So it's been a strange sort of week. I've had both the kids at home with tonsillitis, and though I've been working in between times, I seem to have mostly been lying in bed with them on either side of me, reading Harry Potter 6 aloud. There's been a curious unreality about it, a suspension of everyday life. We've all wandered around in pyjamas, the kids have been feeling too floppy to fight each other, and there's been a complete absence of the usual feelings of stress. I've had a mildish version of their bug myself, and we've all been asleep at ten most nights. In fact, on Thursday night I fell asleep while Patrick was reading, to his outrage (we take it in turns to read aloud, it's very companionable).
The energy with which I was tidying the Herring's room has thus rather got lost. I shall finish it, but I'm feeling pretty lethargic. The work I had this week was all in the form of faxes converted into pdf, and it's a long time since I worked for hours at a time from a paper copy in a mingy small font. Squinting at the text, then returning to the screen, back and forth, set off my sciatica and I now have a permanent low backache. It doesn't make me feel inclined to climb around Roger's office hoiking things onto shelves, or crawling around on the floor picking things up from under his desk.
The week was enlivened by a flying visit from the lovely Daughter, who I picked up from East Midlands airport on Monday afternoon. We talked a lot, and I did not read any Harry Potter, and we had fish and chips - a treat for the expatriate (or ex-patriot, as I recently saw it rendered) on Tuesday for lunch before she caught her train to Oxford. On Wednesday my exam results came out, and I got a distinction, which reduced me to gibbering for an hour or so. My tutor kindly rang to tell me I was his star pupil, and that several people had failed this time, which apparently isn't usual. I was enormously pleased, partly because of all the awful hassles about the unauthorised extension I was given, and partly because this module was by far the most difficult I've done: I nearly abandoned it just before Christmas because it was so conceptually dense. I'm supposed to be reading diligently and thinking about my dissertation proposal, but at the moment I'm reading Harry Potter.
I swear I've talked to Roger more in the last fortnight than I have in months. He phones several times a day, often while riding, so I get the wind in my hair effect, and the roaring whoosh of passing heavy goods vehicles. He's suffered a lot from unkind winds and is predictably a bit behind schedule, but he's in Switzerland tonight. We have to hope he'll be able to get out: when parcelling up a load of used maps to post them home (less weight to lug around) he inadvertently included his passport. He also appears to have abandoned a plastic bag full of dirty clothes somewhere. Still, he's sleeping at Sainte Croix, 'le balcon du Jura', with the Jura mountains at his back and a mostly down-hill run to Lake Geneva and Vevey for tomorrow. Then it's the Gran San Bernardo and into Italy. He was planning to do some washing when he reached Vevey, where he'll be staying with a friend, but I suppose that won't be necessary now.
There are some downsides to single parenthood. Coping with sick children when you ache all over yourself, which was the case on Thursday, is not great. But on the whole it seems remarkably less stressful than nagging someone else to share it. I don't want to say much about Henry's imminent departure for Barça, except that he should probably have gone last year, and a thirty year old striker with persistent injuries and a bad attitude is not much of a loss, in practical terms. Psychologically it's a terrible blow though, and I fear that Wenger and Cesc will go now. Rumours that the board has turned down Kroenke's offer for several million for transfers are also worrying - no, not worrying, infuriating. It's all very distressing and I'm in denial (sticks fingers in ears, sings loudly).