A PANEL of Nobel laureates have discussed their most recent vomiting experiences before an enraptured audience at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.
The pair were joined by fellow laureates Sir Paul Nurse and JMG Le Clezio at a packed festival arena for a session entitled, ‘The Last Time I Was Sick’.
Author Naipaul, whose multi-award winning works include A Bend in the River, ascribed his last bout of physical sickness to a service station sausage roll.
He said: “It wasn’t a Ginster’s one, rather it was from the heated glass cabinet. I remember it was nearly three quid, and I wasn’t even that hungry but was late back from a book signing and knew I was going to miss my tea.
“I got as far as Chichester before I pulled over and hurled into a ditch. I was on my hand and knees.”
The panel nodded empathetically with Le Clezio adding that it is hard to tell how long sausage rolls and pies have been sitting around for, if they are not in a packet with a best before date.
Sir Paul Nurse, geneticist and President of the Royal Society, said: “Last year I got a stomach bug off one of my kids. It was coming out of both ends, full on, for 48 hours.
“It’s something of a cliched comparison but honestly, it was like something out of The Exorcist.
“When you get something like that, it’s as rank as you can feel without actually dying.”
ElBaradei, former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he could not remember the last time he was properly sick, adding: “Last month in Cairo I drank a can of Sunkist very quickly, and when I did a burp some sick came in my mouth, but then it went back down.
“But I haven’t actually thrown up since I was a kid, which is mad when you think about it.”
He added: “Apparently at the last Hay Festival Paul Theroux got really drunk and puked out of a window right onto Alain de Botton’s big baldy head. I wish I’d seen that.”