Not seeing a posting on this blog in commemoration of this Christmas Day just past, you might be forgiven for asking yourself if there was anything the matter with me, or indeed if I had finally died. The fact is, I was too ill to write anything, for I was struck with a very bad dose of the influenza. At my age (120), influenza is just not a good thing to get, especially influenza as virulent as the one I not only had, but still have, for I’m still far from being totally well.
For many days, I tossed and turned in my little bed from the raging fever. And my coughing spasms nearly turned my body inside out. For all I know, I was at death’s door. But I dared not visit a doctor because of the murder arrest-warrants issued against me by the police forces throughout the world. Any doctor, being visited by a 120 year-old, is likely to begin asking questions inordinately intrusive, and he could make further inquiries with the Authorities. I just can’t have that. To die by being hanged from a scaffold would be just too humiliating for me.
Even to have influenza is humiliating, for I never used to get influenza until quite recently. In fact, I don’t remember my Mater or Pater ever having even a day’s illness, let alone influenza, apart from the maladies from which they died when very old. As for Monty, the notion that he would ever have been indisposed by influenza would be preposterous. I remember when I served on Monty’s staff in North Africa in 1942-1943. Monty had all us officers doing PT at 6.00 every morning, and Monty would do the PT as well. There was no shirking, for Rommel had to be knocked for six out of Africa. Monty would have regarded as a shirker any officer taking to his sick bed for a little thing like influenza.
Therefore, by taking to my sick bed these past few days, I have been shirking. Monty, looking down at me from wherever he is now, cannot be pleased. This is something I’ll have to live with.