Thursday, August 16, 2007


A terrible cloud of illness has hung over our house for around a month and a half now.

When Geoff announced that he had got a sore throat, I ignored him. This is a man who complains that he *thinks* he's in the early stages of a cold on at least a weekly basis.

However, this time he actually became ill, and developed a fever and chesty cough.

The sort of chesty cough that tended to keep him awake at night.

... or, more importantly, kept waking ME up at night.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUGH" would wake me up at midnight. I would go back to sleep.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUGH" would wake me up at one o'clock. I would go back to sleep.

"HEUGH, HEUGH, HEUEUEUGH HEUGH" would wake me up at one thirty.

That was it. I couldn't get back to sleep and would have to get up and read for a couple of hours.

This carried on for a week and a half until, amazingly, Geoff admitted that he was feeling better. Never one not to wallow in illness, it takes a lot for him to confess that he's on the mend.

That night, I woke up with a raging sore throat. This was about the tenth sleepless night in a row.

The next night I developed a cough - a dryer cough, or, as it is known to professionals, a Len Murray cough.

While my parents watched interminable footage of TUC Conferences in the 1970's, I wasn't paying attention to what was going on during the speeches: only to the TUC's saturnine General Secretary Len Murray and his persistent, annoying dry cough.

"Hem hem. Hem HEM Hem." That's all I remember of Len Murray's contribution to the disruptive 1970's trades union action.

It doesn't surprise me to find out that he died because of complications from emphysema and pneumonia.

... so I had now fallen victim to the 'lurgy, and was hem hemming my way through another few sleepless nights. Even the Venos cough mixture, with the picture on the packaging of the lantern jawed woman, apparently in a state of heightened sexual enjoyment, couldn't help me sleep.

I'm someone who always bounces back from colds after a couple of days, so the week or so of coughing and squeaky voiced-ness must prove how debilitating this bug was. Still, at last I recovered ...

... only for Geoff to find out that his germs had gone away, re-grouped and had decided to once more tear the roof off the motherfucker (as we used to say in the 1970's).

At one o'clock in the morning for the past week ... HEUGH HEUGH.

Two o'clock ... HEUGH HEUGH.


I am currently reading Simon Reynold's Rip It Up And Start Again until the sun rises, as well as suffering from sleep-deprived hallucinations.

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It's not as if you're getting your own back on Geoff for those sleepless nights he gave you while he was ill, I bet he's sleeping like a log through your nightly "hem, hemming".
Could he be calling out for Hugh Laurie?
Now, we all love Geoff (in a warm bloggy way) but he really should be wrapping himself in a blanket and sleeping on the sofa. Not in a room, far, far away exactly, but a couple of walls should do it.
Don't tell anyone - but I rather hoped that you'd posted a photo of Len. I found him strangely attractive in an Arsene Wenger sort of way.

Love to you both - get well soon.
Betty, dear, the secret of a successful relationship is sharing.
I never met a sore throat yet that couldn't be sorted out with a teaspoon of (active) manuka honey.

A lot of summer coughs are caused by air conditioning in cars. I'm not necessarily accusing you of this, but particularly the much-vaunted "climate control" automatic air-con tends to blast crap at your face/general vicinity until you get ill. This, combined with the long journeys people often take in summer = hacking dry cough.

I know you're not used to getting useful information in your comments. Sorry.
I second MJ's advice - get Hugh Laurie in.
You could always lace his cocoa with arsenic, as long as his life insurance is in order.
Istvanski - well, exactly. I'm convinced that he could've slept through the Battle Of Trafalgar if he'd been there at the time.

MJ - I hope not ... or gorgeous, fluttery eyelashed Hugh Grant.

Arabella - I know, it's a terrible ordeal I'm having to put up with. It's nice to find out that people can appreciate the suffering I'm going through, even though there's no way that I tried to portray myself in a sympathetic light in this post ;)

Kaz - thanks! Len may turn up in a future post about Pin Up Boys Of The Union Movement, along with a revelation about Rodney Bickerstaff.

Vicus - which is presumably why I have to hear about all the problems West Ham have had trying to get a team together.

