One of the potential problems with living in a close community is that if one person comes down with something, you all do. This is why a nearby boarding school gives all its boarders flu vaccinations every winter (I know the school nurse) because otherwise, if one child gets the flu, then the whole boarding house will be full for the rest of term with sickly sneezing feverish children and panicky parents convinced it’s meningitis or worse.
So I should not be surprised, I suppose, that having been visited by Annie to apologise for Deirdre’s rather peremptory reclaiming of the advertising stuff for the village newsletter, that I came down with a bug. Annie seems to mix with at least half the children in the village for starters, and if she has to go round apologising for Deirdre too, then that narrows down the potential patient zeros to 75% of the village population.
The OH had taken me out for dinner for Valentine’s Day, complete with oysters and some rather delicious cocktails, at a restaurant in our nearby town. We had a very pleasant evening and then in the middle of the following night, the OH was extremely ill. You would be forgiven for thinking it was something he ate, because I was absolutely fine. I was even fine as I ate my breakfast the next morning. It wasn’t until an hour after breakfast that I was also extremely ill. I won’t go into graphic detail – you might also be trying to eat your breakfast or something – but it wasn’t nice. So not nice was it, that I returned to bed and spent the next two days there. I know other people have described it as a 24 hour bug, but sometimes these things take longer to shake off. What was particularly galling was that the OH had also bought theatre tickets, to see ‘Frankenstein’ up in London, and we were in no fit state even for the train journey, let alone to sit through a performance without the possibility of disrupting the rest of the row as we rushed for the loo. So our Very Desirable Tickets, so I’m told, were released into the wild by the theatre and I hope somebody bought them because the seats were front and centre of the circle. Poor OH – he had tried so hard for Valentine’s Day, largely because I’d complained that he never does anything much for it – and then the shine was most definitely taken off by the subsequent events. He muttered something about going to see something else instead, but the surprise is gone now, so he feels very cheated.
Annie rang the doorbell again on Friday, by which time I had ventured downstairs for some dry toast, because she’d noticed that the curtains had been drawn nearly all week. When I explained we’d been ill, she was totally unsurprised and told me that half the children she looks after had also been throwing up and more all week. So I’m even more certain now of the source of our illness. However, while I was at the door, in my dressing gown, slippers and extreme bed-head, I noticed the estate agents taking down the ‘To Let’ sign from the house on the other side of Delyth’s, so presumably someone is moving in soon.
In case you wondered what Verity’s response was to the village’s new famous residents, I shall quote from her email: ‘That’s nice, dear, but talking of famous – you’ll never guess who’s on this cruise with us – one of the Rolling Stones – I won’t say which one but he has a *very* young wife. I’m hoping to run into her in the salon and then I can get them involved with the June Charity Ball.’ I suspect that if I’d met the queen, Verity would find some way of trumping it.