Thursday, April 27, 2006

New age fruit loop week off weirdness

Oh, I'm a sucker for a tincture.

I'm not at work this week. I had five days left to take before May 15th (the end of my leave year) and I thought well, I can't afford to go away so let's instead get stuff off the to do list, do some spring cleaning, &c (as they say in old novels). It might make me feel less oppressed by life, I thought.

And it's not going too badly, though I have spent rather more time sitting staring quietly into the middle distance than is strictly conducive to clearing a to do list which does not feature this activity.

I've been to have a weep in Wantage. I've fixed the downstairs loo so it will now flush #2s. I've done a stupendous amount of wood glossing in the bathroom. I've been to the opticians and got some splendid new contact lenses. I've improvised a bike light holder from copper pipe and garden wire. I've been to London for a Peer Learning Exchange about Web 2.0 (actually that bit was work).

And I went to see my GP to talk about my headaches, not that I've had any this week as I have been well away from the New (*spit*) Building. I like my GP very much. She is broad of church and blue of stocking and generally well worth whatever enormous amount it is that she may or may not get paid.

I went expecting a prescription for headache pills and came away with a prescription for antihistamines. Thing is, I've had a blocked nose for most of the last five months, accompanied by snot of unusual colours. I hadn't made any link between sinuses and headaches, but my GP suggested that part of the problem might in fact be an allergic reaction to the fungicides they put in new carpets, the chemicals in new paint, and the varnish they put on new desks, especially when said toxins are pumped endlessly round the building via the new air conditioning ducts, failing to leave through the new windows which you can't open. They call it Sick Building Syndrome, but it's really Sick People Syndrome.

Jeez. It may be that sinus pressure resulting from chemical irritation is exacerbating headaches brought on by sensitivity to bright lights. I really have to get out of there.

Good luck fighting the forces of darkness, she said as I left.

Five minutes later, I found myself in Culpepers the Herbalist. Ten minutes after that I left clutching a brown paper bag containing some tincture of chamomile and plantain (£6.75) and some elderflower infusion bags (£2.75). The former, it says, has "been used for centuries for the treatment of catarrhal conditions". The latter is allegedly "used to help reduce congestion and ease nasal inflammation".

What on earth came over me? Do I really think a cup of yellowy green slightly slimy tea and thirty drops of the world's most expensive cordial is going to be more effective than an antihistamine?

I think this was my subconscious at work. The New (*spit*) Building is the office equivalent of eating Smash. We now know that instant food is not progress, it is obesity, diabetes and constipation in a packet. Instant buildings will one day have health warnings and traffic light labelling on them too.

But in the meantime part of me clearly yearns for a Robin of Sherwood-style world where fibres are natural and we all live off the land instead of putting Business Parks on them.

However my elderflower tea box also says "legend states that if you hide beneath the elder tree at midnight on Midsummer Night's Eve you will be able to see the King and Queen of fairies go by".

I NEEDED THIS TO BRING ME TO MY SENSES. Spare me the new age crystal fairy shit. I'm off to the pharmacy in the morning to get me some real drugs.



Anonymous Charlie said...

You hate the new this; you hate the new that; you hate the new the other. I think you're allergic to the 21st century. I'm allergic to the 17th century, which is a good deal less inconvenient, although I did once have a funny turn in St Paul's Cathedral.

More seriously, if the connection between backed up sinuses and headaches had really escaped you, this supports the theory that the brain has the capacity to know only a finite number of things: as something new (plumbing, spot welding) comes in, something old (the completely bleedin' obvious) drops out.

Tincture is a lovely word. It's up there with unguent.

9:31 am  
Blogger Jo said...

It's a fair point, but I can only plead that I have never had sinus trouble before. And I have almost never had a headache before. So this *is* all new to me, in a way.

Right, I'm off to make a poultice.

3:27 pm  

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