Watch out for girly flu

T'WAS the season to be jolly just a few weeks ago but how things change. Today, as I sit in my salon with sea views (distant) in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe with the rain beating against my replacement windows and the wind threatening to uproot the miniature rose bush I left on my balcony by mistake in August and never got round to sorting out, I feel a little bit depressed.

T'WAS the season to be jolly just a few weeks ago but how things change.

Today, as I sit in my salon with sea views (distant) in the Edwardian spa town of Felixstowe with the rain beating against my replacement windows and the wind threatening to uproot the miniature rose bush I left on my balcony by mistake in August and never got round to sorting out, I feel a little bit depressed.

Indeed my first winter in Felixstowe is proving an interesting experience, as I said to my plain-speaking photographer friend Lucy not only the other day, “Golly gosh isn't it quiet here in the winter months.”

“Yes James,” she replied “they roll up the pavements at 6pm.”

However, I've got my health and, touch wood, unlike a number of my colleagues and acquaintances, I've managed to get through the winter - so far - without the dreaded flu, winter vomiting sickness, migraine, toothache, gastro-enteritis or any other such debilitating disease that seems to be doing the rounds. So that's something to be cheerful about isn't it?

Anyway I have found out some interesting research which might explain why I've not succumbed to man flu and that is that man flu has, in fact, mutated into girly flu.

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According to the latest survey about a third of fellas in Ipswich and the Felixstowe peninsula have had to wait hand and foot on their ladies when this new phenomenon, known as “girly flu” in common parlance, strikes.

There are five simple symptoms for the fellas to look out for.

1. Fooling nobody - she perks up when a friend calls, but is poorly again when the phone goes down.

2. Jimmy a-choo! - she takes a week off work, but makes a miraculous Saturday morning shoe shopping trip recovery.

3. Playing for sympathy - she heads straight to bed when she gets in from work, but is found happily watching all the soaps as her man cooks dinner.

4. In need of TLC - she doesn't have enough energy to pick up a make-up brush or put her contact lenses in.

5. She's really suffering - she lets you play your games console in peace for hours just so you'll leave her in peace too.

However, despite this new and interesting research undertaken, naturally, by the cold and flu people Lemsip, man flu has not abated.

For you lady readers there's a few signs to look out for - Level 1 is a mild sniffle and at Level 5 he might be taken seriously by a doctor.

Level 1 - Putting it on - he's too ill to help with housework, but can manage a pint in the pub.

Level 2 - Mild cold - he can't answer the phone, but can play a couple of hours on a games console.

Level 3 - Might actually be poorly - he can't face a visit to the in-laws, but is well enough to see his mates.

Level 4 - Serious sniffles - he's not too ashamed to ask for extra soft balm tissues.

Level 5 - Full blown flu - he's mislaid the remote control yet can't get off the sofa to change the channel to watch the football.

Of course the concept of man flu has long been recognised by the female population as a ploy by their not-so-poorly male partners to be waited on hand and foot, while they battle on against the heaviest of head colds with no help at all.

n So what do you think? Have you spotted girly flu or man flu? Are the tables turning? Are men not so bad after all? I expect answers on a postcard please.

James' Joke of the week

A SOUPCON sexist, but I'm going to share it with you anyway.

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says: "Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can't figure out how to get started.

Her boyfriend asks: “What is it supposed to be when it's finished?"

The blonde says: “According to the picture on the box, it's a rooster."

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle.

She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table.

He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, "First of all, no matter what we do, we're not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster."

He takes her hand and says, "Second, I want you to relax. Let's have a nice cup of tea, and then ...." he said with a deep sigh, "let's put all the Corn Flakes back in the box."

MY goodness, what an amazing picture.

Not something I could do for fear of death but this is a snapshot of a swimmer leaping towards the icy water at Houhai Lake in Beijing, China.

The lake is popular for tourists throughout the year but when the winter season arrives it becomes one of Beijing's favourite spots for winter time recreation.

Can you imagine?

I POPPED to Somerset for the day at the weekend.

Right in the heart of the Mendips, I went to a village where my grandmother was born.

She's 93 now and the world she was born into has all but disappeared but the church where she was christened and later married still stands much unchanged against the vicissitudes of time.

As I discovered the plot of her family's graves, I came across something that stirred my heart, a little bunch of budding snowdrops.

Spring is on its way in the West Country - Suffolk won't be far behind.

Have you seen any spring shoots yet? Let me know.