There are two unmistakable life events that rarely go unforgotten – right down to day specifics – the weather, time of year, probably what you were wearing, and usually what price petrol was at the time. The first one is contracting the flu. The nasty can’t-sit-up-in-bed-without-falling-over, feel hot and cold, hungry but not and sick-as-a-dog flu.

The other is throwing up.

Come back with me, if you will, to Scotland. The year is 1999 and it’s a sunny and pleasant August evening in Paisley. My Italian roommate, Ramona was with me standing in the kitchen and we were talking and laughing together. Sometimes we’d talk in English and other times I’d try my hand at Italian. Her Mum and Dad walked in, and Ana, originally a native of Malaga, Spain tells Ramona (in Italian) that she’ll be making dinner, a seafood Paella.

I jumped at the chance to have something, anything made by a continental European. And plus, I love seafood, so bring on the happy times. Or so I thought.

I ate the paella and it was really good, I even helped myself to seconds. After we’d all finished, we headed to Largs in the car and all treated ourselves to some Italian ice cream from a really cool cafe.

As the 15-minute drive home was coming to an end, I felt a little uneasy, but thought it was just because I’d eaten too much and then topped it all off with rich ice cream. As soon as we came to a stop, I threw the car door open, shouted something resembling an explanation and ran for the locked front door. I spent the ensuing 5 long minutes in the bathroom praying to the porcelin god. It was then that I realised my stomach couldn’t tolerate escargot. Of course, the fact that they were even in there was news to me.

That was the last time I heaved. Until last night.

I took Ian to bed for the second time (a record, it’s usually 12) at 11:30 p.m. and told him to stay in bed, that I was tired, going to bed and didn’t feel good. I was seriously feeling nauseated.  I thought I was just over-tired from being up a few times the night before.

I sank into bed and pulled the covers up to my neck as usual and fell asleep fairly quickly. At 2 a.m. I was rudely awakened to my stomach heaving, and as I sat up in bed half awake, my tongue started to water. I made a mad dash for the bathroom in the dark and in my mind I could already hear the new mantra:

“Montana – April 2007 – 32 – two kids – middle of nowhere.”

I still have no idea what caused the upheaval, I thought it was because I had licked the cake batter spoon a few nights ago, but I don’t have a temperature or any other symptoms. I mean, if I’m going to go to such an effort, I want to know why. Maybe it’s a mild dose of the stomach flu.

Whatever it is, it needs to go away, it’s stopping me from eating.  And we all know how much I hate that.


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