musingsponderingsandrants

Parenting, profundities and humour

Ear…ear… — August 2, 2019

Ear…ear…

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So here we are in sunny France. Day 6 of our 2 week sojourn to the Vendee on the Atlantic coast.

It’s actually Day 7 but I refuse to count Day 1 as it consisted of getting up unfeasibly early and driving for hours and hours before having to speak broken French in tabacs and supermarkets, cook pasta, unpack and try not to shout at the kids before falling into bed in an exhausted heap… “let’s make the journey part of the holiday” some smuck said. No let’s forget it ever happened and enter complete denial until Day 15 when we do it all in reverse with nothing to look forward to except those 4 bananas I am certain I left in the fruit bowl….

Sorry I digress.

Day 6/7 then. So far days 1-5 have involved us in unbridled fun. Body boarding, swimming, jacuzzi-ing (even a word?), sandcastle building, reading, sleeping and yesterday a day at a water park sliding and getting an adrenaline fix.

Time today, therefore, for something different. It began at 12.30am this morning when Middlest stumbled into our bedroom complaining of ear ache.

Middlest really did stumble too. The shutters here, which resemble shop shutters but are automatic, let in very little light so it is pitch black in the night. This sees me regularly waking up in what I consider to be the middle of the night but is actually 9am. This was especially confusing during Days 1 to 3 when I could not work out how to alter the time on my Fitbit and so had to manually add on the hour myself. Which my brain seemed incapable of doing in the middle of the night/ 8am/ 9am.

I groaned, I like to think inwardly but it was probably outwardly too, and stumbled into the other bedroom (husband and I currently occupy 2 as the one we started sleeping in at the end of that exhausting Day 1 had a bed so hard my left arm went numb so we turned Middlest out of his twin to share with Youngest so we could sleep with full feeling in all our limbs. This sees our clothes, toiletries and the medicines in one room and us in another) to retrieve the analgesics. I bunged him an ibuprofen and went back to sleep and dreamt of doctors and giant ears.

And thus Day 6 has been spent dealing with the french medical system.

Middlest and Youngest have ear ache form. They first got raging ear ache in Portugal during our 2016 summer holiday. Please read Why are there No Aspirin in the Jungle for that particular tale.

They then both got it again on 2 holidays to the Canaries.

With our own private pool here we hoped we might evade the dreaded ear infections but, no, either the pool contains remnants of previous occupants or it was yesterday’s water park that was the culprit….

We spoke to our rep who suggested a pharmacy. So off I drove to the nearest town having readied my script which consisted off: I am English. I speak a little French. My son has ear ache. Is there something you can suggest?

Day 6, it transpires, is market day. The place was rammed. I drove futilely round 2 car parks, pulled the wrong way up a one way street, reversed quickly before anyone caught on and finally parked up at the supermarket.

We made the pharmacy. The assistant understood my french. Unfortunately I did not understand hers. I caught the word doctor and interior and ear and guessed she was saying I needed a doctor.

Back home we drove. Husband called the rep back. She found a doctors open to people without appointments in the same town we had just left open for just another 30 minutes. Back we raced this time with husband to drop us off seeing as time was limited. The surgery was rammed. There was no receptionist, which was in part a relief. No need to speak broken French to someone who may or may not have been from the same mold as British doctors’ receptionists. I will say no more.

People disappeared into the 2 doctors’ rooms and never came out. This was slightly disturbing. Anyway our turn came. I gave the same speech. The doctor asked me something in French. I looked blank. She asked it again in quite good English. I gave the answer: “His name is Middlest”. About this point I decided, not for the first time, that I really need to learn how to listen to French. I can read and speak it to a useful level when holiday but I am totally incapable of understanding it when spoken. Even something as simple as “What is his name”….

Anyway she got the details she needed. I managed to convey his penicillin allergy. We got a prescription. We paid the 30 euros (frankly that is cheap compared to Spain and Portugal) and left through a second door….ahh now we understood…

Back to the same pharmacy. The previous assistant smiled and said “Ah antibiotics”. The male assistant had less English. We managed with hand signals and my occasional French word of agreement and me deciding to just say ‘Oui’ and decipher the French instructions when we got home. He was concerned, I think, that he didn’t want me to think he was ripping me off as he had to sell me two packets of ear drops. Frankly I would have paid a lot more than the 10 euros to just get the whole sorry mess over with.

We drove home. Middlest had been feeling bad that he was ruining the holiday. So we span it as a worthwhile cultural experience.

No holiday would be complete without a trip to the doctors. This one has the added advantage of not even being worth a travel insurance claim. Less paperwork. Result.

