Sue Limb

“I’m nos­tal­gic for the old colds of yes­ter­year, when we only had powdered aspirin and Vicks rub.”

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - Sue Limb con­tact @sue_limb

Idon’t like to boast, but I think I may have the worst cold in the his­tory of mankind. I just sneezed my­self right across the room and crashed into the dresser. I got it in Lon­don. And my dear, out here in the coun­try you sim­ply can’t get the mar­vel­lous colds avail­able in Lon­don! Of course they were even bet­ter back in the 1950s, when one’s hand­ker­chiefs were black with soot and had to be washed by hand with a powdered de­ter­gent called Rinso. Or was it Omo? Good names for a cou­ple of gay Ital­ian hair­dressers.

Hav­ing a cold in Novem­ber makes one feel ter­ri­bly nos­tal­gic for the dear old colds of yes­ter­year. Of course back then we only had powdered aspirin, which came folded up in a small piece of semi-trans­par­ent pa­per, a bit like trac­ing pa­per. No­body traces any­thing these days, ex­cept an­ces­tors. The powdered aspirin never did mix prop­erly with wa­ter, but you drank it any­way, and then you rubbed some Vicks on your chest out of a blue glass jar and then you went to bed with a rub­ber hot wa­ter bot­tle that leaked slightly, and read a Miss Marple. The lit­tle old lady with ‘a mind like a ba­con slicer.’

So what’s the 21st-cen­tury ver­sion? We’re lucky nowa­days to have Manuka Honey, Echi­nacea, which even sounds like a sneeze: E …E…-ECHI­NACEA !!!! ; Brome­lain (made from pineap­ples and good for coughs), Vi­ta­min C, Parac­eta­mol… Wait! My brain’s so bunged up, I’ve for­got­ten to take my reg­u­lar pills! Thy­roid pills, two kinds of blood pres­sure pills, one called some­thing-satan and one ap­prox­i­mately The-lone­somepine, an anti-in­flam­ma­tory called Ari­ad­neauf­naxos and a stom­ach pro­tec­tor called er, what was it? O-solemio? Well, it’s ba­si­cally a fist­ful.

I fling my­self down on the sofa, se­lect my Miss Marple com­pi­la­tion and with a flick of the re­mote, am re­united with Joan Hick­son. (You didn’t think I was go­ing to read an ac­tual book, did you? My cold is way too bad for that.)

As I lie here the Manuka honey com­bines de­light­fully with the Osolemio to cre­ate a dreamy mi­asma of the English coun­try­side. I keep drift­ing off. A man with a hor­rid mous­tache has mar­ried the wrong sort of wife. No­body likes him, es­pe­cially her.

Miss Marple is knit­ting a mati­nee jacket for some great niece pre­sum­ably to wear at a mati­nee. Ba­bies started go­ing to the theatre so much ear­lier in those days…

Miss Marple is peer­ing down at the body of a young blonde woman dead on a car­pet. Or is she peer­ing down at me? “Very cheap trousers, I’m afraid, Dolly,” she sighs. “And the poor gel bit her nails, look.” It’s def­i­nitely me she’s peer­ing down at.

Miss Marple is walk­ing down a lane pur­sued at a dis­tance by a pair of tweedy les­bians. The un­suit­able wife is con­fess­ing to the mur­der. Who was it who was mur­dered, again? The Brome­lain, pos­si­bly com­bin­ing with the Osolemio, seems to have turned my brain to pineap­ple chunks.

An­other man, with a slightly more Hitlery sort of mous­tache, seems to be ly­ing dead on some­body’s desk, which surely is very bad man­ners. It gives a whole new mean­ing to the phrase ‘I must clear my desk.’ I won­der if he re­ally is Hitler? Then the mur­derer would be a na­tional hero.

But wait, no, Hitler was al­ready dead in the 1950s, wasn’t he? Or was he? … Drift into strange dream in which Miss Marple goes to Ar­gentina and iden­ti­fies Hitler mas­querad­ing as a gau­cho. She im­mo­bilises him with an in­sec­ti­cide only avail­able in the 1950s.

Echi­nacea! I sneeze my­self right off the sofa and awake to find Huw Ed­wards read­ing the news. I must have sneezed the News on. Huw Ed­wards in­forms us that ev­ery­thing is even worse than we thought. Still, at least he lost a lot of weight this year and be­came a heart­throb.

I won’t be fol­low­ing him down that route, how­ever. I’m go­ing to in­vest in a pair of knit­ting nee­dles and some wool. Only in­stead of hav­ing a mind like a ba­con slicer I’m go­ing to have a brain like a plate of scram­bled eggs. I’ve got to come off this med­i­ca­tion. N

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