Your perambulating pensioner has never thought any of his many colds were “common”.
Indeed, each one has had a distinguished history carrying with it glittering distinctions. These include pulmonary complications, night fevers, irregular heartbeats, wheezes, tears from those keeping a vigil, bedside prayers and red alerts.
In times of crisis, local clergy and undertakers have been placed on around the clock stand-by..
“Man flu,” chorus women across the land.
Anyway, my most recent cold was clinging with the tenacity of the rind on a Welsh cheese - until I heard two words from a friend, who has a veteran’s understanding of the bugs that haunt our crusty old pie of a town.
“Potter’s Pastilles,” she whispered, nodding her head wisely. And these red pastilles contain menthol, pumilio pine oil and eucalyptus oil. Soon my nasal passages were as clear as an angel’s flute, but then a scoundrel phoned me.
For several days I’d been receiving messages from an automated voice advising me there was “illegal activity” in my computer. My internet was to be disconnected within 24 hours.
It was. So I phoned what I believed to be a legitimate representative of my internet provider, who told me to switch on the computer. For more than half an hour he led me on an on-screen dance to reconnect the email service.
Only when he mentioned a big charge for adding security to this “service” did I realise he’d taken me for a mug. And I had been a mug, though the scam was executed with consummate skill. I hung up. What a low-down, dirty trick he and his associates had tried.
Other victims told me that they, too, have found it almost impossible to differentiate between the tricksters and those genuinely correcting an online computer error. Our growing reliance on computers to carry out the routine transactions of domestic and business life is deeply disturbing. As a people, we’re losing our cherished independence.
After I hung up, the internet connection was restored.
My nasal passages were still clear and I walked to Bidston Hill to breathe some fresh air - to listen to the songs of birds, watch the happy lolloping of muddy dogs, to escape the digital age.
For there are still beautiful places in our world beyond the reach of the wretched hackers. We must count our blessings.
And living in the ground are the good bugs, kind bugs, essential to the wellbeing of our Earth.