It will seem strange to some of you, in these days of the MMR vaccine, but I caught mumps as a child. In fact, I caught most things as a child. If there was a vaccine, I got the disease before they could give it to me. I caught scarlet fever so early that I think I had it before the vaccine came out.
My mumps was timed particularly badly, as I got it just before my parents were due to go to a wedding. This meant that my grandparents got to look after my sister, whilst Dad proved that not only is he a better man than me but a better father, too, by staying at home with me whilst Mum went to the wedding.
I can remember a few things about that day. I spent most of it lying on the sofa, but I do remember that we built an Airfix model of a space rocket that, at the time, seemed absolutely huge. I am sure that I was more of a hindrance than a help in the build process, but I can still picture it standing there on the coffee table, in all of its black and white glory.
The other thing I remember is that we had French Fancies for tea. I don’t know why I remember that, other than that we rarely had cakes, and shop bought cakes were even rarer. I certainly wasn’t the sort of kid who needed the extra sugar rush and I don’t blame my parents at all for not providing them, but I can’t eat one nowadays – and they are a mandatory item on the tea list at my cricket club – without thinking back to that day, and the giant rocket.