Doris is on her way over. I wish I could welcome her from the cosy interior of a well-stocked Scottish bothie on a remote piece of high coastland, because she is bringing snow to them up there - well, blizzards apparently. She produces gusts of 80 mph I am told. That's what I call windy.
It occurred to me yesterday that I have a cold which has lasted all Winter. This has never happened to me before. It has gone on for four months now and because I know many people who have the same cold, I cannot decide if it is due to a particularly vicious microbe or the possibility that everyone's immune systems have been weakened by the appalling series of world events, culminating in the election of you-know-who. If the latter, then the cold may last for four years.
I had pneumonia when I was a child. It ceased to be life-threatening after a dose of anti-biotics delivered via a large needle into my arse. It came with a fever which lasted for one long night, during which I had many hallucinations and, when I was awake, produced bright, white rings of light behind my eyeballs when I coughed, and I coughed a lot.
Lawrie Lee's description of a childhood fever is the best I have ever read. In it, he describes faces appearing in the stained wallpaper of his little Slad bedroom as looking like 'gods gone mouldy'. Brilliant. I can see them now.
I had an experience during that long night which I will never, ever forget, and will never be persuaded that it was an hallucination.
By the side of my bed there was a chair which could be used for putting clothes on etc. At the height of my fever I awoke to see an old lady sitting on it, looking down on me and smiling. I did not recognise her, and it was only later that I thought of her as giving off light - she was glowing in the dark it seemed.
Ghosts are always depicted as glowing, but this is because your brain tells you that you are unable to see things in the dark, so you remember them as glowing. In fact, you just see things as if in normal light.
When I saw the old lady, I remember thinking that everything would be alright with her watching over me, and I slipped into a deep and dreamless sleep. In the morning, my fever had gone and I was well on the way to recovery.
It was my mother who suggested that the lady was my guardian angel.
BUTTER. - There is a butter shortage in France. Where once was a butter mountain, there is now a butter black hole. Not a single pack of butter in the shops yester...
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