Denise: J’s been on a downhill slide for a while, with the fencing work in particular – on top of all his engineering and project management work and routine crofting duties – keeping him on the croft until late evening, and working with very heavy materials and requiring a lot of physical effort. But cuts on his hands have turned septic, with signs of the infection spreading up his arm and neck across his chest. And there’s two on his left forefinger that, since he finished the shearing on Wednesday, have turned especially nasty. Friday morning I sent him off to the doctor’s surgery, and he came back with anti-biotic tablets. But what was quite a surprise for both of us was to learn that the two ugly, discoloured swellings on his finger are infected with Orf, a virus normally confined to sheep who get it around their mouths and sometimes other areas where there is no wool. J certainly has has plenty of red hair on hs arms and back of his hands, but I can’t say I’ve ever noticed wool! Apparently shepherds do from time to time catch it from their sheep. Very unpleasant and painful, but not normally life-threatening, so the virus will just have to run its course. But J has to learn that tiredness from over-working weakens the immune system and disrupts the absorbtion of minerals and vitamins: he needs to take it easy. He says he will … when he’s finished the fencing. Typical! But the Orf is not the worst of it. The doctor prescribed also pain killers – a type J’s not used before (that he can recall): within a few hours of starting with these J was suffering a nauseous headache, raging thirst, dizziness, and so lethargic that he was always either dozing or asleep. Yesterday we had to do our usual Saturday cleaning at the cottages and when it went quiet I found him lying asleep on a bedroom floor, with a duster for a pillow and the vacuum cleaner wand for company! Of course he stopped taking the tablets, but it took a couple of days for him to shake it off, mostly spent asleep or dozing, though not getting any rest!