Sunday, 13 May 2018

Alice and the lumps...




Image result for town like alice

Back about 1970, soon after Christmas, I caught a bout of mumps. I was twenty-three then, and at that age it's not really a good idea to acquire this little issue...

My flatmate had got it first, just before the party season, and he came off pretty bad because of the complications which mean that the old system gets attacked from all angles if you're not careful! He just went out on the razzle, and told me later that 'they turned black'... 'Nuff said!

So of course, because we shared the same flat, etc, I was bound to get the lumps on the neck and sure enough they arrived with a sickening prospect. In those days, family doctors actually made house visits, and my doctor confirmed that I was in for a few days of unpleasantness, but if I was careful, and didn't move around any more than I had to, I should be alright. We even discussed whether I could watch the Barbarians rugby match that day, and he thought it would be a risk, so I missed that.

I suppose most kids get mumps early on, but I was terrified of the potential consequences, and stayed immobile in bed at home, looked after by doting parents. To say immobile is an understatement. I can remember lying still for the whole of each day, just getting up for necessities, but eating was jolly painful and so was drinking - especially sharp things, so life wasn't a bowl of cherries.

My dear mum collected a load of books for me to read, and one of these was 'A town like Alice', by Nevil Shute. I read the whole book, cover to cover, in one day, and was totally immersed in such fabulous writing. I'm sure reading such a gripping story made me feel better at the time too - something about others being worse off I suppose!

I ordered it from our library recently, and a brand new copy arrived after some time - surprisingly, but in brand new condition, so I wonder if they can get these reprints of classics done as a matter of course - I'll ask them!

I started it late last evening, and within seconds was totally hooked again, just as I was all those years ago! It's an incredible story and as I'm a slower reader now, it'll be a couple of days this time, but at some stage of reading it again last night, I just considered a quick peep under the clothes to make sure that - er - the extremities were still unaffected...

30 comments:

rvi said...

Poor you! Fortunately, I never managed to attract the mumps, although when very young just after the war I did catch a very severe dose of measles which meant I had to spend three weeks with my eyelids glued together. I was still in my cot at the time, but I still have the memory of the doctor gently trying to pry my eyelids apart. Much relief all round when he succeeded and no permanent damage. I also had the other usual childhood lurgy, chicken pox. The latter stays in one's system for life and in adulthood becomes "shingles" which is still very contagious. I had to visit a relative who was suffering from it a few years back (despite my strong inclinations not to!) and sure enough a few days later I was covered in red itchy spots. Have you noticed that trying to be nice and helpful to people can sometimes (always?) be counter-productive.

I also recall reading that book many years ago, although I have now forgotten the details of the story, but I think it was about a (British?) woman who worked in what was then Malaya during the war and had to endure the usual Japanese cruelty but survived and subsequently ended up in Australia. I also recall seeing the film (way back when!) but can recall nothing of it except a group of thin, raggedy, white females in a POW camp walking along by a barbed wire fence. No doubt there was a happy ending - love, marriage? - but that too has gone.


goosegirl said...

Just for a moment I got that mixed up with Ice Cold in Alex, but having been reminded about the story, it's one of those films you can watch time and time again. I think I had mumps and measles as a child but managed to avoid chicken-pox until I was in my late-twenties and it wasn't nice. Somehow during that era and later on, I managed to get glandular fever, German measles, and viral hepatitis. You're right about it lurking in the nervous system because it is part of the herpes virus family that can cause all sorts of medical problems from warts, cervical cancer, and shingles. Thank God I've never had them, but my late mum did which meant that she was so much in pain she had to have a major nerve removed from her face and even that wasn't much help, God love her. Michelin** - I really hope your extremities (if you can find them from where they were last time you looked) are in as good a working condition as my new "hoover" and that all the various attachments included in the package do as it says on the box!

A K Haart said...

I like Nevil Shute - a writer of good solid yarns. I remember enjoying Trustee from the Toolroom at school and read it again a few years ago.

Michael said...