Why Are There No Aspirin in the Jungle? — August 11, 2016

Why Are There No Aspirin in the Jungle?

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Because the parrots eat em all….

That is one of my all time favourite jokes. Along with What is yellow and dangerous? Shark infested custard.

Say the former out loud if the punch line escapes you.

Anyway we have reached the penultimate day of our holiday. Here in sunny Portugal. And today we will be spending a portion of our time searching out analgesics.

We did not rashly arrive without pain killers. I always pack a selection of drugs which includes paracetomol, nurofen, Migraleve, Immodium, rehydration salts and insect bite cream. The digestive portion of this list is possibly a hangover from my early forays abroad when water and food was less reliable than it is now. None of us have had the squits on any of our family trips abroad. But of course if I didn’t pack them then we would all come down with raging diarrhoea. (I have tried to avoid using this word as it is impossible to spell. And I can’t even get near enough for auto correct to guess at it. I had to look it up…) Probably simultaneously and explosively.

So I had pain killers covered. And I had liquid versions for the kids. But we have run out. And here are the reasons why.

On our first day, which was cool, as I did mention in Wind Up, we went along to ‘family football’. There were a few reasons for this. One the football pitch is the only amenity on this entire resort that our villa is close to. Everything else is at least a kilometre away. Breakfast. The sea. The pool that we like. Reception. Lunch venues. I didn’t wear my FitBit here. Which was a mistake. Merely getting to the dining hall racks up 1000 steps. I would have been quids in.

Secondly the hour long daily session is free. Not much else is. We paid a small fortune to come here for two weeks. And we are paying amother small fortune staying here. We thought taking advantage of the free activities wise.

Three it sounded fun. Family football implies a safe, fun, non competitive activity for all the, well, family.

Four. My kids love football.

So off we went. Relishing the around twenty steps to the pitch. Which is a sandy all weather type surface.

Well the Harrrisons (for that is us) formed a team and also took on a random Irish person to help out. It is safe to say that ‘family’ football is a slight misnomer. There  were plenty of lads and dads. But also a few random teenagers with and without footwear, an extremely competitive coach, and myself and Youngest the only people on the pitch without a penis. The dads where without doubt all failed Ronaldos living out their broken dreams thrashing the pants off four year olds and a woman of a certain age. Go them. I am sure they felt better about themselves after they had Pana’d that toddler.

We did OK though. We play a lot together so know each other’s strengths. OK OK I have bigged this up. Daddy and the kids play a lot together. I watch a lot of them playing so know their strengths. At one point I heard a member of a team who were sitting out mention that we were all a family and had chemistry! I puffed up a bit at this and toe punted the ball to the opposition so destroying any credibility I had built up. Anyway we did OK. Won 2 lost 2.

I think it was during the second match that husband fell over a teenager (I think the teenager in question may have been the one playing in bare feet, nutter) and landed awkwardly on his foot. I didn’t really notice because I was busy defending at the time but it did strike me as slightly odd that husband played in goal for the last two matches. Thus loosing all chance of nutmeging a four year old.

Anyway we came off at the end. Once I had got my breath back and stopped feeling sick I noticed he was limping. I asked if he was OK. He said not because he thought he may have re- broken the foot bone he broke several years ago when he fell down the stairs after stepping on an Iggle Piggle sippy cup I had ‘haphazardly’ left at the top of the stairs. It has long been a bone (excuse the pun) of contention in our marriage as to whose fault that accident really was. Was the cup left ‘haphazardly’ at the top of the stairs or tucked neatly into the banIster during a middle of the night ill child rescue mission? Undertaken by yours truly. But whatever, the outcome was the same. A broken foot bone.

This time, however, I could not be blamed as I had been on the wing when he fell over the bare footed teenager.

So my husband began popping the analgesics with alarming regularity. And he also began limping those 1000 steps to breakfast.

The issue was compounded a few days later when we rashly agreed to go back to ‘family’ football. We didn’t enjoy it quite as much this time. Eldest dumped us to pair up with a teenage lad and his team (I think, ironically, the teenager husband had fallen over on day one) earning him the nick name Judas. The remaining four of us joined up with some Germans and a couple of teenagers from Wandsworth (who clearly thought that girls can’t play as they tackled Youngest mercilessly all afternoon despite her being on their team and actually a decent player) and battled it out against ferocious opposition who were clearly bent on winning at all costs.

