Apart from death and taxes, there are two other events that you can bet your house on.
Even in a total washout of a summer there’ll be sub-Saharan temperatures on day one of a professional football team’s pre-season training – and your kids will get ill within a fortnight of going back to school. You don’t need a degree in rocket science to work out why the latter happens. After six weeks of looking after their own children that they conceived, gave birth to and raised, mummy’s little poppets would have to puke blood to get a day off sick in September. “Bit of a sniffle? Have some Calpol. Can’t see straight or swallow? Have some Calpol. Because Loose Women won’t watch itself and, quite honestly, after putting up with six weeks of you, I’m sick of the sight of you.”
Of course, when your previously healthy kid is sent to school in good faith they end up cooped up in a classroom during the Cough Olympics and they’re going to catch whatever’s going around.
Believe me, Johnny Greensleeves doesn’t much care where his snot ends up as his death metal sneezes spray the class like some demented water cannon.
So it was, as first daughter #1 came home from sixth form one afternoon last week looking like death warmed up, followed a few days later by her sister. Back in the 1980s a heavy cold was good for at least three days off school – mashed up egg in a cup, portable telly in the bedroom and the Atari on the go all day, the whole nine yards.
Kids of the 80s invented duvet days, even before the days of continental quilts when we just had sheets, blankets and bedspreads.
Who in all honesty hasn’t put their forehead next to the gas fire on a cold winter’s morning when your mum wasn’t looking and then pulled your best poorly face when she was?
These days our kids are desperate to get back to school after they’ve been ill, they’re terrified they’ll fall too far behind. Both had one day off each, popped Ibuprofen tablets like they were sweeties and made miraculous recoveries within 24 hours. That’s some work ethic they’ve inherited from their mother.