At the end of our Scottish trip, we bid farewell to my wife's sister's family and set off in the rain and fog, bound for warmer climes nearer the Equator. Or England, as I like to call it.
The only member of their family that we hadn't seen was little Andrew, who was away at college, but who would soon be visiting Silverstone for a race meeting. As he was going to be in our neck of the woods, we naturally offered to be of assistance should he require it, and pondered a visit to the circuit ourselves, perhaps.
As it turned out, this was uncharacteristically perceptive of me, but also less than correct.
Several days after our arrival home, my wife received a call from her sister, asking for a bit of help with a problem. Little Andrew was now at Silverstone, but ill and confined to his hotel bed. Could we collect him and provide some much-needed TLC?
The poor, wee lamb was in a bad way, with what we soon realised was not a common cold or that other mildest of ailments, man flu. Fortunately, he was a dab hand at the "catch it, bin it, kill it" game. However, after a few days of no improvement, we called the NHS helpline and were advised to take him to the drop-in clinic at our local hospital. In his diagnosis, the doctor couldn't be 100% sure, but it was either proper flu or the porcine variety, with treatment much the same for either.
At this juncture, I'd better point out that little Andrew isn't so little anymore. He's much taller than the last time I saw him, towering over all at Tense Towers, though still the same polite, unassuming, but humourous chap I remember.
Happily, over the course of the next week, his humour, if not his appetite, slowly returned and today, before dawn, we put him on a train for home and back to his anxious parents. Serendipitiously, this meant we were sat in the lounge much earlier than would have normally been the case on a Saturday morning. Just in time for my wife to spot a male Brambling on the bird feeder. So thank you, Big Andy, that was a really nice surprise.