I had to go to work yesterday. I know that sounds like no big deal, but I had to go to work yesterday. I felt like shit—I was streaming and sweating, coughing and spluttering, couldn’t taste a thing and my hearing was on the fritz. It was the start of a rotten cold and what I should have done was worked from home. I should have done that, however I couldn’t: Yesterday was “Take your daughter to school day” and so I took my eldest into the office. Glad I did in the end cos it was great fun. I’ve done it several times before and it’s always been good. My daughter enjoyed it too I think, even though this time she asked me why I couldn’t work for NME as she has a subscription and “it’d be sooooo cooooolll to work there”. There was a time when whatever I did or said or wherever I worked was “sooo coooollll” but I guess my kids have reached that age when they can make up their own minds as to what they like.
Their unconditional belief in what I say has long gone. No longer do they believe daddy’s tall tales about being James Bond in his spare time (they believed that one for a month when they were nippers) or was dating Rachel Stevens (about a week), and I’ve gone from funny, exotic, cool daddy who lives in London, to the old, fat, bald bloke up the road. Such is the life of an estranged dad of teenage girls. Clever little sods.
In an attempt to sweat-out my cold last night I filled up with a cocktail of chilli con carne and Lemsip and took myself off for an early night. Should have plumped for the hot toddies: I feel dreadful today.
Thumping head, red-raw throat, sore, scabby nostrils and every muscle (sic) left in my body aching like buggery (apparently). Called in sick to the boss who unsurprisingly was unecstatic. Having taken many of these calls from staff over the years you’re torn between the annoyance of being a man down, and the relief that you’ll be spared a day of being covered in snot and germs from a colleague. On the other side of the fence, no matter how ill you are, there’s always the guilt to deal with of not being in work.
Anyway, enough of this martyr talk. What’s more important is I’m bored. REALLY bored. Having no energy to do anything much more than fester, I’m stuck on the sofa looking out at cornflower-blue sky outside, inanely tapping up and down the tv channels with as much chance of finding something interesting to watch as there is of me winning the London Marathon on Sunday. Which is another thing: Sunday’s marathon is one of my favourite days in the calender. But instead of propping up the bar at The Angerstein Hotel, Greenwich on Sunday morning, watching the runners jog by, I shall doubtless be pouring mucus into a box of Kleenex while sat on my couch in front of the box. Even if I manfully struggled down to the pub, I wouldn’t be able to taste my pint, and what’s the point of that?
We’ve been trotting down en masse to The Angerstein (known as The Loony Bin—you’ll find out why when you meet the locals) to watch the Marathon for the last twelve years-or-so. Many of us to soak up the atmosphere of one of the Capital’s great occasions with world-class athletes, huge crowds, the fun-runners and all the colours of the rainbow. Some go down merely to watch the Elite Ladies sprint past, then return home to a warm bed (you know who you are), then there are those who go simply to celebrate the opening of a pub at 8.45 on a Sunday morning. So there’s something for everyone. There was something quite liberating that first year standing in The Loony, pint in hand, next to a copper before 9 o’clock in the morning and there was nothing he could do to stop me. It’s the little things in life that count. A fourteen-hour session of drinking, eating (?) and endless, pointless Jazz one-Sunday-in-fifty-two: that’s not too much to ask for, is it?
As the years rolled by and the various members of our group came and went as they got loved-up, engaged, married, divorced, deported etc, it’s a nice feeling to have been almost ever-present (to my dying shame I missed one year due to a business trip) and still experience the thrill of that first pint 3 hours before I should, copper or no-copper. It’s a boy thing.
But I suspect this year, due to my disabilitating illness, I’ll have to endure the dulcet tones of Steve Cram, Sue Barker et al as I’m forced to watch the race on the Beeb. I wonder if they’ll sober-up Brendan Foster for the occasion? Probably not—just to rub it in.