In the grip of El Gripe

Image - El Calpe: Andrzej Kubik/shutterstock

SUFFERING from a nasty bout of flu, ignoring the dragons on my ceiling and sweating enough to float gently to the nearest desert island, gave me time to think (something my mother always accused me of doing too much of; which as a child confused me somewhat as I couldn’t imagine what else one would do with one’s head).

When one is ill it is amazing the amount of advice offered: “Don’t walk in the rain” (I can’t move); “Make sure you get plenty of exercise and fresh air” (I can’t move); “Run up and down the stairs to sweat it out” (I CAN’T MOVE).

Being single has its advantages and disadvantages, especially when ill; no one to make you nice cups of tea or chicken soup; no one to fluff your pillows, but then on the plus side there’s no one to give you stupid advice.

There are many flu remedies on the market (I like the one that knocks you out and gives you weird dreams) but none of them are as much fun as those offered by Tudor physicians.

The Tudors believed that ill health was caused by an imbalance of Humours in the body (that explains my son’s father) and that all ills could be cured by cutting a vein and letting the blood flow.

Tudor society was pretty straightforward, no sugar coating the pill as they say.

You knew it was more than a head cold when a large black duck appeared at your door and thrust a bouquet of dried flowers at you.

Tudor physicians believed that a liberal coating of dried toad on the affected pus-filled lumps worked wonders (the fact that it actually never worked didn’t bother them).

Mary Tudor’s physician advised her to burn three Hickory Sticks in the castle grounds but as she had earache she misheard and mistakenly burnt three hundred heretics, which worked just as well.

Her husband, King Philip, high tailed it back to Spain when he read the second ingredient on the list: boil an infusion of Spanish moss.

He was heard muttering “Bloody hell Mary” (or something similar in Spanish).

How about the following for a flu remedy? In Texas one is advised to wear a white weasel around your neck. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

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