Posted in Updates on Thursday 29th October 2009 at 2:11pm

I've written in an only half mocking way about my "Octoberfear" here on many occasions. This all came about from the strange coincidence that bad stuff seemed to happen in my birth month. Not catastrophic stuff - nothing which affected other people unduly in fact - but things which just made me throw my hands up in despair and wonder what on earth would be thrown my way next. It's all a bit comic really, and to be honest it's generated it's own little routine which makes me come back with extra positivity to try to cheat the trend. Not something you'll find me doing often, but a useful exercise nonetheless.

This year, I thought I had it licked. A busy month of pre-planned and pre-booked events which would take me all over the place. A mixture of solitary trundles up obscure byways and more sociable trips in company. I genuinely thought I was in for a decent month - even the weather forecast seemed fairly benign. Then things began to unravel... As usual, not in a disastrous way - firstly a cancelled Pathfinder trip to Donnington and the Oldham Loop on it's last day. With another tour due to do Donnington soon, and with the loop covered in some style back in August, I let it slide. I came back with a trip to Glasgow and a curiously indecisive weekend - but I wasn't beaten. Then came the Severn Valley Gala - and just days before what promised to be the event of the year a steam engine spread the track at Highley. In the end it was a much smaller event with some frustrating aspects - but lots of Batham's Best and a philosophical approach made it feel better.

But then, things became really odd. During a very pleasant trip to York with Spitfire (which suffered it's own delays and curtailments sadly enough), I heard that the Western tour booked for 31st October was cancelled too! Western tours just don't get cancelled - bookings are always good, and D1015 is one of the most reliable machines out there. But sure enough, there was a letter waiting for me on the morning of my birthday telling me the new date next March. With a week off to avoid just the weltschmerz which was descending, I felt tired and stretched. Unable to do much except laze around the place, not bothered about getting all the useful jobs done I'd promised to use my week for.

And on the day I returned from the excellent Buffer Puffer tours, it all began to click into place. I felt a little weak and tired as I slogged over to Clapham Junction, and I found myself dreading the trek from the tube to the platform at Paddington. I had a little breakfast and soon settled into my comfortable seat for the usual snoozy trip back to Bristol. On arriving to my alarm I found walking painful and difficult, and it took me almost all the time I had to change trains. Another sleepy trip brought me home, and meeting someone to chat to took my mind off things. However, by 3pm it was confirmed - H1N1 was the source of my sore throat and sneezes over the weekend, and October had dealt me a cruel, painful and frustrating last trick.

And now? I feel weak, listless and frustrated. Staying indoors is the most tiresome bit, but I'm so aware of how at risk some of my family could be if they have contact with me. Tamiflu is a dreadful drug, which has given me the most vivid and disturbing dreams - but has, it seems put paid to the indescribable aches and pains in apparently random body parts which are perhaps the worst this nasty virus offers to those who suffer only the mildest symptoms. Oddly, as the flu departs I seem to be getting a cold - and strangest of all, I can't summon any interest in food at all. I can't recommend this to anyone - and I'll promise never to misuse the term 'flu' again. This ain't no common cold, that's for sure!

So, October passes once again and I'm almost amused at how a well-planned effort to stave off the 'fear' has ended up. Lets hope the decent weather lasts into November, even if the daylight won't.



I've had a home on the web for more years than I care to remember, and a few kind souls persuade me it's worth persisting with keeping it updated. This current incarnation of the site is centred around the blog posts which began back in 1999 as 'the daylog' and continued through my travels and tribulations during the following years.

I don't get out and about nearly as much these days, but I do try to record significant events and trips for posterity. You may also have arrived here by following the trail to my former music blog Songs Heard On Fast Trains. That content is preserved here too.

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