I've lost count of the number of people who have advised me
to try strong drink for my snot-ridden state.
It's not just
because I look like a drinker. This even happens when I'm on the phone.
only have to cough a little or sniffle slightly and they're straight in: "What
you need," they'll say, "is a large slug of rum topped up with
One of my neighbours, who looks and
behaves like Miss Holiday Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's, suggested
a tumbler-full of Scotch, downed in one at around Noon before retreating under
a 13.5 tog duck-down duvet. "At the very least, it'll bring on a false
dusk," she said.
I, however, believe in what
my Mum told me when I was a little boy: "Try taking everything the chemist
has got, all the cough and cold remedies there are, and you'll soon get rid of
even the heaviest cold in about seven days.
you take nothing at all, it'll be about a week."
also been variously recommended to pink gins with extra Angostura and a few pints
of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. They all seem to end with the notion of going straight
to bed and sweating it out anyway, even if it's a mug of cocoa laced with iced
Armagnac. (By the way, I'm not at all sorry if this week's column bears a remarkable
similarity to last week's. One of the side effects of a winter in a cold climate
is that it gives everyone something to talk about. I could go on, and probably
The best cold I ever had lasted a fortnight, and
I was somewhat mollified by the proximity of a lemon tree outside the front door
where I dozed in the brilliant Ibiza sunshine. I drank lemon tea day and night
and just knew I wasn't going to get scurvy.
I was also
comforted by knowing how I had caught it, which was not as my Mum would always
have me believe (not wearing a hat and gloves), but by shaking hands. This was
the stunning finding of a team of researchers who spent millions of pounds giving
people colds artificially and then trying every remedy known to man and witches,
In the end they went to America
in search of their fortunes and were never heard from again. No doubt they just
Anyway I see I'm not on my own: Professor Ron
Eccles, chairman of something called The Cold and Flu Council and director of
the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University, is sniffling away like mad.
wanted to ring him up and say: "Physician, heal thyself!" but
I know what would have happened. He'd have said: "Why don't you try a
slug of bourbon with a sugar cube floating on top."