I am beginning to wonder about the advisability of ordering shellfish when I live so far from the sea, despite modern storage methods; I have been so ill and confined to bed for the last week and a half, and I can't think what else might have caused it. No-one else has been ill, though in good village tradition, this has meant that the OH hasn't starved, inundated as he has been by invitations and winter casseroles that 'just need popping in the oven for a few minutes'. Despite being out of circulation, it seems that everyone in the village, whether I know them or not, knows that I am ill.
At one point, I thought I must be hallucinating, because I thought Verity had popped into the bedroom, looking glowing but not too tanned, but it turns out that she has actually come home. Her most recent amour, a young Italian primary school teacher, had to return home for the new term and she decided that the south of France was filling up with middle-aged and elderly people instead, so she left before she could be bracketed with them.
"I won't stay long in case I catch whatever you've got and I feel so refreshed from my holiday, it would be a shame to spoil it!"
I tried to reassure her that it was food poisoning and therefore not contagious but apparently the doctor wasn't nearly as sure of that as I was and for some reason, Verity was prepared to take the doctor's word over mine. Certainly I don't remember anyone else visiting, so it's entirely possible that the rumour mill had diagnosed me with bubonic plague.
Finally, however, I am well enough to head downstairs to the chaos that was once my neatly kept kitchen and log on to my email and blog. I currently have no idea what is going on in the village other than Verity's return from foreign climes - even Joe decided to work elsewhere until it was safe to come back. So in the meantime, all I can offer is a brief précis of the poetry evening and the reason I was indulging in dodgy oysters.
My little haiku was quite well received and I have been encouraged to keep writing, but then everyone was encouraged, so I'm not convinced they're a particularly discerning group. They are however supportive so I have offered to host the next evening, in the middle of September, for which we are to write our own odes to autumn. I doubt I can express it any better than Keats, but I might manage another haiku.
Meanwhile, the oysters were part of a celebratory meal hosted by an out-of-village friend whose two children have done so well in their respective exams that one is into Oxford to read English, which apparently is incredibly competitive, and the other has won a scholarship to a school which has 'the most amazing reputation for Oxbridge candidates'. Frankly, if Elise can win such a scholarship, she can probably manage her own Oxbridge candidacy if that's what she wants, but Caroline seemed pleased enough to want to celebrate it with an impromptu hosting at a nearby restaurant for her oldest friends (another opportunity to brag, really, but fun to see everyone). I'm not aware yet of anyone else being ill but then a) I was the only one who had the oysters, and b) I'm not actually aware of anything that's been happening recently. I will just have to let you know!
In the meantime, I think a shower and a cup of coffee is called for before I set to armed with the non-cillitbang and a scouring pad to the cooker's once-upon-a-time surface.