Town Mouse

The per­ils of science

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IT was all ap­par­ently done in the name of science: the ex­plo­ration of a sib­ling’s ear with a cot­ton bud. In­evitably, it was pushed in too deep and the re­sult was a small and bloody do­mes­tic cri­sis. My ini­tial re­sponse was more rage than sym­pa­thy, with the happy re­sult—for the chil­dren—that the dis­ap­proval of the ex­tended fam­ily im­me­di­ately shifted from them to me.

When tem­pers had cooled, we set off in pour­ing rain for the hospi­tal. The friendly doc­tor ex­plained that there was too much blood in the ear to see any­thing. My con­cerns were, how­ever, slowly dis­si­pat­ing any­way. The in­jured party was try­ing in­creas­ingly hard—and with di­min­ish­ing suc­cess—to play the role of a solemn pa­tient. When the dis­missal was ut­tered, they just re­mem­bered to thank the doc­tor for his time, jumped off the bed, grabbed the book they were read­ing and ran off. I fol­lowed in a state of pro­found re­lief.

The in­ci­dent brought vividly to mind a night­mar­ish episode a few years ago, when one of them got a 20p piece lodged in their throat. It emerged that they’d been play­ing a dare game with a pile of loose change. Once ex­tracted, the of­fend­ing ob­ject was tri­umphantly claimed as pocket money. JG

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