Date: 19 September 2015
Location: the train to Richmond, to hang with two of my Bermudean cousins who are here for the Rugby World Cup.
This time it’s not Qua’an presiding over my naked, prone body. It’s Li.
I only yelp just the once, and that’s when she uses her knee to get into a knot in my shoulder blade. Unlike her sister, Li does not remonstrate me for my twisted up muscles. She cackles.
I have lots of gunk –both the emotional type and the more sputum-like — in my body to get out and that’s what brings me back to Qua’an’s House of Pain, otherwise known as Li’s Torture Palace, otherwise known as my local Thai massage parlour.
Last week I came down with a tummy bug. Ever since I’ve been either not eating at all (I know, this never happens to me) or on the ‘BRAT’ diet. Sadly, this not as it sounds: there is no eating just the strawberry section out of the tub of Neopolitan ice-cream, no insisting upon cheese sandwiches cut into perfect crustless triangles nor is there layered jello or eating un-paid-for sweets from the pick n mix by the handful. BRAT is bananas, rice, applesauce and toast. Even through my illness, I sensed some elation because I generally allow myself to eat only one of these in everyday life. Now? Hello crusty bread rolls I’ve admired from afar for so long!
Five days in and I’ve subsisted on a diet of bread rolls and hydralyte. Entertaining the thought of — in fact, even discussing — any other type of food makes me queasy. The smell of my beloved coffee quite literally makes my stomach turn in an embrassingly audible way. Sorry guy on the Victoria Line, but don’t wave your latte under my nostrils again and we’ll be just fine. No one needs to get thrown up upon.
It seems likely that I picked up this malevolent alien bug in Ibiza. And perhaps my conduct since has weakened my immune system to the extent that it was unable to kick out the intruder. Wine, it seems, is no substitute for sleep. And your daily green juice does not negate Patron shots, not even one. Adrenalin and kale will only get you so far.
The week after Ibiza, the Twin came to stay for a week, on her way from Melbourne to Spain. She was the perfect houseguest. I’ve legitimately missed her a lot; she’s fun; she understands my obsessive need for down time; she likes my cat.
(And cat likes her. Text from Twin to Alex:
Persey gets fed at night too right? [Ed. note: no]
Ok, she’s acting like I should feed her. She seems sad. [Ed. note: That’s acting.]
I think I should.
Ok, I’m going to fed her again. [Ed. note: She gotcha.]
But this Ed.’s phone was in her pocket on silent throughout this so someone got dessert.)
But even with the perfect houseguest, this introvert gets tired. Plus we did party just a little…
On Saturday we wined and dined at my local (total show-off pretty British pub, The Albion). On Sunday we had drinks in the rooftop at Madison gazing out over the sparkly Thames with St Paul’s in the immediate foreground. On Monday we rested, but Tuesday we sucked at trivia at Islington’s Island Queen. On Wednesday there was a dinner party. On Thursday we hit up an HSF networking even at the ACE Hotel’s rooftop and drank too many free cocktails. On Friday I had work drinks at The Hoxton, Holborn which quickly escalated when it turned out there were a lot of Melbourne friends and friends of friends visiting London that weekend. On Saturday I had the best of intentions and yet still ended up at The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch doing shots of black Patron with Swiss investment bankers.
Hence all the physical gunk in my system.
Then there’s the family emotional gunk. But we’ll save that for another time.
Then there’s the work stress. This ebbs and flows. It’s easy enough to give good, carefully-worded legal advice in writing from the safety of behind your laptop, after discussing a tricky point with colleagues. It’s much more difficult to give ‘a quick steer’ on a quirky legal question when you’re nabbed in the corridor on the way to make tea — and there’s no time to provide a disclaimer. It’s stressful being on your toes and tackling uncharted legal territory. I feel like my brain is aching sometimes, growing pains perhaps as it expands?
My brain is probably the only thing getting a good workout at the moment. Goodness knows I find precious little time for exercise so there’s the guilt that I’m neglecting my fitness.
Perhaps one upside of this gastro will be some weight loss? I know, I know, I’m terrible.
Pass another bread roll.