The Good Life France

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My French Life: Man flu strikes


The OH has man flu. The sort that knocks a man down and leaves him there, sprawled on the sofa with a toilet roll to mop up his nose. The soft menthol infused tissues are better but he is too ill to drive himself to the shops to get them! Me? I gave him the toilet roll.

Men are terrible at having colds – they become all Samson’s-had-his-hair-cut off…

In London I hardly ever noticed really, of course I was aware that the cold had invaded the temple of the OH but I was working 14-16 hour days – so didn’t really have time to get involved and London’s a big place, lots to do, places to go…

In France, living in a village of less than 150 people, no shops and no bar, one is somewhat stuck with the problem – there’s no way to avoid it.

The neighbours keep away when someone is sick – nobody here wants or can afford to get sick – most of them are farmers or have animals to keep. Being sick is not good when you have to go and feed chickens and ducks, sheep, cows, pigs, horses, goats and donkeys. Actually I don’t know a single neighbour in this village who doesn’t keep animals. Especially not at this time of year when the November rain can be chilling. It’s odd how the rumours go round, it’s like there’s a plague sign on our door and everyone rushes past in case a rogue germ manages to get to the bottom of our path and through the gate.

During man flu, the patient seems to be unable to move, lift anything or do anything for himself. I am not the nursing kind so I pretty much encourage him to either stay in front of the TV watching all manner of crap that numbs his brain (and keeps him quiet), or stay in bed where the coughing and blowing of the nose is not a bother (to me).

I did however make some tea for colds. It’s an ancient remedy that I read about in one of my old self-sufficiency books.

Take a couple of lemons, chop the ends off and then slice them thinly. Take about two small thumbs worth of fresh ginger, peel and then slice thinly. Put the slices in a sterilised jar – I use a small pickle jar with a wide opening so I can get a spoon in it easily. Cover with liquid honey and screw the lid on tight.

You can keep this in the fridge for a few weeks easily – I’ve never had it last longer than that so not sure exactly how long it lasts.

For colds and sniffles, just spoon some into a cup to taste, I like it quite strong so I add two tablespoons.  Cover with boiling water and sip. At night, I add a spoon of whisky – seems to help the patient sleep better.

Made it yesterday, patient took it last night. This morning – I wouldn’t say cured, man flu as we all know is a lingering illness, but I was told that the tea has helped – he’s feeling a little better…

A bientôt
Janine
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