I REPORTED I had a summer cold, even though summer seems to have deserted us.

But its elements were gentle, like a summer breeze, just nibbling at my natural defences. It would pass, I thought. It lulled me.

Then at 3.40am it decided the time was right for invasion. My sentinels were snoozing at their posts and it came rampaging in like the hordes of Attila the Hun with the full panoply of war.

Before I knew it, I was being racked by sneezes as fierce as a cannonade loud enough to wake my mate Jim Rooney at the other end of the road.

The sluice gates of my nose were breached and it took toilet rolls to stop the flow – one up each nostril. Breathing was as tortured as that of a drowning man and I could already feel the razors of the enemy’s storm troopers going for my throat from the inside.

This was all out war and I didn’t have a chance.

In winter you are prepared for such a violent attack but in summer your reflexes are out of condition and flabby. One sunny day and a glance at the calendar to confirm it’s the middle of July and you are lulled.

And, soon after, in bed flat on your back. A victim under siege.

This was not just a cold, this was Man Flu. And the only way to fight back was to entrench beneath the duvet with pills and tablets and hot lemon potions and a good book – and smear Vaseline upon my nose against a raw soreness that glowed like a landing light and threatened to divert air traffic from Leeds-Bradford if the curtains were left open.

My one woman army had mobilised – thank God wives never get colds like men do – and brought me tea, biscuits and fresh toilet rolls.

Why do people ever buy those small packs of tissues for their nose when they can have the comfort of a toilet roll? Granted, it may not look quite the same if you are out in company and you whip out your Andrex and rip off a 3ft length, and there is the problem of where to deposit it after use, but it does make sense in the all-out war against the cold virus.

Anyway, I have been laid low for a day and am ready to fight back the only way I know how when it has a grip like this.

Tonight, I start on the Guinness. Cold virus – you have been warned.

Maria? Can you nip down to the shop and get me a six pack?