The Systems Administrator returned from Cheltenham with a fresh cold, or the previous cold had revived itself. The SA said it only came on during the latter part of the final day of racing, and so had not spoiled the trip. I thought that standing about on a wet and chilly racecourse had probably contributed to the relapse, but it seemed churlish to labour the point. That's the trouble with colds, once they start getting better you feel you have to get on with life. The racing trip was agreed weeks ago with the SA's close friend and former colleague, and the hotel booked, and you can't go around cancelling things you have been looking forward to and letting down your friends on the grounds that you did have a cold and you are worried that if you go out you might get another one.
I am truly sorry for the SA's suffering. It is a dismal business to give up days and weeks of your life in favour of sitting in a chair in front of the fire, nose streaming, chest tight and powers of concentration gone. I am also mildly disappointed on my own account, since I was hoping the SA would fit the new windscreen wiper blades to my car and build me an extra compost bin which I need very badly, and I was looking forward to the SA hacking down some more brambles in the meadow before his recent enthusiasm for the project could start to wane.
A small part of me was relieved to find that I was not the only person to catch a relapsing cold. Not pleased, but quietly relieved, after the past two winters when people's reaction to the news that I had another cold 'What? Another one? You've only just had one!' felt as though it was growing steadily less sympathetic as the months dragged by. Behold, I am not a solitary malingering freak. These things exist. I very much hope that the SA's will not turn out to be an exact rerun and hang around until next April. I fetched firewood in, so that the SA would not have to go out to the woodshed, and fed the SA on a nourishing lunch of curried parsnip soup and a nourishing supper of mince and pea curry followed by mincemeat and apple tart. It's a shame we don't have any chicken stock on the go, but I'm sure that all that turmeric must be good for colds.
It was raining when I got up, to add to the general picture of winter decay, and I thought regretfully that perhaps I should have left the cleaning until today, but it had got to the point where I just wanted it finished. I'm sure rain wasn't forecast for today at the point when I decided to spend yesterday cleaning. The rain had passed by mid morning, so I was able to return to the brambles for another session with the pick axe. It began again before it got dark, so I called it a day and went to pick up my click and collect order of John Lewis opaque tights from Waitrose, and stock up on firelighters which I forgot to buy the last time I was out. Waitrose had run out of firelighters and I had to go to Tesco, where they were on special so I bought four boxes, plus some more cat food. The man behind me in the queue said that I had an unusual basket of shopping. I thought it was not so unfortunate as his basket, which contained a bottle of rum, a pack of four cans of beer and a couple of bars of chocolate. But it seemed inappropriate to say so and I just said I'd forgotten to buy firelighters last time and now they were on special, and he said he thought I'd been planning some barbecued cat food.
When I got back from the supermarket the SA was fiddling with my keyboard and had just removed a piece of fluff from under the t key. I think it's better than it was, though s seems a bit sticky now. Alas.