Of course, I spoke too soon about my unalloyed joy at the goings-on at the bird-of-prey sanctuary. I should never have put myself in such close proximity to a dangerous vector for respiratory diseases: by which I mean, of course, a huge crowd of snotty, runaroundy children from all over the country, carrying goodness knows what infections to which I could not possibly already be immune.
Four or five days after sharing a leather falconry glove with a good dozen or so of the tiny catarrh-filled blighters, I find myself full of a cold. I’m periodically exhausted, with a tickly cough and a sore throat; usually I get sinus colds, but this one has almost exclusively infected my larynx. I sound like Tom Waits the morning after agreeing to try a Scissor Sisters number at the work Christmas do.
It’s the birds I feel most sorry for. If humans can in theory suffer from psittacosis, then surely poor Nigel or Troy must in turn be in danger of coming down with something like anthropocosis. No wonder they make us all wear those leather gloves: protecting us from mere talons is the least of the handlers’ worries.
… Could we club our donations together and sponsor what would effectively be a kind of sheep dip? Preferably with a maximum height requirement.