Friday November 4, 2005

The good thing about a cold is that, no matter how long it takes, you can be pretty certain that you’ll come through it, shake off the post-sickness wearies, and get on with your life. And you can then forget about it. Until the next time.

It’s a wonderful feeling, though, coming through it.

I stayed home today, and almost entirely indoors except for one quick dash out to check the mailbox. A fruitless dash as it turned out.

When we get established in our new home I intend to get one of those proper American style affairs, with a flag to indicate visually that there are contents waiting. I was a bit mean when we got here to find there was no letter-box in the door and that I’d need to make provision for the postman to leave the mail safe and dry. Looked around at commercial mailboxes and recoiled in horror at the price. Did a bit of research and came up with the construction plans for a really rather good design and passed them on to Graham. Sadly, he hadn’t the time so I found a cheap tin box affair that works, but has no style at all. I’ll have to leave it behind for the new people and shall do so with no regret at all.

If the next house has a letter box I intend to block it up. Having a neat hole in your front door isn’t entirely wise in the days of wandering street urchins with fireworks in their pockets just ripe for destructive mischief.

So, a quiet day, nursing my rapidly diminishing cough which, most gratifyingly, began to disappear altogether for longer and longer periods, which then started to join together, giving me a couple of hours at a time free of the darned thing, then three hours… It’s rather like watching raindrops joining up on a window-pane but nothing like as attractive.

Seems there’s a world-wide epidemic of the common cold just now. In the past couple of weeks I’ve had messages of fellow-suffering support from just about every English-speaking country in the world, and some that have English as a second or third language, too. Every time I go out there seem to be people everywhere, coughing, wheezing and dripping. Even Graham’s not immune to this one and is currently running another cold or, perhaps, a resurgence of the one he started when we were both down in Somerset. I’m hoping that, at last, I’ve built a degree of immunity to it so that exposure to a new flavour will cause me no great trouble.

Even so, I’m prepared for a winter of the sniffles. Haven’t seen it like this since I was a kid, sent off to school each day with a pocket full of freshly laundered linen handkerchiefs to be returned in the evening for a further washing. It’s a long time since I boiled up a batch of handkerchiefs to be dried on the fireguard and ironed neatly. And the old aluminium saucepan I kept for the purpose went off for recycling many years back. I wonder what happened to all those old handkerchiefs? I had a drawerful of the things, most of them with a neat J monogrammed in one corner. Mind you, that was back when a pack of three new handkerfchiefs was a highly acceptable and very welcome gift for Christmas.

Hey ho. There’s a lot in modern life for which to be thankful and the invention and availability of paper tissues is high on the list. At least, it is when you’re running a cold.

I have a full notebook of observations other than the common cold waiting to be written up just as soon as my brain returns to normal. Like the nicely turned out young man eating a proper old-fashioned packed lunch on a bench in Boston. I bet he is sent off to work with a nicely laundered and pressed linen handkerchief, too. And two mongrel terriers—Bill and Ben—we met tethered outside the coffee shop, performing the job of being cute and entertaining with a degree of uncommon excellence. Oh, and not to forget the splendid display of autumn colours sparking up the trees and hedges all about me.

For the moment, though, my brain isn’t working normally, or reliably. There have been times just recently when it doesn’t seem to have been working at all.



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