Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Embracing the cold

The cold is back and the frost has left his secret ministry on my car windscreen again. Frankly, we’re going off him a bit. What’s worse is I’ve got a cold, a common cold. As you might have guessed, we don’t really go in for the glamorous rebranding of minor illnesses on this blog. You will hear no talk here of the man flu, or the Norovirus, or the dreaded lurgy. I’ve heard that swine flu is very in vogue this season, especially among my students, but we don’t follow fashion here. No, I have a cold, a common cold, and we embrace its commonness in all its 1001 varieties, as we do all varieties of the commonplace. This is the man of the moment’s advice to invalids:

Do you know what I find helps my cough? When I’m not working, I spray some turpentine on the edge of the desk and breathe in the fumes. And when I go to bed I spray some round the bedside table and other nearby objects. The spray evaporates more quickly than the liquid itself. Turpentine has rather a pleasant smell. I also drink Obersalzbrunnen, I don’t eat any hot dishes, I don’t talk much, and I scold myself for smoking too much. I repeat, you should wrap up as warmly as you can, even inside the house. Keep away from draughts in the theatre. Look after yourself like a hothouse plant, otherwise the cough will take a long time to get rid of. If you want to try the turpentine, buy the French kind. Take quinine once a day, and watch you don’t get constipated. Influenza has entirely removed from me any desire to drink spirits. They taste foul. I don’t have my normal two glasses at night, and so take a long time to get to sleep. I wish could take ether.

Thank you Dr. Chekhov (that’s enough Chekhov for a bit, Joe – Ed.), but I think I’ll make do with some Lemsip and an early night.

Mundane quote for the day: ‘There has never been so much light in the world as we have now, such instant dismissals of darkness. As for half-light, gloaming, we are not allowed to know what it is. This was when we used to do our thinking.’ – Ronald Blythe

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