David Wansbrough 

Geoff Bentley had been to my lecture at Moscow State University and saw me sweating and shaking. He thought I should see the western doctor immediately. “Get euros and dollars changed to pounds. He charges in guineas and rounds upwards. Believe me, the experience will be worth it”

I was shown into the consulting room and told to remove my trousers and stand in the light. (The doctor had been a Royal Naval officer and knew what was what about chaps in foreign climes). Not wanting to be bellowed at I put my shoulders back and tried to stand up straight. “No,  Sir,” I spluttered,  ” I’ve got the flu.”

“Spit on this saucer.  Good. You’ve got it.  You’re going to die. If not this time, then next time. Or the time after.  It is a recurrent virus.  Her Britannic Majesty’s Ambassador will probably die of it. The Australian Secretary just has. The fool was at the gym. The natives get it as a mere sniffle. There is a reason why sane white men kept away from Russia for thousands of years.  Take a panadol for the temperature and put your life in order.  I’m the auxiliary parson at Saint Andrews.  If you’re still alive I expect you to be there in a fortnight’s time, come what may.  Avoid crowds and exhaustion.”

In Moscow?

This is my 11th recurrence since then.