The cavalry retreats as the norovirus rears its head

Last week I said I was crawling towards Friday due to an overload of work and life issues. I spoke about the cavalry having arrived because Friday had turned up. How wrong I was…



Firstly, I was feeling slightly the worse for wear after several days of a bad cold and the disappearance of my voice. Of course, it is always when you are at your most exhausted and in need of rest that the cough kicks in just to keep you awake. I got daughter three and only son in the car for school. Only son was saying “I don’t like anyone in this family and I don’t like school” because I had insisted on him actually staying still and not jumping up and down on the sofa while I tied his tie. Halfway to school daughter three announced there was not only Harvest Festival, for which I had prepared assorted tins of fruit, but that there was a service at school at 9.30 and she was giving a long speech about food banks. Could I come? I said that I needed slighty more advance notice then felt guilty on the way home. So I turned back. I could work later to make up the time.

I caught the tail end of only son’s group walking to the church hand in hand with the big children. “Mummm,” yelled only son enthusiastically. “I love you soooo much.” How things change in the space of half an hour in the world of five year olds.

We went inside and I waved at daughter three. Unfortunately, there was nowhere to sit except reception-age chairs at the back so I was so low down that I couldn’t actually see anyone. It was also fairly difficult to haul myself up for the songs, which, of course, I couldn’t sing due to the lack of any voice. However, I heard daughter three’s speech and only son’s song which he later did for me solo with all the actions.

I then legged it out of the church and home to work. So far so good. Later in the day I had to drop daughter two’s friend at a train station. Her mum had impressed upon me that she had dance class in the evening and needed to get a certain train. Things did not, unfortunately, go to plan. Daughter two and her friend disappeared into her room and I lost focus because I was dealing with a work issue. After some faffing from daughter two, we left the customary three minutes late. We then got caught behind a caravan going 25 miles an hour. The road to the train station was closed and we had to divert. In short, we got to the train station around four minutes late. We returned home and found daughter two’s friend had left her entire school uniform behind.

I finished my work later in the evening and sat down to relax. “Friday is here at last!” I said, between coughs. Only son sat on my lap. “My tummy is feeling a bit bad, mum,” he said. He then proceeded to throw up every half hour from around 9pm to 9am. By lunchtime on Saturday he had developed a high temperature, but fell asleep for several hours and then woke up extremely perky and ready for food. By which time his parents were on the floor and daughter two was barricaded behind her door in fear of the norovirus tiptoeing into her room.

We are only two weeks into autumn term. Surely this is some kind of a record?

*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of

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