Web Page No 2354
18th March 2017
Top Picture: Goose Grease
Third Picture: Vick’s Vapour Rub
Growing up after the Second World War, I was fortunate enough to enjoy good health. Childhood ailments like colds and sniffles seemed to avoid our house like the plague, after all mother had been an Assistant Matron in a Children’s Hospital. Any that were encountered were simply taken in our stride and I refused to let them interfere with my play. However, should any member dare to succumb to something serious, Granny was always on hand to offer advice and her own brands of medicine and many an argument was heard comparing medical knowledge and home remedies.
“Oh, you don’t want to go annoying the doctor,” granny would say, “he’s far too busy. I’ve got just the cure for that,” and out of her room would come the most hideous concoction imaginable.
Take goose fat. We never kept geese but somehow she always managed to produce a jar, nearly full to the brim. This was especially useful if the patient had a prolonged chesty cough. The yellowish-brown fat, smelling rather rancid because of its age, was rubbed all over the victim’s chest, making sure it was applied liberally A clean, tight-fitting vest sealed in the grease, with orders that it should not be removed, except to add more ointment, until the infection had finally cleared.
Granny’s reasoning was that the goose fat would penetrate the skin and enter the lining of the lungs, thus easing the nasty cough. As to its medical success I was always doubtful, but after days of being ignored by friends who had located the cause of the dreadful odour, miraculously the cough disappeared or was desperately hidden lest any more fat be applied. Far worse than the goose fat was the vinegar bath, Granny’s instant cure for fever! That involved bathing the patient’s palms of the hands, soles of the feet and chest in vinegar. The operation had to be repeated several times a day until the sweating subsided. The idea was to lower the temperature of the fever, and Granny swore that vinegar did the trick but one whiff from the treatment any friends would be lost for a time.
Not all Granny’s remedies for coughs and fevers were quite so bad, though. Boiled lemonade just before you got into bed to sweat out the fever was rather tasty. Hot lemon juice, mixed with butter and sugar, was also recommended. Sickly at first, it left a delicious after-taste in the mouth and sugar-coated lips which could be sucked afterwards.
Strange as Granny’s concoctions may sound all her remedies had been tried, tested and proved to her satisfaction on her own family. She pooh-poohed any stupid ideas. Mustard baths were only for the stupid. And as for wearing an old sock around the neck with an onion in it, that was too silly for words. Mixing milk and whisky to be drunk before getting into bed had its good points, but it spoiled both the milk and the whisky. Far better to drink both separately when you weren’t ill was her theory.
As time passed and we moved away from Granny’s influence, mother introduced such marvels as Vick’s Vapour Rub gone were the days that if I mentioned a touch of indigestion she would be up and into the kitchen. Minutes later emerging with a piece of coal. “Here, suck on this. It’ll get rid of that in no time,” she said. And strangely it did!
She never really accepted the fact that her daughter was medically trained and that the only reason why she was not still working in the medical profession was the rule that stated that no nurse, of whatever grade, was allowed to be married!
It was sometimes a battleground at home as to the effectiveness of home remedies against medical knowledge ie iodine against bread poultices.
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On this Day 18th March 1960-1965
On 18/03/1960 the number one single was Running Bear - Johnny Preston and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was The Larkins (ATV) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 18/03/1961 the number one single was Walk Right Back/Ebony Eyes - Everly Brothers and the number one album was GI Blues - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was No Hiding Place (AR) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 18/03/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Skull found buried in Downing Street.
On 18/03/1963 the number one single was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champion.
On 18/03/1964 the number one single was Little Children - Billy J Kramer and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.