This past week has been one of those weeks when you just have to focus on surviving until the weekend. It wasn’t that anything really bad happened. It was more that I was reduced to a weakened state by the remnants of a cold, and then I had to go to London for a meeting. When I say ‘remnants’ I mean a horrible hacking cough that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Victorian lung disease ward. I just had to cling to the hope that I hadn’t somehow contracted a hideous illness, that one day soon I wouldn’t have to rush out of rooms suddenly in the quest for water, and that eventually I would sleep through the night and not wake up struggling for breathe between 3 am and 4 am. And as if by magic, today I woke up feeling almost human.
It’s a while since I last visited London, and in the mean-time I discovered they had changed the way you pay for bus travel again so that when I looked for one of the roadside machines that used to dispense bus tickets I found it was no longer in operation, and before long I was trudging along Euston Road in the dark yet again as I have done so many times before for various reasons, this time hoping I would find out by magic or telepathy how to catch a bus before having to resort to getting on the Underground. In the past I’ve walked much longer distances in strange cities all over the world in order to avoid having to ask someone how the public transport system works.
One advantage about focussing on survival is that you don’t really notice all the usual discomforts associated with travelling long distances, so my main concern on the journey home by train was that my cough suddenly seemed much louder than before and I forgot that this was the second time in two days that I had sat in a train seat for 4 1/2 hours. Having a Kindle available with all sorts of varied reading material is another thing that helps with this, in my experience.
I have quite a lot to do this weekend, so naturally I’m not yet doing any of it, instead spending quite a while sitting in the conservatory being amazed that I’m getting intermittently dazzled by the sunshine. It’s on days like this that I can imagine how great it would be to walk for miles in the cold, bright open air and then drink hot chocolate by a blazing fire. But I’m afraid the only part of this vision I am going to put into effect is the drinking of hot chocolate.