Monday, December 22, 2008

Mrs W and the Dormouse

Mrs W has had a nasty chest infection and is starting her second load of antibiotics. When the doctor listened to her through a stethoscope today, she asked the Mrs to say "ninety nine". Why ninety nine? Who knows? But it's an age-old tradition. I was reminded of the classic children's poem by A A Milne, The Dormouse and the Doctor.

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said
"Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.
Just say 'Ninety-nine' while I look at your chest....
Don't you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?"

I checked the date on the book and it was first published in 1924. So humans and dormice alike have been saying "ninety nine" for at least 84 years. (For those of you who haven't had the pleasure, A A Milne's poetry is better than his Winnie the Pooh stories by a factor of about ninety nine, so it's worth a trip to the bookshop - particularly if you have young kids.)

The real question is whether Mrs W is going to be offered some of the other treatments that were supposed to set the dormouse on the road to recovery. The tiny creature was ordered "nourishment, tonics and rest", as well as "milk and massage of the back". Whether we'd have time for all that nonsense at Woodford Towers, I don't know.

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