I just checked my camera. I haven't taken a single photograph since last Monday. The rain has cooled Cyprus - or our part of it - rather significantly, so we're using the heating a bit more than we were, and I regularly wear a fleece in the house as well as a sweater. It's not actually bitterly cold outside - the weather site tells me it's about 16C at present, but with the sky overcast it isn't exactly warm. Cyprus houses are not, generally, designed with winter in mind. It makes sense: one can always put on more layers in winter, but there's a limit to how much can be removed in the hot, humid summers.
The last week passed as most weeks do when we don't have guests or public holidays. At least, it started out that way. On Wednesday I felt quite tired and achey, for no obvious reason. I did my usual upstairs cleaning, washing sheets and towels, and generally organising the house as I do on Wednesdays, but it all seemed like a whole lot more effort than usual. I had to take regular breaks, and it was late afternoon by the time I'd finished. In the evening we went to play Settlers of Catan with our good friends who live nearby; we enjoyed their company and the game, but I was very, very tired by the end. And my throat was somewhat sore.
On Thursday I felt decidedly unwell. Wondering if I'd be worse by Friday, I did get various things done in the kitchen, about which I had been procrastinating. I froze another litre of lemon juice with some peel, for a future batch of lemonade; I also froze some apple slices in syrup, and made more applesauce, as I'd bought a euro bag of apples (about 3kg in all) earlier in the week, and didn't think they'd keep many days longer. I sorted out the fridge, too. But by lunch-time I was feeling shivery and extremely achey, and by mid-afternoon had a headache as well, and no energy at all. I assumed that after a month of fighting it off, I had finally caught the bug Richard had over Christmas.
As an aside: I've never much liked the idea of living each day as if it might be my last. If I knew for sure that I wasn't going to see tomorrow, I wouldn't spend today cleaning, or doing laundry - what would be the point? - or cooking. I'd want to spend most of my time with the people I care about the most, trying to appreciate every second. Possibly I'd also an hour or so curled up on my beanbag, eating chocolate (no point worrying about one's waistline in such circumstances), and finishing as many books as possible.
In other words, I'd get nothing constructive done at all.
However, it did strike me as that it might be quite a good idea to live each day as if I were going to be incapacitated by the flu for the next week...!
I did manage to organise our evening meal, including half a dozen cloves of roasted garlic each, and I must have had 3g or more of Vitamin C on Thursday, plus a couple of doses of echinacea. Richard made me some honey and lemon in the evening, which was very soothing, and I went to bed early with Olbas Oil on my pillow, and slept surprisingly well. So much so that I actually felt rather better on Friday. But, remembering how Richard's bad cold lasted far longer than it should have done, I determined to take it easy rather than doing the various housework I normally do on a Friday. So much for good intentions...
Thus I wrote a bit of email, and read some friends' blogs, and vegged out on Facebook. In the evening we went to the usual cell group meeting, which was good, although I was extremely tired by the end, and once again slept surprisingly well.
On Saturday, Richard went sailing, and I took it easy again. Some Facebook games can be very addictive. I have been regularly reassured by Philip Yancey's comment, "They also serve who only sit and click"... but he was referring to research and writing on the computer. I can extend the principle to blogging, website building, email, and doing the accounts on the computer. But I'm not serving anyone other than myself by clicking to harvest Farmville trees, or collect Cityville rent, or re-stock Ravenwood Fair games...
By the evening I'd had enough. No more computer games, I decided... except possibly on free evenings, or at weekends. A timely post by a friend in Paphos about her 'media fast' inspired me to switch the computer off, and think about having a day each week - Sunday, perhaps? - without turning it on.
Richard and I played a couple of board games on Saturday evening, although I found myself starting to cough rather badly, which was exhausting. Honey and lemon helped, and also some cough lozenges I bought recently, although they contain anise (which tastes like liquorice - ugh) so I won't be using those much.
On Sunday I went to a church service in the morning and sat with friends, taking my small friend Helen out to the crêche when she became too lively. I walked there and back, and popped to the PO box for mail too since I was nearby. I really felt much better. Then as well as lunch for Richard and myself, I made soup and bread and a dessert for the evening, and then played Seafarers of Catan with the same friends in the afternoon, and another couple. Later, we all shared a cold evening meal. I didn't switch the computer on at all until 8.00pm when they'd all gone home - and then only for forty-five minutes, since we played a game of Settlers-by-Skype with Tim after that.
Today I feel mostly like myself again, other than having lost my voice almost entirely. And I'm still coughing. But not as badly as Richard did a month ago, so perhaps it was good to take it easy for a few days. I am trying to remind myself that I like cold weather MUCH more than the hot weather of summer, but somehow it's hard to imagine July and August when sitting here in several layers feeling a bit chilly...