Not as in “Seek ye first the kingdom of God…” but unfortunately as in “We’re affy no’ weel!” or “Eh’m on the seek”. You see, whichever dreaded lurgee has attacked us, the bugger just won’t give up and keeps coming back worse than ever just when we think we have the better of it. And I have to tell you that, feeling like we do twelve thousand miles from wherever home is, is not a bundle of fun. We certainly didn’t come all this way to lie in bed coughing and spluttering.

However, I suppose we have to deal with the cards that we are dealt or, as my old University buddy, David Walker, used to say “Nought is there for tears”. There have been one or two tears, caused mainly by distressing bouts of coughing, but we are genuinely trying very hard to roll with it and enjoy ourselves for at least a part of each day. Mary has been quite brave coming to the beach and going out with us two evenings on the trot when she really ought to have been in bed here at the hostel.

Our day’s spending allowance was decimated by eight o’clock this morning because that’s when Mary went round to the local pharmacy to seek some help for our afflictions. She returned with a bag of medicine, including an iodine gargle, a cough bottle and loads of Aspro, and very little change from the 50 dollars I gave her. Heavens above, it’s even extortionate to be sick in this place! I had played my loving husband role this morning by watching the second half of the Aston Villa v Manchester City game live in the breakfast area while Mary went out to the chemist’s and, being the caring guy that I am, I made sure she was doped up and comfortable in bed before leaving her and going out in the sun.

I arranged to meet Scott outside the library near his apartment but I was slightly late, having eschewed the tram in favour of Shanks’ pony, only to discover the pony had a blister which slowed him down somewhat. I also found the sun even hotter than yesterday (it later hit 32 degrees), meaning that, by the time I reached the library, I was rather “glowing” and paying frequent attention to my underarms. Nonetheless, we met up, I had something to eat and off we went shopping.

The object of today’s expedition was to find the coolest beach shorts in the city, good enough to make Scott look even more gorgeous and irresistible when we go to Bondi Beach during our visit to Sydney. Now this may sound a simple task to you casual Overgate shoppers, but this is my son Scott we’re talking about here; yes, Scotty Burton, and everyone knows Scotty’s greatest love is himself, so not just any old pair of beach shorts will do. Oh no! These beach shorts, soon honoured to grace his behind, will have to be the dog’s bollocks, the crème de la crème, the numero uno of seaside pants, nay, the quintessence of long shorters or short longers! “St. Michael” and “George” are simply not at the races.

Well, it worked out like it always does. We saw a pair in the first shop we went into, spent an hour going round all the others then went back to the original shop and made the purchase. I might also add that the size he bought just happens to be the same as the waist of my latest pair of jeans. Well done the old man! However Scotty is now convinced that when he walks out onto Bondi Beach all the girls’ bathing costumes will simply fall off! I hope I’m there to protect him!

Exhausted after a whole hour at the shops, we took the tram home, looked in on his mum who surprisingly was still breathing, then left her again, this time to go and have a couple of “Happy Hour” drinks at the bar round the corner. “Happy Hour” is about the only time we can afford to buy a drink! Scott and I talked our way through a lot more family stuff and we concluded that we now have a fair idea of what’s going on inside our heads, so nothing should come as a huge surprise to either of us when decisions are taken. My youngest has indeed matured quickly out here and I find him quite different from the young-minded lad we left in the flat last August. Well done, Scotty!

So guess what? I hugged Scotty goodbye, saw him safely on the tram (like a good Dad should!) and returned to the hostel where I…….. fell apart! The lurgee pounced almost as soon as I got in the room and for the next three hours it was Mary dosing me with medication, gargles, cooling wipes and appropriate sympathy (as I was clearly worse than her!). To be fair, I don’t feel so bad as I sit in bed writing this and we have both just about managed to keep our humour in the face of adversity, but I don’t think either of us fancies looking in the mirror at present as we might give ourselves a fright.

Still, if we get worse, we can always call the “Flying Doctor!”

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