It started with a sniff.

LP Columnist Barry Freeman
LP Columnist Barry Freeman
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Never thought it would come to this.

Never thought it would come to this.

The ‘this’ in question being taking my first tottering steps into Week Three of a lurgy which can only have sprung from the Bacillus of Hell itself.


Inhuman scenes.

Copious sneezing, eyes belching fluorescent goo, a sticky bloody snotty hooter, polished strawberry red, gumming up tissue paper as quickly as it can be bought, temperature plunging, soaring, plunging, so forth...

Then there’s the coughing.

Oh the coughing.

The humanity!

Great ratcheting fits of huskie impersonations, hour after hour, until, curled like a prawn on a barbecue, I again find myself shaking our house to its foundations throughout the night.

Am no expert, but this has been undoubtedly – UNDOUBTEDLY – the single worst bout of flu or heavy cold in the history of Western letters.

Or perhaps I exaggerate.

This is quite possible for, as a general rule, yours truly doesn’t do ill.

Fit as a fiddle, pal.

Rude good health.

Sickness is other people.

The poor swine.

Oh, there’s the usual chills and bits.

A few days modest sneezing and Lemsip here, an unsettled midriff and short bout of the runs there.

But barely ever laid up.

A tiny handful of sick days my whole working life.

Of maladies worthy of the name almost entirely second-hand experience.

Needless to say, then, on the rare occasions yours truly is set upon by malevolent microbes the sight is far from pretty.

No good patient, 

No suffering in dignified silence here, sir.

Mewling and complaining, kicking idiotically against the necessity of rest and recuperation while endlessly bemoaning my bad luck and castigating humanity en masse on the grounds one of THEM has been EVIL enough to infect ME.

Yes, the pole-axed Freeman is a truly pitiful spectacle to behold; a pity which, in most cases, swiftly and rightly evaporates to be replaced with the heartfelt desire to drown me in a bucket.

A saint would be hard pushed to stick it.

Florence Nightingale would have punched me out within 15 minutes of lighting me her lamp.

Which brings me to the reason I am writing on this subject in the first place.

Namely, despite being a colossal pain in everyone’s neck this past two weeks, I am yet to be coshed insensible by family or friends.

Their achievement is not to be sniffed at.