It was Judy’s fault. She should never have allowed Bill Oddie to come up to the bedroom when she knew I was getting intimate with a bowl of chicken soup. As soon as he saw me with the spoon perched guiltily on my lips, the poor man’s eyes filled with tears. If I’d had the energy to climb from my sickbed, I would have consoled my favourite Goodie with a somewhat germ-laden hug.
‘How will you forgive me?’ I asked.
‘You've eaten bird,' said Bill, 'I don’t think I can ever forgive you.’ And with that, he took to hiding behind the curtain. As much as I tried to ignore him, his sniffling stopped my falling back to sleep and the occasional damp patch appeared through the drapes whenever he blew his nose.
‘Doesn’t it matter to you that I’ve been so ill that chicken soup was the only thing to cure me?' I eventually asked. 'Aren’t you happy to see your old friend, Dick Madeley, feeling better and nearly fit enough to rejoin the world?’
The truth was that I’ve had one of the oddest cases of flu in my life. After two days up in Manchester, I returned home last week knowing that I’d have seven clear days to make real progress on my next novel. Only, when I got to work on Friday morning, I knew things weren’t quite right. My ankles were painful and I found it hard to concentrate. I went back to bed hoping to at least use the time wisely by reading a book. I slept most of the day away and H.G. Well’s ‘The First Men in the Moon’ remained unopened on my chest. By seven o’clock, the flu was in full control of the Madeley district. A curfew was imposed on all my good nature. I was shivering despite Judy’s habit of keeping the house at a solid 27 degrees and there was no part of my body that wasn’t aching. I was not easy to live with and I think Judy was quite relieved when I retired to the world of the Discovery Channel where I watched ‘Mythbusters’ for hours on end.
The weekend was a blur of hot flushes, spells of shivering, and explosions. A chesty cough developed and kept me awake at night (luckily, they show 'Mythbusters' in the early hours too) and I also suffered terrible earache which had nothing to do with the hours spent with detonating crash test dummies. What was odd about it was that my nose remained clear. In fact, it was better than clear. It was much more breathable than it is on an average day.
My temperature finally broke sometime last night. I woke up this morning feeling fragile but well enough to eat something. Judy had contacted Fry who had recommended a fresh chicken put through a blender. You might say that I’m only typing this because of the power of poultry.
As for Bill, he’s still behind the curtain. As I said, it’s been a very odd dose of flu.