I wake up with the strange sensation of not being able to fully open my eyes. In the dim morning light I look in the mirror, to discover that my wildest fears have come true. My new annual Christmas affliction is upon me: I have turned into a Black Puffle.
If you are not fully acquainted with Puffledom, let me refer you to my post of Monday, 26 December, 2011.
Can’t seem to get my eyes open this morning. Stagger to bathroom. Oh God! My eyes look like two puffball mushrooms with black dots in the middle. Splash with cold water. Pat dry. Argh. Still puffballs. Must lie down with legs in air. Oh no, that’s for swollen legs. Must stand up with eyes in the air. Yes, keep standing. Don’t bend over.
Argh. It’s the hunt meet at 11. Need to show my face, puffballs and all.
Lily bursts into my room. She’s wearing her jodhpurs and is jiggling up and down with excitement.
‘Mummy! They’re all going hunting. It’s really unfair!’ She stops mid-jiggle and stares at me.
‘Mummy, you look like a Black Puffle from Club Penguin.’
‘Oh God. What’s a Black Puffle?’
‘It’s got massive white eyes with titchy little black dots in the middle. And it’s technically a black fluff ball but it comes in different colours, like red and blue and purple and pink. I don’t think they come in green, unfortunately, or yellow.’
I feel like going back to bed.
You see? Other people get Norovirus or winter flu and escape the Christmas festivities (and therefore photos) altogether. I look like a Black Puffle and am captured thus for posterity.
It all began five or six days ago, when I bought a little red pot of Garnier UltraLift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Day Cream. Despite the overpowering perfume, I dabbed a touch on the Grand Canyon eyelids and they turned instantly firm, smooth and chasm-free. More dabs on my cheeks and they took on the rosy, plumped-up glow of summer instead of the desiccated, grey, weather-beaten lifelessness of winter. 'Eureka!' I thought. There is a simple antidote to winter that does not involve flying half-way round the world.
Then yesterday I felt an odd roughness to my forehead, cheeks and neck. I seemed to have come up in a rash. Now, in addition to the Black Puffle eyes, I look as if I'm recovering from chicken pox.
I look up the cream online. Ah! Pro-retinol derived from nature. As if it's something benign and nurturing! Rather than known to cause irritation, burning and peeling skin.
'It should come with a massive warning!' I squeal over breakfast, scabbed forehead in hands. 'It should be taken off the market!'
'Thalidomide's being used again,' Giles remarks, looking round from his bacon-frying.
Honestly! Big Pharma have no scruples. They don't care about the small man. Or the Puffle-eyed woman. I shall write to M Garnier first thing in the morning!