Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Remedies and Ailments...

I had an ailment for the whole of my younger days which I managed to grow out of.

I walked pinty-toed.
Thats pronounced "pin" as in pin, pin-tee toed, its probably a Latin expression.

I've never heard of anyone else having pinty-toes so I assume that I'm fairly unique among the human population in having this mysterious ailment that made my shoe heels wear down unevenly, the outside edge of each heel disappearing at an alarming rate on a new pair of shoes until my heel touched the ground.

The cure was for my mother to walk behind me and shout "Stop walking pinty-toed" she'd shout and she'd accompany this remedy by a swift cuff around the back of the head which tended to work for a few strides as I staggered across the pavement only to walk pinty-toed again as I regained my balance, "You're doing it again" she'd yell and another cuff would cure me for another few strides, and so we'd partake of this alternative medicine all the way down Kirkstall Road whilst doing her shopping.

I was also a gathering point for lots of different cold germs during my childhood, if there was a cold or flu going round then I'd get it and my mother used a variety of descriptive terms on the notes that she sent to my schoolteachers, it was almost as if she daren't use the same description twice as she invented more and more strange ways to describe what was, in all honesty, the common cold.

"Gary has had a chesty cough" was a fairly innocuous, "...a chest infection..." was always a good one to fall back on, "...a barking cough..." is not a bad way to describe some of the coughs that I infected myself with, but the one that I never understood, and still don't was "Gary has had a peffing cough..." that one puzzled even the teacher but she'd use it time and time again to describe the sort of dry cough that you get towards the end of the common cold when you have a tickle in your throat and no amount of coughing will stop it - a peffing cough, thats its official medical term according to my mother, and we had a big red "Doctors Book" in the house so it must have been in there - try it the next time you have to write a sick note for someone, a peffing cough, you'll amaze someone with your medical knowledge with that one.

"Billious" was another good one. I don't know how she discovered the word "billious" but it was used to describe every single ailment that I ever had that wasn't a peffing cough, "Gary has been billious" she'd write on my teachers note and my teacher accepted this as reasonable excuse to be absent every single time, probably because my teacher had not the first idea what "billious" actually meant.

The remedy for all coughs, sniffles and colds was the same in our house...

Take one large onion and slice it in half
Also slice the round bottom off each half and lay each one on a baking tray
Take several pounds of brown sugar and heap it on top of each half onion
Place the tray underneath a warm grill and leave for several hours
As the sugar melts through the onion, scoop up the syrup and baste the oinion repeatedly
Serve the syrup to your children when they have a peffing cough.

Onion syrup is what we had to swallow when we had peffing coughs, or indeed any sort of cough, in fact if she could have afforded the onions and brown sugar our mother would have fed us onion syrup all winter long.

I choked several times during my childhood just trying to supress a peffing cough, telling my mother "its not too bad now" whilst ramming a cushion down my throat to silence the peffs, anything rather than drink from the tray of hell beneath the grill.

Dripping on bread was also supposed to "be good for you" whereas in fact all it was is what is left in the roasting tin after you've cooked a fatty joint of meat - remove your joint and allow the fats to solidify in the bottom of the roasting tin, leave for several days, then spread the disgusting mess on a slice of bread and force down yoru childrens throat telling them "its good for you", its good for cleaning out your old roasting tins but what the hell it did for me I'll never know - our local butcher actually sells the stuff in jars now, all it will take is one phone call from me to our local Department of Public Health and he'll be closed down without leave of appeal.


Ms Jones said...
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Ms Jones said...
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