Matthew Munson: Isle is the best medicine for beating man flu


There are days, I must confess, when I can be a little grouchy. I doubt that will come as much of a shock to you all, as even the most mild-mannered amongst us will endure days when we are less than our cheerful selves.

I have had a bout of man flu over the past week (a terrible illness, as all men will know), and I’m not particularly good when I’m ill – I get a bit grouchy, and annoyed when the lingering effects continue … it’s been a week, and I’m still tight-chested and bunged up.

I tell you this not for sympathy (oh, alright then, maybe a little bit), but because there are some sure-fire ways of being brought out of your self-imposed pity. For me, there’s a number of ways I get dragged out of my mental block – this time around, it’s been other people who have helped, by not letting me get too insular and sorry for myself.

I spent an hour or so this weekend at a four-year-old’s birthday party; I should explain that I did know the young man in question and wasn’t gatecrashing a random child’s celebrations. That just wouldn’t be cricket. But I went along to help him celebrate his birthday, and also to feed him as many e-numbers as possible.

I didn’t have any children of my own to watch, so I was able to chat with the parents whilst not needing eyes in the back of my head (and I got to be daft with some of the kids, so that was good fun – I enjoy spending time with children; I suspect I’m on the same wavelength as them). That also kept me from wallowing in my own self-pity at the chronic illness I have been fighting off.

I then spent the evening playing bingo up at Westwood Cross; in all the times I’ve gone, you know, I’ve won twice – once at a raffle and once on another game that I can’t even remember now. There are times when I’m incredibly close to winning – one or two numbers away – but then defeat is snatched from the jaws of victory by someone else, and it’s never me or the friend I went with. I have to then remind myself of the statistical chances of me winning, and it’s probably about right; I’d certainly like to win as much as possible, but c’est la vie – I get to spend time with friends, so who am I to grumble?

So how do I get over myself when I’m suffering from a severe bout of hypochondria? By spending time with others to distract myself from the exquisite agony of a slight and minor cold, in a place as diverse as Thanet – where we can spend an afternoon in Coffee Corner (a very welcoming new venue in Ramsgate – it was my first time there, and I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome) celebrating a kid’s birthday and then moving on to some gambling later on (and don’t worry, the four-year-old wasn’t one of the gamblers), but knowing we could have chosen one of a number of activities.

It could be easy to forget how diverse Thanet is, but we forget at our peril; I’m rather proud of living here. It even eases my grouchiness, and that’s never a bad thing.