Goosey, I knew the author of 'Ice cold in Alex', he lived in my home village, and I went to school with one of his daughters, Letitia. Her mum and dad rather liked a tincture or three, but 'Lettice' was a lovely girl! Hopefully still is!

When the book was published, Gouldens in Rye had loads of copies all over the front window and must have sold hundreds!

The extremities stayed safe thank goodness! It was the advice of Doc Palmer which made the difference. I remember him saying, 'stay quiet, you could get an orchitis, and that isn't funny'...word for word, syllable for syllable..:0[

Two kids later...

Michael said...

I'll get that one, Mr AKH.

You know more than anyone how to write a good story, so your advice is appreciated!

I didn't know his surname was Norway until I did a little Googling!

Michael said...

Reevers, that's the one!

Over halfway through it, and still gripped by superb writing!

Shingles is an absolute beast. Mrs O'Blene has had it several times, and her mum did as well. Younger daught got it when she was SEVEN! Poor love, it was utter agony for her.

rvi said...


GG

I too got a bout of hepatitis (jaundice) back in the late 1960s. My urine turned red and my skin turned yellow. Doc said it was from eating unclean seafood/shellfish. True. I had scoffed a plate of cockles and mussels a few days earler. Got confined to bed for two and a bit weeks. Lived on un-buttered tomato sandwiches and plain yoghurt. But one consolation, the doc arranged for a comely nurse-person to come every other day to stick a very large syringe of something or other in my upper thigh muscle. She wanted to alternate thighs each time, but I refused saying I wanted at least on side comfortable to sleep on. She said OK - and I had a very sore upper thigh for quite a while after the treatment finished!

Your Monsieur Michelin reference (I do hope you are not insinuating our host a is large rotund .....!) reminded me of one night when a couple of us were driving back from Paris to London overnight. As is very common in the wide open spaces of northern France, nights are prone to thick ground mist/fog. This happened to us. We could see the stars above, but not the ground in front of us which was hidden in thick fog and the headlights merely reflected the mist. We were cautiously following the kerb line in complete darkness in the middle of nowhere when the line suddenly turned right. The driver followed it and a few seconds later we were confronted by a huge white rubber 'Michelin man' advert. Yup, we had driven into a completely unlit garage forecourt. Not surprising as it was about 3 o'clock in the morning.

Memories....

goosegirl said...

Reevers! I would never insulate or even insinuate that our dear blogger looks like some sort of meringue concoction! I meant he is a 4-star and a good all-round chap whose musings on life and other important issues like " A retrospective view of the pros and cons of home-brew" and his thesis on "The Case of the Missing Sock. A paranormal investigation". (In strict confidence they just consist of two blank notebooks) really makes my day!

rvi said...



Yes - me too.

I am glad we have successfully swept that under the carpet!

goosegirl said...

Hurrah! I found one of my OH's missing socks yesterday that had somehow strayed into my lingerie drawer; however there is still a sock best described as a Scottish-type brown and beige diamond pattern that has eluded all the places I know it could have fallen into such as those areas that I deep-cleaned before Xmas, and have even looked into the cats' beds and under the house foundations (such as they are) and I don't sweep anything under the carpets because they are fitted!

Michael said...

Is that the top drawer, or the second one down, Goosey?

BTW, the pattern you describe is 'Argyle', and for some reason is quite fashionable as a gentleman's sock. I have loads, but also some of those short trainer socks, for - er - trainers, for the garden, but Mrs O'Blene has banned them from shopping trips!

Why I'm telling you all this, I don't really know, but, top drawer stuff makes the heart grow stronger (or weaker, depending on the time of day, tincture level etc, of course..;0)

rvi said...

We too had a case recently of a missing sock. Then the washing machine refused to spin..
So our regular tame handyman/plumber/electrician (me!) was summoned and instructed to fix it. Unplugged the machine and inlet hose, then turned the machine on its side to get at the innards from below - and yup, there was the escapee entwined firmly round the spinner blade below the drum locking it solidly in place. A few quicks twists and the machine was ready to go again. The culprit seems to have somehow slipped down between the outside of the drum and the machine casing. Don't ask me how or why!

A "plumber/electrician would probably have charged fifty quid to do that!

goosegirl said...

