Late November and the Christmas craft fairs were upon me before I knew it. The last fair I'd attended was way back in July and I couldn't even remember how I usually set up my table. So I used a craft and vintage event as a dummy run and it was here that I got chatting to a young and outrageously talented cross-dressing silversmith. Fascinating though he was he stood way inside my personal space and I think that was the moment when the exchange of bacteria occured.
The following 3 weeks were frantic. I had organised the usual fundraising craft market with 36 crafters for a locally based charity and despite being promised as much help as I required the administrative assistant was more, so much more than more than useless. The snow came for the first time this winter and as craft fairs across the region dropped like flies I was determined that the show would go on. Said admin assistant became more conspicuous by her absence. We ventured out one cold and frosty afternoon to drop leaflets through local doors and had to stop after half an hour. She felt cold. I had a streaming cold but kept going for days afterwards as I had no choice. Correction - I could choose to not be bothered and let down a whole heap of wonderful crafters. That was not an option. Meanwhile there was another craft fair to attend, orders to make up and send out. The day of my fundraising craft fair arrived. Admin assistant and I had started to set up the tables the day before but she complained that she was tired. We arranged to start early on the morning of the event and get everything set up before the crafters rolled up, only she didn't turn up and I was left to flap around squawking like a headless-chicken. By the end of the day my voice had all but disappeared. The following day my child was to perform at Gorton Monastery with the school brass band. By now I had literally no voice, and sat about in a cold and draughty yet very beautiful building for hours. The snow was still hanging about and the temperature was -10C at night. One more craft event, an evening open-studio party at a friend's house meant standing around again in the cold, close to a smoky bonfire and my voice, which had briefly reappeared, did a disappearing act again. Two days later I was helping friends to move house, hacking and coughing away. I took to my bed later that day. Finally, my daughter's birthday party - not so much a party, more a gathering of 3 old friends from primary school which required no organisation on my part other than sticking pizza and Coke under their noses at the right moment. But what on earth made me go outside and wash the car wearing only jeans and tee shirt? I thought it was a warm day. I was shocked to find solid ice on the roof of the car. I didn't realise that I had a temperature.
So that brings me to last Monday when I just could not stay out of bed longer than I had to. I sent my daughter off to school, fed and watered, tried to get an appointment with the doctor only to be told that there were no appointments available until after Christmas and that I should head down to A and E. I could not get out of bed, couldn't drink and certainly had no appetite. My lungs were so congested that I had to sleep sitting up. By Wednesday I had made such a nuisance of myself on the phone that the doctor's receptionist miraculously found me a cancellation. I literally staggered to the car, and despite being in a state of mild hallucinations, enjoying the ever changing display of textures and newly invented colours on my bedroom walls, I managed to drive 2 miles to the surgery and back and crawl under the covers once more. My new challenge was to try to swallow the antibiotics the size of bullets whilst feeling nauseous. By Friday I was still not eating and felt weak and weepy. I was worried that the new snowfall would kill my tough old horse, Sid, who lives outside all year round. I'd not been able to travel the 7 miles to feed him for over a week and now found myself sobbing hearty tears at the thought of him dying of hunger. I phoned the farmer to ask her to feed him. She laughed and said he was fat; he'd be fine. I phoned my ancient old mother who also has a chest infection to ask her if she could post my two jewellery orders to customers, but she was suffering too and the snow had now fallen again. I phoned my sister who lives 16 miles away to ask her to collect our mother and look after her, as she refused to go to bed or even to sit down and relax. I was going to be responsible for the death of my horse and demise of my 89 year old mother simply because I was not well enough to look after them.
Today is my 7th day in bed and I'm underwhelmed by the offers of help that I have received from my family. As a single parent I have to feed the hens, the cats, the gerbil, the human child. My family has not offered to help. In fact my phone has not rung for 3 days. Pneumonia? How the hell did that happen?