It’s a typical early autumn day, mid morning, and I’m walking Tiki in the park. This is a fairly standard day for us two. But today, we are accompanied by an univited guest, whose presence is uncomfortably felt throughout the whole journey. My usual response when I feel uneasy is to take a deep breath. I try. I fail

I hate having a cold. It makes everything so much more difficult, and that is just unnecessary. My brain hurts, so work is difficult. My eyes hurt, so using my screen or camera is difficult. My sinuses ache, my throat scratches and my lung crackle, so existing is fairly onerous in itself.

This infinitesimal virus is challenging everything I try to do, and I am choosing to accept that challenge. Like a hero from an epic saga, I don my armour (a woolly jumper and comfortable trousers) and collect my weapons (a mug filled with hot water, lemon, honey & ginger) as I prepare for war.

Doing that hurts. I give in. I haven’t lost, I’m just lulling the enemy into a false sense of security. Albeit a warm, cosy, soft blankety bed of security where I can feel sorry for myself and deny the existence of painful stimuli such as light, sound, or life.


The dog refuses to let me surrender, and like a true battle-hound she encourages me to fight on by throwing a rope toy for her. I try her tactic once. My shoulders ache in doing so. She decides that the aching will subside in time, provided I tug the rope toy as she growls endlessly. I suggest a more peaceful approach, involving her laying down in her basket as I do the same in mine. She relents, and settles down, grumpily.

I manage to find a position where one nostril will allow me to breathe, temporarily resting my Darth Vader impression, when my brain is seared by what feels like the laser from the Death Star firing clean through my temples. My phone is ringing. It’s a call from reality. Or a client. Ostensibly, both. Painfully, I drag myself the two feet to my warbling phone and answer. I clear my throat a third time and try again, mustering a gravelly ‘hello’ to my valued and honourable client. No rest for the wicked.