Michael - it's both the top and second drawer, plus another smaller drawer for my hosiery! ;O)
Reevers, after spending part of my morning pairing-up washed socks I have two odd ones left. I retrieved two other odd ones my OH left outside when my little gardener went in the dyke and got his wellies wet but they don't match up either, and now I can't find the several other odd socks (including the Argyle one) that I put aside for a later date when they would all meet up and have a reunion party. Using each eye in turn I've examined the washer drum, laundry bag, compost heap, various lampshades plus my lingerie drawers - nope! All my tights match up so why don't his socks??

rvi said...

My old gran, bless her .. er .. cotton(?) socks once told me that the secret to avoid having any missing socks was to simply buy ten identical pairs of black and ten pairs of beige then there will always be another matching one somewhere in the drawer until the escape is recaptured. She disappproved of other colours. Most chaps only have black or brown shoes, so there was always a pair of matching socks to use. Sensible old fellow my gran.

Michael said...

Two drawers!

Dorothy Perkins - eat your heart out..;0)

rvi said...

So what you are saying is two drawers and one away?

Do you still do the pools? If so, that is a good result.

(I am on here so I don't have watch all these simpering idiot Kay Burley wannabees dribbling over two young folks getting hitched).

goosegirl said...

rvi - your old gran was more than wise, she was a genius! She had far more important things to do with her time like getting dinner on the table for her dearly beloved who's just informed her that his favourite pub is closed due to some sort of discord with their local brewery and can all his chums come over? Less than could be said about my OH who buys several types of socks in packets where the colours of each pair of socks are so alike that even a passing snail in "slo-mo" would struggle to match them up; however I have a cunning plan! I'm going to buy a couple of those white-netted bags with a zip that you use for delicate items (like my tights, etc). Using a pair of Marigold gloves for Health and Safety reasons, I will match them up beforehand, bung them in the washer, press the "Go for it" button then, as far as I'm concerned, what went in should come out in the wash! BTW, who's Kate Burley?

rvi said...

GG

May I just take this opportunity to compliment you on your sheer unadulterated brilliance! Get a bag! I shall be forwarding my recommendation to the appropriate authorities to nominate you for every Nobel prize on offer! Get a bag - sheer magnificence in its simplicity. I wonder why nobody thought of it before now? Henceforth, there will no longer be any excuse for male members of society turning up for work in unmatched socks. I have this morning instructed my broker to go big on net-bag maker stocks before the rest of the world discover ... etc ... :-)

It is Kay, not Kate - and she appears regularly as a presenter/autocue reader on my tv screen when it is switched to the Sky World News channel. Since it appears you do not subscribe, please continue to enjoy your ignorance of this (IMHO) rather overbearing and opinionated female personage. Nuff said before our host gets done for publishing libellous content!

goosegirl said...

Your laudations are much appreciated! It is one of my many tasks in life to provide assistance for those who are most in need of a little help now and again, because life is stressful enough without having to deal with the various ramifications that errant socks can bring from one's once dearly beloved who has suddenly morphed into someone similar to Dr.Hyde. I have always believed in keeping things simple, not only so that I can understand them but so can others too. If they don't work out, we haven't lost a lot of time and effort so we can nip to the pub and have a serious discussion over a few drinkies, st-st-stroll back, have a curry, sleep on the floor then wake up during the night to hear someone saying "I know where we went wrong! We should have..." followed by heavy snoring. No amount of breakfast fare would enable the incumbent to remember what he was going to say but at least the world is still going round and round and round. Rather like my washer drum really!

rvi said...


Wasn't there a wedding or something in the village lately? Still waiting for Sid Trumpet's and Whateverhernameis Molestrangler's comments. I am sure the bicycling lady correspondent will also have thomething pithy (Ith that how itsth thpelt?) to offer. Can't get the staff these days.

goosegirl said...

