Tis the season to be coughing…

Betwixtmas seems to be the season of colds and other viruses, particularly this year.


Cough, splutter, cough. Has this been your Christmas? Almost everyone I speak to has had some bug or another or several in a row or possibly simultaneously. I spoke to my sister the other day. She’s a primary school teacher. She could barely speak. She had to break off the call at one point because her voice went altogether. She has had one bug after another since mid-November. Several friends and colleagues have been struck down with viruses. I went to the GP on Wednesday and half the staff were off with Covid and all the appointments went within about 20 minutes. I’ve been coughing since Christmas Eve, possibly the worst time to feel ill and probably not the best time to have a cough, if you have to be Santa and tiptoe into people’s rooms unnoticed.

Only son thought he could outsmart Santa and stay up long enough to see the stocking drop. However, he underestimates Santa’s cunning, even when suffering from a coughing virus thing. Santa had swigged back the Night Nurse – luckily purchased in November during the last coughing virus phase as apparently the shops are running out of the stuff – and had given only son a 45-minute window to fall asleep [she knows her son’s inability to stay awake well] and had dropped off his stocking en route to her mum, who has only just recovered from Covid and had elected to sleep on the sofa.

Santa decided that the best move this year was to do the stockings in two shifts: one for the people who are still excited enough to get up really early on Christmas Day and my mum who gets up at 6am every day, come rain or come shine, and the other for the teenagers whose lights were still on at 2am and who tend not to get up before morning is over.

Santa could hear the sounds of people talking at 7am and figured only son had opened his stocking with his grandmother. They were watching Meet the Fockers. At some point, only son decided to play the guitar.

Santa was very, very tired when she got up and fortunately did not have to make any of the xmas lunch. Instead she watched I am Ruth with her mum – a festive drama about the dangers of social media – and almost fell asleep before the lunch was ready. The good thing about teenagers being vegan is that they tend to make their own food because they fear contamination by parents who are impure. They and my partner – who is allowed near the food because he is an excellent cook and Masterchef connoisseur – cooked up a storm of nut roast and veggies. Only son then thoroughly trounced Santa at a geography card game. While Santa is hot on the subject of capitals of the world, having had to write to many prime ministers and presidents in a former life as a human rights campaigner, flags of the world is another thing altogether and only son has a PhD in flags of the world.

My brother, who had Covid for Christmas, sent a singing voice message from Argentina [whose flag is one of the few Santa can identify due to having been forced to watch the World Cup. Her nephew has gone football crazy and got three Lionel Messi football cards for Christmas, which he is very, very, very happy about]. My brother says the football is a welcome distraction from imminent economic collapse]. Santa went for a night walk with the teenagers and her partner and then fell asleep as soon as Eastenders ended, the only telly worth watching on the day. Santa maintains that cartoons are not proper films, even if they are Disney classics.

Santa’s partner headed to Spain soon after Christmas Day to visit ailing relatives, leaving Santa with the Christmas entertainment duties and an emptying bottle of Night Nurse which she has started rationing. He rang yesterday to say he had developed a cold and was feeling a bit under the weather…Happy New Year!

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