Sunday 30 January 2011


11th December

At Liverpool Street station Skanky Claus was selling the Big Issue, long dreadlocks lankly hanging out of a white guys Santa hat; a dismal attempt to be seasonally cheerful, three days of stubble, checking his text messages. I was getting a train to The Princess Alexandra Hospital, to visit the Mellow Mum.

I work in a hospital so I knew the importance of using the hand gel when I arrived at Harlow hospital, and when I left. I must have missed a bit though because less than twenty-four hours later I was vomiting and shivering. I went to bed. A few hours later I had inflicted the same onto my husband and eldest daughter; only the baby was unaffected. All night and the next morning we had temperatures, vomiting and diarrhoea. The whole family lay around on the futon bed in the living room, unable to properly care for our baby. The water tank was out of water and we were running out of bottled water to drink, yet both parents were too weak to move. The tap down the towpath has been vandalised, so it can only be turned on with mole-grips. British Waterways sent someone out “to look at it.” They did not repair it. They turned the water off. We are weak and ill, bed clothes and pyjamas are in the bath covered in vomit. Neither of us can walk to the launderette. We need running water and a washing machine. We need neighbours or friends. It is a definite low point in the whole ‘family on board’ life experience. By the afternoon the evil virus thankfully began to fade away and I made it to the supermarket for soup and bottled water.

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