When I phoned big sister Josephine yesterday, she really wasn't feeling very well at all. She sounded all hoarse, and was coughing and spluttering as she ironed the kids clothes ready for school today.
I told her to go to bed, she said she didn't have time she needed to 'get things done'. The previous morning, she'd been on Saturday duty on the football sideline, cheering the youngest on at his football lesson.
I had rang her then too: 'Where are you?' she croaked.
'On my way to rugby, to watch Jack play in a match. You?'
'Where do you think,' she coughed, '---- football.'
Josephine has been standing on the football sidelines for over a decade now, little wonder she has a cold.
'Did you have a rough night?' I said, thinking perhaps she was just hungover.
'No,' she replied, 'I'm ill.'
'Oh bollocks,' I cried, looking at my feet. It was really sunny on Saturday morning and I'd put on the new FitFlops Sybil had given to me --- in exchange for a portion of fish, chips, peas and gravy. A good swap: she's slim and can get fat, I'm fat and can get slim. Now talking to Josephine, my toes were bleeding, literally running with blood. I wasn't running, I was limping.
'My feet are bleeding,' I cried. 'Hang on, a bus is heading down the road. I'll get on that, then I'll call you back.'
I rang her back a few moments later.
'Are you on the bus,' she croaked.
'No, I didn't have enough money so I've to walk,' I mumbled and then began to wrap old tissues around my toes. I tried to hobble down the road. 'It's about 2 miles to school, I'd hoped for a nice stroll. I'll miss the first half.'
Josephine laughed and laughed and laughed. 'Well serves you right for wearing stupid shoes to rugby.'
She isn't very sympathetic sometimes.
On Sunday she moaned that no one would come to visit her.
'I haven't got time to be ill.' I told her.
'And do you think I have?' she said. 'No one's being nice to me today.'
'Alright, alright,' I said. 'I'll come over for a brew.'
So Jack and I went to visit her... wearing my father's dust masks.
'You're not very sympathetic,' she said laughing at us sitting on her sofa in protective masks.
'Well who laughed at me for having bleeding feet yesterday?'
'Do you want a cup of tea?' she said.
'No, thanks,' I said. 'I'll just sit here, if I take it off, I'll catch your germs.'