Winter is officially here.
I can always tell, not because of the date, the clocks going back or any long-celebrated tradition of saying goodbye to the sun.
Nope, my barometer is my health. Every year, without fail, as soon as winter arrives, I cop a sore throat, runny nose, raging temperature and a feeling in my head that can only be compared to someone squashing it between a huge pair of cushions – not exactly painful but definitely suffocating.
As I sit in our office overlooking the River Medway, it’s hard to imagine that a few weeks ago, I was sat (jealously) watching people sail up and down in the sunshine.
Today, I’m watching leaves and large twigs fly past horizontally, and listening to the wind whistle around the building. There’s nobody out on that river today unless they have to be.
While the weather is out of my control, I am merrily popping pills and Vitamin C in the vague hope I can ward off any more illness.
Last year, this blasted cold turned into a chest infection that laid me up for the best part of a fortnight and had me spluttering for nearly two months.
This time, it simply can’t happen. In a couple of weeks, I’m due to be walking up the aisle as a bridesmaid.
Now I did check three times that the bride and groom were sure they wanted a 41-year-old, rather than a three-year-old looking suitably adorable.
Apparently they weren’t after cute, they wanted to be surrounded by their nearest and dearest.
That’s fine, and having been wed twice before, I’ve plenty of knowledge on how to avoid any pitfalls. In high heels and the right frock, I can almost look elegant.
But if I’m coughing and sneezing into my bouquet on the big day, they may just have second thoughts and realise the three-year-old would have been a better option, and the tantrums easier to handle.