The sun is shining, the buds are ready to burst, the daffodils are putting on a spectacular “Spring is Here!” showcase, but I couldn’t care less. After two years of smug good health, the dreaded Lurgy has got me in its snotty grip and is not letting go.
Lurgy is defined in the Cambridge Dictionary as “any illness that is not very serious, but is easy to catch”. We have been using the term in our family for years to describe a flu or cold, which, though not life threatening, sucks all joy from your soul. It was apparently coined by ‘The Goon Show’ in the 1950s as a joke. If that’s the case they were spot on. It’s as if the universe is sniggering at me. After three weeks at a writers’ retreat in Spain, I came home to Ireland full of beans, plans and pep; but all it took was a dose of the flu to teach me how fragile my optimism really is. In fact, ‘the Dreaded Lurgy’ is such an accurate description of my current status that I’m surprised that it wasn’t coined by Shakespeare. Didn’t Hamlet declare: ‘What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason, how infinite in faculty! In form and moving how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel! In apprehension how like a god — except when caught in the dreaded lurgy’s cruel embrace?’ I’m sure that line was in there, but then again one of the effects of the Dreaded Lurgy is to fry your brain. Words come out of my mouth that are completely disconnected to any logical thought. Yesterday I declared that I was going to have a bath to “help me get brown”. Mind you that’s when I actually manage to get the words out. Most of the time talking is a futile exercise, as I try to get a complete sentence together between the coughing, spluttering, nose blowing, and eye wiping. It is not attractive.
I know that there are many brave souls battling with horrible illness. They are shining beacons to humanity’s ability to rise above suffering and still find comfort and joy. They shame me. I am just a bit under the weather and all I want to do is curl up into a ball of tissues and moan: “Woe is me!” Unfortunately that attitude is fine and dandy in January, but totally inappropriate in April. The garden is crying out for attention. Seeds need to be sown, spuds need to be planted, winter debris needs to be cleared. Indoors is no better. As the days lengthen, all that lovely light shows all the cobwebs and dirt that have accumulated. Lurgy or not, I still hear the call for a big Spring Clean. I hear it, but it does not fill me with that get-up-and-go that the season demands. The Dreaded Lurgy has drained me of all energy except to blow my nose.
So I apologise, dear readers. I should be regaling you with the joys of Spring. I should be excitedly writing about our family reunion at Easter, the festivals, the vegetables, and all the good things that Spring and Summer in West Cork brings… I should be writing 800 words that inform, amuse and entertain you, as you sit with your cuppa and your copy of The West Cork People. I’m sorry, but I can’t. The Dreaded Lurgy has me beat. 600 words is all I can manage. I’m going back to bed in the hope that by next month, I’ll be free of the Dreaded Lurgy and back in top form.