Now, I’m quite hopeful that you haven’t noticed but I’ve had the flu.

It kicked in, quite late, last Tuesday night and the sound of my own coughing brought me out of a dream. I don’t quite remember the dream. I suspect it was a good one because I was quite annoyed to find myself awake, and more so when I realised that breathing in was almost as complicated as breathing out.

I’ll not bore you. You know what flu is. You may have had it. Maybe even recently. If you were the one who gave it to me, I forgive you. But I will find you.

I never get sick.

I’m really not very good at it.

In fact, so seldom am I under the weather that I become deeply boring, an intensely grumpy, frumpy, jokeless thing, with heavy eyelids and a vague awareness that I should have written my will.

I’ve only had flu a couple of times before. In the midst of the most recent cough-and-splutter monster, I caught sight of myself in the hall mirror. I was deathly pale. My eyes were half-shut. My mouth was hanging open. And I realised: I have never looked hotter in my life.


But my best experience of flu was the one before this. It was great fun. This was a few years ago now. I moved the kettle, the bin and the brandy bottle in beside the sofa, and settled in to watch a film under a blanket with Doobie.

My temperature went through the roof as the opening titles rolled across the screen for the 2007 Disney film, Enchanted.

In Enchanted, Amy Adams plays a princess who finds herself in the modern-day reality of Manhattan, having been banished from her magical, animated kingdom. At no point did I realise what was happening, largely because there was a scene where the cartoon Giselle was petting a cartoon racoon.


All I could think was: How did I get on the telly?

I made Doobie look at the screen. Pointing to the racoon, I said to him, “Doo! Momma’s in a film! I don’t remember making a film. How could I forget a thing like that?”

Now, I didn’t think I had played a cartoon racoon. I thought I was a cartoon racoon.

Strangely, swigging back the brandy, I seemed to sober up.


I realised I was not, had never been, and would not likely become, a cartoon racoon. ‘Nother swig of brandy and I started giggling about how ridiculous I was to suspect otherwise.

I suppose the best thing about flu is not that the worst of it is relatively brief in duration when compared to a head cold. It’s the fun hallucinations which, properly harnessed, could turn into a collection of ghost stories for Halloween. Watch this space…