I was veritably amongst myself in anticipation of a visit from my dear friend Sooz who flew in from Sydney last Thursday.


In anticipation of letting the bon temps roulez, I’d stocked up on very smelly cheese and a goodly quantity of wine. I picked her up at the airport and we chatted away like we’d only seen each other on Wednesday. You know how it is with really good friends? Well, that was us.


Friday, we did a little low-level black-belt shopping and decided in deference to the fact I didn’t want to cook, and Sooz’s jet-lag was setting in, that we’d stay in Friday night over a good pizza, and, oh, I suppose, if you insist, some wine.


Somewhere in the middle of all of this frivolity and light-heartedness, I came down with what we call in Australia the “dreaded lurgy.” I didn’t just come down with a cold, I came crashing down with one. It was an awfully close call to see if it was tantamount to man flu, let me tell you.


We did struggle out on Saturday, but by the time we got home around 8, I took my head to bed and haven’t really surfaced since.


I was therefore interested in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald, headlined “The dirt on young Australians who don’t wash their hands.” Less than half of the 18- to 25-year-olds studied washed their hands having visited the bathroom. But let us not get smug here. Only 58% of U.S .men and 75% of U..S women do the same.


My gorgeous daughter, Madam, did a course at University about Berty Germs (as my brother E used to call them), and she was taught to wash your hands while singing Happy Birthday to You – twice. I have found this is prone to attract the odd raised eyebrow in a public restroom as you perform the ritual. And let me tell you, to sing that twice takes some time.


But in these days of considerably nasty Berty Germs surfacing, I would thoroughly recommend it. Evidently, I skimped on the second verse at some point last week, and whammo, I am here to tell the sorry tale.


With this recent outbreak of the newest star on the scene – the coronavirus - can you imagine what it must be like on the quarantined cruise ships right now? You’ve taken two weeks’ vacation and off you go, only to be stuck in a port you weren’t aware you were visiting for at least another two weeks. I can only imagine the desperate phone calls to bosses around the world, the worry that you only brought two weeks-worth of your prescription medication with you, and what on Earth are we going to tell Fluffy and Fido when we have to take out a second mortgage to get them out of the kennels.


Apparently washing your hands cuts down the risk of catching a stomach bug by 39%, and a cold or flu by a whopping 51%.


So, I’m not trying to encourage germaphobia, but let’s all try to achieve the Hygiene 2020 Awards, shall we?


Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at anniedear@icloud.com.