03 February, 2006

the first sick day

Poor Avery. I picked her up at school yesterday, after feeling rather off-colour, as they say, myself all day, sort of sore-throaty, and the poor thing was positively grey. Which is much worse than "gray". I was chatting with another mother and she just hung there till I finally looked at her properly and felt quite sure that all was not well. We walked along to get a snack. I'm sorry to confess we went to Starbucks. "Miss Clarke was so sweet," she said as we trudged along. Miss Clarke is a most magnificent, gentle, ageless person about whom everyone you mention King's College to says, "Oh, is Miss Clarke still there?" A person shaped sort of like a jacket potato as they call baked potatoes here, and solid and kindly but severe. It didn't really surprise me that she had taken a sick Avery under her capacious wing. "She told me just to go ahead and lie down," Avery relayed, and I said, "Oh, is there an infirmary and a nurse?" with pictures of old boarding-school novels I have read passing through my mind. "Well, no, actually, the King's College version of lying down is sort of putting your head down on your desk." Oh.

So she ate an enormous piece of chocolate cake and had hot chocolate and I was telling myself she was just tired, but when I came back from getting my peppermint tea put into a cup to take away, she was lying on the cushiony chair looking like I don't know what, something one of the cats dragged in, if they were in a position to drag things in. We went home and both of us felt sort of pathetic, so I put the chicken in the oven to roast, wrapped in streaky bacon, lying on a bed of rosemary (doesn't that sound like part of that poem, "The Lady of Shalott") and we had hot water bottles on our feet and read our books with a purring Tacy. Avery slept for a bit as the dusk turned into dark in our garden and when she woke up she was hot as anything. John came in shortly after and I sent him straightaway back out for some medicine, which she downed with considerable drama, shivering and bucking. John and I sat down to dinner, but it wasn't very yummy with poor Avery lying doggo on the sofa across the room. We repaired to our beds and I'm glad to report she slept through the night and today is very, very thirsty but cheerful. John went off to a presentation in front of the CEO, the CFO and just about everyone in the civilized world, quite calm I thought. I hope it goes well.

Our new sheets are odd. Not enough elastic, so they sort of migrate around the bed. I shall put them in the washer and hope more elastic appears. The sizes just made me laugh. I must get someone official to put me in the picture about how they size things, because the Marks and Sparks lady seemed utterly bemused by my questions. First of all, Avery has what I would call a double bed. That is, between a twin and a queen, right? Well, here they seem to call that a single, but the sheets are measured in feet and inches. Hmm, could you say right off
the bat how many feet and inches make up a double, sorry, single bed? I couldn't. But it turns out to be 4 feet, six inches. Or maybe centimeters. I have no idea. Then what we call queen is called king here! Or rather, it's labeled "5 feet" but it's called "king" by the saleslady. Then they have a "queen" size that's labeled "6 feet."

Now. Do you suppose this designation shifts with the reigning monarch? That is, if it's King Edward, the largest size sheet is a King? But now that it's Queen Elizabeth the largest size is a Queen? I could not say, but in this culture governed at turns by history and by whimsey, it's entirely possible. TGIF.

And Happy Birthday to my niece, Baby Jane! I wonder how she's
doing... We gave her a really cute boxed set of four of the Brambley Hedge books by Jill Barklem, a truly darling series of books about voles, field mice and other people who live in English hedges and fall in love and find secret cupboards and such. Plus at the grocery store I found a box of baby-sized gingerbread men, and a jar of something called "puree of William Christ pear" which sounded so English I couldn't resist. I hope she has a great day. Lots of love from London, Jane. We miss you.

1 comment:

Library Lover said...

happy birthday Janey