Once, however, I caught a bad dose of ‘flu. Actually, it started when I was sick. Crossing the hall, I suddenly threw up onto the parquet floor. And, rough though I felt – ooh, this blog is going to be a confessional again, I’ve never told anyone this – I was so polite – so polite – that I cleared it up before going to tell my mother, and I didn’t mention that I’d been taken by surprise and let her assume I’d made it to the lavatory. I was probably about 12 at the time. I was not afraid of her, she was the soul of loving kindness to me, it was embarrassment at having made an unpleasant mess and a reluctance for someone else to have to clear it up.
Anyway, I was duly tucked up in bed and later, trying to tempt my appetite, my mother brought a trayful of little bowls of snacks. A few grapes, some crisps, sweets, nuts, all sorts of things. And I have the clearest memory of gazing at them all, treats beyond all my dreams, and not being able to eat any of them.
I was ill for several days, almost delirious that first night, but eventually started eating again of course. And the frustrating thing was that it didn’t occur to her to produce the goodies again, when I’d have been able to enjoy them. And, of course, I was far too polite to ask.