Housekeeper’s Diary

By Alison June 25, 2024 5 Min Read

Readers, I am ailed. It’s been ever such a long time since I was ailed but ailed I am indeed with what I suspected was Covid, but which turns out to be just the most insulting of raging summer flus. All streaming eyes and spiky throat. Limbs like lead and a hacking cough that is surely keeping the whole of this suddenly rather sprawling village awake. Oh and to add insult to injury? An insect has taken liberties with my cleavage and I am awash with (two) angry, itchy blisters.

This is what happens when I GAD. For, oh yes. I went gadding. Wearing too much hair around a strange town and sitting at pavement cafes as if they were my natural habitat with a glass of Pinot Grigot and a man with too much hair of his own. It was lovely but I won’t be going back for nice as it was, it has gifted me the lurgy and I am not a woman who forgives easily. Let alone forgets.

I’ve never been any good at being sick. I don’t take it in my stride like other people do. I even fail to take it on the chin and feel a little punch-drunk on the sheer nerve of temporary ill-health smacking me around the chops and daring to compromise my usual can-do. I become sullen and silent, most often because my entire being seems centred around my throat and the moment illness comes a calling, it steals my voice and leaves me croaking in a way my delightful Dad puts the phone down on, so irritating does he find a frog where he is expecting a daughter.

So upon my return from Lurgy Town I took to my bed and laid there for a whole twenty-four hours, holding court via my phone and living on a picnic of cold meats and olives I ate directly from an orange carrier bag, for life has slithered down a snake and I am now a person whole finds herself eating Parma ham among the sheets and talking to her body cushion (otherwise known as Malcolm) as if he were sentient and not just the slightly odd focus of her delirium. And then I got up and washed my face and said yes to a little more gadding for apparently there are people in this life who are not afraid of the Summer lurgy and will take me as they find me even if it means I am a snotty, straggly mess in the midst of a rather twinkly garden party as long as I am not in possession of a positive Covid test.

So out I went. To a garden full of beautiful, Bohemian people. Looking like mad Mary after deciding that a swipe of red lipstick would have to act as distraction from the leprosy I was sporting on my chest, while convincing myself that my voice was not so much a croak as something exotic and breathy, despite shouting “Whatttttt??” once too often over the rather energetic jazz, because I have not only been rendered half-mute, but almost completely deaf too and I do believe I rather spoiled the vibe screeching under the fairy-lights after someone spilled a glass of Pimm’s down my front, while no doubt making my amenable hosts rather wish that I had stayed in bed instead of gracing their rather glorious Moroccan themed shindig. because you can’t take me anywhere and it is no surprise at all that people rarely invite me back.

So umm yeah. thank heavens we are back in the midst of the civilisation of the humble weekday and I can drag myself to the gym to be told off by a bossy man called Joe for over-indulging on Greek salad and failing to lose more than a pound in the past week despite my knees shrinking rather nicely. He is a nice man but hella bossy and I manage bossy by making him laugh and nothing gets done in the way of finetuning my body because it is hard to lift weights when you are in perpetual make em laugh mode because make ’em laugh is the only thing I know how to do if there is danger that a person may have cause to express their disappointment and have me do extra fiddly jigs with kettlebells. I wasn’t cut out for this kind of nonsense and I do believe someone should have warned lovely, smiley Joe that he would have more success herding sheep than he will ever have herding me around the weight thingies.

But anyways, here we are. And despite this lingering lurgy and an all purveying sense that who knows what might be around the corner, I am feeling both spritely and hopeful which strikes me as a combo just right to launch myself into a week that promises to be hotter than hell and twice as sweaty. And so I am stripping my bed of the heavy quilt it sported last week when the weather was doing a nice impression of a wet Wednesday in November and I am dragging the fan out in preparation for a few sleepless nights, spritzed in peppermint and should things get utterly out of hand, draped in sheets taken straight from the freezer.

Now though, popping the trillions of ice=packs Amazon wrap my food delivery in. Reading a book about one women’s pursuit of pleasure around Paris, (I’m Mostly Here to Enjoy Myself, well me too Glynnis MacNicol, me too!) with a face ladled in an ice cold layer of Korres’ surely edible Greek Yoghurt Probiotic facemask, (I keep it in the fridge, and it is BLISS), while getting ready for Ben to make an appearance sporting a high temperature and matching ailment so that we can indulge in a frankly exciting game of I Am Sicker Than You, over a warm salad of tuna, feta and olives. And a choc ice.

Then tomorrow, a slow, languid morning, a living room partay with my Finn and then an evening at an art exhibition on Thursday. Friends for coffee in-between. A loaf of bread that rather mysteriously calls itself a crumpet to be toasted and crumbled with blue cheese, windows to fling wide open and a cat to shoo out of the conservatory because he is an idiot about to fry in a room akin to an oven.

Drippy nose, cough, cough, cough. I’m mostly here to enjoy myself, you know? Wanna come a-gadding?

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