Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Illness & Asthma in the Lakes

I must preface this by mentioning that on the Monday of half-term, just prior to setting out for our holiday in the Lakes, I received the flu vaccination. It was purely done on the advice of my doctor, who was adamant that as an asthmatic I should definitely be protected from the seasonal flu virus.

So, with my body so clinically treated against a bout of the illness, we set off on the M6 bound for the Southern Lakes. I had estimated a leisurely journey of around three hours, including a brief rest stop, to reach Kendall, plus a further short journey through Windermere to Ambleside. Optimistic? Try doubling it. We had had no idea that this particular half term holiday would lead to such a goldrush towards the fells of Cumbria. However, it was not simply the fact that the journey took a wopping six hours that caused me a near-breakdown. When we arrived in Ambleside, we discovered that the B&B had no immediate parking and we would have to drive to their private spaces just outside of the town. In order to find this secluded "pen" we were provided with a map and informed that it would be "simple" to find. Well, a combination of the unforgiving on
e-way system, more traffic congestion than rushhour in Tokyo and the fact that the map was the most lamentable effort in the history of cartography, all conspired to send us through our final hour of hell, before finally (after the seventeenth lap of the town) we located the green gate and parked up.

Not knowing whether to laugh or cry
or simply sink to our knees in despair, we trudged back into the town to find somewhere to eat. Little did we realise that we had missed the time slot for a pub lunch by five lousy minutes...

I have to be honest and admit that we enjoyed an excellent meal at a place called the Priest Hole that evening. However, I was starting to feel tired and unwell (factors I attributed to the flu jab) which meant that with the bed as hard as concrete, I decided to take a
Beechams tablet to help subdue the symptoms and help me to sleep. What ensued was the worst night's sleep I had ever had. Or had not. For I failed to sleep a wink. My mind was buzzing, my back aching and my nose and throat sore. Finally, as the light came flooding through the curtains of our stuffy, airless room, I decided to prise myself up and abandon any faint hope of overcoming my insomnia for once and for all. It was then, as I fumbled for the packet of Beechams, that I realised the cause of my predicament - for the capsule I had taken was not the restful, nightime dose, but the caeffeine-rich daytime supplement...

Feeling by this time fairly dreadful, I topped up on painkillers and, after a token cooked breakfast, drove to the village of Coniston. The Lake of Coniston is famous for the record breaking pursuits of the late Sir Donald Campbell and was of course the location of his spectacularly tragic demise. The virtues of the painkillers must have been significant, for I was able to undertake a successful fell walk in addition to the exploration of two of the nearby lakes. Despite the autumnal drizzle, the scenery was fantastic, although it nearly finished me to complete the hike.

That evening, we took a meal at one of the restaurants featured on the "Kitchen Nightmares" program (and I can report that Gordon Ramsey has done his bit well) and from then on, things deteriorated rapidly. Feeling shockingly ill, I attempted to sleep, only to suffer a horrific asthma attack which nearly led me to hospital. The following morning we were due to visit the Beatrix Potter Museum but only ended up going home early. The journey took...that's right...six hours.

Next time we'll get it right, next time... you can stick your flu jab...

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