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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

I am feeling a little heroic. I am in the grip of a nasty infection, one which I’ve managed to pick up every winter these past ten or fifteen years. Starts as a cold and  goes straight to my upper respiratory tract. I’ll spare the details, other than to say I feel lousy and am waking up about 0530h every morning unable to breathe comfortably. The plus side is that, once I’ve been up a few hours and cleared my head, there is still an awful lot of the day left. I have, consequently, remained pretty productive. There were a couple of days last week when I really couldn’t write usefully, but I regained one day’s lost ground on Sunday, and yesterday I reached the end of the last full chapter of the book. There’s a sort of coda to write, maybe three or four pages, and then after Christmas I’ll re-write the whole lot, hopefully by the end of January.

Apart from the daily thousand, I’ve been banging out copy for the new website - and polishing it. Chainsaw Phil, meanwhile, has the bit between his teeth and reports that he is close to completion. I have just sent him the final page, which I wrote earlier this morning. It’s under the heading ‘On My Desk’. Originally it was going to be a sort of end-of-term report, to be updated regularly; perhaps more often than that. The fact is, the updates will most likely appear in the blog, which is why I indulged myself in composing a sort of tour around my desk, complete with a photograph of it in all its squalor and chaos - complete with apple-core.

As an aside, I should say that the radio is burbling away in the background and I am  half listening to a programme on the BBC in which “Lucy Kellaway explores the complexities of having considerable personal wealth.” Hmmm. She’s talking to the guy who was born into the Littlewoods Pools family, inherited a massive fortune, and has so far given away “about £93,000,000.” He is busy telling the interviewer about his burden. If I were half the writer I think I am I would surely have a suitably pithy barb available. But my chin is still on my chest, my mouth agape. I am reminded of that great line from Mary Poppins: ‘Close your mouth, Michael; we are not a goldfish.’

Aha - the bell. Time to go and knock back the bread dough I mixed earlier, and shape it into half a dozen loaves. Can’t have lunch till I have some bread, can I?

Having not gone out of the house for over a week now - the cold air makes me gasp and wheeze - I have had to complete my Christmas shopping online. Terribly convenient and all that, but it always takes so much longer than it ought to. Yesterday I made three purchases from, pressed the various buttons and went off to another site to buy tickets for a football game in the New Year - a present for my son. Chelsea, the team I have followed since 1967, vs Portsmouth in the F A Cup. While I was negotiating a passage through their many questionnaires and forms, ping! went the email alert. to tell me that certain providers don’t like taking orders on debit cards that might expire shortly. Shortly? My card is good until the end of February 2012, and of course I have no replacement yet. After a bit of swearing, and after I’d filed details of another card - and rummaged through my drawers trying to find out what the hell the pass code was - I returned to Chelsea FC, and completed the laborious process of ordering two tickets in the Lower West Stand (North). Only when I’d got to the final ordering did they wag the finger and tell my I had dawdled too long, been timed out and must start all over again.  Good job I have plenty of time just now….

I was hoping to rhapsodise about another York City win this morning. But no. They went a goal down to Kidderminster early on, equalised, gave away two soft goals, won a penalty and managed to miss it, did finally score a second, but just couldn’t find an equaliser. The end of a 12-match unbeaten run. Still, I wasn’t there to suffer it. There are compensations to being under the weather.

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