The Man-Sniffles

I consider myself to be quite fit, health wise, despite a touch of asthma. I’ve been to some high places, I’ve walked long distances and scrambled up mountains. So when I get ill, I find it limiting and annoying, but most of all, it’s frustrating.

This week I’ve had a dose of the flu (or ‘man-sniffles’ as it is known by some genders). It wasn’t as bad as the swine flu in 2009, but it was enough to keep me off work for three days. It was also enough to limit my activity to that achievable whilst lying on a sofa. (Stop sniggering at the back there, boy).

This meant that I became familiar once again with the cultural wonders of daytime TV. In a single morning, I became acquainted with the delicacies of purchasing and renovating houses, the issues surrounding a permanent move to Australia and the pros and cons of downsizing homes. By the end of the afternoon, I had become expert in the project management of ‘quick win’ renovations and short term property development. The range of educational television staggered me. An untapped source of knowledge, and free (well, £39.99 per month including TV and Broadband).

The following day I immersed myself in military history. By the early afternoon, I had endured several hours of computer generated re-enactments of tank battles in Western Europe, I had seen that same piece of black and white film used to illustrate the effects of aerial bombing in the 2nd World War and the detonation of a mine in World War 1. Blurry, out of focus ‘dramatic reconstructions’ (usually set at night) only added to my annoyance. My favourite frustration and source of ire, the superficial interpretation of events in the war from the post war observer’s grandstand, with little or no understanding of the perspective of the moment (or perhaps ignoring it in the interests of creating controversy), was ever present. One or two programmes included moving testimonies from WW2 veterans which put the other programmes to shame and put the contemporary perspective in place, so nothing was hurled at the TV. By the end of the day, I had military history sewn up in the same way as property development the day before.

Yesterday, feeling a little better again, I turned to the arts. I read an unauthorised biography of Led Zeppelin and watched one of their concerts. Feeling artistically stimulated (stop sniggering boy, it’s only a word),  I set up the camera in the living room and had a go at some macro photography. See below. I’ve been trying a technique I read about called focus stacking, which increases the area that is sharply focussed. I’m pleased with the results so far.

I even ventured out for half an hour to my chosen arena of frustration to do some essential shopping. Big mistake. I was there on ‘Slow Friday’ when everyone is required to shuffle along at the pace of a dehydrated slug. And they must have had a ‘block the aisle’ competition going too, with hundreds of people taking part. Aaaarghhh! By the time I got home I was kernackered.

Today, the sun is shining and the frustrating bit of being ill is most apparent. I want to be out enjoying the sun. I may venture in to the garden later, but if things go as they have done for the last few days, I’ll start to feel worse this afternoon and lack of energy will drive me back to the sofa (I said stop sniggering, boy). So instead, I may try educational TV again. The history of Scotland, perhaps, or the socio-political metaphors of teen vampire fiction as evidenced in the final series of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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