Er, I think thou art mistaken. As far as I'm aware 'twas the day when the Most Reverend Thrippleton's PA, Miss Qwerty, triple-booked the church for the monthly meeting of the local bell-ringers society, the weekly Origami class, and their rather enthusiastic organist Mr Crumpet who always likes to have a daily practise with his diapason. Needless to say, after realising she could not only lose her rather valuable position as the Rev's current masseuse but also the keys to the Communion wine chest, she felt the sudden need to fortify herself with a nip or two of sherry. After about half an hour, she got so pithed that she told the bell-ringers to creep into the crypt to keep them silent, the Origami class to the belfry because she thought they were all bats anyway (hence the confetti made from their left-overs flying all over the place) and tried to have a liaison with Mr Crumpet's diapason until he put a stop to it with his tibia clausa, so he finally got his leg over plus a free massage to boot!

Michael said...

I've been getting Blighter's Rock recently, and while these hilarious posts keep coming back and forth, I'll leave this one running while I can think up another absurdity!

ps - Goosey, I've been trying to email you with some stuff, and it keeps getting chucked back at me for some reason! So you've just got the message, and not the attachments, elastic and nylon accessories, ladies for the use of..;0)

rvi said...

Ah! I heard that Ms Qwerty actually preferred Mr Crumpet when he had his diapasoff, but maybe I misheard thanks to all those (some say doddery) Brexit voting bell ringers having a rave up in the cloisters. But I also heard the Mr C's eighty year old organ is still in good working order, thanks to, or in spite of, getting a regular ten finger, full scale work-out, so that is good to know.

goosegirl said...

Michael. I am so sad that your attachments went astray. Is this due to you having more expertise in detaching said ladies' garments than putting them together? Obviously you have a PC mismatch that is rather similar to the missing sock episodes so, if you can't find a big enough bag to put all of them in, try PIXresizer or just send them one at a time like my OH does with his socks. To add to your misery, I believe Spooner often suffered from Blighter's Rock until he moved his account to Talk-Talk whose location was in Shareswent Down which I'm told is somewhere in Ireland.
Reevers, you really make my day by letting me know that all my attempts to keep you in the know don't go unappreciated. In the course of my duties I have just rung Mr C who tells me that he owes his superb organ performance to a daily dose of 3-in-1 oil mixed with Clairon face cream, plus a three-hourly intake of a nip of Bourdon and two Vox Humana pills dissolved in dilute sterile sea water (such as Under Maris). To keep everything in tip-top condition, his main meal normally consists of various versions of Fagotto au Sifflote which is strangely enough one of Miss Querty's specialities. As for Mr Crumpet's diapers (on or off) it's best left for others to comment in order to avoid any more gatherings in the cloisters during Tierce.

rvi said...

GG

Funny you should say that as I have (literally) just opened my computing machine after having been out in the yard fixing our electrically operated auto-gate watchamacallit what was refusing to open and then close itself as it usually does at the quick press of a key fob. For such situations I prefer something called Silicone Spray which is somewhat more efficacious for these particular circumstances. I am happy to report that my attentions were gratefully received by the said piece of welded ironwork which is now swinging away obediently as and when needed. But I really ought to add that in similar mucky circumstances I always prefer a good dollop of Swarfega to madam's Clairon goo.

That of course is not to say that I do not have a tin of 3-in-1 in my junk drawers, but that particular commodity is to be used exclusively (in this house anyway) for madam's ancient sewing machine and my trusty paper shredder.

But as I mentioned some time ago, and as Goldberg Socks stooge Monsieuer Macron would unhesitatingly agree, chacun a son gout!

goosegirl said...

rvi - I've never tasted a dollop of Swarfega but have occasionally used Silicone spray on various items that needed a good fixing. I can thoroughly recommend it for anything that squeaks, damp patches on the wall, preventing errant slugs and snails in their tracks from climbing up and over your pots and troughs of flowers and veg, stopping badly-made meringues from wobbling, putting a nice sheen on your onions, tomatoes and marrows for the annual local horticulture show, and keeping your powder dry. Do you think any of the items in your drawers would assist our dear friend in his current state of mind or should we club together and buy him some bottles of vino collapse? If we do and he falls over, it might just give his hippocampus a much-needed jolt, or shall we take the cheaper option and just hold our breath?

rvi said...


