The strangely strangulated barking from the bottom of the stairs sounded like it was asking me something. ‘Yes,’ I responded with a similar, but higher-pitched barking that came from my mouth but bore no resemblance to my own voice, “I’d love a cup of tea, thanks’
The bug that struck both Noel and me down at the same time was no respecter of the self-employed and those who share the chores. Noel couldn’t even speak without triggering a coughing fit violent enough to wake the cat, and I was on the point of auditioning for the part of Darth Vader, or one of those phone lines that appreciates husky voices. When we spoke it was in snatched barking and laboured breathing, so a whole sentence on the subject of tea was progress indeed.
Noel was too ill to go to work and plans for celebrating my birthday that day by running miles of Yorkshire countryside, gobbling a plate of fine steak and ale pie with fat chunky chips followed by treacle sponge and a vat of custard, washed down with something mildly alcoholic were scuppered. Instead we lay there like two Bob Flemings from the Fast Show, He’s a character who clears his throat with every word, if you get the picture.
Tea duly drunk and some of the voice recovered, one of us had to go to the pharmacy to stock up on products that would relieve our symptoms and bring about a miraculous cure. Perhaps it was the delirium brought about by overdosing on tea and jelly babies, well they were all we had in the house, but the array of products available to pinch the pennies from my purse was staggering.
When I was a lass it was honey, lemon, asprin and a ‘you’re-not-ill-you-re-soft’ from my mum as she pushed me through the school gate, hankie in hand., Now, looking at the a-drug-for-every-symptom on display in all the shiny packages with promises of instant relief, immediate movement of all mucus and possible immortality, I didn’t know where to start. Surely I should take them all, powders, capsules, tablets, lozenges, linctus, rubs, balms and special tissues to stop my nose going red.
I was just overwhelmed and feeling far too ill to choose. Illness does that to you, choice isn’t something you want, I wanted to choose to be well. And in my heart of hearts I knew, because in the not-too-distant past, before the days of bark-talking, I had read about the effectiveness of these over-the-counter drugs in their shiny packages and in the main, they aren’t. They just cost a lot and the virus goes anyway in its own time, helped with rest, tea and jelly babies (I have empirical evidence that jelly babies are the panacea). So I defaulted honey, lemon and asprin,
As for birthday celebrations, we watched the entire Harry Potter series and ate a whole vat of jelly babies. We’re definitely feeling better now…