Wednesday, 28 September 2011

In which I explain my absence

It was something the lovely Jo put her finger on a while ago that I’ve found to be startlingly true of late: happiness is a bitch for the creativity.

When you’re mired in the mud of an unhappy living situation, a crappy job or a dating life so full of woe you’re thinking about quitting the scene to volunteer at the Cats’ Protection, it’s remarkably easy to write ream after ream bemoaning your situation. You’re in demand at dinner parties where your tales of dating guys who turned out to be gay go down well with the smug nearly-marrieds, and you can be relied upon for tales of housemate despair that make other people feel better about their lives.

But then you buy a place and live in it by yourself, and you find a job that – whilst driving you up the wall on an hourly basis – is demanding and rewarding, and you have fewer things to bitch about. Thankfully, men who’re willing to take you to Strada on first dates provide enough fodder to keep your place safe on the dinner party circuit.

But then you meet someone. And that someone makes you happy on a scale that, were you to hear it from anyone else, would make you feel violently nauseous. And suddenly you don’t have tales of dates so terrible that you idling start Googling the local convents. You don’t have any complaints to make because the nauseating happiness is all-pervasive.

Bad dates with worse men were the reason I started blogging, all those years ago. They’ve been the lifeblood of this blog and its predecessor, with a few tales of crazy housemates and general things that rile thrown in for good measure.

Bad dates these days are… well, nonexistent. My first date with The Writer lasted three days, and was so bafflingly perfect that I’m still not convinced I wasn’t, unbeknownst to myself, playing a part in a covert Richard Curtis film (one day, I’ll let you in on it, when I’m more certain it actually happened). And things have gone from great to better.

So the anguish of dating has disappeared, and with it, so has the creative inspiration. Cosy dinners and incidents of missed tube stops because you’re just too engrossed in conversation don’t provoke the angst that makes for ranty writing, and I doubt it’d make for particularly engrossing reading.

Hence the quiet on this particular front. I am still here. I’m just happy.

Friday, 9 September 2011

In which I am not amused

I’ve always been lucky enough to be a relatively healthy person.

Despite a childhood being thrown (mostly headfirst, at speed) from ponies, I’ve never broken a bone, and the parents’ laissez-faire attitude to many happy hours spent playing outside in the mud, or with a variety of four-legged creatures seems to have resulted in an allergy-free adulthood thus far. Days off school were few and far-between as I remember them, and bar the occasional winter cold, I’ve never had much cause to gripe.

Or, I hadn’t – until the end of 2009 when my previously robust immune system appeared to pack its bags and leave me to fend for myself.

I was feeling a touch under par one Friday as I sat at my desk in my previous agency, but having never missed a day’s work, I wasn’t planning to start then. I also had no intention of a scratchy throat and a bit of a sniffle stop me heading down to Renowned Military Academy for their winter ball.

Which it didn’t – I duly arrived, had a whale of a time, ceilidhed my little heart out, drank too much and had an hour or so’s sleep.

It was as I was spluttering my lungs out over the guest of honour in the pew in front of me during the Colours to Chapel service the following morning that I thought I might have overdone it just a touch, and as I sweated and shivered my way home that night I conceded that I probably wasn’t entirely on top form.

48 hours later, I was diagnosed as having H5N1 flu.

I spent a fortnight in bed, and then two further weeks at home, and it’s safe to say I was the illest I have ever been.

That bout of flu now appears to be the gift that keeps on giving: I don’t think I now go longer than a couple of months at a time without picking up some sort of bug. Along with countless sore throats and sniffles, I’ve subsequently had a bout of flu that had me off work for a fortnight (missing a trip to Paris into the bargain) and a lung infection that saw a delightful trip to A&E at University College Hospital in the spring.

As I write this, I’m at the end of a double-strength prescription of antibiotics for a throat infection that may or may not be linked to a case of glandular fever, all kinds of tests for which saw me spend a delightful forty minutes at the GP’s yesterday whimpering like the haemophobic trypanophobe that I am.

So if anyone has any magic remedies that’ll improve the situation, I’m all ears. Which, at the rate I’m going, will be the only working part of me left.


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