I've just returned from the most wonderful weekend away. A friend of mine, J, has a cottage in Dorset that she rents out for holiday makers and this weekend the cottage was free, so J invited myself and another mutual friend, D, down for a weekend of escape.
The weather could have been better, but the company couldn't. On Friday morning, J picked me up from London Bridge tube, then drove through London to pick up D. After stopping briefly at a supermarket to pick up essential supplies (tonic water to accompany the vodka) we arrived in Dorset early evening, settled in to our rooms, and took a brisk walk along the headland of Lulworth Cove, which was still lightly covered with snow.
D and I were well and truly spoiled, all weekend. J insisted on cooking every meal (J enjoys cooking, D and I both find washing up unusually cathartic). J chauffeured us back and forth, here and there. J lit the fire every evening. J topped up our glasses. J asked us if there was anything else we wanted to see or do. J patiently waited for D and I to be tired enough to retire upstairs so that she could unfold the sofa bed in the living room. There was nothing that she wouldn't do for us.
The cottage itself was perfect and quaint, and every morning I woke to a glorious blue sky, visible through the thatch roof overhanging the windows. If the early bird catches the worm, then the late birds miss the morning sun - we were all far too chilled to make the most of the good weather and each afternoon was filled with a brisk wind and grey, overcast skies. But that didn't dampen our mood.
On Saturday we were driven to Lyme Regis, where I finally had my chance of walking out on to The Cobb, twenty years after studying "The French Lieutenant's Woman". J even managed to find a loan copy of the film for us to watch that evening, which was viewed in between courses of wonderful food and sips of vodka.
On Sunday we spent lunchtime in Weymouth, after 'rescuing' a young Jack Russell called Popeye who was wandering along the middle of an isolated country road. The poor chap was covered in mud and had obviously had a scrap with something - either another living animal or a barbed wire fence. His owner called him a 'little scamp', after running away with his mother two days previously. I would have called him more than that.
Given all of the attentions bestowed upon me by J, I decided that my abstinence from dairy would have to take a back seat for a weekend, and discovered that I was really not any worse off as a result. I have been buying Lacto-free this, and Soya that for the past few weeks, avoiding butter and milk and ice-cream, and have not noticed any benefit. Plus I am mildly allergic to so many things that the difference in symptoms barely measures on the mucus scale.
In addition to this, I knew I had my appointment with the ENT specialist this morning, and subject as I am to miraculous recoveries, I didn't want to take any chances of turning up with a dry nose, no cough and a clear head.
This morning, feeling partly relieved at being groggy and bunged up, I turned up at the hospital to see what was going on up my snout. I knew that the process would involve sticking a camera up my nose but I had no expectation as to how uncomfortable this would be, and so decided to look on the bright side.
The consultant was really rather lovely which can either be seen as a good or a bad thing. Good because it's nice to have rapport with medical professionals. Bad because it's hard to portray the essence of attractiveness to a nice man if he is checking out your bogies.
He looked in my ears. He looked at my throat (without making me gag - now that's skill) and then he selected a 'lady-size' nostril expander and gave me a good squirt of numbing spray and sent me back out to the waiting room, where I pondered how long it would take for the procedure to be completely painless. I am the biggest coward where noses are concerned.
I returned to the examination room, explaining that the spray was making my nose run. He then explained that the human nose produces half a litre of mucus every day. I suspected that half of my daily volume had been created before he had finished his sentence.
Much as I found him rather attractive, it turns out that he is completely untrustworthy. He said "this will feel like a tickling sensation" which was a blatent lie. As the camera got to the top of each nostril, I felt the same painful sensation you get when you snort salt water and want to sneeze. Except that I couldn't damn well sneeze because I was too frightened of impaling my brain on the camera. So I cried instead, snivelly, 'jeez, that smarts' tears.
After the examination he told me that I had a couple of things wrong with my nose. Firstly I have asthma related allergic rhinitis, for which he prescribed a strong nasal spray to reduce the inflammation (oh, Beconase is so yesterday). Secondly, I am a deviant. No, that's not quite right. My septum is a deviant. That's not right either.. Oh yes! I have a deviated septum!
The plan is for me to use the nasal spray for a couple of months, and also book a scan of my sinuses (because heaven only knows what is going on up there). Then I will return to see him in three months time after the results of the scan, after which he will decide whether I should have my deviant septum corrected surgically and whether there is anything else that they can hack away at whilst I am under anaesthetic.
I am already smarting from the prospective pain of having my snoz interfered with. I have seen pictured of nose-jobs on the telly, and they always involve a mallet and a chisel. In my humble opinion, mallets and chisels don't belong anywhere near noses. Neither do power drills, except in horror movies.
But despite his lies, I am looking forward to seeing my consultant again. Roll on June...
And I am looking forward to eating more cheese. Purely as a challenge to my new nasal spray, of course.