GG

I agree this is a very poor show - especially with all the very inviting Trumpery going on in the village lately. I was really looking forward to his commentary on that performance by the Very Extremely Holy Rev Rastus B Homeboy from The Good 'ol Misssisippppi croc swamp region of The Yewnighted States of Merka, but alas.... not unlike the recent Arsenal forward line efforts, lots of open goals gone to waste (but he is a wugby fan and so that last line will have gone completely over his head, rather like a successful penalty kick at Twickers of Hampden Park).

Otherwise, my junk drawers do contain some very effective hammers, pliers, plumbers' tape and a soldering iron, but I suspect they would be an ineffective waste of energy. My only other thought is that it might well be ongoing overdoses of the contents of them thar Vino Collapso bottles that has brought on this inordinate outbreak of Spooneritis, so much so that one does not know whether to book the cooks or cook the books. Very sad for one so young too....

Meanwhile, we can both continue to while away the hours with idle and inconsequential chat.

goosegirl said...

Ah! The verbose and rather loquacious Southern Rev who revved up the accelerator pedal behind the lecturn so far up that the guests looked like they'd just started sucking on a "Fisherman's Friend" to the extent that they just been vapourised onto a different planet! By Jove he didn't half give it some wellie, but the essence of what he was saying was actually very true. Alas I know nowt about football, except that Liverpool's Egyptian chap was rather unfairly well-nobbled and that their goalie should have gone to Specsavers!

When I was working in the lab, I had a special drawer full of various items that I thought would come in handy one day and I was always getting ribbed about it! I so got my own back one day when something needed to be fixed A.S.A.P. and I found the very thing! At home I have a little cache consisting of a roll of blue insulating tape, a pair of small scissors, various electrical leads and plugs plus a selection of brass screws, a robust knife-sharpener, a tub of pink cleaning paste that's guaranteed to remove every stain known to man and … my stainless steel dibber that's been so useful on more than one occasion to say the least. I'm sad to say that under the current mental state of our esteemed Michael, the only use for it I can think of is either using it whilst performing a trepanne or a partial lobotomy operation. As the NHS is in such short supply of essential items like anaesthetics and plasters, maybe we should spend some Wonga on the vino because not only would it put him to sleep, it would also sterilise the wound. I think you can get free wigs via the NHS, hair extensions from your local hairdresser, or there's a new way to prevent hair loss that uses Silicone spray but you know more about that than I do, thank God!

goosegirl said...

Blast! I posted my reply as a non-robot and it's nowhere to be seen so I'm trying to remember what I said. Ah! The performance of the rather verbose, nay loquacious and ebullient "Nobody sleeps when I am a-preaching" revved-up representative of the mighty Almighty didn't half give it some wellie, to the extent that some of the congregation sat up straight and wondered if they'd suddenly been abducted by aliens living on a parallel planet, some who hadn't had breakfast were silently praying he wasn't going to say grace before the wedding feast, some thought he was going to get everyone to sing like Jennifer Rush, and the rest just thought "What the hell. He's got a jolly good point there" and he had!
Reevers, my DIY drawers contain various sorts of cables, screws, things I don't want my OH to find like my pruning knife he left out in the rain, glues for every occasion, a timing plug that I can't get my head around as to how it works, and an assortment of "things that might come in useful" which, and you may scoff if you so wish, has served me well over the years. I had one of these at work and always got ragged about it until... the day when a piece of equipment needed to be sorted out PDQ to make it work. Having had a cursory look, I calmly opened my drawer and said" I think I've got the very thing. Would you like me to fix it or do you want one of the chaps from the works department to do it? I can do it in ten minutes and we're hot-to-trot or I'll take two minutes to write a chitty and send it to them; however by the time they get round to it we'll have probably all retired" then we all had a good laugh!
Anyway the tips of the slung seem to have done nothing to rouse our incumbent from his mental stupor - maybe it's this hot weather or whatever!

rvi said...


Ha ha, It is Saturday morning and I have just seen these additions to this discourse - which appears to be being continued now on a new thread. See you up there.