Max Bob - I tend to get more sore throats than colds really, and sometimes they don't respond to any treatment for ages. Geoff has been complaining about the air conditioning at work. Apparently someone else there has got a persistent cough and this bug has laid a few people low. I just wish he didn't bring his illnesses home with him though!

Billy - I only ever see that show with the sound off when we're visiting the in-laws. It usually looks pretty disturbing and I wouldn't trust Hugh Laurie as far as I could throw him.

Garfer - what a cynical attitude towards the glorious institute of marriage! Besides, I wouldn't want to have to start putting the rubbish out on Wednesday mornings.
Rodney Bickerstaff's glasses! Be still, my beating heart....
Benylin is the way forward, Betty. Many's the happy afternoon I've spent swigging that in the park while playing cards with dishevelled Irishmen. I can't remember if I had a chesty cough. I had a couple of full houses once and a fight about who had the best hat.
Theraflu dissolved in hot tea with lemon, honey and Jack Daniels.

really. take it from a lifelong asthmatic.
this is not to say that a lifelong asthmatic should administer the dosage, but that you should

oh never mind.
I always though that, when they came to make The TUC Story, Len Murray should be played by Eric Sykes.

I do recall that, when Rodney Bickerstaffe (with a name like that, he could only be a union boss) ran for the leadership, his supporters wore Buddy Holly badges.

Ahhh... Moss Evans... Hugh Scanlon... Tom Jackson and his unfeasible moustache... them was the days...
My grandmother used to watch TUC party conferences all the way through the afternoon, mainly because she was a raging Tory with a considerable capacity for hatred, and I think she got off on hurling insults at the screen. My particular Len Murray fascination was the stray lock of hair that he was forever having to push back behing his ear. Vic Feather had neater hair.
Arabella - phwoar, imagine taking them off ... "why, Mr Bickerstaffe! You're ... you're GORGEOUS!!"

Reg - I don't think you'd be able to fall from grace and end up playing cards in the park on Venos. It just doesn't have a kick, so I've got some Covonia now that's run out. Covonia, now there's a great medicine. When you feel that hot liquid coating your oesophagus you feel RIGHTEOUS.

First Nations - well, Geoff is asthmatic (along with all the other ailments that he's collected over the years). With the asthma inhalant, the Sudafed, the antihistamines and the two types of medication he has for his digestive problems, he's a walking medicine cabinet at the moment. I think I'll just stick to the Jack Daniels ... well, I would have, but a friend who visited polished it all off a couple of weeks ago!

Tim - Moss Evans, I'd forgotten about him! Indeed, those were the days. There are very few union leaders who are nationally known these days. Well, apart from Bob Crow perhaps, or is he just known/loathed by commuters in the London area? I think he's okay actually. I wish there were more figures who were hated by people who write letters to the Metro.

Mike - political conferences always used to be a good excuse to shout at the screen, whatever your polical persuasion. I think I reached a point in the '80's where I had to give up watching Conservative conferences because I got so angry with the smug, gloating half hour standing ovations. As for Len Murray, looking back, I think he had the slightly dishevelled and weary air of a French actor ... so I can see what Kaz means now. Phwoar.
Moss Evans was the 6th Rolling Stone from Cardiff.

Have you tried sleeping all day? It works for me.
Woods Naval Rum and Alcoholic Cloves - that'll sort it.
Murph - I thought that was Stirling Moss. Actually, a favourite joke from my childhood: "Who flies around the lightbulb at 120 mph? Stirling Moth."

Geoff sleeps all day, but still wakes up complaining that he's tired.

Doris - I think I might combine all the suggested remedies and have them in one go. It should be an interesting experience, even if I'm not cured.
What's all this then?
Where is the stiff upper lip.

I am reminded of the Monty Python Zulu war sketch wherein the officer is missing an arm and there is a large hole in the mosquito net.
I'm sure that he'll be "right as rain" in a few days.
I definitely didn't marry someone with the stiff upper lip. Mind you, I'm a hypochondriac myself, so it's good to have an interest in common.

Geoff seems to be on the mend, but I'm sure there'll be the vague threat of another illness along soon.
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