Izzy is too ill to go to school, but that means her mum can’t go to work. So she’s ended up staying the day at our house – with classmate Lola who is also ill. Izzy arrived in the sort of red PJs that reminded me of George Macdonald-Fraser’s invented anti-hero, Flashman, who joined the Light Brigade entirely for outfits. Though I’m not sure he would have stooped to balaclavas.
The PJs made me want to turn the girls’ bedroom into a Crimean field hospital – before the lady with the lamp got there.
“Mum, please don’t make me a bed of straw or feed my friend raw horse meat,” rasped Lola who clearly knows me too well. Izzy, with an equally sore throat, stayed quiet, hoping I’d go back to my office.
In the end I had to be satisfied with digging out books about the Eastern Question and provide updates about Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole. I think I've also convinced the sick children to learn Alfred, Lord Tennyson's 1854 poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and get them to measure the distance from bed to bathroom in half leagues...
We also had a quick debate about where the Crimea happened – Russia or Turkey. As I remember, that was the crux of the problem, everyone else thought that bit of land around the Black Sea ought to belong to them.
Exhausted by this surprise educational attack Izzy clearly thought she'd blundered into a house of crazies and thus took the only possible exit strategy - flopping weakly back on to the pillows to wait for her mum to come and pick her up.