1. This morning we had a session in The Salt Cave -- a PR friend has organised it so I can write about the experience. "You've had a cough since I've known you," she says. Salt therapy is a well-respected treatment for respiratory and skin conditions in Eastern Europe, but is not so well-known in the UK. We'd spotted the centre just round the corner for us, and were rather intrigued. We got an hour in the children's cave as Alec is horribly snotty just now. He didn't seem to notice the salty air -- he was thrilled by the layer of salt on the floor. It's like a sandy beach -- and he crawled in it, and played with it for the best part of the session. He learnt very fast not to eat it, though.
2. I leafed through a file of articles about the therapy. My favourite described a Russian salt sanatorium built into a mine. The doctor in charge described the asthmatic children 'running around like mice' in the galleries and corridors, finally able to enjoy playing in good quality air.
3. "Your skin feels so soft," says Nick later that day. My cough is looser, too, and my nose is definitely less bunged up. I feel as if I've been breathing steam -- though the effect of that only lasts an hour at most. I'm still feeling clear well into the evening.