There is a very nasty cold doing the rounds of my family, friends and workplace, to which I have now succumbed. It's described as having a kick in the tail, as it tends to come back and back. Joel's gone a couple of rounds with it; and I have spent much of the last week in bed. For the first few days I must have been a bit feverish, as my skin felt it was made of hot paper. I still feel I have to drink gallons of water a day just to stay three-dimensional.
On Thursday I managed to get out of bed and assembled myself to go to the Lyceum club, to give a talk on Women and the Order of the Garter. I excused myself from the lunch, fearing I would use all my voice up in conversation, and have nothing left for the lecture, but this was such a shame, as the women I did meet after the talk were all really interesting. It's a beautiful club. I'd been there at night, but during the day the lounges were flooded with natural light. I was speaking to the History Circle, but there are lots of other groups and activities within the club. I can see all kinds of reasons for having a women's club; and this one has an extraordinary location tucked away in the heart of the city. Its walls are covered with original artworks; its tables with fresh flowers; and its plates with lovely food.
I was sorry I wasn't feeling better, though. I would have liked to make more of an effort with my ... toilette: the best I could do was make sure I had an embroidered handkerchief instead of a clutch of tissues. My friend Paula came along for support and I was so pleased she did, but again, I was sorry I wasn't in a more performative mode. Adrenaline got me out of bed and onto the tram, and up behind the lectern, but I would have loved to have been able to present my talk with a bit more oomph, especially for Paula to see. We have a mutual friend who's been much in the news lately through his leadership of the Australian team working on the Large Hadron Collider, and so I've been thinking again about what happens when our research meets the community, and how hard it is to explain technical research to a general audience.
And I might have anticipated something of this kind in such an environment, but after my talk, I was introduced to the wife of a Garter Knight! A reminder I must try and set up an interview with the man himself.
Anyway, the talk just about did for me, and I spent most of yesterday back in bed. This morning I determined to start building up energy again, and pushed myself to do about half of my usual walk along the river. When I got to Ceres, though, I was feeling a bit faint, so I lay down on the bench to recover my strength. I was nearly home again when I realised my keys had dropped out of my pocket, so I had to go back for them, and ended up doing a huge walk. The trouble is, my cold has now gone down to the bottom of my lungs, which now make a dreadful crackling sound when I cough. It also hurts, as I think I've pulled a muscle in my coughing. I've said I'll be back at work next week, but that might be a bit optimistic. I'm a great believer in not spreading disease around the workplace...