Monday morning life

Stumbling into the living room yesterday, I nearly ended up in hospital after falling over a pile of health books - row on row of advice about typhoid, cholera, malaria, and rabies. Presumably Vanessa, my flatmate, had finally been convinced that smallpox had been wiped out.

"What on earth are all these?"

"They're for Goa," she replied.

"Goa? It's such a de rigueur holiday destination now, you're more likely to catch a cold from a horrible year-off student than typhoid."

"Yes, well I'm in charge of Health and Hygiene on my holiday," announced Vanessa. "Sara is doing Passports and Visas and then when we get there I'm doing Money and she is doing Entertainment."

"Entertainment?" I had a sudden vision of Sara treating assembled tourists to a quick rendition of "Hey Big Spender", or showing off her paso doble.

"Organising trips and so on. If I say we can afford it."

That's the best thing about flatmates. They introduce you to another way of life. My holiday preparations involve: a) 11.50pm the night before making a list of everything you need; b) 11.55pm stuffing said things in suitcase. Result, as Mr Micawber would have said: happiness. I've never forgotten anything really major, and anyway you can buy hairdryers, toothbrushes and socks in most places - can't you?

In comparison, Vanessa has most of her wardrobe contents on the living- room floor three weekends before departure. She sorts by colour, by climate, by newness, by designer. She goes to stores and tries on swimming costumes. She would not, as other people do, bang on the door of John Lewis five minutes before closing and grab the first size 12 bikini she sees. (Serves me right: I had to wear a T-shirt over the transparent-when-wet bikini for two weeks.)

Vanessa does not accept what the first doctor tells her about jabs; she gets a second opinion. She does not pathetically ask the doctor to stick the needle in when she's not looking.

Lastly, when all is packed, she does not do horrible things before rushing off on Monday morning, such as saying, "You do know about the worms in Goa, don't you?"


"Yes. You have to keep your feet covered at all times, even in the shower, otherwise they can enter your skin."

I heard a shriek, and a frantic flip-flop search begin. Oh Lord, forgive me, I'm scared to go home tonight.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

    £18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

    £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

    Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

    £18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

    £28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

    Day In a Page

    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
    Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

    UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

    Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
    John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

    ‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

    Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
    Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

    Let the propaganda wars begin - again

    'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

    Japan's incredible long-distance runners

    Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
    Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

    Tom Drury: The quiet American

    His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

    Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
    Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

    Beige to the future

    Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

    Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

    More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
    Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

    Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

    The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own