I took a ball to the face which broke the arm off my sunglasses and left my cheek smarting and tears in my eyes. Involuntary tears. It bloody hurt. Even more ironically it had come off the ‘broken’ foot of my husband as he limped in the goal mouth clearing balls in a way I can only decribe as ‘haphazardly’. I left to walk the twenty steps to our house to retrieve my actual glasses so I could see anything at all.  There was no way I was giving up on the match and giving the extremely sexist coach (who I had heard saying, and I quote, “don’t worry it is the team with the woman and girl in next”) the satisfaction of seeing ‘the woman’ ‘ball-in-faced’ off the pitch.

We decided after the session to go to the nearest pool, one that we hadn’t ventured to before, to cool off. Youngest jumped straight in and declared it deeper than the other pools. I was dubious as I was sure all of them were 1.2 meters deep. Husband jumped in full throttle and landed heavily on both heels. Further aggravating his foot issues. He was now limping on both feet. Although I guess a limp on both feet just means you walk extremely slowly everywhere.

The lack of sunglasses saw me get two migraines over the next two days one of which was brought about by staring futilely across the vast Atlantic Ocean trying to spot dolphins for an hour and a half and mistaking every blinding crest of a wave for a dorsal fin. We were left disappointed. And me migrainey.

Just as husband’s limp was improving slightly both Youngest and Middlest developed earache. There is a nurse on site but being British we decided ‘not to bother the nice medical staff’ with our minor health concerns and just used analgesics in liquid form to ease the increasing discomfort.

Yesterday the waves were up at our resort’s beach and so we headed down there for our third body boarding/ bobbing up and down in the waves session. I managed to wipe out only the once. Unfortunately I did it much more spectacularly than my wipe outs in the previous two sessions, which had merely resulted in bruises to my ribs and thighs and sand grazes to various limbs, by banging my head quite forcefully on the sand and jarring my neck.

It was whilst trying to deal with the considerable discomfort that thus ensued as my neck seized up during the evening that our lack of pain killers got very acute. I did consider ‘necking’ a few gulps of Calpol but cognisant of the ear ache situation didn’t dare to for fear of leaving my aurally challenged children dry.

I gingerly made my way upstairs this morning to brew a morning cuppa and came across Middlest on the sofa groaning in pain and complaining because he had got no sleep at all due to his ear.

Enough was enough it was time to prevail upon the nice nurse. Who was very nice but unable to help as nurses in Portugal are not equipped with orthoscopes. For the looking down of ears.

So Middlest, Youngest and I have had a fun day going to the doctors in Praia du Luz (which the doctor reminded me was where Madeline McCann went missing, you’d think they would want tourists to forget that), paying a small fortune in the pharmacy and eating a celebratory antibiotic crepe. Praia du Luz is spectacularly beautiful and we would probably never have seen it if it hadn’t been for that ear ache. So that was a silver lining.

We are back now. The kids are banned from the pool. I have to administer four types of medicine on a mind bogglingly complicated schedule.

Oh and whilst I was at that pharmacy I bought more paracetomol for husband’s feet and my neck. He will probably wash his down with a gin sling. If I drank I might do the same but I will settle instead for a cup of Yorkshire tea.

Thank god that hasn’t run out. That would be a bone fide disaster.

 

 

 

Ennui… — September 15, 2015

Ennui…

ennui

Today Middlest is ill.

I am of the ‘If you haven’t been physically sick/ emptied your colon in spectacular and explosive fashion/ hit 40 on the thermometer/ lost a limb then you are going to school’ brigade.

Middlest has not done any of those things. But he is doubling up with stomach cramps on a regular basis. And hasn’t eaten anything substantial all day. And he was so white when he got up that I wondered where all his blood had gone.

I consulted his timetable which is stuck to the fridge. He has his double Rugby lesson today. And it was raining when we got up. And so I relented. And once I reluctantly said he could stay home he took himself back to bed and went to sleep.

So not faking I don’t think.

Anyway to be sure I have made the day as boring as possible. Lots of sleeping in his bedroom. That usually does the trick.

Unfortunately that has also meant I have had a very boring day too. I got through my chores whilst he was sleeping. We have caught up with Bake Off. I have filled in my Neighbourhood Planning Survey. There are other boring jobs I could be doing. But they are, well, boring.

It is ironic (in the proper sense of the word (a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often wryly amusing as a result) not in the American ‘rain on your wedding day’ sense of the word) that when I have an ’empty’ day I find it harder to get on with stuff. Although now I think on it, it isn’t that wryly amusing. But it is true that the more time I have to do stuff the less I actually do.

I should have thought up a few more good blog subjects but that isn’t something I can do to order.

This is the best I came up with.

Pretty dull.

Like my day.

Ennui sucks….

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