Monday, 4 June 2007

It's half term! Bring on the Calpol...

So we had half term. In which we had glue ear.

Well it was three-year-old Rosie who had glue ear, but the effect was widespread.

Earache is horrid, as I well remember from childhood. One of my earliest memories is of crying with such terrible earache that my poor mother shut me in the living room (presumably for my own safety while she soothed her frayed nerves out of earshot). I leaned onto the rocking chair and rocked myself while I cried and cried and my ears throbbed. We got to know our family doctor very well and on each visit, while I would climb onto his lap, he would ask: “Which ear is it this time then?”

Rosie started with intermittent earache on Tuesday. It seemed to get better on Wednesday, but by Thursday evening she was cuddled on my lap crying “ow, ow, ow!” until the Calpol wore on.
Friday saw us in the surgery where the wonderfully named Dr Cadbury (I also once met a Dr Fudge – if they had met and married they would have been the Drs Cadbury-Fudge) peered into the patient’s ears. She found fluid in one side, pus in the other and prescribed antibiotics and eardrops.

The patient, meanwhile, asked if she could go onto CBeebies on the doctor’s computer and grumpily complained throughout: “Mummy! I can’t hear your voice,” in large decibels, even though I was bellowing right next to her poor beleaguered ear.

“I don’t think she can hear much,” I informed Dr Cadbury.

“From what I’ve just seen, I don’t think she can,” Dr Choc replied.

Rosie went happily home clutching her prescription after a short wait in the pharmacy.

“WHY ARE WE IN HERE MUMMY?” she yelled.

“To get your medicine,” Mummy replied.

“MUMMY, I CAN’T HEAR YOUR VOICE!” responded the ‘im’ patient. Mummy counted to ten and used a primitive form of sign language to say “sit still, behave and I’ll get you an ice cream later”.

Fortunately the deafness was just Friday’s treat and Rosie’s hearing was back to normal by the evening.

During the glue ear spell my sister Jackie, her husband Phil and their two children Tom and Ellie invaded us. They had been camping at Hay on Wye in glorious Bank Holiday Monday “sunshine” – in other words it started raining on Saturday at 8pm and was still raining on Monday. So they arrived a day earlier than expected, cold, wet and muddy, before I had been shopping for useful things like food and before Brian had finished putting the new kitchen cupboards in.

So they went straight into the Granny Annexe and made themselves at home, meanwhile the usual incumbent of the annexe immediately made alternative arrangements and moved out to a friend’s house.

Jackie’s visits are always fun – to begin with. Then the differences begin to show. We like to be with our children, playing with them. J and P tend to leave theirs to their own devices – even if it might include damage to persons and property.

Having Phil around is just like having any normal teenage boy around – except he’s 39. At night he slept in his little tent at the top of one of our fields, surfacing mid morning to consume last night’s curry for ‘breakfast’ then retired to bed for the rest of the day, only emerging in the early evening in search of a beer.

One of my friends from school, Jane, unfortunately chose this week for a visit arriving on Wednesday evening with her husband David and their daughter Sophie, who is the same age as Hannah. It was lovely to see them, but they are quietly sophisticated to Jax and Phil’s louder, more boorish, behaviour. Coupled with this was the fact that, with the differences in life approach simmering to the surface, we were all becoming a little catty.

Mum helpfully told Phil how much more handsome and clever his older brother was (known as Dr Luscious, Phil’s brother is a tall, dark and handsome consultant, pilot and fledgling novelist. Phil isn’t.) It wasn’t the most ideal of circumstances to catch up with old friends.
By Thursday morning Jax and Phil had packed and were leaving.

“Clear orf, clear orf,” I joked, meaning it. They went.

The rest of Thursday was spent relocating various toys and books that had been distributed around the house and the annexe, piling empty beer cans and wine bottles into boxes for recycling, washing a heap of soggy towels and unblocking the loo.

We ended the week quietly with a visit to Colby Woodland Gardens (above left, a favourite of ours) on Friday afternoon to cheer Rosie up (and get her the promised ice cream) then on Saturday we drove up to Llanerchaeron, a National Trust property near Aberaeron.

This used to be the property of a gentleman farmer and was bequeathed to the Trust in 1989 in a dire, but untouched state. It has a working organic farm, fabulous walled garden (below left) and John Nash-designed house.
The estate was entirely self-sufficient and the Trust has beautifully restored it to be a wonderful snap shot on how life used to be. The girls loved exploring the farm and walled garden and quite enjoyed peeking into all the little rooms. It’s a fascinating place.


  1. Oh gawd all this sounds familiar. Poor you! Lily used have terrible trouble with glue ear and then had the dreaded grommits which didn't do much. As for visitors you have too much of - yes, I'm reeling from ours too. I'm glad I'm not the only one who heaves a sigh of relief when they depart.

  2. Those gardens look wonderful - I think we need to make a trip to explore further! How do you manage to get your photos spaced through your blog - mine always zoom to the top, no matter what I do!!!!!x

  3. Oh, poor thing and poor you. Having had 3 out of my 4 who had serious ear problems I know how wearing it is for all concerned. Youngest son had several perforations and ended up having to have a skin graft on his eardrum when he was 11.
    If it's any consolation they do tend to grow out of it - although I reckon husband had glue ear and no one did anything about it.

  4. oh the stuff about different approaches to life in friends and family brought it all back. one of the easier things with adult kids is that just as a couple interacting with just another couple it is easier to keep the diffrences under the surface than it was when we all had children around (food/bedtimes/manners - what a minefield).
    hope your little girl is better.

  5. The earache story was a familiar one in our house for years, so you have my sympathy! It sounds as though you survived the onslaught of friends and family, and I hope you have a chance for some 'me' time when everything is back to normal.

  6. Oh poor Rosie, I so remember the misery of earaches when I was little, so far neither of mine sesm particularly badly affected, but we shall see. Loved Drs Cadbury and Fudge. i so know what you mean about differences with children etc.

  7. Dr Cadbury made me feel very hungry, another chocolate moment coming on!What a shame for little Rosie, it is awful to see them in pain.Thank you for your lovely comments on my blog, looking forward to your horse blog.

  8. Oh mags, you have had it! Glue ear horrid. Now then, my GP did a study on glue ear and found that homeopathy worked a treat with it....think he used Pulsatilla but can't be certain of that. He ran it over a few years and found that he could avoid grommets in all cases (if I recall right). Might be worth looking into for the future.
    Re visitors and sisters - oh yes, sirreeee. It all sounds lovely but reality rears its head. Poor BIL though - have to feel sorry for him having such a paragon of a brother....who sounds gorgeous, btw!!
    But you write it beautifully and the pictures are fabulous.
    Now, I was going to say something about your comment on my blog - what the hell was it???
    Oh that was it! The bat story...and losing a steak, cheeky dog! Asbo would have done exactly the same. I really don't mind bats in their rightful place - just not whizzing round my head (and no, NOT with low ceilings either! yeuech). jxxx


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