A large proportion of the Country's population have taken on a key feature of the Victorian age since the Christmas period. Illness.
The Pickwick Household has resembled a consumption ward over this time. Started by Pickwick daughter number 1, I assumed the mantle on Christmas Eve kidding myself that my sore throat was caused by hearty singing of "O Come all you faithful" at the evening Carol service before going wassailing in our village.
Since New Year, Mrs Pickwick, a woman of far more substance and grit than her sickly husband, has slowly lost her voice and is now sounding like Marge Simpson's lesbian sisters without the aid of cigarettes and a party lifestyle.
I had been offered the flu jab before Christmas but turned it down on the principle of what is the immune system if you do not use it. And for this reason, the unfriendly flu bacteria came along and kneecapped me.
The existence of flu is one of many reasons to be angry with the Almighty. While it does not rank in seriousness with man's inhumanity to man, Simon Cowell and repeats of "Last of Summer Wine" on the Yesterday TV Channel, its very existence indicates a rather vindictive attention to detail by the Big Man/Woman/Cheese designed to despatch the weak to the other place or inflame the temperament of the remaining sufferers who have to put up with it.
Flu is unique among illnesses in having its most serious strains associated with the male of the species. This is due to man's innate competitiveness in striving for the extremes in life or misfortune. The fact that Men have become the poster boys for flu has done them no favours. Their more fragrant counterparts give them no sympathy, justifiably angry about having to deal with periods and childbirth. This is a stick Mrs Pickwick uses to beat me with on frequent occasions meaning that any symptoms I have need to be off the scale before I get taken off the "put the dustbins out" duty, which for some women is the sole reason Man was put on this earth.
As illnesses go, flu is quite discreet, not requiring extreme reactions from those around which cause them to gag. There is some good in flu. You have to rest, it causes you to be warm and toasty and you can catch up with your day time TV watching. For this reason, it is carbon neutral and you will not get fat.
Since Christmas, it has been a voyage of discovery to carry my portfolio of illnesses with the hairy front face I have displayed since the Summer. For instance, one morning, the bathroom mirror highlighted the fact that my moustache was clearly suffering the after effects of a nasal Tsunami. And, a recent expression of love for Mrs Pickwick on my return from a hard day at work was greeted with her recoiling in horror as my furry friend had retained moisture sourced from an orifice a few centimetres above it. It is not surprising therefore that Mrs Pickwick has developed the same condition as me albeit a blessing for those around that her facial hair is considerably less prominent than my own.
Having worked my way through a variety of conditions, I have not as yet been graced by Norovirus, otherwise known to less pointed headed mortals as "The Winter Vomiting bug". Currently affecting some 800,000 people (which is roughly the same amount of people who watched "Celebrity Juice" over the Christmas period), it is transmitted by faecally contaminated food or water, by person-to-person contact, or transfer of the virus in the air leading to contamination of surfaces. It may be a coincidence too that viewers of Celebrity Juice have a greater propensity to drink from the toilet than Radio 4 listeners.
I have some inherent controls in my constitution which will protect me from catching it - principally being monumentally unsociable and having no desire to drink from the toilet.
The Pickwick Residence has therefore so far been a barf free zone. We plan to keep it this way by eradicating Keith Lemon from the house and curling up with John Humphry, Martha Kearney and Kirsty Young as often as we can.
I hope it will remain that way. I have had it with illness for 2013.