One of my favourite books as a child was Arthur Ransome's Winter Holiday, where the noble Nancy comes down with mumps, plunging the rest of the gang into quarantine. This fantastic plot device gives them plenty of time to build igloos, sew rabbit skin hats and mount expeditions to the North Pole. At ten, I was full of envy at this wondrous stroke of good fortune, which gave them weeks and weeks of extended holiday. It never occurred to me then to see that for Nancy's poor mother, this was a catastrophe - eight kids to look after for weeks on end, just when she was about to pack them all off back to school!
Well, as luck would have it, I find myself in Mrs Blackett's shoes this week. Alice has whooping cough and has to stay in isolation for five days while the antibiotics take effect, and the rest of us have to dose up too. (Spent an hour last night trying to get the medicine into Evie, which was fun.)
The silver lining is that the kids next door have it too (that's where we got it from) so at least all the sickies can play together instead of expiring from boredom; and also, no one has it really badly, thanks to the wonders of immunisation. I wish I'd known that the whooping cough vaccine doesn't actually stop you getting it; it just stops you getting it really badly. We've had to warn all our friends, family, and all the people we breathed on before we knew we were sick (sorry, everyone).
It's just a pity it isn't snowing...