Ok, so I blogged too soon. Turns out this vile flu is something of a keeper. I am still marooned at home, unable to even face the thought of my morning commute to work let alone an entire day in a noisy office. I'm exhausted but unbelievably bored. I have watched more Friends episodes than a person who isn't a student should. I have watched the comings and goings on my street from my window, been driven nuts by the huge howling dog across the way, and been driven nuts by the people digging up the cobbles two doors down.
In the last week I have not worn any make-up, worn anything more dressy than tracksuit bottoms or left the house more times than I can count on one hand. Venturing out, I have made it as far as the news-agent or high street, then felt shattered and had to head home. I have not ventured north of the river in almost ten days, and it is killing me!
The quietest street in London, complete with oh-so-well-timed roadworks
Not that Putney isn't a lovely place to live, but it is quiet when it is the only entertainment you have. Oh so quiet. Things I usually hate about London are things I am now longing to feel strong enough to face. I actually miss my usually interminable commute, with my half-asleep morning bus-rides and my frustrating evening crawls back home through Fulham Road's ever-changing array of temporary traffic signals. I miss the feeling at the end of the day when I leave the office and realise I am free for the evening. I long to be able to face shopping without feeling faint at the thought of having to tackle aggressive, healthy flu-free people. Frankly this thought is the worst of all. Even heading out to get a coffee - currently the greatest achievement of my last 10 days - can be a daunting process. (And I would greatly like to thank the woman, three children, two scooters and a large buggy, who made it such a chore today. Nothing like screaming, clattering and yells of "Come and eat the nice croissant, Tommy" to help a thumping headache.)
Out here it is easy to forget that I am even in London. Without access to my everyday landmarks, I might as well back in the village I grew up in or back at university in the North East. No Number 14 bus, no slow trail along Knightsbridge. No horrifying crossing of Hyde Park Corner and no quiet wander through the Burlington Arcade, past the trays of beautiful, coloured macaroons in Ladurée. I haven't pounded the pavements with my head full of fabulous songs from my iPod in ages. I haven't received my usual cheery wave from the old man who runs the Italian cafe near my office on my walk home. In fact, I have had no interaction with anyone apart from the Accidental housemates and my immensely kind family members who have braved catching swine flu to come visit me. And it is these encounters and these small things which make me smile everyday that remind me I live and work in London. And these are the things to which I am truly dying to get back. So if I have to be well enough to work before I can see them again, surprisingly, I am actually looking forward to embracing the daily grind once more, just to be part of the city again. (And not as part of the prestigious "Swine Flu Sufferers of London" club! Maybe I'll found it the next time I'm off work...)