Sunday, 25 September 2011


For one with the constitution of an ox, the fact that it hurt my arms when wallowing in Cawsand Bay should have been a warning to me. I didn’t expect it to be the balmy seas of Kefalonia but neither did I expect the sensation of such frigidity that I might have been ice-hole diving.
“C’mon mum”, shouted the kids, “Don’t be a wimp. Just go for it”. They frolicked, adults swam, kayaks swept silently past me, but I felt as though I were participating in a New Year dip. “It’s absolutely freezing”, I said through chattering teeth.
“It is not”, laughed my daughter, as, with orange goggles on her head, she delved her head under the sea like a cormorant. “See?” she said, emerging again, equally orange hair dripping down her face.
I didn’t see, no. All I knew was that my blood and bones were quickly becoming immobilised, so after a very brief doggypaddle, I waded out and wrapped all our towels around my shivering body.
All around me were sun-worshippers sipping cokes or licking ice-creams; I, on the other hand unscrewed the Thermos and poured myself a coffee. Cupping the plastic cup as though my life depended on it, I wondered how long it would be before I could suggest going home.
I soon found out. The nine year old ran over to me, bursting with excitement, dragging a familiar little girl in her wake.
“Look who I’ve found mum. Stacey”. I said hi to Stacey, before she informed me that she had her own kayak and that, would it be ok if my girls went with her on it around the bay. Before I was able to utter any remonstrance or words of warning regarding deep water and subsequent drowning my daughter had said,
“Oh Cheers mummy”, and without so much as a by your leave, she’d gone, still dragging Stacey; the Red-Head was waiting for them in the shallows. She is bright enough to realise that the further away she is from me the less likelihood there is of capture. By the time I had heaved myself off the pebbles and strode down to the water’s edge, they had paddled away and all that was left for me to do was wave rather pathetically.
It goes without saying that they eventually returned safe and sound and very happy with their adventure, I by this time, had packed our bags, folded towels and beach mats and was waiting for them. Not very patiently either as I was still shivering uncontrollably.
Walking back to the car, the youngest asked why I was being so quiet. It hadn’t occurred to me that I had been and it wasn’t until I started to then enter into conversation that I realised that it hurt to talk.
“Ouch”, I said, rubbing at my neck, “My throat hurts”.
Later that evening, once spaghetti had been served up to the masses and I’d swallowed, with some difficulty, a couple of enormous ibuprofen, I went to the local pub to meet Mags for a drink and a catch up. She was in the corner, sporting an oversized Amy Winehouse t-shirt.
“Holy karumba Alice” she said, standing up to kiss me, “you look like the proverbial poo”.
“Thanks”, I replied dolefully, “I feel like it too”.
“What’s up?” she asked, throwing wasabi peanuts into her mouth.
“I’m not sure, but I ache and have a really sore throat”.
“Sauvignon blanc will do the trick”. Now, for most hum-drum everyday glitches such as a crap day at work, children playing up, marital disharmony etc. etc., then an enormously large, chilled white wine and the company of a best friend invariably makes the issues of the day seem suddenly less significant but, tonight it just didn’t work. I took a few sips of my wine, resolutely refused any offer of wasabi nuts and tried to sound interested in Mags’s condemnation of energy bills but, I was very aware that I was being very much a wet blanket.
“I have to go home”, I admitted.
“Home? Sorry, am I boring you that much? We’ll talk about Zara’s wedding if you prefer?”
“Cheeky cow”, I said slapping her with a beer mat, “I’m not that vacuous!”
“Well don’t go home then”.
“I must. One minute I’m shivering, the next I’m having hot flushes”.
“Menopause?”, she asked quietly.
“Maybe, and I know that there are a myriad symptoms of menopause but I genuinely can’t recall that a sore throat is one of them”.
An hour later and I was in bed. Hubby came up a little while later.
“My God”, he said, “You must be ill. I’ve never known you party poop on a night out with Mags before”. I didn’t even have the wherewithal to reply. Instead, I buried my head into my pillow and went out like a light. At 4 am, I awoke, choking on my own spit. Disgusting. My throat seemed to have closed over, my neck and ears were throbbing and it was difficult to move my tongue. For the next four and a half hours I lay propped up in bed whimpering, and willing the to time to fly so that I could ring the doctor’s surgery.
“Have a Strepsil” yawned Hubby some time around dawn. Something frothed in my throat as I tried to reply that he could shove his Strepsil, but he was already asleep again. I got up and attempted to drink some water. It was impossible.
By 9am I was at the surgery with a torch being shone down my throat.
The doctor shook her head, “Nasty case of tonsillitis. You must be in a lot of pain” and she wrote me a prescription for penicillin.
I know that it may have been through accidental discovery, but as I swallow each little tablet of penicillin and every hour I feel a little better, I can but salute you Alexander Fleming. Thank-you for your miracle mould.

No comments: