’t eat in there,” he said.

“We could walk round to Church’s and have a proper cooked lunch. Roast meat or poultry and three veg. Very good, very clean, very reasonable.”

“Alright. Lead the way.”

Sadly, they were closed for their annual holiday. “Oh dear,” I said. “Looks like it’ll have to be Georgie’s. I’m sure I can manage a full English breakfast even though I did have one yesterday and they’ll have something less heavy for you if you want.”

The wind howled along the street. Graham was looking hungry now, and willing to tackle almost anything that didn’t involve chips and gravy. Some people have great difficulty when it comes to choosing a place to eat and Graham’s one of them.

“Right,” he said, in an atypically decisive moment. “Let’s go.”

Fair play, he enjoyed Georgie’s when it came to it, and took on a big plate of poached eggs on toast with a good dollop of baked beans. I had thought of taking the lunch-time special but they’d sold out so I settled for the breakfast—egg, Lincolnshire sausage, west country bacon, local mushrooms, tomatoes and a slice of hot buttered toast. It was no punishment.

I ended the Boston visit by sitting outside Costa Coffee, sipping at a massive great cup of black coffee and watching the world go by while Graham finished his shopping. It was very windy but remarkably mild and I felt that sitting in the fresh air was to be preferred to the airless interior of a coffee shop.

Back home, we enjoyed a slice of strawberry and cream cheese cake and I took myself off for a late afternoon nap. Spoiled by coughing, I’m afraid.

“Tell you what,” Graham said when I stumbled back into the kitchen. “I’ll cook spaghetti putanesca for dinner. That’ll make you feel a lot better.”

It did, too, and I found my cough disappearing rapidly. It’s a brave cough that resists the combination of antibiotics, hot rum toddies, hot methol inhalant and spaghetti putanesca.

“You’re looking better already.”

“I think it’s the olive oil. And the anchovies.”

“Told you. Why don’t you have an early night while the cough is on the retreat?”

And that is what I did. Slept pretty well, rising only a couple of times to clear my chest, and woke feeling that I may just have turned the corner at last.



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