Friday, 22 July 2011

Not much longer

It would be entirely true to say that I have been looking forward to our holiday for some time, but the countdown proper is now well underway.

It has been a ropey few days as a nasty cold hit me square on the jaw on Sunday, leaving me with a debilitating cough, an all-over ache and a feeling of being so completely exhausted that I spent more time in bed over the following two days than at any point since childhood bouts of chicken pox or measles.

Having decided to sweat it out rather than risk simply delaying things with standard cold medication, I actually reached the point on Wednesday of spending much of the day slumped in front of the TV watching continuous episodes of Murder She Wrote.

The redoubtable Jessica Fletcher seemed to do the trick. I woke yesterday with a sniffle to be sure, but feeling infinitely brighter than I had for what felt felt like a very, very long time.

Work was productive and followed by my holiday haircut - just make it short and neat, Ian: I want it to be totally easy to deal with.

There's no knowing whether it's the humid weather or simply the thought of the food to come once we're on the other side of the Channel, but fodder from the canteen or even the nearby cafés around work didn't feel very enticing for either me or The Other Half yesterday.

Personally, I've felt it's been a struggle to think what to eat in the evenings for a while. But in around just over 24 hours, that problem will, I think, be resolved.

In the meantime, preparations are gathering apace.

There's enough suntan lotion to cover a small army, plus the usual sort of medical basics.

And now my book selection is in place, a rather Catholic assortment coming to terms with odd shelf fellows.

On the fiction front, there's Johann Grimmelshausen's Simplicissimus, a picaresque tale of the Thirty Years War, first published in 1668, and The Belly of Paris, the third in Émile Zola's Rougon-Macquart cycle.

From the food section comes Matthew Fort's Eating Up Italy, together with The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten.

Finally, from politics comes Alan Clark: A life in his own words, the edited diaries.

At the point of writing, it's only just gone 6am, but I can't sleep – a complete reversal of the beginning of the week. This is almost childlike excitement at a sense of impending liberation.

Now all I have to do is a day's work, pack, convince myself to eat a few times, rethink the book selection (of course!) and give as much fuss as possible to The Girls, who I will miss.

But in 24 hours time ...

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