Alice-Azania Jarvis: 'Getting better may not be the best thing for my bank balance'

In The Red
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The Independent Online

So, one week into my holiday, and my limited budget remains intact. At least, it does in the sense that I haven't exceeded what I'd hoped to spend, though what I have spent hasn't exactly – how to put this? – been partitioned in quite the way I had anticipated.

This week, boys and girls, I've mostly been buying drugs. Yep, that's right: drugs. Not, you understand, the illegal (or even legal), recreational kind: more the £4.89-a-pop kind you get at you local pharmacy. For treating a cold. And, contrary to the daily speculations of the staff at my local Costcutter, I don't have swine flu. Just a plain old cold, in all of its unglamorous, snuffling glory.

Luckily, I haven't really had to buy much else. I've been sofa-ridden, for starters, so my entertainment spending has been limited to a few newspapers, a copy of Elle and the latest issue of Grazia.

I've had no appetite whatsoever, and so have been eating like a horse (which is to say, mainly apples, oats and carrots, plus the occasional bowl of soup harvested from the over-stocked tinned food cupboard above the sink). I've read three books (Giovanni's Room, Down and Out in Paris and London, and a collection of short stories), watched three films (The Godfather parts one, two, and, er, three – all of which my flatmate already owned on DVD), as well as every episode of Britain's Best Dish (I actually can't stand that show but it ALWAYS seems to be on), Masterchef and Come Dine With Me (incidentally, I managed to spot one contestant – I forget her name – who appears on both Come Dine With Me and Britain's Best Dish, an observation of which I'm both rather proud and quite ashamed, the latter probably more than the former), and baked several batches of biscuits which have subsequently been force fed to my boyfriend. He'll probably get sick soon, too.

Actually, this always happens when I go on holiday. The minute I stop rushing around and start to relax – bam! – my immune system collapses. Somehow, though, I never fail to forget this – which means I cram the first week of holiday full of plans – socialising, DIYing, shopping – only to have to cancel everything in favour of sitting around feeling bored.

Still, I've been slowly getting better since Thursday. In fact, by the time you read this I should be feeling quite normal. Good news as far as my social life is concerned – though not, perhaps, the best thing for my bank balance.

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