Instead of getting better, my cold took a turn for the worse last night, and I ended up being completely unable to sleep. The desire to cough became more and more intense, and yet, every time I coughed, I felt a sharp pain behind my right eye, which lasted for five minutes – almost as though I’d pulled some kind of muscle in my brain. Just as the pain eased, I'd find myself desperate to cough again, and so the cycle continued with me freaking out that I was having some kind of haemorrhage. I went into the sitting room and watched telly for long periods of time, before getting into bed, having another coughing fit, and finding mysef drifting back to the telly again. I saw an early morning episode of Countdown, and was struck, in my half-slumber, by just how annoying that 30-second piece of music is, with its weird, untuned timpani drum roll which doesn't change key with the rest of the music. It also struck me quite how often they play it during the programme and I wondered if they'd get away with that much repetition in a show commissioned in the 21st Century.
At another stage in the evening I was watching the Signing Zone. A strange man was floating around in the right hand corner of the screen, interpreting Holby City for deaf viewers. It was a curiously disorientating experience. The man remains the same size regardless of what's going on in the TV programme. Sometimes, it's like he's standing in the room with the actors. On other occasions he begins to resemble a poisoned dwarf. In any case, the experience became almost balletic, and a great deal more interesting than anything the actors were coming up with. I wonder if he directly translates all the medical jargon, or just signs "blah blah, meaningless medical stuff that I can't even spell... If you could hear this, you'd most likely try to block it out..." It must be the mother of all poisoned chalices!
I took myself to the emergency doctor this morning; a charming young woman, who thinks that Nathan and I have both had a virus. Unfortunately there’s little anyone can do about a virus, other than sit it out. She prescribed me some penicillin “just so you have it”, which felt like a rather peculiar gesture. On Nathan’s advice, I’ve started taking it. Afterall, what harm can it do?
Because of the cold, and the utterly surreal sensation of existing on 2 hours’ sleep, today’s been something of a wash out. I’ve been working on an arrangement of Mr Blue Sky for a choir I’ve decided to form, and was going through it with a fine-tooth comb today to make sure that none of the individual parts had any awkward passages.
I long to feel better, however. How can an exciting new period begin whilst I’m feeling lousy?
Those two Siamese twins that have been successfully separated today? Is it true that one of them is called Retard? Surely not?
Thursday 19th September, 1661, and Pepys, Elizabeth and various family members went by horseback into Cambridge. They rode to Sturbridge to see the famous fair, which I’m reliably informed was the largest fair in Europe at its height – and the inspiration for Bunyan’s Vanity Fair. Sadly, the fair was almost over, so there was nothing much to see.
The day ended in the family home in Brampton, which was filled with Pepys’ immediate family members. His parents were both there, as were his brother, John, and sister-cum-servant, Pall.